For this Reflections unit, we reflect on ourselves and think about the question “Who am I?”. In English, we write an essay that shows what we believe in and why it is important. We also have the opportunity to write our personal essay for colleges and get to know ourselves a little better. In Digital Media, we reflect on ourselves by creating mandalas, paintings, and the This I Believe Video with the essay we write in English. In animation, we experience with new softwares, Maya and Zbrush, and create 3D models of our choices.

I learned a little more about myself through this Reflections unit because all the classes helped me to think about “Who am I?”. All the work I created and produced represent my personality, my stories, and my background. For this unit, I valued a lot of being truthful to myself. I discovered many more sides of me that I did not even notice before this unit. Thus, I am happy that this unit helped me to understand myself more.


It Has Layers

To make the mandalas, we learned to create repetitive drawings in a really efficient way with the application, Illustrator. We only had to draw one part of the mandala and Illustrator would help us to repeat those paint strokes to the rest of the parts, which was super interesting and efficient.

Black and White Mandala
Colored Mandala
Mandala Build Video
Mandala Engraved On Wood

This Mandala Project might be one of my favorite projects so far at Freestyle because the process of making the mandalas was really calming and satisfying. I tried to not overthink about too much because, like Mr. Flo said, mandalas are a reflection of ourselves. I didn’t worry about my mandala looking pretty or not, I just kept drawing and drawing. I chose to do a Shrek theme for both of my mandalas because Shrek is one of my favorite animated movies and Shrek the character himself is very interesting. I put a lot of inside jokes in my mandalas and I was surprised how the whole thing looked pretty calming in some way as well. My mandalas are the reflection of myself, I learned that I am truly passionate about Shrek, the movie.

This I Believe Video Production

No Plans, Just Four Suitcases

For the This I Believe Video Production, we first wrote an essay about what we believe in and why we think it is important. The purpose of writing the essay is to get to know more about ourselves and to express our ideas of what we believe in. After writing the essay, we then record ourselves reading the essay and used After Effects to create a video. During the production, I valued a lot of connection with people. I realized how my family is extremely important to me because of this production and it made me value connection with people more.

Full Essay

I believe that family is the most important thing in our lives. One day, when I was in seventh grade, my mom told me that we would be immigrating to America in a couple of months. I was shocked, scared, but also a little excited. I was ready to see another part of the world and to explore a different culture.

But things didn’t go so well the first couple of days. My family didn’t buy a house nor rent a car before coming here. We didn’t arrive in America with plans but four big suitcases at midnight. Every one of us was so hungry at that time, but we just saw more and more closed restaurants as we passed by. Being new at a place, none of us knew where to get food plus all of us were exhausted and out of energy. My dad and my brother then found Safeway on Google Map and went to get all four of us some donuts. It was when I took a bite on my strawberry glazed donut, that I realized how helpful my family was to me.

Many things happened for the next couple of days. We moved from a small hotel to a bigger one. We went to look for houses. We went to get new phones, a new car, new beds, and new furniture. We did everything and went to every place together. Everything was set in just about a week. I am still shocked by how efficient my family was. Even though everything seemed so hard to manage as we were new in a country, it did not feel overwhelming for my family and me because we were all together. We were like an organization where my dad’s role was to take care of car-related tasks, my mom’s role was to take care of house-related stuff, the role of my brother and I was to be patient and support our parents whenever they needed. We did not plan on what each of us should do, we were just there for each other. I guess that’s why families can be so strong and powerful.

I remember my brother and I being super bored and frustrated at the car dealership before we got our new phones. The only thing we could do was just read through documents that we could not even understand at that time and drink instant hot chocolate for hours. I think even the salesmen knew that my brother and I couldn’t wait to leave the car dealership. I remember sleeping on blankets at home because we still didn’t have beds. My family and I would chat for about thirty minutes before going to sleep. If it wasn’t my family who was there for me, I don’t think I would be where I am right now. Every memory is so precious for me because they show me how strong a family can be. They make me feel closer to my family and make me feel grateful whenever I’m with them. They make me believe that family is the most important thing in my life.

Editing the Video with After Effects

Photoshop Art

Duckling with Flower Hat

In Digital Media, we also painted with Photoshop. We practiced with different types of brushes, such as pastel and watercolor brushes, before creating the final painting. I valued a lot of hardworking when I created this painting because digital painting has always been a hobby of mine. I feel like I could’ve done better, but I think this is good enough for the amount of time I was provided.

Painting with Photoshop has always been a difficult task for me to do. I am better at doing 2D digital art than painting, so I was a little nervous that I would not be happy with my painting. Therefore, I took some time figuring out what kind of style I like and what I should do to resemble that style. I experienced different kinds of brushes and features in Photoshop. I am pretty proud of the final product because it is better than I thought it would be. It is fascinating that I can create a painting with just a little bit of experience. Something I would change for my painting is the colors because I am still not really good at choosing colors. If I have a chance to paint with Photoshop again, I will study more on color theory to make my painting look more beautiful. I had a lot of fun during this project and I hope I can practice more on painting in the future to get even better at it.


Maya and Zbrush

For animation, we started learning 3D modeling and sculpting with Maya and Zbrush.

Modeling a Temple and Its Environment with Maya
Modeling Fire Hydrants with Maya
Sculpting a Skull with Zbrush
Sculpting a Head of a Chihuahua with Zbrush
Sculpting a Wand with Zbrush (Modeled with Maya)

Both applications were very new for me, so I valued a lot of hardworking to be comfortable with using them. It was a struggle for me to learn 3D modeling/sculpting, but I have become better at them through a lot of practices. In Maya, we use shapes such as cylinders, cones, cubes, etc. to model objects. In Zbrush, we draw/sculpt the object, which is the biggest reason why I love Zbrush more.