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An award-winning animator

Dahia Jackson is a junior animation major at Bradley University. Photo via Dahia Jackson.

Most people, at least once in their life, have created a truly hideous video game avatar. Whether it was on the Wii or “The Sims,” humanity loves to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on these unsuspecting characters, but not many people can say they’ve won $100 for it.

Dahia Jackson, a junior animation major, recently submitted a minute-long short to an animation contest held by Animation Career Review, a website dedicated to informing students about animation schools, programs, jobs and more. Jackson found out about the contest in an email from Scott Cavanah, an assistant professor and associate chair of the interactive media department.

Originally, Jackson didn’t plan on entering the contest, but after much encouragement from her friends, she decided to dedicate her time to creating animation for the fast approaching deadline.
Her clip featured a video game character being “created” and getting increasingly frustrated with his creator for the changes made to his persona.

“Although my animation did not feature an established character like Pikachu or Master Chief, I like to think of the player or cursor as the actual character that you control in a game like ‘The Sims,’” Jackson said.

In fact, much of the inspiration for her animation came from “The Sims.”

“I got the idea while talking to a friend about funny things people do in video games, Jackson said. “The Sims is one of my favorite games and whenever I play it, or any game that allows you to make a character, I always try to make my characters look as bad as possible.”

In order to produce this short, Jackson turned to various mediums. All the close-ups and art aspects featured in the short were created in Photoshop, and the majority of the animation was done in the program After Effects. For the music and sound effects, Jackson utilized the program Premiere Pro.

“In the future, I would want to work for myself, creating animations about things I like, eventually building a studio and hiring employees of my own,” Jackson said.

For now, Jackson is content with working on her capstone projects, and a few smaller animation projects over the summer.

Interested students can watch Jackson’s animation on the Animation Career Review website at

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