Learn 3ds Max Or Go To Jail

The Animation Project is a New York City-area program that uses computer animation as an art therapy tool for court-involved teenagers. The program, founded by animator Brian Austin, is part of the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which offer youths rehabilitation opportunities such as GED training as an alternative to incarceration. This article by Greg Condon in Social Work Today discusses the program’s aims and the surprising comfort level of teenagers with 3D software:

Although none of the group members had worked in 3D Max before, they are all computer savvy, much like most in their age group. It was this fact that ultimately drew Austin’s focus back to computer animation. In the span of 45 minutes, each group member has turned a square polygon into a house with a pitched roof and side garage. As [Karen] Gibbons says, “Video games, movies, and print media are probably the main art forms these young people have been exposed to. Media like pastels and paints would be unfamiliar.” The group will spend the next four weeks building assets in 3D Max developing their story. As the weeks progress, they will begin dividing duties: One person may build the characters while another builds the setting of a scene.

I’ve embedded one of the student shorts at the top of the post. More of their work can be seen on The Animation Project’s Facebook page.


  • armando

    hey that’s amazing, I’ve been thinking doing the same here in mexico.. to make some kids believe in creation instead of destruction

  • tommmy

    Imagine this as a short played before a big animated feature like Brave. It would be a seriously huge hit, I’m sure.

  • Toonio

    Great project to keep the streets safe. As long people have meaning and purpose in life, they’ll be happy.

    Now joking, I guess in Florida and in a similar program you could skip jail to end up in a slavery concentration camp called Digital Domain!

  • http://popyea.deviantart.com/ nick

    haha, those frogs were really cute. And that whale shark thing.

  • SKent.

    Well, I suppose it’s kept me out of jail too, so far.

  • Brian Austin

    Thanks for all the positive comments. If any of you are ever in NYC please stop by for a visit with our young aspiring animators!