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Students across South Essex College have seen robots taking over their computer screens recently. Fear not, this isn’t some ‘rise of the machines’ it’s simply a winning design by a BA (Hons) Digital Animationstudent that now sees his work displayed on each and every student’s computer as a screen saver.

Jake Wallis’s work in question is Ardi the Android, his own creation, seen posing with a slightly illuminated College logo. The 20-year-old from Southend progressed onto the Digital Animation degree after completing an Interactive Media course at the College and it’s a journey that Ardi has been with him all the way as well.

Jake explained: “I first created Ardi to experiment with movements and techniques such as walking and expressions and have just kept on honing him. He’s turned into his own little character, in fact you could say that he has pretty much grown up with me since being at South Essex College as he has featured in almost each and every aspect of my work, whether that be as a main character or as a cameo.”

Some of that work has included Ardi in student digs, resting with fellow robots, Ardi paying homage to Tron Legacy and also Ardi taking up part time work at a space port in a cameo role in Jake’s latest spectacular video, which can be viewed below.


Regarding Ardi’s takeover of the College, Jake added: “It’s great to see him everywhere around College and is a nice feeling that my work is going to be seen by every student, which is thousands of people.”

The cute retro looking character is certainly appealing and although he’s the silent type Ardi does all his talking, like fellow animation superstars Wallace and WALL-E, with their eyes.

It’s perhaps not a surprise to hear that Jake is heavily influenced by the special effects in films like Transformers and after graduating he’d love to go and work for someone like Industrial Light and Magic, famous for their work on the Star Wars films, and work on modelling and animating characters or creatures.

Fittingly, reaching for the stars, or should that be Star Wars, Jake concludes: “Who knows this could be my first step to getting work on Star Wars 8 or 9.”

He might not end up working in a galaxy far, far away but one thing is for sure, Jake’s career is set to transform.

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