Apple Sauce

Apple Sauce is a CMU student group project. The story is about an apple guy's adventure to the real world.

The project was made within a semester. I worked in TEAM mainly as a rigger and animator. 

Technical Challenges

The animation has very unique visual style. The mouth is of a rubber shape, and need to be able speak and make facial expression. There is also a tree growing slowly from the ground, which requires me to do some special rigging and animation.

Tree Growth

2. Solution

My approach is to use separate joint chains for each twig. Each joint is assigned with a loop of vertices.  In this way, the animator (me) can bend and stretch all the twigs any way I want. 

joint chains have their levels. For example, the big main tree is on level one. Level 1 contains all the twigs that are growing from frame 1 - 40. Then the second layer contains all the twigs that are growing from frame 41 to frame 80. And so on. Each joint chain’s rotation and translation values are normalized as some float between 0 and 10, so that an attribute from 0 to 10 can be used to control a whole twig’s growth. Simple math will make it look very nice.

To be more specific, the growth should be slow and detailed. The default Maya tree generation is not what we are looking for. The tree has a very undesired realistic style look but the growth process is basically just scaling. So we have to figure out some other way to make our apple tree have a toony growing. 

Mouth Shape

1. First approach

I have quite an ambitious goal at the beginning, which is to use mouth shape drawings to drive mouth shape changes in Maya. The procedure and result is showed as following

The shapes match very well, but still need to be animated by hand. Then I decided to make it a fully functional mouth rig.


2.Second approach

There are two problems that need to be addressed. 

  • The rubber does not have human mouth topology as normal human face model. Which makes it hard to get appealing shapes

  • The rubber need to stick on the face

To solve the shape problem, i used the ribbon deformer. I used Maya built-in Ramp material's color to do interpolation. The result is very nice as showed in animation.

To solve the sticking problem, I bound joints to a center joint inside the head mesh. 






The story is about a boy escaping from home because his father abandons him playing the guitar. I made this animation in 2016 Fall, responsible for all work, with help from James Duesing and Spencer Diaz. 




Concept Arts and Story Board






Because this was the first time I would be responsible for a whole animation and managed it in relatively long time, I made some big adjustment to the original story. 







The models are all made in Maya 2016. The environment is designed to be weird and dream-like. The shape of monster is based on a building, with one arm on nose. The arm can both be hand and foot.






The animation is designed to be projected on the building to create an illusion effect. Co-work with Emily Zhou.



Snob Bog

In 2018 Summer, I was working for James Duesing and Jessica Hodgins for their AR project Snob Bog. I was responsible for modeling, rigging and texturing all the following charactersAll the rigs are created for mocap. Rigs also have some built-in dynamic controls and facial controls. All the characters are intentionally modeled under 5000 vertices.

Over the process, I had lots of communication with Jim. We went over all the models and rigs to make sure models correctly carry out his concept arts, and to make sure rigs can have nice deformationand can perform necessary clothes dynamics and facial expressions. In addition, I communicated with my colleagues to make sure all the animation can work on iPhone’s AR kit successfully.

Underneath are the rigs in their default poses and very raw test animation videos. All characters are Designed by James Duesing.

Scene 1




AR test on iPhone.

Mocap Data Clean up:

Fred Qiao (Me)

AR and Unity setup:

Alyss Weisglass


Snob Bog Scene 5 Cleaned-up

Scene Design: James Duesing

Mocap Clean up: Fred Qiao (Me)


Scene 2







Scene 3







Scene 4








The following video is a playblast of Scene 4. The mocap data is not cleaned up.

Scene Design: James Duesing





I worked as a rigger for this game project in 2018. The producer is Ann Lee. The directors are Maryyann Landlord and Satrio Dewantono. I communicated with them to make sure that the rigs have all their desired deformations and features.

I built 4 complete game rigs, including 3 biped characters and 1 quadruped rig. I am required to finish them in a short time, so before I got started, I wrote some python scripts to speed up the production.

In the rigging process, I communicated a lot with the modeler about modifying the meshflow, to make sure that the final rig can deform nicely. Also, I had many video meetings with the animator, asking about their preferences of rigs’ features and behaviors. As the production continued, I became more and more familiar with the process, so that the production process just went smoother and smoother for each rig. The biggest gain for this project was that I learned a lot about communication with upstream and downstream in the production pipeline.

All the rigs are built with manual dynamic controls.

Game website:

First Pass animation (rough) by Maryyann Landlord


Lindsay idle standing animation by Maryyann Landlord