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animation » Yekaterina Satanina
May 172015

Done. And done and done. But only with this stage. Life moves on.

(Email me privately for the password, please.)

Mar 292014

Last winter, I was hired by RIT Production Services. One of the luckiest things to happen to me in college. I am so very fortunate to be getting a production studio experience while taking classes.

At Production Services, I do a variety of tasks, ranging from concept art and design to 3D animation to visual effects. Every once in a while, have to track a camera. But for the most part, it’s a lot of fun! I work directly with the graphics manager and my student coworkers – graphic designers, motion graphics artists, video editors, and visual effects specialists. I also interact with the directors and sometimes contribute to meetings.

For 3D graphics, we primarily use Blender and AfterEffects. We just got Cinema 4D, and for my most current project I am learning the ropes of that!

Disclaimers: None of this material belongs to me. I do not own SportsZone, SZ Live HD, or any other name mentioned in the reel. I merely do the graphics. Not everything in the reel was done by me. For a breakdown with roles and contributors, go to the YouTube page of the reel. The music is “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio. I do not own that either, using for non-commercial purposes only.

In other news, I finally caught up with culture and watched Frozen last night. Oh, man… So pretty. Such acting. So much work. Such hope for getting hired in the future.

Mar 112014

Sometimes during my late night render wrangling shifts in the mostly empty lab, I get nostalgic about last year. Nora and I were dying over computer science assignments and our very first 3D movies. Last spring was one of my most productive periods ever. May this attest to that (spoiler: inappropriate content):


I miss character animation! This was the time when we were practicing dialogues, weight, and mood changes. Simultaneously, we practiced pick up lines, but only those that relate to 3D programs. Out of all the ones that we worked with, Maya by far inspired us the most.

We even stuck some of these on the office doors of our professors. They’re still there.



Can’t really make these posters/memes/funsies with modeling. Or maybe you could… Or maybe I’m just getting less funny.

Mar 062014

Today it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit and everyone’s thought was, “Wow, it’s warm!”

There’s something wrong with that statement.

There’s something wrong with Rochester.

It sure makes sitting indoors a good deal easier. So I sit indoors and get work done. It’s a good time.

So on the night of the Oscars, I decided to read up on Nobel Prizes. I realized that neither I, nor any of my friends, could name a single Nobel Prize laureate from the past decade. Geez, I can’t even recall anyone from the past century other than the Curie spouses! I did some research, found interesting facts, wondered why I’m not a science major discovering wonderful things. But… from 1903 to 2013, out of 561 Nobel Prize laureates, only 45 were women. Considering Marie Curie received two Prizes, that leaves only 44 women, across 6 categories, in over 100 years. Hmm. Why am I not a science major again?

And then my boyfriend pointed me in a different direction. According to this article on the Oscars Database, “only 16% of the nominees have been women since the awards began.” Wait, what? And that includes the Best Actress award, which makes up the bulk of those nominees. There have never been any female nominees for cinematography, only one woman ever won a directing award, and only three ever won an award for special/visual effects. One woman won the Best Animated Feature award, and that was Brenda Chapman for Brave. (Check out her presentation on TED Talks, it’s pretty spot on about this general subject.)

So there’s a good reason I’m in the film and animation industry. And I shouldn’t feel inferior because I can’t split atoms or develop medicine. There is plenty of work to do in the field I chose, and I will do it. I will try my best.

Dec 262013

Oh, also, my film is done!

Yeah, that happened.. I wasn’t sure it would.

Well, okay, I knew I’d screen something, mainly because we fail if we don’t screen something, but there were many weeks when I honestly, anxiously believed that what I would end up screening would not make me proud. I expected to stand at the podium in shame at having failed to do what I and everyone else expected of me. This sounds vain, yes, but I was in legitimate doubt about living up to expectations.

For good reasons, I must admit.

And, in the end, I was honestly surprised to see it all come together. Several last all-nighters, a lot of coffee, naps instead of actual sleep – you know, all those classic college things that everyone gets tired of hearing but never gets tired of saying, because they’re very true and very prevalent. Everyone thinks their struggle is the worst, competes with everyone else to see who’s struggling more, and gloats in illogical pride when it seems that, in fact, their life is the least enviable and the most pitiful.

I digress.

My film came out in just under 4 minutes, with an amazing score by my friend Kurt Venezuela and an even more amazing sound design by my friend Matthew Lees (done almost entirely overnight before the submission deadline). I finished it mere hours before it was due, but many of my friends finished even later. As I plan to submit it to festivals, I cannot post it online, but I will post a “screenshot summary” here:













There. Without giving much away (without posting the ending shots), this is roughly how the four minutes go.

Oh, and I ended up naming the thing “Lepestok”. In Russian, it means “petal”. I couldn’t name the film “Dust” (for unwelcome associations with a different, earlier student film), which was the only appropriate title for it, and I couldn’t come up with anything better, do I went with “petal”. Except “petal” sounded boring, so I took the Russian translation of it. Good enough? Good enough.

At RIT, animation students are required to produce three films during their undergraduate studies: a “one quarter” (film in 10 weeks), a “two quarter” (a film in 20, or for us, 15 weeks), and a thesis (full year for one film). Two down.

One to go.

Nov 262013


Here’s a rough cut, with final timing but not quite full picture lock. My computer is currently batch rendering shots, since our farm has a tendency to drop frames, and the batching process takes more time than I thought.

So in addition to this, instead of any fully finished shots, here are some progress stills from the texturing/lighting process. These are just beauty pass 3D renders: no AO, no depth, no color correction.


I don’t even mind spending all night working on this. The results make me so happy.

Oct 292013

Remember the annoying “squeaky” sounds I had for my first 2D animatic? Yes, those. I decided that they’re just not going to cut it.

Instead, I’m using human voices for the Dusties. They’re cuter and more alive that way. Question is… which style should I choose?

Last week, two of my friends and I recorded sounds. My directing skills came down to, “A little more of, you know, just, yeah!” but they both did amazing jobs. Now I don’t know what to choose.