TJC professor displays digital artwork in the movie “Ready Player One”


Anna Graves
Digital Content Manager

The sci-fi thriller, “Ready Player One,” has hit the theaters, and a professor from TJC has a hand in the film’s animation.

Justin Sullivan, professor of game and simulation development, created a digital animation that appears in the movie, “Ready Player one,” directed by Steven Spielberg. The background digital character is revealed in a scene alongside many other animations.

Digital background characters are just like real background actors. They are used to fill the background space, and don’t have any speaking parts.

“I read the book back in 2012, and I love the book. I told everyone [about the book]. It was a highly recommended book on my list…A friend heard that Warner Bros. was looking for talent for this film and let me know about it. That’s kinda how I found out about the whole thing.”

Sullivan constructed his animation without direct supervision or partnered collaboration. He was given a detailed text sheet of instructions and requirements for the character.

Although his character is minor, Sullivan said it was a really fun project to work on. The animation was built using 171,604 polygons, and took about a total of 24 hours of work.

Polygons are little digital squares in computer graphics that are used to construct a digital animation.

“I call her heart, but she’s such a minor role in the film, she doesn’t have an actual name. She’s not in the book and she’s not a major character, but I came up with a background story, and a name…”

Heart is described to have details like a swatch watch, a backpack that also functions as a jet pack, an old school cassette player, headphones, glasses, and high-top sneakers. She is called heart because she loves hearts. Two large pink hearts rest at the top of her wings, and a smaller purple heart is located on her chest.

Aside from his work for “Ready Player One,” Sullivan has trained and created content for many companies. His work has was used for Luke Air Force Base, Raytheon Missile Systems, Bombardier Aerospace, Honeywell, Cranial Technologies, Intraspace, Sandia National Laboratory, THQ (Rainbow Studios), Artifact Entertainment, Oralbotic Research, Cinematix Studios. And many others like pool companies, architectural companies, and engineering companies.

Sullivan says it’s really neat to get to see his work displayed next to other characters in theater, like Laura Croft, from Tomb Raiders, Goro from Mortal Combat, and many others.

If your weekend plans include going to watch “Ready Player One” in theaters, then be sure to lookout for Justin Sullivan’s character, Heart.


  1. It never fails to amaze me just how much our professors truly know and even better, they’re more than happy to teach us! I am a very creative and imaginative person and to hear this professor give us his insights on his take over the film really makes me look at things in a different perspective. Truly wonderful!

  2. This article is very interesting. I love that someone so close to home had a cool role, even if it wasn’t a big role it is still really awesome and something I would be very proud of.


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