Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Interactive Animation Project

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Midterm is later this week. You've heard the expression about teaching an old dog new tricks. Well, it's not as easy as it looks.

When I went to college (the last time), I was trained in the "International Style" or "Swiss School" of graphic design methodology, which had its origins in the work of Swiss designers like Armin Hoffman and American designers like Paul Rand. Some of that has fallen by the wayside in favor of a more American influence, which relies to some degree on more decorative elements, or various period or "retro" devices, ostensibly to give the design a more fresh appearance, but which often ends up looking... well, decorative, and easily outdated.

The overall piece must avail itself of the background of the web browser page outside the animated frame, which is a bit of a challenge for me. After weeks of being inundated with the work of other students, I wasn't sure if I could do a piece that did what I wanted it to do, yet still be "outside the box," as it were. That has been the big challenge for me. Indeed, it has plagued me especially in the past year, as I try to produce work that is "fresh," while at the same time availing myself of nearly thirty years of experience, which is a bit hard to avoid. How do you separate bad habits from a lifetime of otherwise good judgment? I don't think there are easy answers here, and as one in an environment that is clearly not designed for the "non-traditional student," I must press on.

Having said that, some of the student work in my class appears to use a fresher approach than mine, and I'm breaking out of my shell in minor increments. It isn't fast enough for my professor, though, and we've had some fine old battles in the lab during critique, much to the delight of my fellow-students. The thing is, some of their work is brilliant, but some of it is, in my opinion, a bit amateurish and immature. It is here that I'm not sure my professor is fast enough. I have a lot of respect for her, though, and I'm still in the race.

The main project for this term is to be taken from a person or event of history. I chose "The Folklife of Appalachia." An embedded example of the piece does not do justice to it. A screen shot below gives an idea of how it looks in context. This is how it looks for the midterm review, with the static interface (the "front page," as it were) completed. Progress can be followed for the next five weeks by clicking on the following URL:

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