In College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Design, Students

Jones — a native of Midland, Michigan — will graduate with a BFA in animation on April 24, 2020

Dallin Jones headshot

Animation student Dallin Jones. (Courtesy of Dallin Jones)

As a freshman, Dallin Jones took several art classes to find a major that would satisfy his creativity and love for 3D art. In the end, the animation program won him over.

“I ultimately found out that I really only care about art in the context of story — and animation is all about story,” said Jones. “I don’t enjoy creating just for the sake of creating so much as I enjoy creating for worlds, for characters, and for stories with messages that can change people.”

When he applied to the major, Jones jumped right in, taking figure drawing classes multiple times, filling his time with extra credit work and asking for feedback from professors. He also got involved with that year’s short film, which students in the animation program collaborate on each year. 

Now, Jones is focusing his efforts on a collaborative animated senior short film titled “Salt,” which he has been working on with about 20 other classmates for the past year and a half. 

“It has been an absolute blast to work together,” said Jones. “I love how collaborative animation is. It is so empowering and inspiring to work together towards a common goal. It really feels like magic when all of our talents come together and we see the finished product.”

CG art by Dallin Jones. (Courtesy of Dallin Jones)

Working on “Salt” has been rewarding for Jones, but like any creative endeavor, it has had its challenges. When the producer left on a study abroad, Jones found himself stepping into the position and learning just how difficult making a film can be. 

“It has been challenging at times to ‘rally the troops’ and keep morale high, especially when we didn’t see many results,” said Jones. “It has also been a challenge to find the right balance between delegation, keeping the director’s vision and keeping things on a schedule without being overwhelmed. I know that most people realize that making a film is really hard, but I don’t think people understand just how much work it requires.”

 

What’s next for Dallin? “Right now my main goal is to lead ‘Salt’ to the finish line,” he said. “After that, I hope to get a job at a feature film studio as a texture artist.” Jones also hopes to collaborate with his wife — a commercial music major — on a future project.

Jones advises incoming students and prospective animation majors not only to work hard, but to be proactive and get as involved as possible with the program.

“If you don’t get involved and work hard, you can’t expect to succeed,” said Jones. “I also tried to adopt an attitude of, ‘If something scares me, then I really need to try it.’ Having this attitude led me to face my fears and turn my weaknesses into strengths.”

During his time in the program, Jones realized that everyone in a society is needed, including those who make art. Although some careers — such as medical, scientific or humanitarian professions — may help people in more tangible ways, artists make profound differences in people’s lives. 

“After hearing a classmate say, ‘well, we aren’t curing cancer,’ my professor, Brent Adams, responded, ‘well, yes, you aren’t curing cancer, but cancer is temporary. You are curing souls.’ And I know that it’s true,” said Jones. “The stories that we make can cure people’s souls. That is the power of art.”

 

Q&A WITH DALLIN JONES, BFA ‘20
DESIGN | ANIMATION

Concept art brought to life by Jones. (Courtesy of Dallin Jones)

What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I always knew I wanted to do something creative, but I cycled through several ambitions — illustrator of children’s books, magician, balloon artist, animator.”

What was your favorite class that you took at BYU?
“My favorite class was Shader Programming, taught by Seth Holladay. I loved it because we only had two projects, so we had enough time to really polish them. I also loved learning about procedural shading and just enjoyed making beautiful art! The pieces I made in that class are some of the pieces I am most proud of.”

Is there a specific work or practitioner in your field that has had a particularly strong influence on you?
“I am of course inspired by all the animation greats, such as Glen Keane, Chuck Jones and Pete Docter. But I am also really inspired by the BYU animation alumni who have gone before us and given such a great reputation to the program.”

Do you have a hobby outside of what you do for your major?
“Well, it is still related to art, but I have always been fascinated by pop-up books, and I have a collection of them. My dream is to make pop-up books on the side of whatever my job is.”

What is your favorite snack for between classes?
“Almonds if I am feeling healthy, Cheez-Its if I am feeling unhealthy.”

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