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Computer Graphics 2016: Connecting 3D animation and fine art- Lauren Carr-Montclair State University


3D Animation is usually related to characters animating; yet this arguably young medium can create aesthetic expression far beyond characters animated to inform a story. Exploiting 3D animation software by utilizing its tools with traditional art forms and media for experimental art is seldom considered, despite its powerful potential. At the intersection of art and 3D animation, students can yield undiscovered creative techniques and problem-solving. There is a powerful potential of discovery in the art academy academia by connecting these two learning paths and likely innovative curriculum solutions resulting in communal learning and discovery amongst students and professors. This session seeks to explore an interdisciplinary approach combining 3D animation software with traditional art media. This conference talk explores theorizing and implementation of methods that combine art and 3D animation studies. Presentation embodies the analyses of personal practices of implementing traditional media with 3Danimation software. Some of the pieces resemble elaborate screensavers or moments plucked from a video game, while others would be at home in an animated film festival. Some are accompanied by music, narration, and sound effects, others are perfectly silent. Some will make you smile, and some will make you scratch your head. Capturing their similarities would be no easier than quickly comparing Kandinsky, Rothko, Dali, and de Kooning, whose work led to plenty of head scratching in their day.Despite the comparisons to modern art, properly speaking , the components of digital art aren't all that new. The early days of MTV are filled with 15-second bumpers that featured digital animation and computer-generated music videos like Dire Straits “Money for Nothing.” And though World of Warcraft is a far cry from Space Invaders, old-school arcade games leveraged much of an equivalent technology for entertainment, if not for art. So, what’s different now? “The internet is a big factor—artists can now put anything they make online, and get an audience,” says Zeile, owner of Plus Gallery and the leader of Denver Digerati, which is championing the art form throughout the city. “A lot of artists are questioning traditional roles of presentation strictly within a gallery environment. They can present their work in many ways on the web and make opportune connections. The other big factor is computer power, which has exploded in the last 10 years. When I started out as a graphic designer, it took 10 hours to create a simple illustration on a Mac. Now artists with entry-level software can do phenomenal things, even create entire worlds in remarkably short time.”The artists that Zeile represents aren’t kids who play with computers in their parents’ basement—most graduated from art school with degrees in illustration, painting, or sculpture, then adapted their knowledge of lighting, texture, and composition to satisfy the digital space.Take Bryan Leister, for instance . Long before computers were considered standard equipment in schools, Leister earned his BFA in communication arts. His work for Time magazine, Smithsonian and corporate clients earned him honors from Print and Communication Arts. In 2006, Leister went back to high school and earned his MFA in digital fine arts, opening up a completely new world. He’s now a professor at CU Denver, splitting his time between teaching and producing digital art with an emphasis on interactive exhibits.In one exhibit dubbed “Valley Diptych,” Leister projects images of a particularly realistic couple onto a surface. With help from motion-detection cameras and cloud-computing software, their eyes follow visitors as they come and go—a project that asks questions about the role of art and our response to technology.Like most artists, digital animators often support themselves with full-time or part-time work beyond the studio. Some make video games commercially while others work in advertising. One of Leister’s ny friends recently hired an agent who typically represents musicians and Hollywood actors—recognizing that a wealthy patron who wants a six-screen video installation in her living room could also be checking out something closer to performance art than anything framed and persisted a wall.


Lauren Carr joined the Department of Art and Design as an Assistant Professor in the Animation/Illustration program. She has worked professionally for Disney Feature Animation, Cinesite, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Dreamworks Animation. Some of her film projects include Tangled, Meet the Robinsons, Chicken Little, X-Men United, Rio, and Ice Age 4. She was a character simulation technical director at Blue Sky Studios and, prior to coming to Montclair State University, had taught for the School of Visual Arts in the Department of Computer Art, Computer Animation & Visual Effects.

Lauren Carr

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