8-Bit Diorama


evoking nostalgia through pixels and chiptunes.

Prompted to depict a scene based on my interpretation of the word “memory”, I ventured to animate more than just a literal representation of the term. My objective was to compose a nostalgia-driven audiovisual glimpse into my childhood.

adobe illustrator,
adobe after effects
audio mixing,
pixel art

an 8-bit dream

Early on, I realized that this project had to revolve around something that I could get passionate about; something that I would want to invest hours into. That’s when I decided upon the theme of video games–a hobby of mine that has been largely influential since a young age. Interpreting “memory” in a more personal sense of the word, I based my diorama on the sentimental nature of retro gaming. I would achieve this by recreating a setting from Chrono Trigger, an acclaimed role-playing game from 1995, in an 8-bit style of pixel art while pairing it with an iconic track from the game itself.

pixel by pixel

After studying reference images from the original game, I began creating the scene by coloring pixels with the help of Adobe Illustrator’s Live Paint tool. Slowly layering assets, I translated the game’s original style into a full setting of my own. Once these visuals were complete, I brought them into After Effects to begin the animation process. Working solely with keyframes and translation effects, I created movement mimicking that of older video games. In an effort to enhance the animation, I added television-like effects to open and close the piece, as well as the accompanying audio. To finalize the sequence, I tailored the transitions and focused on the synchronization of assets to ensure seamless motion.

sonic sentimentality

This diorama would live as a sensory-focused sequence that captures the nostalgic nature of retro gaming. Serving as a glimpse into one’s perception of the word “memory”, this piece captures the child-like whimsy of a distant recollection.