Beluga by Ji Inn Jung | FreeForm Pro

Beluga by Ji Inn Jung | FreeForm Pro

The journey of life seems bleak for a young boy, until a friend turns up in an unexpected place.
That’s the story behind Beluga, a graduation short film project by Ji Inn Jung, School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York. The animation was produced almost entirely in After Effects, using FreeForm Pro for the character animation.



Q&A with Ji Inn

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Ji Inn Jung, and I’m a recent graduate from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. I studied Computer Animation and Visual Effects and now I’m a design intern in New York.

Where are you from originally?
Seoul, South Korea.

How did you select SVA?
SVA is renowned for graphic design, advertising, illustration and computer animation. As long as I’ve dreamed of being an artist, I’ve wanted to go to SVA. I applied and my dream came through!

What led you to study art?
Art was my favorite thing as a child. I’ve always loved designing, painting and all things creative. I’ve been dreaming and prepping to be an artist since middle school.

Why did you choose After Effects for this project?

I was going to do frame by frame drawing for my graduation film, but I found it too time consuming. I’d also considered Maya, but when I found FreeForm Pro, I decided to use After Effects. It’s relatively easy to use, is very fast paced and maintains the illustrated quality of my work.

Please describe your working methods.

I pretty much did everything with After Effects and Photoshop. Although I did use Maya and Mudbox for the 3D Beluga character.
To begin with, I designed and created the main character, backgrounds and props with PhotoShop. For the main character, I painted all the details of his outfit and face to give a hand-painted look with some dimension.  After I finished all the 2D images, I imported the files to After Effects for compositing and animating. I did almost everything myself on the short film, with some help from two classmates. Young Ho Do helped with the 3D beluga Animation, and Hyung Jin Ji did the 3D beluga rigging.

What inspired Beluga?

Last summer, I watched a documentary series that had a scene of a boy swimming with a Beluga, and I decided to write the story based on that.

What about the music? Is it an original composition? The mood is similar to some Japanese film scores, like Howl’s Moving Castle.

Luckily I found someone amazing who could help with music. Namiko Mori, a Japanese student who is in L.A. studying film scoring at UCLA. I think the mood of melody is a bit similar to Miyazaki’s music because she is a big fan of his films.

Were your parents supportive of your decision to study in the arts?
They are very supportive of my decision and they are very happy about what I’m doing. I couldn’t have done anything without their support. I always feel thankful to them for their love and help.

What was it like for you to study in New York?

I think NYC is the best place for a student who dreams about being an artist. There is so much beauty and inspiration. Also lots of world-class design companies, so art students may have the opportunity to work with very talented professionals.
My department chairman, John McIntosh, was really instrumental in supporting me and our class of 2014 students. I had a great experience at SVA.


Finally: how did you find FreeForm Pro and why did you decide to use it on your project?
I was inspired by the character animation of one of my favorite artists, Dan Gies.  I love all his work and watched many of his tutorials. He also uses FreeForm Pro on his characters. I found that, for me, Freeform Pro was a lot easier to use than Maya or any other 3D Software. Watch one of Dan’s Character Animation tutorials. All associated tuts can be found here.

If someone wants to animate 2.5D Characters without losing any illustrated quality, I would definitely recommend After Effects with Freeform Pro!

Thanks Ji Inn. We look forward to seeing what you’ll be doing next!



You can reach Ji Inn Jung at:
baboinn (at) gmail (dot) com

Namiko Mori
info (at) namikomori (dot) com


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