As a student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts, many of my classes are focused around the traditional means of producing art, such as painting and drawing. Thanks to the Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies, I am able to incorporate new technology and programs in my creative process, a realm I am personally more comfortable with, while still exploring fine art and design.
The stop motion project was created for Neal Daugherty's 2D Digital Production Art course. I decided to experiment in several different areas. I had taken a class with Neal before, which had introduced me to Adobe After Effects, and I am currently taking Digital Fabrication with Jose Perez. So, I was immediately drawn to the idea of uniting the two by utilizing the laser cutter. I also wanted to attempt to create something that was a bit more abstract than my usual works.
I began with arranging an audio track using Apple Loops in Garage Band. Then, I used After Effects to create an animation matching up with the audio. The animation had to be simple, partly because of time restraints, but also because I had to consider how it would translate to the laser cutter. Most of the animations were moving shapes and transformations, but with the more complex animations, I tried experimenting a bit more. The cube in the beginning was first animated and outlined in Autodesk Maya. The skeleton was an old Halloween decoration filmed against a blue wall. Color keying, posterize effects, and level adjustments were all used to simplify the image. The audio waveform and breaking glass were generated using After Effects presets. Once the animation was complete, I exported it out as an image sequence and arranged it for the laser cutter in Adobe Illustrator. Each frame was cut out on Bristol smooth paper and sized to fit on 3x5-inch cards.
There were a few problems, both technically and conceptually. However, though it was a long, tedious process, I learned a lot, and I hope to revisit this concept some day in the future. I'm so excited that CAET is open to interdisciplinary studies, and they allow students to creatively challenge themselves using modern technology. It provides several opportunities to UT students that they wouldn't have otherwise.