Making of the Pi Day Animation



Pi Day has become a holiday of its own for the UT Dallas social media team. This year the visual storytellers in the Office of Communications decided to showcase a new skill — stop-motion animation.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how arts and technology senior Rachael Drury’s concept became reality. Fellow ATEC senior Sarah Wall and our digital media specialist, Ricardo Castrillón, also contributed their talents to the project.
To prepare the animation, Rachael first mapped out the intricate movements of the various elements. She precisely planned the choreography to match the music. More than 600 frames were used in the final version.

Next came the background — a 24-inch-by-36-inch piece of plywood painted just the right shade of blue.
Then the team set up the portable projector, digital camera and lighting. Rachael and Sarah meticulously moved each item into place and Ricardo manned the lights, computer and camera.

Production took about six days; postproduction — when the finishing touches were made by Ricardo, Sarah and Rachael — was completed in a little more than three days.
The final rendering is a fluid presentation of dancing berries and swirling sugar that eventually turns into a lovely pie.

The “Slice of Pi” animation is the second Pi Day video created by the team.
Its “Life of Pi” video from 2018 received a gold award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) district competition.
In total, the team brought home 11 awards from the competition — the most ever for photography, videos and animation in our department.
–Teri Brooks
From left: Multimedia extraordinaires Ricardo Castrillón BA’17, Sarah Wall and Rachael Drury.