Self-taught student animator creates and designs animations for short films

Editor’s note: We would like to clarify that Hosler does not help produce the entire Coffeehouse event and was only responsible for his video. For the upcoming Coffeehouse: Animated event later this semester, Hosler still needs to tryout, like any other student who wants to participate, even though the story detailed plans for the video he is working on for Coffeehouse, there is no guarantee that he will be part of the event.

Liberty University students await Coffeehouse all semester, and contributing to this excitement is junior film major and animator Ben Hosler. Hosler has directed and produced multiple videos for Coffeehouse that feature animation and CGI. 

Hosler first started exploring animation when he was in seventh grade by making frame-by-frame animations on his iPad. From there, he experimented with programs such as Blender and Adobe After Effects in high school, teaching himself primarily from YouTube tutorials.

The “Frozen” short film that was showcased in Coffeehouse: Snowed-In was one of Hosler’s latest animated projects. According to Hosler, the short film required a team effort to ensure that the project was successful. 

“Pretty much I’m one of the few people on campus that specializes in 3D animation, so typically that ends up being a one-person team, which is usually a lot to bear,” Hosler said. “But what started out as me and my friend running around with the camera has grown into having an actual crew where I have a sound department, camera department, people from the film program and all my gifted friends.”

Photo by Noah Seidlitz

Hosler expressed his gratitude for the students who assisted him and helped him grow in his earlier days of the film program. Even more importantly, he acknowledged his help that comes from the Lord. 

“The great part is whenever I had a problem, I would just take it to the Lord and be like, ‘Hey, can you solve this for me?’” Hosler said. “And sure enough, he gives me a simple solution, or eventually I come to what he wanted me to figure out for it.” 

He also said that most of his inspiration for animation comes from studying God’s creation, especially with the human body.

Hosler learned how to animate humans by starting with a Spider-Man model he found online, and from there went “hog-wild” with observing how humans move and how that translates into animation. It was fun for him to admire the genius in God’s creation and learn to replicate it using his chosen art.

Spider-Man and “Star Wars” were his biggest influences that inspired him to become an animator. Hosler is devoted to his craft and the passion that he feels for it. He has even gone so far as to make Spider-Man costumes from scratch.

“I worked in the costume shop in the Theatre Department my sophomore year. They taught me a lot about how to professionally craft costumes, so I ended up making templates for that,” Hosler said. “If you ever see a Spider-Man on campus, chances are it might be me.”

Photo by Noah Seidlitz

Students will be excited to learn that in keeping with tradition, Hosler fully plans on returning this semester to the aptly themed Coffeehouse: Animated with a project that he hopes will be his best yet. It is taking form in the shape of a “Scooby-Doo” fan film, which presents new animation challenges, but with promising results. 

“It’s the first time we’ve had the lead character be an animated character,” Hosler said. “I’m planning ahead as much as I can … just because Scooby’s so intense with his movement.”

He knows that it’s a long process, but the most rewarding part of animation is seeing it all come together at the end, despite the botches and mistakes along the way.

While he is proud of his work and the projects he can create, Hosler insists on giving God all of the glory and is thankful that the Lord has brought him down this path.

As he works on his senior thesis, his future career remains somewhat of a mystery; but he explained that it is all in God’s hands, and he will continue to work to the best of his ability. 

For anyone aspiring to enter the world of animation for themselves, Hosler encourages them to let their creativity go wild by studying God’s creation. He also recommends making the most of the free tools on the internet, such as Blender and video tutorials.

You can catch Hosler’s upcoming video at Coffeehouse: Animated, which takes place in the Vines Center March 23 at 11:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

Graeber is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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