Life in animation

Senior creates Japanese animations


Photo by Kristin McCasland

Senior Claire Hatchet works on creating a new animation in her free time.

The computer screens glows at a download completes. Quickly, she programs the new download into the project she is working on and notices how much it affected the video. She saves her project after six hours of working and finally goes to sleep.

For senior Claire Hatchet, this is just one night of many in her life. She is an animator. Claire uses a program called “mikumikudance,” which is a Japanese animation program.

“It’s basically a program where you animate pmx models (also called pmd models) to dance to a song.” Hatchet said. “You download their bones on the internet and program them using the mikumikudance software.”

Claire has been animating for about six years and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

“I don’t remember when I started animating,” Hatchet said. “I just remember doing it.”

Hatchet has made tons of videos and just finished the video that’s been uploaded. Sometimes she plans the layout for her videos in advance, when there is a clear picture in her mind of what she wants, and sometimes she just boots up her computer and starts.

“There’s not just one way to do it,” Hatchet said. “You can either create the dances beforehand and assign them to different pmx models, or you can choose a model and choreograph the dance. You can add any music you like. There are millions of backgrounds to choose from. Countless effects you can add. Basically there are no boundaries.There’s really nothing that you can’t do.”

Hatchet’s videos are never the same, and she constantly finds and downloads different PMX models. One of Hatchets most recent updates on her effects is the see through effect. She utilizes it in her video to portray the PMX models feelings, to show that the model in the video feels empty, like something is missing. The effect changes the mood and helps give an insight into the video.

“Each time I discover another model or another effect I can get, I download it immediately,” Hatchet said. “All I can think about is how I’m going to use the effect and how it can change the mood of my video. It’s pretty addicting.”

Now while Hatchet enjoys what she does, every rose has it’s thorn. Hatchet, like most people here, speaks English. She may know a few phrases in other languages, but her native tongue is English. That’s why it’s such a hassle that her animating software is all in Japanese.

“My editing software is all in Japanese, and I don’t like it all.” Hatchet said. “I have to edit my videos in this software, and I have no idea what the words mean, so I have to translate it out, and it’s horrible.”

Sometimes, Hatchet’s projects can take as little as two hours to complete. Sometimes, the confusing software and her determination to get the perfect video leaves her working for five weeks.

“I’m creating something from scratch, and that’s fantastic,” Hatchet said. “I get to tell a story through dance, and I get to manipulate them to get the story you want to tell.”