Time flies. I arrived at my thesis year after two years of study at RIT, and began working on my film “Behind the Lens.” The film runs for five minutes and 56 seconds, and includes hand-drawn animation, music and sound created by me. After some personal changes, I re-pitched a whole new thesis proposal in the fall semester of my thesis year because I felt passionate and committed to the important message of the film. In truth, this story didn’t have a clear outline until April in my last semester. The story is about a camera character going through his life journey, struggling to find answers in his pursuit of true peace. It is based on the idea that each individual’s life experiences are different from one another, but that people all suffer the same pain from their own attachments, and these are hard to admit to, or even realize. This means that we are often prevented from seeing what’s really important in life. My film mainly focuses on ways to visualize those attachments, and how they can pass through generations. It also explores what would happen to someone after letting go of life’s attachments. “Behind the Lens” is a film with 2D hand-drawing style with character animation combined with motion graphic elements in the background. The character animation is mainly done in TVPaint, and background animation is created in After Effects. Due to the simplicity of the style, I did all the work in my film by myself without assistance in the visuals or sound. This made the project quite a special artistic experience for me. During this production, I learned more than just animation and storytelling, but also sound design and post-production. This paper talks about the creation process for the film, along with the film’s visual development. I also discuss the various obstacles and accomplishments that happened throughout the making of this film.
Imaging Arts (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CAD)
Mari Jaye Blanchard
Zhao, Guoxiang, "Behind the Lens" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus