Michael Olden
Crash Upon the Aerie 
Crash Upon the Aerie is a rendered 3D animation and diorama set in the fantasy world of Ell’Aria. The subject of the project is Naselle Taverden, a holy knight in service to the god of justice returning home to her father’s castle called the Aerie. In the sequence this project surveils, she is breaking into her father’s study to confront him.
Artist/Thesis Statement
I have always been fascinated by storytelling. When I was young, I found myself gravitating towards games, shows, and books as a form of escapism. Poor sibling relationships and a family breaking apart gave me all the cause I needed to delve into fantasies and adventures on the screen or page. I have loved these fantastical adventures of the mind for as long as I can remember. My love of the fantasy genre has only grown with time and is a primary inspiration for my own creative works.
My main tool is Autodesk Maya, but all my designs originate from sketches and artwork in Photoshop. Crash Upon the Aerie is focused heavily on character design, modeling, and animation in Autodesk Maya with Adobe Substance Painter to texture and conceptualize the designs. This project is both a passion and research project. It allowed me to dive into every aspect of the 3D pipeline while expressing myself through my work and the character. Learning to create from nothing, building off everything I have learned so far has been an invigorating experience.
Crash Upon the Aerie is about Naselle, a noble holy knight breaking into her father’s royal study to confront her past and the corruption that has stemmed from it. This project consists of a short animation and a 3D virtual diorama meant to portray the theme of an overall larger narrative. The diorama captures the moment when Naselle kicks in the door is meant to be an explorable and impactful moment. The animation is meant to show the force behind her arrival and showcases the diorama in full motion.
The process and experience of crafting an entirely functional 3D character model and rendering it with textures and animation is no small task. From modeling, rigging and animating, this project has encompassed the entire workflow of 3D character creation and animation, which are foundational 3D skills I will need for future projects and a career in the field of 3D modeling and animation.

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