Desiderium is part of the three-part senior thesis which includes a section to create an experimental animation, one to evoke emotion and one to educate. We were given five weeks to complete each section.

Desiderium: an ardent desire or longing; especially: a feeling of loss or grief for something lost

Grief is a feeling of deep sorrow, especially that is caused by someone's death. Desiderium is a way for me to process my grief of losing my own mother, in the hope of bringing solace to myself and to others that have lost someone they love. It is that surreal feeling experienced after losing a loved one.


For this challenge, we were asked to provoke an emotional response. Desiderium is my answer to that challenge. During the summer of 2013, I received a call in the middle of the night that would change the rest of my life. This is my personal story of the surreal experience of my mother’s death and the journey back home to arrange and attend her funeral. 


During the exploration section of the thesis, I sought to develop a unique style that both provoked emotion and flowed like memories. Below are some of the final styleframes.



I began with the memories of the story. I took personal images of myself and my mom and began collaging them with drawings of the characters. 

I also took my own footage of ink drops to use as transitions. 

To incorporate this style for the rest of the animation, I collage multiple found images and divide them into layers using both Nuke and After Effects.

I combined those frames into a sequence, but I found that it was too quick, as you can see in the initial motion test below. Then I added audio and more sequences to build it further.

Afterwards, I found that it needed a transition and a Z depth camera move that made it feel like it flows more like memories and a Z depth camera move.


In the process of developing the style during the experimental section, I made acquaintances with Iris Lin and Nhi Huynh through a Facebook community of Asian Creatives. Iris and Nhi rallied a group of artists together to make a collection of work that explored the seven stages of grief.

You can find a snippet of my animation in their upcoming book, due to release on May 5th. Here's an exert from their intro:

"Shock. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Reconstruction. Acceptance. These are the '7 Stages of Grief.' How do you experience grief? The 7 Stages of Grief, published by Iris Lin and Nhi Huynh, delves into this question by extending it to interdisciplinary artists. Through the curation of different forms of art, this book explores how artists of all mediums experience each stage of grief. Whether it be through photographs, poems, music, or drawings, each one of these pages tells a unique story about each individual artist. Although these stories are different, they all share a common thread: that through art, even when grieving, there is hope."