View Full Version : ++ Institute for the Digitally Challenged ++

01 January 2006, 01:51 PM
PLEASE NOTE: This thread contains spoilers to the film.
Please watch the film before reading the rest of this thread. As I am currently sending this film out to festivals and studios I am not allowed to publicly post it online but for private screening, please send me a message and I'll do the best I can for you.

Hi Everyone,

My name is Riash Shahnawaz and I recently graduated from Pratt Institute, New York.
This is my very first animated short film as part of my master's thesis - a story about misfit digital characters after they were deleted. (

Tech Specs:

-- Original Size : 720 x 306 (Cinemascope, 2.35:1)
-- System : NTSC Video (with Audio) 29.97 fps
-- Runtime (w credits) : 07 min 45 secs

Here's the blurb at the back of the DVD.

Every year the 3D Animation industry brings you remarkable
animated movies. But before any visual magic on a big screen,
there is experimentation.Three dimensional characters are severely tested
for the purpose of research and development.
There are some successes but also disasters.

Animation is a process that involves breathing life into digital
pixels. However, prior to deletion,`test` characters only acquire
a chaotic sense of meaning in their relatively brief lifespan.

Institute for the Digitally Challenged is an examination of the
confusion and psychological effects on misfit digital characters,

Movie links temporarily removed.

Please do not re-post downloaded movie at any other location
without written permission from author until further notice.
Thank you.

TEST PRINT (not final) :

DOWNLOAD: I.D.C. 2005 in Quicktime (Link temporarily removed)
QUICKTIME [ .mov / 30MB / Sorenson Video 3 / MPEG-4 .AAC audio ]

DOWNLOAD: I.D.C. 2005 in WMV (Link temporarily removed)
WINDOWS MEDIA VIDEO [ .wmv / 30MB / WMV9 Audio & Video ]

-- If possible please watch it fullscreen with a good set of headphones/speakers.
-- Please watch the movie first before reading the rest of the thread (to avoid any spoilers)

It's a very simple animation and still requires more work in several areas but thought I'd post what I have so far.

Hope you like it.
All comments and crits on ALL aspects of the film are requested & appreciated.
Thanks for reading.

-Riash Shahnawaz.

01 January 2006, 09:17 PM
Well worth downloading! Very clever idea, well told, and just a little creepy! Certainly the kind of short you want to share with friends.


01 January 2006, 02:04 AM

I am TOTALLY a fan of the film genre you chose to base your film around and your execution was brilliant!

Extremely creepy and weird overall. Great ambient sound/music design!

The animation could use some work in areas....but in this case I thought the story/dialogue was so well done that I simply forgot about any of the technical issues.

I have to give this 5 stars because it's simply one of the most enjoyable independant CG films I've seen in a long time :)

01 January 2006, 02:19 AM
lol! and he does the da vinci pose to pretend he's not alive...

great story... well executed... truly believed the guy was a kook! :beer:


01 January 2006, 08:37 AM
really great film! also big fan of this style of film, everybody should see it!! :buttrock:

01 January 2006, 09:40 AM
Very good job!

When everybody makes either comic or action movies these days, it's really impressing to see a short like this.

I loved the colours the mood, and oh, the SOUNDTRACK -great job!

At the beginning I a also spotted some animation flaws, but as already mentioned, by the end I was so absorbed I forgot I was watching a CG movie that has to be properly animated, textured with complicated light setups and models. Nevertheless the movie has the above mentioned qualities, but the atmosphere was so tense and worked on and that put everything else aside.

Thank you for sharing this great clip!

01 January 2006, 10:37 AM
Great Idea. Great sound (Remind me of Eraser Head By David lynch) and great work on the animation , I am sure that was lot of work.
Thank you u made my day .

01 January 2006, 12:39 PM
Fantastic idea and execution, I most enjoyed the grid-like representation of data. However, I wonder of this film's durability among non-target audiences.

01 January 2006, 12:54 PM
the idea just rocks!

The sound and music created a damn great atmosphere.

I will never ever delete my old stuff again... poor guys ;)

01 January 2006, 03:45 PM
Great idea, was very interesting to watch. Nice creepy style.

01 January 2006, 04:01 PM
Oh man.... I got that feeling I had when I was growing up and was watching Twin peaks... so weird and spooky... Thank you for that, I think you have accomplished something alot of people are trying to with their shorts, well done! The sound was well put together and it suits the piece.
Animation could be worked on some more but I liked the eye movements of the characters, it seemed well acted, which was great!

Well done, two thumbs up man.

5 of those twinklers from me... ;)


01 January 2006, 06:57 PM
Well done. We are a motion picture company and we are always looking for talents such as yourself. Get in touch with us: email:

01 January 2006, 11:19 PM
Nice one Riash.
I was wondering if this had perhaps got lost in the aether...
Got to say thats a really good little short. The people above have already pointed out the good and bad points and I totally agree, eyes and music looked and sounded really good to me.
Stylistically it looked really cool, nice choice.
Shame the other guy got cut but c'est la vie huh??? Perhaps he'll make it into the 'directors cut'??

Thanks mate and good luck with this.
Looks like you've already got one good lead from this!!

All the best,

01 January 2006, 08:26 AM
Great style! This is what I would really call art when it comes to 3d animation. It somewhat reminds me of the old Mtv comercials.

01 January 2006, 09:15 AM
Really cool, saw with some guys here at work, especially liked
the twitching eye...

good luck

01 January 2006, 10:22 AM
I can nothing but agree, great work!

Nice to see something different!


01 January 2006, 11:30 AM
Awesome idea man!
Some of the story seemed a bit forced in parts but was overall good...

Love the twichy eye! haha, great

01 January 2006, 06:02 PM
Well done! Definitely a piece worth sending to CG short/film festivals. Keep it up!

01 January 2006, 09:27 PM
Whoah.... now THAT was creepy, utterly creepy. I loved the way the alternate "toms" vanished the first time we got a good look at them, asthe camera panned around behind the bird.

Almost makes you wonder what's happening in those other "cells" we get a glimpse of, eh?

01 January 2006, 11:29 PM
5 Stars from me, this should be in the front page. Congratulations on a job well done!

01 January 2006, 04:59 AM
Please delete - accidental double post. Didn't return a confirmation when I posted it the first time.

01 January 2006, 05:04 AM
Hello once again,

I'm very happy that you guys liked it. Your comments and replies mean a lot and keeps me going.
I absolutely agree that there are several areas in the animation that have also irked me and I must fix it. Not an excuse in any way at all, but early on I'd thought being a largely one person project & due to the nature of the subject of useless digital test characters that never made it with good reason, I hoped it would be better to really focus on the storytelling and convey the mental state of these digital misfits and I hope that came through. I'm hoping potential employers may recognize that a complete level of perfection can definitely be achieved through working with a great team of artists and a team project is something I enjoy doing the most (I also like becoming and playing characters for animators reference and my own amusement:).
It shall still be a continuous attempt to achieve perfection and I hope to do better on my next short.

Credits for the music go entirely to the talents of 'Houston Dupre' who is also the voice of the bird. I only worked on the sound editing, ambient noises/FX. The best thing about working with Houston on a music score is he has this ability to really pay attention to the vision you have for a film without the final product in front of him and tries to tailor the work towards satisfying the final goal. An alumni of Pratt, NY, he was working in Texas with me in New York and he managed to extract my manic messages & humming via phone and e-mails. He's also a really fun guy to work with. Thank you Houston! (....BEEFCAKE! BEEFCAAAYKE! ;))

xtetra: Thank you for your kind comments. It's seriously an honor to even be on these threads.

ivanisavich: Thank you. That means a whole lot coming from you. I'm a big fan of your work. I've been showing your SONY transformations demo to every single person I can find since I found it. Fantastic work. If anyone hasn't seen this guy's website already definitely take a look(in his profile) - inspiring stuff. I hope we get to work together some day & thank you for the rating. I'm very happy the story pulled you in and left the technical details behind. Glad you like the dialogue & story - I spent a good amount of time literally being TOM in the privacy of my room while treating him - kinda worried me a little :)

ragdoll: Thank you for commenting. Glad you got that gag. Many non-animation people miss that but it's fine I guess - kinda adds to their bizarre existence -I hope.
BTW, I really like your 'renders from the past' - the wireframe shaded ones. I'd love to see an animation with some of those renders.

astro-sanchez: I'm honored you commented. Thank you for liking the film. I hope I can get as much exposure for it as well. Great stuff at this guys website. Did you have something to do with Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. That model of 'Victor' caught my eye. Will be checking out your short film "A Fine Difference" later today.

Rockin: Thank you so much for commenting. It means so much more to me that you found the story came first and took you away from the technical aspects of the film. That sentence 'forgot I was watching a CG movie' (especially considering it's a CG story about CG) made my day. So yeah be careful about deleting your 3D characters. They're also 'watching you' from somewhere ;)

Orona: whoah man, thanks for even mentioning the name David Lynch in this thread - that man is mad genius!

JeT: Thank you for commenting. That's one of my favorite shots too. As for your concern, that has been one of my deepest concerns as well. This is actually the first time I'm sharing it with a CG community. Previously I had privately screened bits of the film with purely non-CG audiences to see what worked and didn't. I hope all goes well. I like the stills of kookaburra & muddy road on your website. Is there a link to see a larger version of that?

lehmi: Thank you for your comments. Glad you like the idea and glad the film got your previously tormented and deleted characters on your guilt conscience :)

Eye of Hawk: Thank you for the comments. Glad you guys liked creepy. I like a touch of creepy too. P.S. I wish I could get my head around texturing the way you do. Quality stuff.

Ranimate: I'ts an honor to get your approval. Big fan of your work. As you've probably already heard like a million times - I love your B&W short music video for Ivry Lider. Specific statements in your comment had me jumping for a good amount of time. I shall do my best to improve on the animation. Glad you liked the eye work - that was very important to me along with sound and thanks for the rating.

fahmed: Glad you liked the film and thank you for the job offer - I'm currently looking for a job with an energetic and creative team. I've been away and got in touch with Pratt Career Services this evening (Friday) with your contact information. I will get in touch with you on Monday (January 23rd, 06) and look into the offer further. Thank you.

BREWSY!!!: Ha! Ha! Thanks for the comments mate. For anyone else wondering - this is the notorious TOM who was earlier referred to in this thread as a 'kook'. So glad I found your voice to put into this film. And I think you were just being yourself when we were in the studio too, weren't you? :)) Not sure, heh, heh. We'll have to get together sometime for a drink and reminisce. Very cool guy to work with - easy going and really puts in the effort to bring a voice to life. Yes, too bad about the 3rd character. He was even all rigged and animated for a few clips but the amount of animation required was proving too much for one person. I felt sorta bad for the digital character itself - I mean, he didn't even make it into this film- a film about the characters that didn't make it. And Fabrice Mougas (the voice for that character) is such a great voice too. I'll put him in the extras for the dvd.

Razorfane: Thank you for the comment. I'm very thrilled you've called it an artwork when it comes to 3D animation.

kotsos: Thank you. I'm happy you watched it with friends at work. I'm trying to get as much exposure for this. Tom's twitches are some of my favorite bits too.

stealth: Very inspiring comments yourself. It keeps me going - thank you.

fatsumo: Thank you for the comments. I was a bit worried about that too. Perhaps if you find the time you can PM me about the specific areas where you felt so. and yeah! Twitchy Eye!! :)

Norl: Thank you. I'm very happy you find it worth sending out to film festivals.

Valandar: SSshhh! vewy vewy quiet, that's a secret :)... and thank you for liking creepy, Me like creepy too.

Bleen: Thank you for the ratings man. Appreciate it big time and I like your organic modelling work as well. A BIG thanks for suggesting this could be on the front page but am not sure how to go about that. Is that something the author of a thread must do or are only viewers/moderators allowed to vote on that decision? I would love to get more exposure for it. Not sure if they would accept it though. It's in no way any sort of technical achievement. More like a conceptual, performance piece about a character's 'lack' of technical achievement, if I may. Keeps fingers crossed.

Whew! that about sums it up so far. Might have noticed my energy of replies slowly fade towards the end. Hope I didn't miss anyone or mix up the replies.
Thank you to all of you who have commented and taken the time to download the movie.

I really hope to hear more from all of you here ( both short and long comments) - it really keeps me going.

Riash Shahnawaz.

Edit: Ha, ha - just looked at my own post and realized how many smilies there are- sorry about that. I'm kinda all smiles right now because I've been worried sick if people would like this film.

01 January 2006, 11:58 AM
Aww man..
I really want to see this. Anyone could set up a mirror?
The rapidshare link always tells me I have another download ongoing, but I don't.

01 January 2006, 01:13 PM
Hey DesYing, Just saw your message. That's too bad it 's not working on rapidshare. I researched a lot of the free web hosts and while rapidshare seemed like a bit troublesome to get to the download , it was the fastest/best in terms of reliability and upload/download speed.
Have you tried clearing your internet cache? That might help.

Here's an alternative anyway.
Movie links temporarily removed. Please do not re-post downloaded movie at any other location without written permission from author until further notice. Thank you.

TEST PRINT (not final):

I.D.C. 2005 - .WMV MIRROR [Windows]

I.D.C. 2005 - .MOV MIRROR [MAC]

Hope that works. Cheers.


01 January 2006, 01:56 PM

Animation is the best, you do fantastic story. Dialogue is super, I very like that. I don’t read every replay’s on that topic, but can you say what software you use? And I very like that monster atmosphere :). Great work!


Sorry for my English!

01 January 2006, 11:54 PM
This is probably the best CG short I've ever seen, 5 stars man!

I'm sooooo tired of cartoony animations - thanks for creating this dark, creepy, moody film. The storyline was amazing and I also loved the soundtrack. The movie was very David Lynch-ish, awesome job man!

What bugged me a little bit at first were the deformation problems on the bird. But it actually fits nicely into the storyline. After all, the bird probably got "thrown away" before he was fully skinned and weighted up by the rigger..

01 January 2006, 02:29 AM
DesYing:Hey DesYing, hope you managed to get the file through the mirror I set up. Looking forward to getting your feedback.

HEKTOR: Hi Hektor, thank you for all the comments. Your English is fine. I'm very happy you liked so many aspects of the film. The modeling, rigging and animation were all done with Alias' Maya 6.0-6.5 and the entire film was made with two laptops (long story :))

Chris_TC: Hi Chris_TC, thank you for the tremendous compliments -pretty much every line in your post and thanks for the ratings. The deformations on the bird bothers me at times too. I've actually got the split-poly version of the Bird driving a nice smoothed SubD version of him but decided to have a blocky version of the bird at rendering time. Still undecided about leaving that in or switching it back.

Awww...this thread had 9 votes with an average rating of 5.00 but someone after the last poster gave it a 1 star rating but didn't leave a comment or PM me. Looking for all kinds of feedback and would love to hear from you - please PM me/post here when you find the time:)

Thank you all for the comments thus far. Looking forward to hearing more from the CG community.

-Riash Shahnawaz.

01 January 2006, 04:20 AM
Awww...this thread had 9 votes with an average rating of 5.00 but someone after the last poster gave it a 1 star rating but didn't leave a comment or PM me.

Don't worry man...this happens all the time with great work posted here. It's always just some jealous troll who feels the best contribution he/she can make to this community is to try and lower the morale of others. Don't take it personally :)

01 January 2006, 06:03 AM
Ok, I'm able to watch it now.

Great work on the voice overs, I see in the credits that you used a studio to do the recording?

Loved the film grain and how the true character of Tom(s) unfold. The bird had too much coffee, he was kinda shivering :shrug:, it maybe was your intention.

Great work overall :applause: , the story was a blast (in a wired creepy way). Right attitude man, you responded to every reply!

01 January 2006, 01:56 AM
Hello from another Pratt student!

I'm graduating this May, but I don't think we've met.

Nice work, one of the best Pratt pieces I've seen in quite some time, a big, big winner in the story/atmosphere/composition department! Best of luck with everything.


01 January 2006, 03:02 PM
I can only agree with the rest. Excellent! Loved the ambience and color! The sound design was perfect and really creates that claustrophobic feel. I love it that the bird goes to the skin pose, playing inanimate hehe!
5 stars from me!

01 January 2006, 06:04 PM
One word... FANTASTIC !!!

02 February 2006, 04:12 AM
Can´t believe I didn´t reply here.
I really liked the style of psicological short film you came up with. I mean, the way you play with the character´s "mind" assuming there is such a thing. I also like a lot the creepy shorts.

I think from now on you only have to focus in your 3d technic maybe, as everything else seems to be working really well. The storytelling and everything. (I know that sometimes you just don´t have the time to make all the best, so I guess this short doesnt reflect your trully 3d level so to speak).

I´m glad to say that I really enjoyed watching this, I totally got into the characters personality and completely forgot I was watching a 3d short film. Congratz man!

02 February 2006, 04:40 PM
Hi everyone,

Thank you again for your comments & critiques. I've been away for a bit. I'm very glad to see people are still stopping by.

Ranimate: Thanks for replying. This is my first time posting here. That makes me feel a ton better.

DesYing: Thank you for your comments. Yes, I did use a sound recording studio here in New York called Harvestworks Recording Studios ( They're very, very artist friendly and give great rates for student short films and were very helpful and patient.
"The bird had too much coffee" :scream: Funny you put it that way, I'm definitely guilty of that :argh:

thedigitalmonkey: Ahoy mate! Nice, another Pratt student! We should bring more crew here. These boards are great to get a ton of different perspectives & useful feedback. Thank you for the big compliment - appreciate it a lot. Might be screening the film at Pratt in E-2 auditorium maybe in the second week of February if there's a time slot available. Please keep an eye out for the poster and if does work out, definitely try to make it and bring lots of friends.:beer:
P.S. Loving Dr. Schmuckernotter but my favourite is his assistant, Shteven :surprised ha ha - what a character. I'm making up different voices for him as I'm typing this.

NinjaFredde: Thank you for the comments and Big thanks for the ratings. The color and ambience (both visual and sound) were one of the most important things to me because the visuals had to be simple to stay in tune with the theme of 'digital misfits' and focus more on the story & mental state of the characters. Glad it worked and you liked it. Definitely let us know when 'waste of space' is complete and I'd love to get some pointers from you on your rendering technique if you find the time.

Purc: THANKS MAN! :thumbsup: I like some of the character designs on your website, in particular the sculpture one and the other in the animation link (it's in black & white - the guy with the big handlebar moustache) I couldn't understand it but that was pretty creepy.

LikuidSnake: Very happy you remembered to come back and comment. I definitely do wish I had more time to fix all of the problems but I had to keep moving on from rigging to animation, foley work, sound/voice editing, rendering and so on. I wanted this short to focus more on the story & characters and I think that turned out ok. I'm very happy you got involved with the characters to a point of forgetting it's a 3D short film. That makes me very proud. Thank you.

Thank you all for watching and hope to hear from more of you.
- Riash Shahnawaz.

02 February 2006, 06:51 AM
wow Riash! that was beautifully done. You never showed me the full film before -just those little clips but I see why now. The whole flow of shots, clor mood, mixed with those ambient noises and the music. All those late nights really, really paid off. So happy I met you-you're one of akind and i mean that in everyway. It was a bit creepy and cool seeing you play Tom and the bird while you were working on it. It's really come through in the acting. But seriously you really should move your computers out of the bedroom - all that light and whirring is so disturbing. I noticed at the very end of the film there's a similar loud computer-like room noise which was a nice touch.
I really like your Ren and peter sellers impressions too -will you do a little animation with your voices soon?
I didn't notice any glitches in the film when I was seeing it the first time because the way it's constructed really pulls you in. after reading some of the comments here and watching it a couple of times I do see some brief flicks on the bird. I don't know - I don't really have that animator's eye and it didn't matter to me but I did feel bad for that nutcase Tom and the bird in the end. the dynamic between all the characters like some of the stares, like in that opening scene when they meet is great. you really captured a sort of deranged character essence. Good luck to all your future projects and I definitely want to see yoou soon again -miss you.


02 February 2006, 05:09 PM
hi i cant seem to be able to download the clip.. but after reading the comments i really wanna see this. i'm surprised i seem to be the only one with this problem. and yeah i press the 'free' tab and waited along while but theres still nothing. is there any other mirrors for this? thx

02 February 2006, 06:27 PM
Hi all, once again.

Slavia: Thank you for all the nice comments and very happy you actually took the time to reply here. First, I can't believe you were the first to notice that machine room noise at the end of the film. That's exactly what it is. About the computers in the bedroom - that was partly the influence but yes they're going to be all gone at the end of this month!! :D
There are a couple of little things going on in the background and ambience through the progression of the film. Not sure if most people caught it unless they saw it more than once.
I might be doing something with my own voices in the near future. Been doing some tests. I'm doing my best to take care of the glitches but things are pretty hectic here right now with other jobs going on. I'm happy that a lot of people seem to be pulled in to the ambience, characters & story which was my prime focus. Very glad we met and yes, let's definitely stay in touch.

eonridr: not sure what the problem is. Have you tried clearing your internet cache and then loading the page? I tested the links on both a Mac & PC. Hope you get it. There's also a mirror link in my post at the end of Page 2 of this thread. Perhaps that one might work. Good luck and let me know if you manage to see it. Thanks for posting.

- Riash Shahnawaz.

02 February 2006, 04:03 PM
A bit inside, but thoroughly brilliant.
The character of Tom is great. I'll never trash a character or make 20 unnecessary versions of one again without thinking of Tom.

08 August 2006, 07:18 PM
i want a link =( haven't seen it yet.

08 August 2006, 08:25 AM
i want a link =( haven't seen it yet.

... me toooooo :bounce:

08 August 2006, 10:49 AM
... me toooooo :bounce:

me threeee!!:D

08 August 2006, 05:15 PM
... me four!!!:scream:

08 August 2006, 09:36 PM
Yes, I'd like to see as well.

08 August 2006, 06:30 AM
are the links removed again?...please send me a link or pm. thanks.

08 August 2006, 05:17 PM
yeah, read all the replys and positive feedback. a link will be great. thx!

08 August 2006, 05:37 PM
oh bummer... after seeing this thread i really want to see the film. It looks like links are dead, can you upload to google video or another video host site so the rest of us can view? that would be awesome...


08 August 2006, 02:51 PM
hi Riash,

went through the whole thread and the posts by diferent members, it seems that i'm missing a great short it possible to see the movie again, can u re post it somewhere???....really eager to view......

08 August 2006, 02:58 PM
Yes , i want to see too... :cry:

08 August 2006, 05:36 AM
why were the links taken down?

08 August 2006, 06:05 PM
lol me too :(

08 August 2006, 12:11 AM
Bummer, link not working at the moment :(

08 August 2006, 09:55 AM
Looking at all the great responses to this thread - ill subscribe :D

08 August 2006, 03:37 PM
c´mooon... we want the links!!! :argh::shrug:

08 August 2006, 06:50 PM
So are the links ever about to return? I feel really interested as well. Have bookmarked the thread for further checking.


08 August 2006, 07:21 PM
Be pacient people!

He obviously can't post the links because he's putting it through the festival circuit. A lot of film festivals won't accept entries that are also available online, so I'm sure by removing these links he's just covering his bases....and that eventually once he's done the theatre tour he'll put em back up :)

Hopefully they'll give him the frontpage plug this deserves then as well!

08 August 2006, 01:43 AM
Well I hope your right and the links go back up after the festivals. If that in fact is the case, when could we expect to see them back up (just so I can mark my calendar...) Anxiously awaiting a veiwing!:)

08 August 2006, 09:22 AM
no links~?
we need the mov link~~

08 August 2006, 09:57 AM
Hey Riash,

Wheres the link for downloading the movie, it says " link removed temporarily" .. I am eager to watch your movie. Please post a working link for downloading the movie.

Thanx & Regs

08 August 2006, 08:05 PM
Do'h I wanted to see this too. Plz fix links.

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