Nikki Chapman
by nchapman on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

A macabre girl laments about the inevitability of death after seeing a melting cartoon character popsicle. My name is Nikki Chapman and "Melted" is my senior thesis film completed at Ringling College of Art and Design as part of my BFA in Computer Animation. Thank you for watching!

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A macabre girl laments about the inevitability of death after seeing a melting cartoon character popsicle.

"Melted" is my senior thesis film completed at Ringling College of Art and Design. I’ve described “Melted” as the film I have wanted to make since I was a kid. It shows that even an adorable, innocent little girl might have secret anxieties she’s dealing with inside. It is a love letter to everything I’m a fan of- horror movies, stop motion, trippy animation, the color pink, ice cream, poetry, and more. 

Before I started the film, I’d never used After Effects or simulated a girl’s face melting off in Maya. I was warned about how difficult the effects would be, but I believed in my ability to problem solve. Solving those creative problems was actually one of my favorite parts of working on the film. I wasn’t sure if the faculty would approve some of my stranger decisions, like adding a stop motion animated shot or making a giant mascot head out of plaster then shooting live action footage of me wearing it outside my sister’s house. However, they have been so supportive and I am so grateful to my amazing professors.

I completed the designs and animatic of the film during my junior year at Ringling.

The various effects were a fun challenge. These liquid simulations were made with bifrost and nparticles in Maya.

This shot was done by colliding the rigs with the ground in Maya to squish them. Then I took the renders into After Effects and used the liquify tool to add the extra goopiness I was looking for.

The melting popsicle face was done by creating an animated texture in After Effects, exporting it into a series of JPEGs, then connecting an animated texture to a slider. That way, I could control how much and how fast the face melted in Maya.

I created the background of this shot using a macro lense to film real ice cream melting. I changed the colors in After Effects then used Nuke to composite the footage into the background. 

I had a lot of fun making this film and I hope you enjoy it!

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