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November 2017
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Isolated Creative Genius to Global Teaming

While our region hunkered down under a snowy blanket last week, CDI ideology shined brightly at the College Art Association Conference in Chicago. (CAA is the most prestigious and competitive forum for the dissemination of art production and research.) There, Interim Director Scott Betz led a session emphasizing the benefits of collaboration and bringing into focus the artistic language of innovation, creativity, and collaboration.

The conference session blurb describes a clichéd image of a creative genius suffering in isolation for the realization of a calling to paint, sculpt, draw, or write. According to Cathy N. Davidson, 21st century-technology and realities of our brain function promise to change all that. “Global teaming requires an inherent humility, an intuitive and inquisitive gift for unlearning and learning, because one’s patterns and expectations constantly come into productive collaboration with those of people schooled in other traditions, other cultures.” In a world where collaborations across disciplines and across vast distances seem omnipresent, how are artists and scholars affected? What are some desirable alternatives to the isolated creative genius icon? In many ways artists, musicians, and actors have been forerunners in the arena of cooperative productivity. How can those practices best inform educational and business structures where independent results have long been required? How does a student or a professional get “credit” for collaborative work?

Betz contributed to this discussion, highlighting collaborations that allow richer and more dynamic growth in both areas of art and science, focusing attention on the critical need to create ways to occupy the artistic void in 3D print research, thus bringing the artist firmly into the technical conversation.

Stop-Motion Innovation

A partnership between CDI and the UNCSA film program resulted in a unique innovation in stop-motion animation. The project merges one of the oldest forms of animated film with complex computer generated imagery and 3D printed puppets. The 3D printed plastic material was especially suited to stop-motion, as the texture works well for puppet armature, which is the property of a puppet that allows it to hold a pose between frames without slipping. The outcome demonstrates an unusual and evocative mixture of animated elements to serve the film’s narrative.

Brainchild of UNCSA student/alum Austin Taylor, this stop-motion project conveys a nostalgic feeling that together with the innocence of the toy-like, jointed puppets enables the film maker to impose imagination in a grandiose way. This technique seems a logical choice for Taylor who says he developed a love of toys and playing in an imaginary world while growing up an only child in rural USA.

This project is based on direction from UNCSA advisor Joe Lopina. Familiar with the technology and driven to push students to the limit, Lopina led Taylor to solutions in the puppets’ joint design and guiding the parts into position. The 3D modeling software is industry standard for animation and a huge part of the curriculum. But it was a bit trickier to work through the process of designing and converting files from the standard animation format to the format for 3D printing.

CDI helped develop a workflow that allowed 3D printing of hundreds of puppet parts in each build. The process required multi-surface design, file correction, and model validation and took about two weeks to figure out. Taylor credits the success of this collaboration to being able to get off campus, move into the CDI studio, collaborate with others gaining valuable feedback, and having someone with whom to walk through the process.

Unsure at first that the idea would work, Taylor is happy with the end result. “We achieved the aesthetic we were going for. The joints hold the pose perfectly.” Taylor says the experience justified the purchase of UNCSA’s own 3D printer, and he intends to share his information, technique, and skills with others. The final product is currently being screened at various film festivals.

MoCap LLS Students Explore High Tech

The fall 2013 semester MoCap LLS class explores athletic movement while experiencing high speed video and multi-camera arrays.

Learn more about the MoCap LLS …

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