The Dave School (Digital Animation & Visual Effects) at Universal Studios, Florida is a one year program to train production artists for the film and television industry. The program is nine months of instruction capped off with a three-month project where the students produce a professional quality film. Completing any short film in just three months is a daunting task, but completing a professional-quality, fully-animated short in that span of time is unheard of.
Yet, the class which finished in September 2007 did just that with Tofu, the Vegan Zombie. The short film is the tale of a friendly zombie named Tofu who lost his brain in a laboratory accident and had it replaced by a hunk of tofu. As a result, Tofu eats only vegetables and grains, but if the tofu falls out of his skull, he reverts into a human-flesh-eating terror. The five-minute short features the voice talents of Billy West (Futurama), who coincidentally is a vegan, and Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me).The Challenge of Creating Zombies
The biggest challenge faced by the students at the Dave School was simply one of time. Faced with the task of completing the short, from modeling and rigging the characters through to final rendering and compositing in only two and half months, there was no time to waste. Just to complete the project, time-consuming tasks, such as lighting scenes and rendering intermediate images during production, would have to be dramatically reduced in length.