Alex Tsai
Link to the video here
Meet Randy. He’s a red panda and the main character of a short video I created. The process for the video went something like this: research on red pandas, coming up with a story, illustrating, animating, then voice recording. As a non-design major, I don’t have the same critique opportunities as design majors have in their studios. With that being said, I’m very grateful for Julia Wong's help and feedback especially when creating the illustrations. I got a chance to get a glimpse of how to give and receive good critique. It also showed me how much I have to learn about graphic design principles such as color. The objective of the video was to use the story of a red panda to address an issue.
I apologize in advance for video iframe not being responsive.

Research & Story

I started with researching red pandas and their distinctive qualities. Most people knew red pandas as the cute stars of many gifs, but was there anything else people should know about them? With a little research two facts stood out to me: How difficult it was for scientists to classify red pandas within a family and how endangered they were from deforestation.

With that in mind, I framed the story around the questions red pandas faced. What family were they? What do they eat? What are they going to do about their home disappearing? In hindsight, I wish that I focused more on the fact that red pandas couldn’t be easily classified into a family. Family is something that is very central in my life, and I wish I took the risk in a harder story to tell that would have meant more to me.

Illustration & Animation

This is where feedback was very helpful. Originally these characters started out with outlines, but the outlines made them look more like icons than characters. The color choices were also polished with feedback from others. It's easy for me to resort to color schemes that are popular with UI just because that is where I first started designing. This project also opened my eyes to the importance of exposing myself to design from different disciplines and different places.

With the animation, my goal was to capture the playful and bouncy movements of red pandas through the videos. Some of the animations still a little mechanical from hindsight, moving forward I hope to invest more time in how to make movements and motions look more natural and organic.