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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Meet the Aggiemation Eggheads

UC Davis’ beginner-friendly animation club welcomes creators of all experience levels


By SAVANNAH BURGER—arts@theaggie.org


Established in 2021, Aggiemation Eggheads is a workshop-based club that invites students of all experience levels to learn how to animate and work on animation projects here on campus. Any student can join and learn how to work with countless mediums of animation, including stop motion, two-dimensional digital programs, rotoscoping and traditional line work. No experience in any type of art, including drawing, is required to join the club and learn how to animate. In fact, the vast majority of members this quarter are STEM majors, with arts and humanities majors being a minority. 

While previous years have focused on members’ personal projects, the club has established a new system for this year and those following. Instead of smaller individual projects, the whole club is working together to create one short film that will be completed and ready for presentation by the end of the 2023 to 2024 school year. This approach is centered on teaching newcomers how to animate with a “learn-by-doing” model. Fall quarter has been spent working on everything that has to do with pre-production, winter quarter will tackle the actual animation and spring quarter will focus on post-production.

“Before, we were trying to put out a project per quarter, which is just really not enough time for development, writing and animating,” Emma Mitchell, a third-year English major, said. “So now, we’re spreading that over an entire year. It’ll be nice to not be on a time crunch.”

Mitchell has been a member of Aggiemation Eggheads for a year and is the creator of the original pitch of this year’s project. The short film, which is yet to be named, is a multimedia animation featuring both two-dimensional digital and stop-motion animation. The film is geared to be a post-apocalyptic, supernatural yet heart-warming story. When Mitchell pitched this idea for the club’s short film, which was ultimately selected by a majority vote from the other pitches members made, she wasn’t sure hers was going to make it.

“I was honestly so nervous to do my pitch. Especially because it was so unlike everything else that was being pitched,” Mitchell said. “But everybody was so sweet and kind, and I appreciate that somewhere like this exists on campus.”

Nathaniel Yi, a first-year undeclared major, is a brand-new member of the club. Yi enjoys what the club has to offer, especially the aspects of character design and collaborative brainstorming. Because of his participation, he’s leaning toward declaring himself as a cinema and digital media major. Yi encourages other students to be a part of the club.

“You don’t really have to know anything,” Yi said. “You don’t have to have any animation or filmmaking experience at all.”

Students interested in the club can join at any point of the school year. Each meeting begins with a recap of the previous week’s progress, followed by a half-hour-long workshop. The workshops focus on a different aspect of animation production every week, which varies from animating techniques some weeks to writing and sound design other weeks. In addition to this, the club also hosts occasional guest speakers. In the past, speakers from animation studios such as Pixar, Laika, Nickelodeon and Marvel have been invited, all with the intent of giving members an opportunity to network within the animation industry. 

“Aggiemation is a place to find people that are passionate about the animation industry in the same way that you are,” Merritt Hill, a fourth-year art studio and cinema and digital media double major, said. “It might be a starting point of someone’s career.”

Hill is a co-president of the club this year and has been a part of Aggiemation Eggheads since the club has been established. They are exceedingly proud of how the club is operating this year and stress how important the club is as an outlet for students’ creativity.

“I don’t want people to feel like they’re barred from joining the creative industry just because they didn’t have enough money to pay for art school,” Hill said. “I want people to feel like at Davis, they can harness their education towards what they’re passionate about. I want Aggiemation to be a part of that.”

You can find Aggiemation Eggheads by attending their weekly meetings in Wellman 201 between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Mondays.

Written by: Savannah Burger — arts@theaggie.org


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