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2020 Alumni Scholarship Award Winner: Jinuk Choi

"I decided to make an animated story for people who need hope and joy."

April 6, 2020
A rendered image of a walker, a wheel chair, and crutches with a group of rubber ducks

The final render shot of the characters in Choi's thesis film


SVA encourages artists to pursue their passion and in February, the SVA Alumni Society was proud to announce the 2020 Alumni Scholarship Award winners. Over the next few weeks, SVA will be highlighting some of the many outstanding projects from the winners. Today's featured thesis project is by MFA Computer Arts student Jinuk Choi, whose short film Beyond the Line is about a wheelchair who has always wanted to go faster in life.

Tell us about your project. What inspired the idea?

Beyond the Line is a 3D animated short film about a wheelchair who dreams of one day being fast like a racing car. I went to a children's hospital for a sick young cousin and the experience inspired me. It was sad to see the children filled with a kind of downcast air. Then I saw the children watching animation as if they were looking at the sky from inside a well. I realized the animations weren't just killing time, but a channel to imagine and dream beyond the hospital space. And this applies to all of us, not only for those that are sick or in the hospital. I decided to make an animated story for people who need hope and joy.

An image of a style frame of the child's hospital room

A style frame of the child's hospital room

What was a highlight of living and studying in New York City?

So many experiences, including artists playing on the subway, many pigeons in New York, people walking on a rainy street eating pizza—all of it made quite the impression on me.

What is something you learned at SVA that you'll always take with you?

I learned how to express a 3D animation of a story that was in my head and it was a privilege to have not only have this opportunity to create my own animation, but reaffirm how much I love animation.

Was there a teacher or course that was essential for you?

I learned 3D animation for the first time at SVA, so most of all courses were precious to me. In particular, there is a class called 'Production Issues: Animation,' which was very helpful to solving problems while doing my work.

An image of character concept sheets for Choi's thesis film

The very first concept art for Choi's characters, where they referenced the color combinations to actual race cars.

What was your favorite piece of advice that a teacher or student shared with you?

Don't worry too much. You can finish this by doing it step by step.

What advice do you have for next year's students going through your program?

I hope you have the time to think about why you came to the program and I hope you achieve what you want when you finish it.

For this year's SVA Alumni Scholarship Awards, a record 74 students were chosen from a pool of over 212 applicants and were granted scholarships worth more than $60,000 for projects as varied as design products, animation, painting and photography. For more information about the Alumni Scholarship Awards and to see a complete list of this year's recipients, click here.


For more information about SVA's MFA Computer Arts program, click here.