Motion Designer Chun Chun Chang Sees her Awesome Animations as a Chocolate Gift Box
We’re all looking for inspiration these days and art in its many forms can provide that impetus. Here’s a tip, take five minutes to check out Chun Chun Chang’s multiple award-winning short films like Between the Shadows and Aura. Check out 3D animated short film, Aura, and get immersed in its fantastical world — a wordless world where a mortal encounters the goddess of the wind inside a storm. Using Cinema 4D, X-particles, and Maya to make her beautiful film, Aura’s colors and action swirls and dives then sweeps us up into its animated exaltation.
Most importantly, she suggests how another art form influenced her: “The initial inspiration for Aura came from William Forsythe’s ‘electric and groundbreaking’ ballet choreography in ‘In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.’ I was so inspired by the dancers’ movements that I wanted to create a short film with contrasting vibes — gentleness and fierceness. I then decided to use Aura the goddess of the wind from Greek mythology as the blueprint of my film. And what better way to present both gentleness and fierceness than the wind itself?”
Chun Chun, who has both a BA (Taipei National University of the Arts) and an MFA in Animation (University of Southern California), is a motion designer and filmmaker, born in Taiwan but now based in eclectic Los Angeles.
As a result, she enthuses, “A motion designer designs graphics that are in motion. I’m really good at creating fantastical and surreal animations. I think of my animations as a chocolate gift box. I want my works to provide the audience a momentary respite from reality. They could glimpse into different fantasies from different pieces of animations, it’s like trying different flavors from a chocolate box.”
So, when you dip into that box, you never quite know what surprises it has in store for you.
For example, her ever-increasing portfolio includes: working with the yU+co Design Agency to create 3D animations for GM, TNT, the TV series Snowpiercer, and for Grand Park (at the LA Civic Center); being a 3D animator for an HBO documentary; working with the prestigious Getty Museum on three projection mapping projects; and, being lead animator with a team from the CBS Pipeline Challenge program where she designed the visual looks, VFX, and camera blocking.
While movies like Pixar’s Soul appeal to her now — “the simplicity of utilizing lines and colors was great” — growing up in Taiwan, Chun Chun found other sources of inspiration: “Most of my influences and interests come from other art forms, such as sculptures, dances, or musicals. That being said, the animated film Spirited Away, directed by Hayao Miyazaki, is my all-time favorite in terms of animated features since childhood. I’m really into the serene and lonely vibe in some of the scenes.”
But that was then. Now, apart from her award-winning personal projects, she’s been having fun animating for commercial clients, explaining, “It was a fun experience working at yU+co. I got try different kinds of visual styles, from realistic to stylized. Like for the GM animated commercial, we built an imaginative factory to introduce the services and products they provided. I also participated in the thrilling trailer of Snowpiercer, and the title sequences of Justice League. They were going more for realistic and masculine looks, which was quite fun to make as well. Then, while working for State Design, which they describe as an ‘art studio; a secret agency; a place to be,’ I was a 3D animator for HBO’s documentary Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults. The film is mainly live-action but it switches into animation while they’re describing some events. The style of the animation is 2D, but for some shots that required a bit more complicated movements, we would do 3D animations first and apply 2D textures on the models.”
Upcoming, the much in-demand motion designer/filmmaker suggests that the CBS Pipeline Challenge short film, that she’s been the lead animator on, will be released this summer. And she’s been working on more beautiful, personal animated projects including an Interpretation Of Ancient Painting and Mythology, which is inspired by classic mythical paintings of characters like Diana the Hunter.
Meanwhile, Chun Chun Chang confesses, “Having fun during creating is my principle, this makes me immerse in projects totally.” And, as for her long-term goals, she states, “I want to be a creative director and have my own studio someday. But for now, I’m focusing on gaining even more experience in the industry.”