CANMORE – Colin Fearing wistfully imagined a perfect dream summer once free of lockdown, but don't ask the Canmore teenager to explain himself when there's an award-winning animation that enthusiastically says it all.
The young media creator's summer started on the right foot after winning gold at the 2020 Skills Alberta Virtual Competition for his submission My Dream Summer, a 30-second 2D/3D character computer animation that combines paintings, 3D modelling, cloth simulation, stop-motion and other effects.
For the self proclaimed “tech geek,” it was Fearing’s first attempt at blending these techniques together and it turned into an instant classic at the provincial competition.
“It would remind me of all the awesome things I could go once the COVID-19 lockdown was finished,” said Fearing.
In My Dream Summer, a sleepy Fearing slides into his dreams and envisions four separate outdoor storybook outdoor settings to be explored. An animation version of the plaid-shirt wearing teen is dropped into a mystical wooded area before he's swept to sea on a wooden pirate ship with sails where he’s looking for Treasure Beach. The teen then plants a Canadian flag at the top of a cone-shaped mountain peak before being whisked back to the Rockies, where he sits at a cozy campfire in the forest and roasts a marshmallow beneath the dotted stars.
Being trapped inside during the pandemic lockdown, the creative teenager had time to visualize what he wanted to create and completed the animation project at his home studio. He even did some investigative work, watching videos of previous years winners to understand what kind of video quality he'd be going up against.
Fearing said he's been doing 3D animation for about two years, but he's been familair with using other forms of animation for a while. In My Dream Summer, Fearing wanted to stand out from the crowd and he incorporated small, but eye-catching details such as birds flapping their wings or the sky changing from dusk to night. He spent as much as 12 hours per day during a “hectic” week of converting images to motion and syncing it all together, while learning new software skills to boot.
“I pretty much had to learn [Adobe] After Effects totally from scratch,” said Fearing. “I probably spent the first two days just messing around and trying to figure it out … I stayed up until 3 a.m. every night for the whole week trying to get that done.”
On top of winning the provincial contest, Fearing received a custom congratulations video from Canadian Olympic gold medallist bobsledder Justin Kripps, and a $5,000 scholarship to Pixel Blue College, an all digital media school in Edmonton.
“The whole experience was really nice. I can’t wait to do it again,” said Fearing. “I can’t wait to come back and do something bigger and better, I’m already thinking of ideas."