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Salton Sea

Animated Short Film

The Salton Sea and its surrounding towns were created around a manmade sea - a sea that is now drying up making the area uninhabitable. Despite being one of the biggest manmade ecological disasters, it is not a well-known phenomenon. However, it is aptly named "California's Skeleton in the Closet".


The Salton Sea seemed like the perfect resort and a site for developers to realize their ambitions. It was easy to overlook the main problem: that this large, artificial sea was doomed to decay as it lacked a self-sustaining water source. I was curious to find out how it was advertised to so many as the ideal place to live and found being away from the hectic environment of big cities like LA offered the appeal. Despite its decline, neighboring Bombay Beach has started to draw artists and filmmakers because of its eerie, desolate, landscape. This animated short film explores the area's peculiar ambience, diving into its strange past and present.


The film is narrated by someone from a promotional film about the Salton Sea from the 1960s, which I thought was a good base to build the whole film on. The intent was to juxtapose what was advertised and what it came to be in an entertaining format.


This project was animated using Unreal Engine 5.1, and AI image-generating applications like Midjourney were utilized to model unique props and one-of-a-kind assets that fit the strange theme of Salton Sea and couldn't be found anywhere else.

4th year Vertical Studio

Spring 2023

Instructor - David Ruy

Teacher Assistant - Hans Steffes

Salton Sea - Animated Short Film (SCI-Arc)
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