My name is Sandy Marinchak. I am a senior at Freestyle Academy. This fall I will be attending California State University, Long Beach to study art and biology. I have been interested in art my entire life, but my main focuses now are illustration, animation, visual development, and game design. My portfolio features my Zenith project and Narrative project which both showcase my work in these various areas of study. At the bottom of this page I have also included personal pieces that I felt would help to better display my skills in these areas (but that is only if you are curious).

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For my Zenith project, I set out to create a 3D open world video game. I decided to use the programs Blender and Unity since they are both free and there would be many tutorials all over the internet to help me go about accomplishing my goals. Blender is a program that would allow me to model, rig, and animate characters, as well as create other game meshes. Unity is where I would program and put together all of the pieces of my work into a functioning game. My goal was to create a low poly style of game, this means that the characters and environment are stylized with a low amount of polygon shapes so they have more rigid, clean looking edges. I was inspired by various artist I’ve seen online and the models and games they have created. Also the concept as a whole is just interesting to me and was something I really wanted to learn how to do.


The first step of my process in creating this game was to come up with a concept. I took a recent drawing of a character I did and expanded on the world he might live in. The story I came up with is about an Inuit tribe that lives in the arctic. Climate change becomes a threat to them by melting the ice they live on and reducing the amount of seals that they are able to catch. In a panic, they gather up their entire lives and sail south. They eventually come upon a beautiful lush island and decide that it will be their new home. The main character is a young boy in this tribe. He and one of the sled dogs that he is close to go on a journey travelling around their new Island home.

My initial designs of the boy and the dog

Once I had come up with my Idea and created sketches I then began to model the characters in Blender.

Modelling the dog in Blender
Modelling the boy in Blender

With the character modeled, I applied materials to each polygon, giving it color.

Adding materials to the boys model in Blender

This is the finished result of the boy (I decided to not give him long hair, it looked a bit weird):

The final model of the boy

I also created all of the dogs that make up the pack though I haven’t yet added these characters to the finished game.

The next step was to rig the model. This is basically adding “bones” which allows you to pose your characters.

Rigging the boys model in Blender

When the bones were in place I altered how much they control each part of the model by weightmapping. This allows you to have control over how much control each bone has over the mesh and over what part of the mesh it controls.

Weightmapping the boys model in Blender

When that was completed, my model moved how I wanted it to, so I began animating. I created a walk cycle, a run cycle, and an idle pose.

Animating the Walk cycle
Animating the run cycle

completed walk and run cycles (the run cycle looks a bit more choppy than usual in this gif)

Next I imported my character into Unity and created a way to control the character as well as a camera that would follow him around using C# scripts.

The Controls are:

  • w/a/s/d or arrow keys – walk (the character also faces whichever way the camera is pointed in and moves in that direction, this is controlled by moving the mouse)
  • Left Shift – run
  • Space bar – jump
A screenshot of part of my player controller C# script
A screenshot of part of my third person camera C# script

With my character moving around smoothly and the controls feeling nice, I created the model of the map back in Blender and placed objects onto it in Unity. I also created a post processing profile to give the whole game a nice color scheme and effects.

Modelling the map mesh in Blender
A screenshot of me adding elements (in this case rocks) to the map in Unity
A screenshot of the Map from above as I was working on it

Screenshots of me testing the game (the colors of the game are a bit different now that it is finished)


scenes from the completed game



For our narrative project we were required to come up with any short story of our choice. The story I settled on was about a hunter who had been following a deer in the forest. As it turned out, a wolf was also hunting that same deer. The moment the hunter takes a shot at the deer, the wolf attacks as well and in the confusion, the deer escapes. The hunter turns to see that he has shot the wolf in the shoulder and goes to chase down the deer. The wolf cries out in pain and the hunter sees her attempting to walk up a path. He has a change of heart and begins to feel empathy for the wolf so he crudely bandages her up, slings her over her shoulders, and walks her up the mountain. Eventually he comes upon a den with two crying pups inside and lays the mother wolf down. He helps to take care of the pups as the mother heals. When the wolf is able to take care of her pups again, she gives the man a look as if to say thank you and they part ways. The story was meant to be a simple one about how all creatures are really the same after all, even though sometimes humans forget that.


To develop my story, I created storyboards and drawings that would translate into my animation and my poster.

To create the movie poster that could represent my story, I began by coming up with ideas that would capture the attention of my audience quickly. Then I quickly sketched my various ideas.

After deciding on which sketch I liked the most, I put a photo of it into Photoshop and began drawing over it. Once I had created the line art of the poster, I painted out the mountains in the background and continued to color the rest.