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Thoughts on games & animation...

I began this module by watching the Siggraph Animation Festival Trailer. What an amazing art digital animation can be. There are so many ways it is used: realistic special effects such as a building blowing up, or to create fantasy worlds and fantastic environments to creating playful characters for children’s stories. I am interested in how I might learn more about animation to both create time-based art pieces, and also to teach students techniques that they could use in architectural presentations.

Then, I went on to some readings in Game Studies. The Gazzard article brought up the idea of rewards in gaming. Not being a gamer, I had not fully understood why it could be so difficult for a student (for example) to resist the temptation of using the class computers to play video games instead of working on their design project during class. Not only are the movement and graphics compelling, but I realize that the rewards, particularly social rewards, are likely irresistible. This is a dilemma that those of us who teach computer based courses deal with. There is much debate about the merits (or distraction) of video games. There is an argument to be made that this is a huge industry, and there are serious competition events happening. So this may be a career avenue for some of our students.

In searching through the Game Studies archives, I came across an article about research on video gaming among older adults. (Lee) The author points to studies done to measure how game playing among participants ages 60-89 affected social connection. The results showed that playing with family members, or even with distant acquaintances increased feelings of social connection. It was hypothesized that playing alone would increase isolation, but this did not prove true. So, gaming could generally be seen as positive for older adults. It would be valuable to know more: what types of games were played in the experiment? What were the differences seen between the 60 year old subjects, and the 89 year old subjects?

What potentially interests me most within the Module 5 topics is animation. Specifically, the animation of artwork. And there are a few specific reasons for this. One has to do with the process and product of being an artist. As a painter and maker of objects, for every one piece that is sold, or now exists in a public space, there are around ten more pieces of art that still remain in the studio, or stored somewhere, or are at home taking up space. Almost every artist that I know has a similar situation. As an artist, I am much more engaged in the process of making art. Once it’s complete, I sort of lose interest in the product. So the concept of time based art, a product that is ephemeral, is appealing. Animation can be very engaging to viewers, since as with video games, it has movement, effects, sound, and can create an immersive and collaborative environment.

Researching animation of artwork, I found some inspiring videos that demonstrated both creativity and collaboration, such as Animating Art, in which filmmaker Sharad Patel worked with painter Shiva Ahamdi to animate her paintings. I found the results to be magical and beautiful. Taking the animation of paintings in another direction, the Metropolitan Museum has introduced an interactive program, Open Access at the Met, that allows participants to animate paintings from the collection that are in the public domain. While I found the results shown on the site a bit odd and disturbing, the concept is to encourage the public to be able to interact with the artwork, and become part of the creative process. The author writes: “Sometimes I wonder what the artists would think if they saw what I was doing. I hope they would appreciate it, but I'll never know.”


SIGGRAPH Asia 2014-Computer Animation Festival Preview Trailer

Retrieved from:

Gazzard, A. (2011). Unlocking the Gameworld: The Rewards of Space and Time in Video Games. Game Studies, 11(1). Retrieved from

Lee, Y. (2019) Older adults’ digital gameplay, social capital, social connectedness, and civic participation, Game Studies, 19(1).

Houston Public Media, Animating Art: Bringing Paintings to Life

Retrieved from:

Seagle, S. (2018) Open Access at The Met: Animating Artworks in the Collection.

Retrieved from:

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