Home » THE FINAL PROJECT, MAY 2014 » Proposal, Reflective diary and Progression reports.

Proposal, Reflective diary and Progression reports.

Wednesday the 12th of March

This day begin the work on my final project.  Students are free to decide what idea and program to work on. The only advice we got was to think of what is our strength  and what program we learnt most for the past terms, basically to make it easier for us to work and finish chosen idea by the deadline – the end of May.

I thought of making a short film using time-lapse and hyper lapse as had experience and equipments needed and done few videos for my previous project. I also knew how to use after effects or premiere to add effects and make my videos look interesting however , for some reason I strongly decided to work on something new, something I had never worked with in the past and I took a decision to design a 3D character using Maya program for my final project.  I can tell that was kind of risky decision to take as only two months were at the front to finish.

The reason why I thought of doing 3D was my teacher David Jenkins. He start to attend our class since Christmas holidays and told us a little information about Maya. I was amazed when I heard what can be created with this program.

This Programm costs thousands of pounds for those who want to buy it but students can get free access to it to work at home, this is one of a great benefit.

I had a chat with David and asked him to help me start and with creating a simple character in 3D. He promised to help me but was advising me to chose something I know from previous experience. I gave myself a promise that I will learn and finish a 3D model by end of May.

Thursday the 13th March 

Today I have been looking at maya program (Autodesk Maya 2013 version) and had a try to understand all these tools but to be honest I have no idea about any of them so I was waiting for my teacher David to show me at least some of them, the basic ones.

I learn the main tools such us:


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Move tool

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Create polygons and surfaces


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David advised me to watch some videos in youtube and look at how other people making 3D models, what do they start with. I found some videos but there were not a very good examples I could use to start but I continue looking more and found one which was ok, a bit more simple than others and easier for me to understand.The video owner told to draw a character (front, side and top view) and follow the sketch to create a shape.

I begin with building up a character sketch by using graphic tablet and sketchbook pro application.

I start to draw the sketch of my female character: the front view, the side view and top view. I had choice of drawing it simply on piece of paper, on PC  or graphic tablet . I asked students from animation course about the graphic tablet, how they feel about it and they advised me to have a go and try to use it. I decided to follow their advice and an hour later start to practice drawing my sketch and felt very pleased.

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The model I draw displays all curves of female body so that later I can create a realistic female body. On my sketch you can clearly see the toes, foot, ankle, leg, calf, thigh, groin, umbilicus, breast, chest, shoulder, neck, mouth, nose, eye, eyebrow, forehead, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, arm and fingers.

Friday the 14th March

After drawing my characters front view I start to work on side view and top view but unfortunately I couldn’t make it as the parameters were so different and basically my teacher told me to draw it with my hand, he said that would be much easier. and I started to draw with my hand and this is what I have got now at the end of this day.

top view
top view side viewside viewfront view

front view


Today I found out how weak I am in drawing, I am so bad at it but at least I will try to work with those pictures and next week I will continue try to create a character by using this sketch.


Wednesday 19th March

Today I continued my work with my sketch and tried to insert my sketch in to maya but before that I made a 3D demential half cube 0C, 90C, -90C and inserted my front, top and side in there. Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 13.32.48 Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 13.31.19 Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 13.27.14I had to make sure all proportions lined up therefore I had to move my top view in a line with side view. Another problem I found was the side view, it was facing towards the face of my front view, which is wrong, so it took me time to learn how to change the axis C.  In actually way all looks fine so Im kind of happy about it at this point, lets see if it works in a right way tomorrow.

Thursday the 20th March

Today I was introduced to vertex and learn how to use a move tool and vertex together.  I created a polygon ( changed the opacity to see through my polygon and slightly changed the colour to light yellow), start building the shape of my model. This is what i have got.

I was very disappointed as I saw so many vertices which really disturb me in completing my work. therefore I decided to start over again from the beginning. The good thing about making this female model was the experience I got. I learned how to use scale, move, rotate, add and delete vertex, move edges(was so new for me). So far I am happy with what I have, in two weeks I learned a lot of things.

Friday the 21st March

I decided to try one more time and make another model but this time I didn’t draw it myself, as an experience I used profile pictures of one character from the internet.

This is the picture I used this time.

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This time I tried to use less vertex and follow the way I did yesterday but again something went wrong.

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I created a polygon and change the opacity down to see through the background picture so that I could follow as i did in the previous video and add light yellow just to make it easier to work.

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I was looking at my model from all sides, following the background picture and still I could not understand how to shape this points around the shape. Each time I moved points I felt this is not the right way to do it.

When I am looking at the video from you tube  and see how other people shape their characters/models I cannot understand the way they move around the points as it looks very nice, smooth however each time I try to do it turn up the same thing.

This is the actual video from what I have done.

At the end of the day I had a discussion with my animation teacher David. I showed him the work I had done and he told me ” you have some progress but let me show you something”, and he took me to the class where all the animation students are and opened up one video made by Esotareq in youtube called organic modelling and there are many chapters and parts.

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David was amazed of the work that person does and strongly recommender me to follow his videos The only problem about it was that the videos were too fast and I had to watch it over and over again, and stop it almost every second. Apart from that I was very happy to watch it as his job looked fantastic and I really want to make the same kind of 3D model. The end of the day I spent on watching his first video called organic modelling: Chap 2: blocking – part 1 and it really helped me to learn the right way to use all these basic tolls.

Friday the 28th March

David gave me the source folder which was in the server prepared for me to use. The folder contained the set up maya page and profile of the character I followed. The character were the same as in the video of Esotareq.

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Profile pictures:

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I opened up the folder and start to work on my character by following suggested video.


I created a polygon box, using edge loop tool I split box in to 2 parts and deleted 1 part on the left side, afterwards I hit duplicate options and I duplicated the half on the right so what happened is now I have 1 box divided by 2 half’s and all work will be made on one side and automatically copied to another such as mirror effect. That makes it lot more easier to work and both sides will be equal.

I learn how to use faces and how to extrude them inside/outside, up/down. I hit enter button as that allows me to see my work from side and front view’s at the same time. I was looking at my background image and extruding faces downwards and upwards. Then I used vertex to shape the sides of my body. I had problems with scaling and rotating as each time I tried to do it rolls to a wrong side and wrong degree C. Half hour later I finally understood how to extrude face down on the side to make a leg.

Another problem I had was extruding faces and using move tool at once but I learn how to do that so as far as I go makes it easier for me to understand the principles.

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By following the video and my background image I made shape of the head , legs, shoulders and hands. Actually hands made me stuck because after extruding I had to rotate whole hand upwards and I needed help from my teacher David to do that. He showed me the insert point which is an arrow pointing up on the keyboard. By pressing on this arrow we can move the rotation pony into any part of the body we want to rotate. The point I needed was right under arm and to make sure I put it in the right place I had to look at front and side view of my background image. With David’s help we made it and I put hands up a little and start looking at it from the side view and after that I stuck again with similar problem but even harder. My job was to rotate all faces at the end of my hand 45 C forward to make it 90C total from the elbow to the wrist. I was trying to move the insert into the middle of my faces but the result was not successful. I was keep trying and finally I achieved, I made it. When hardest point was done, I just moved around some points to make sure nothing looks too wide and opposed and this is my blocking model for now, before I add more details to it.

I looked one more time at my model and I added as shown in the video a few edge loops throw the diner of the body to round up the shape and make it look better. I worked with legs, chest and the head. Worked with points around the neck and when I though its ok, I moved on and start making fingers on my hand.

I saw lots of gaps between origin and duplicated side of my body and I fix them by using move tool. there were gaps in head area and stomach area. I made a screen recordings as 2 parts to show how I fixed it.

Part nr.1

Part nr.2


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Making fingers I found a little bit annoying as I had to extrude faces many times and scale them in and out to make my finders look a little realistic. I only made big finger and one more next to in (the second longest finger). The important was to understand the techniques of making it, so I will finish them all afterwards. I spend all day from morning to 9pm until college is closed to finish all this as from tomorrow easter holidays begin, will have time to rest.

 Wednesday the 2nd April

Today I continued working on fingers but on the leg this time. I can tell it was a lot harder than on the hand as they are more big and when I extruded, faces were too close to each other so I had to scale them nicely  and get them a little far from each other. I even tried to make a nail but only on the first finger. I thought it would be better not to spend too much time on this things and move on to do something more important.

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As I am doing male muscle male shape, I have to follow all these muscules and I think this will take too much time to do as man’s body has a lot of muscles. I start with the back and extrude faces, scale them and round out the corners.

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Another interesting thing I learned today – edge spin tool. Basically it makes muscle line go straight therefore makes the body lines look much better and to do that I had to select the edge between two faces I needed to spin and keep pressing spin edge backward or forward until it gets to right direction. Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 16.28.57 Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 16.29.17

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Thursday the 3d April

I continue working on my bag and following the background image. Then I moved on to chest, select 6 faces and extrude them forward, scale and round out the shape. I did another edge loop tool split through the chest and one more through the stomach and spend all day on rounding up points same as shown on the video.

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Wednesday the 23d April

I was working on stomach. I selected faces on stomach and extrude them twice to make my stomach look like it has six pack. I was not so happy about my six pack because for me it looked too big but it is very hard for me to understand whether something looks too big or too small simply because it is mans body and I don’t know how the things usually looks like. I guess this is the most problematic part of doing my work. I didn’t have any choice of doing female model as David suggested me to follow the video he showed me and I thought if I will pick up some another model, or draw would be very hard to follow the video because I am very new in maya and never made anything big in it. I will need to show my work to David next week to hear what he thinks about my six pack and then I will move on to the rest of the video.

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Thursday the 24d April

I showed my six pack to David and he told me it is a little to big but he said it is ok and I can leave it as it is because I don’t have to much of time to stuck on something. I start watching the video from last week and extruding some more faces through the end of my back, rounding some shapes around , spinning faces. All day I spend for that because it takes time to round out the shapes.

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Friday the 25th April

David showed me a few books such as Alice in Wonderland and some more to look at. Books contained hundreds of pictures of 3D animated characters, backgrounds and objects. Many of them was made in 3D and some where textures but realistic textures I would say. Then we went to animation student’s group and I had a chat with some students about their work and what they like about it. They were amazed when I said I am doing 3D character in maya for my final project without having any experience with program in the past. I really needed some help from somebody apart from my teacher David as he is the only teacher in my college who teaches how to work in maya. All the rest of teachers work in different types of programs such as 3D max and don’t know maya and unfortunately same as teachers, students also know 3D max and more but not the program I need help with.

Before I mentioned the problems with my work are:

no experience in the past

male body creation

so now I found another one, which is-

there is only one person in this college who can really help me with my work – David Jenkins, great…

Anyway, David is a good etcher and supports me at all times. So now about work I have done today, I was working on ass part, selecting faces and extruding them. It took me time to round out shapes in ass area as it looked like a quire shape a little and I had to round it to make it look like a circle.

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Wednesday the 30th April

I decided not to follow everything the guy does on his videos because it takes too much time to do one by one. the length of his videos are 10-12 minutes but for me it takes hours to repeat all he does, so I skip a little. The most important things I have done and now I need to finish the fingers on my hands. I will do this next week.

Thursday the 1st May

Today I finish all the fingers and very happy its done now, it looks not too good but I did what I could do. I even heard today one guy from animation group was creating a character in 3D max and stuck on fingers part, at the end he just cut out fingers and told to everyone he decided to make his character without fingers. Well that is kind of try, we can make all that we want and especially if we gaping problem but no time, then yes we can cheat a kettle but I am very proud that I did those fingers and I didn’t gave up.

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I run through all videos from chap 4 to 10 and much of it was about rounding up the shapes, so I stopped on chap 10 and start to look at how to do face features. I will try to do them all  tomorrow.

Friday the 2nd May

I added one edge loop split in the middle of the head. Begin with rounding up the top of the head, push forward the point and space things out more evenly. select faces on the eye area and extrude them inside also scale them in. I Scale edges on the nose are and push them out a little so the shape of the noise slightly appeared. Then i started to work with eyes, I selected two faces inside the eye and extrude them inside to make eye socket where I will put eye bolls later. on the keyboard I pressed number 4 which allows me to see the  inside body, to bring it back I pressed number 5 so basically number 4 hides faces and only shows vertex and edge but 5 brings up faces.

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I selected faces on the top -front of the head and noise area and extrude them out, this will be used for the noise area and its is a quick way to add more diameter.

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I tried to smooth out the noise area and around by using scale and move tool. It is very important to smooth every time I add new edge or extrude faces as once I left it for later and had a bit of headache as I had to come back and do it still so it is better to spend a few minutes and do it as I go.

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When I done the basic shape of the noise I moved on mouth and before extruding faces I round edges around, move them and made wider. Mouth is basically as same as the eyes (same I mean the way of extruding and shaping it) it also needs the socket inside so I selected 8 faces (lips area) hit extrude out (minder extrude) then second extrude, pull together and out a little and the third extrude inside, hit 4 and pull the extrude inside the mouth (mouth socket). Hit enter button and look at the image plane (the background image) to ensure all matches.

Organic modelling chap 10 part 1 is over).

Wednesday the 7th May

Today I learn how to make the eye ball. I created a polygon sphere, scale it and put in inside the eye. When I fitted it, I rotate it forward. After that I had to duplicate the sphere on to another side but I didn’t do it as I found it quicker to fit another one manually.

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The video shows how to make a hole in the noise but I didn’t follow as my time was getting shorter and shorter, so I moved on to the ear part and that was a little bit complicated. I extrude faces from the centre  and afterwards I stuck in place where I start to extrude faces inside the ear. I was following the video but for some reason my ear did not look so good. I spend hours on working on it and finally it did look much better that it was from the beginning. To be honest I was happy with how it looks like. I shape nicely the side of the ear, pouched some edges inside and some outside and got some results. I showed my model to David and he was very happy with my results. He said he didn’t believe I can do so much of work in a quite short time.

Me and David looked at the whole body shape and David told me to have a look at every single side of my character to make sure all edges are in the right place and vertex merged. and when I will finish doing that he promised to show me how to combine the body so that bot sides will become as one part and after combining the body he will also show me how to merge all vertex.  It is a lot of work to do so I leave it for the next week to come fresh and do it all.

Wednesday the 14th May

The rest of last week I spend on looking at my shape, make sure the model looks smooth and get rid of every single hole I had before merging all points and combining my model. I had some holes in stomach area so I fixed them. At first I tried to move point together and merge them but it didn’t work at some point so I had to separate my character into two parts and see what faces needs to be deleted.

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David showed me how to combine afterwards merge all points,

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when it was done I smooth my character to see if everything looks ok and this is where problem begins.

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I don’t know what exactly I have done wrong, many I didn’t delete all extra faces inside the body before merging all point so that the noise looked awful. I friend to move vertex – didn’t help, delete shapes from inside – didn’t work so I had to call my teacher to help me once again and it took us both about an hour to understand that there were some vertex upside down and had to be deleted, so I continue trying and I made it finally after another one hour. I guess it is always like this, when you about to finish everything problem start.

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Thursday the 15th May

We take a look at the shape once again with David and when we made sure all is alright we exported as FBX file so that I can work on my shape by using 3D max program to add textures, add skeleton and make movements.

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David took me  to animation group to continue working on my model from there and told another students to help me if they have time to. I opened up texture folder from the server to chose body parts I would like to use, these are: skin texture, eyes, lips, ears, nipples and eyebrow.

The access to all textures screen shot

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The website screen shots

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I imported these textures into Photoshop and as a background picture I used the template ( the parts of my character lady out ) basically what I had to do was : change the opacity of my background picture; scale , rotate and move my textures into right place; duplicate my textures and make. For example we needed two eyebrow, I duplicated one eyebrow to make it two.

While I was inserting my textures I realise that my eyeballs are disappeared and David told me that I haven’t select them together with character when I was exporting so that the eyeballs were left in maya. I was sad about it as I really wanted to make a green eyes for my character, I already chose the right texture I needed.

The ear could not fit, I my character was suppose to be bolt and the ear texture has a hair round the ear so it is not good, I moved on and anyway I created ear in Maya so I don’t really need a texture for that. All I could use was the skin texture for the whole body, eyebrow, lips and nipples.

I took screen shots to show how I was working in the photoshop

This is my background picture with all body parts

Polina character texture

Open up a folder with textures and select skin texture (the main texture for the whole body)

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Change the opacity , scale the layer and duplicate the layer 4 times. I had to duplicate the layers to  minimise the birthmarks as they were too big and if I wouldn’t do that, they would appear too big on the skin of my character. Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.07.48Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.08.00 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.08.17 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.08.19 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.09.09 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.09.23 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.12.17 Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.12.21After I import the rest of my chosen textures, scale them, rotate them and move into the right place. Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.04.40Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.32.08Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.22.00Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.30.47Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 17.48.54Polina character texture
Once again I forgot about the eyeballs I have lost and I put eye textures, but had to delete as it wouldn’t work.

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When all work was done in photoshop I saved it as a JPEG file.

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Friday the 16th May

Today Me and David looked at the photoshop file I have made. We open 3D max, import JPEG file into program and start working on it.

photoshop screen shot6photoshop screen shotphotoshop screen shot2photoshop screen shot3photoshop screen shot4photoshop screen shot5Now my character has all textures on himself, next step is rigging ( putting skeleton)

Wednesday the 21st May

Today David and his student from animation group showed me how to put a skeleton into my character.

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What I had to do was – click button freeze the character and now I could see the whole body through and move my skeleton in the right place. I had a problem with the skeleton as it was quite long for my character so I had to learn how to scale it and move it and I don’t know why but each time I scale it, I could not bring the hand bound in a straight position, each time it was bending. I called David to help me and we made it. At the end we unfreeze the character to see if the skeleton comes out in any of the sides and it was ok. Now my character is prepared to move.

Thursday the 22nd May

David showed me how to make my character move and open up a library folder in 3D max where we found many ready movement we could use. Basically there were many files which students and teachers made some days, non-copyright files and anyone in animation group could use them.

Screen shots of how we made it

This is a library folder3D max animation4

Chosen file/movement

3D max animation5if we make a close up to the front of the character we can see many lines in different colour going through the body and what I had to do was – find the right line called

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3D max animation2

“bip 001” this is the line which connects the top and bottom of the body, click on “open file” button and select a file from the library “ballet” and this file appears as foot steps.

each foot step has a number, this made for us to see which step the character will make first.

3D max animation15 3D max animation14 3D max animation13 3D max animation12
3D max animation10

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3D max animation

This is how we made my character move.

The work was exported as a AVI file and named as “Polina Bodybuilder” .

Friday the 23d May

I showed my work to my tutor Mark Caffoor and he told me to export it in quicktime movie as he needed to put it into a hard drive and show to some other teachers also we have a presentation on Friday the 6th June 2014 where second years will present their work.

My final video is only 15 seconds, it simply shows my character and a very short dance.

Apart from 3D character my video consist shadow of my character, reflection at the bottom, light, wooden floor and sky at the bad of my composition.

I believe it is important to explain how that was made:

1.)  Shadow

To create a shadow for my character I used Daylight System, which can be found in the library of 3D max, apart from 3D max to other application has an access to this folder. For example if students had an access to 3D max library through the server – files could be deleted by the student, therefore this folder is closed and only student from animation course and teachers can use it for the study.

At the back of composition you can only see the blue sky but there is a sun hidden at the top and the light of that sun hits the object seen and makes a shadow. The reason why sky has a light blue color is also depend on the sun’s position. It is possible to bring sun down or up or place it in the right place I needed to create a right background or shadow color. Another option 3D max allows us to do is to set up a sun position by adding the direction of a chosen country. The way it works, basically day light system gives us an option to choose the country and time, for example:

Russia/Moscow- Saturday, the 31st May 2014, time 15:07.

This will automatically set our light to be as in Moscow- Saturday, the 31st May 2014, time 15:07, great isn’t it.

2.)  Reflection

To create a reflection of my character at the bottom I used as well as in the previous example – the library of 3D max. There are many folders with different reflections of choice. David chose the “ polished wooden floor”. The reason why – polished is that it will reflect much more than unpolished floor and the intensity of the reflection can be changed depend on how strong reflection needs to be also the level of reflection can go to zero so the floor will not reflect.


The Day Light makes the shadow of my character and a blue sky at the back, polished wooden floor makes reflection of my character at the bottom.

I am so happy as my work has been done and I hope in the future I will be able to make much better 3D model as I am planning to continue working on Maya and 3D max. Another thing I wanted to say, while I worked on one program Maya I never thought I will have to learn 3D max and Photo Shop so while I was doing one project I learned how o use 3 programs, that is awesome.

When David came to our class in January, this is what I have made for the first time in Maya

January 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 15.36.00

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 15.35.48 May 2014

photoshop screen shot



I am happy to be in this college, it has a wonderful teachers. Big thank you to Mark Caffoor, David Jenkins, Amina Patel, George and my English teacher Joan.

Me & Mark


Me & David

(we could take a better picture =)IMG_2095

Thank you!

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