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life » Yekaterina Satanina
Jul 122015

Graduation is well past us, life goes on.

I am applying to jobs. Looking for modeling/texturing positions, junior generalist positions, junior lighting, and runner openings. In the meantime, I’ve been updating this site (hey-oh!), working on personal projects, and enjoying not having homework ever again.

Most recent additions to my portfolio – watercolor paintings and figure studies from my Drawing for Animation and Figure Sculpture classes. There are a bunch on the Artwork page, go go look!

Figure studies - 2015 Figure studies - 2015

I discovered the wonderful pleasure of taking my sketchbook on a date to a coffee shop. (Pour Coffee Parlor, Rochester, is my happy place.)


I’ve been swimming and running a bunch.


I’ve been hiking to pretty places. (Lake Ontario, Chimney Bluffs, central New York.)


And I’ve been making supreme loaded waffles (that’s a waffle with: butter, runny egg, bacon, onion, red bell pepper, spinach, feta, and maple syrup) with good friends.


Life’s good.

Time to apply to more jobs.

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.

Dec 262013

Have a hipster cat.


And a wonderful day, too!

Oct 072013

This weekend, RIT had its 2nd annual AniJam competition. 53 people from 17 teams came together to create short animated films in 24 hours. There were just three requirements:

  1. Create an animation
  2. Follow the chosen theme
  3. Finish in 24 hours

I was especially adamant about the last one. Mainly because last year my team got disqualified for submitting 3 minutes late.

From 12:30 on Saturday afternoon till 12:30 on Sunday, we cranked out work in the lab. It was a great time. I teamed up with my friends Nora Rogers, Sarah Talbot, and Deanna Giovinazzo (all wonderful 3D folks) to create our interpretation of “When the door opened.” Look at us, all happy and hyper at the beginning:


And, actually, we stayed at fairly constant levels of energy and efficiency throughout the night!

Our film will screen with the rest at the end of the semester. There will be voting and prizes.

I worked on a multitude of things, from storyboards to modeling, rigging, and animation, to final editing and compositing. Here are some screen shots of the parts that I animated:





We used the Morpheus rig for the adult character. However, we did model and rig our own. Meet Marty!


Marty is a mind-boggling combination of cute and terrifying. And that was the goal.

Spoiler alert: at the end of the film, his eye slides off his face. Oh yes, we had fun. AniJam 2013 was a success.

Sep 302013

The windows roll down at the border, we are barely keeping ourselves from singing out, “Oh, Canada!” The border patrol officer asks what we are studying, and the entire car explodes: “ANIMATION!”

Oh, Canada.

Last weekend, two dozen RITchies and I ventured to Ontario for the Ottawa International Animation Festival. My first film festival. It was an amazing experience in a gorgeous city. We saw Disney’s innovative new short, “Get a Horse!”, a beautiful Brazilian feature, “The Boy and the World,” many awesome shorts, multiple presentations by filmmakers and recruiters. I got to meet JG Quintel (the youngest and coolest professional there), the creator of the Regular Show, and Adam Elliot, a brilliant stop motion animator from Australia. At one of the after parties, my fellow RIT 3D-ers and I cornered Saschka Unseld, a Pixar layout artist and director of “The Blue Umbrella,” and spent a good chunk of the night barraging him with our excited questions.

Oh, and we now know our way around Ottawa.

And for today, real rough one-hour sketch of the city view. I feel so right in cities. This one felt especially akin.


Yes, we had poutine. And yes, we met Canadians. To my surprise and amusement, turns out that Canadians rank each other on “how Canadian” they are. So self-aware.

Sep 152013

Last week, on Tuesday night to be precise, I put together the first rough version of my 2D animatic… and immediately became sad about my film. (Fun fact: I meant to type “film,” but looked up from the keyboard and saw that I had somehow typed “life” instead. HA. HAAA.) So I made a point of hunting down one of my professors, Atia, who has disciplined me during the production of “Cake,” and begged for a critique. Lucky for me, I found both her and Mark (our other 3D wizard) in the office at the same time, and together the three of us teamed up and cranked out a much, much better story.

The main character is now active, the interior environment is better utilized, there are strong motives and better underlying motifs. Well, the motifs are the same. I just like them better now that everything else is better.

Basically, I took the beginning 10%, the final 10%, and redid everything in-between. Yay, story?


The annoying sound is gone, too. One of the comments I received was to consider a different “voice” for the Dusties – a wind chime, a rustle? I don’t know yet. The bouncy ball squeak was my best idea for something cute. Admittedly, it’s annoying. So it’s not staying.

Also, I looked around my room and saw this. INSPIRATION!

2013-09-14 15.54.29

Forget it, stop motion. Boom. Done.