Phoebe and Rex’s Aquatic Misadventures

Elizabeth Hills and Madeline Duval-Tyler

Award Recipient

The President’s Media Awards for Excellence – Best in 3D Computer Animation

Duration: 3m 20s
Media: 3D Animation
Film genre: Comedy, Action, Adventure

"Phoebe and Rex’s Aquatic Misadventures" Poster displays a large, colourful, submarine with hands swimming in the deep sea. There are bubbles and multiple sea animals revealed by a lightbulb. Small danger signs are on the ocean floor.

Film Synopsis

We follow Captain Phoebe and her dog companion Rex as they search for the lost city of Atlantis. With their makeshift submarine, they encounter both the wonders and dangers of the Deep Sea. In an attempt to retrieve the Atlantis Crystal Gem, this dynamic duo work as a team, solving problems and finding fast solutions.

Artist Statement

Our short film was influenced by one of the most creative parts of life, childhood imagination. The overarching theme of creativity within our story gave us an opportunity to seek out joy and wonder in everyday life. Through the process of studying reference, iteration, and collaboration, we developed a fun narrative while also experimenting within our medium. Inspired by stop motion films like “Wallace and Gromit”, our goal as both visual and technical artists was to push the feeling of Claymation through texture work and character creation.


Elizabeth Hills

  • Director
  • Texturing + Surfacing
  • Modeling
  • Look Development
  • Concept Art
  • Lighting
  • Storyboard + Layout
  • Compositing
  • Animation

Madeline Duval-Tyler

  • Director
  • Rigging
  • Modeling
  • Look Development
  • Lighting
  • Storyboard + Layout
  • Compositing
  • Animation
  • Editing

Voice of Phoebe

  • Maeve Kilner


  • Ross Nykiforuk

Audio Post Production

  • Glenn Ens

2D FX artist

  • Christy Chan

Voice of Rex

  • Panda the dog
  • Spot the dog

Special Thanks

  • John Li
  • Woonam Kim
  • Ian Woo
  • Adriana Jaroszewicz
  • Chris Strickler
  • Tim Tyler

Project Stills

Interior of Submarine
Drawing on map
Octopus looking at submarine
Phoebe and Rex sitting on chair. "Gem Reveal" with purple lighting
The lost city of Atlantis with the Crystal Gem. Purple fish in foreground.
Silhouetted robot with glowing red eyes
Evil robot holding the submarine in his hand. The robots eyes are glowing creating a strong red rim light.
Phoebie's brother wearing a cardboard robot hat

Developing the Look

Concept Sketches

Rex concept sketch
Phoebe concept sketch
Deep sea animals concept sketch
2D Submarine
2D Submarine interior

2D Storyboarding

2D Rex and Phoebe looking at each other
2D Rex
2D Map

Rex – Clay Texture

Using DIY photo scans

Submarine – Work in progress

Pheobe’s Brother – Turntable

Lighting Tests

Rigging – Claymation Eye

Rigging – Octopus

Filmmaker’s Biography

Elizabeth Hills

Elizabeth Lepiz Hills is a 3D artist who specializes in texturing. With a background in clay sculpture and illustration, she found her passion in 3D art studying at Emily Carr University. Her fourth-year collaborative film is about how childhood imagination can manifest visually in everyday situations. Elizabeth’s goal was to create 3D assets that look like a kid designed them. During this process, she developed a procedural clay texture. The dust, fingerprints, and crack textures move with her 3D character, creating the likeness of a Claymation film. Elizabeth’s texture work is a combination of procedural, photo scanned, and hand-painted textures.



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Madeline Duval-Tyler

Madeline Duval-Tyler is a 3D artist  based in Vancouver. She combines her background of academics and fine arts to create a new passion for character rigging and coding. All her work carries themes of wonder, adventure and comedy, which is amplified in her fourth year collaborative film. Her biggest goal is to make her audience smile after they see her work, whether that be with film, video games, or short animations. This manifests within her practice by exploring how to get new and unique deformations, and animation on the rigs she creates.



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