ISEA2011 PANEL: Serious Animation

Serious Animation: Beyond Art and Entertainment

Chair: Chris Rowland

Animation methods and techniques have evolved in recent years to be accessable to a wider range of creative practitioners than their original design. Creative practice and research have taken methods developed for storytelling and entertainment and retasked them to solve real world problems. This panel explores some of these applications through discussion and case studies.
Digital Choreography? There’s an app for that!
by John Anderson

It is irrefutable that software systems have come to play an indispensable role in the creative arts with many disciplines reaping the benefit of software products which augment or entirely supplant traditional techniques. However there has been little appreciable acceptance of technology within the dance community despite the best efforts of a core of pioneers. Does the proliferation of personal technology which can “sense” the world in terms of motion, audio, vision and touch present an opportunity for a reboot of dance-technology, and what new interface paradigms should we now be considering?
Depicting the Dead
by Caroline Wilkinson

This presentation discusses how 3D haptic technology is used to depict faces of the dead. The paper describes 3D anatomical modelling and the utilisation of skeletal models from clinical imaging data and explains how this can be employed to aid recognition and identification in forensic investigations or authentication and depiction in archaeological research. The presentation will show depictions of Ancient Egyptians, Bog Bodies and famous historical figures, such as J.S. Bach and William Shakespeare.
The use of animation in the generation and documentation of ideas in Systems Painting
by Paul Goodfellow

The paper will be framed within a brief discussion of Systems Art, the representation of time in art and the place of painting in contemporary art. I will briefly describe my personal making process and how animation is used to document visual decision-making processes at all the key stages of the development of a piece of work. The key stages of my painting process will follow, with the associated form of animation-documentation employed:

Stage – Animation
1. Data collection – Stop motion and GPS
2. Prep. studies in colour and composition – Data sampling, real-time & procedural animation
3. Painting development – Projected animation
4. Capturing painting process – Stop motion
5. Post painting time-based analysis – Composite of animations from stages 2 & 4

Animation is used to document the systems methodology I employ at each stage of the creative process. It allows me to capture any deviation from the system; to map the randomness, and chaos. My primary interest is to document in a time-based way the intuitive decision making processes taking place within a controlled environment. Animation is an excellent method for such documentation. Ultimately I am interested to understand what this might say about the relationship between intuition, conscious and sub-consciousness decision-making in art.
MoCCA: Motion Capture Cloth Analysis
by Chris Rowland

The majority of cloth simulation algorithms and software applications in computer graphics are designed to support virtual garment creation for animated characters or visual effects (e.g superhero capes). In these cases the primary objective is for the simulated garment to support the performance of the actor. The cloth is directed by the animator to behave in a manner that is believable rather than accurate. Accuracy (or fidelity) is not the primary goal; a solution that is simply plausible is usually good enough for entertainment. For our purposes we need to virtually prototype garments with a high level of motion fidelity. The MoCCA project investigates the re-tasking of digital cloth simulation for purposes beyond entertainment. We are simulating applications where garments are employed to support the deployment of a range of wearable technologies (e.g. search and rescue, criminal investigation, etc) In these cases it is useful to be able to accurately predict the behaviour of various materials in a range of environments and scenarios.
3D Visualisation for Patient Centred Communication
by John McGhee

This paper will describe a practice-led enquiry into the value of 3-D Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in the visualisation and animation of clinical radiological scan data. The aim of this work is to develop an alternative pathway to visualising clinical data that augments and challenges the existing medical imaging aesthetic. It questions the integrity of the authors arts-based interpretation of radiological scan data and its relevance in the realworld context of enhancement of doctor-patient communication and interaction. Exploring the opportunities for a new visualisation pathway that brings together the visual and narrative approaches of a 3-D computer animation aesthetic and the detail embedded inclinical radiological scan data. A multi-method approach is used to address the key research questions. The methods are informed by a collaborative two-year residency at Ninewells Hospital, NHS Tayside, Dundee. The designer’s tacit knowledge is discussed in relation to providing a transferable model of working, proposing approaches for the future visualisation of medical scan data from a patient centric point of view.
Bios of the Participants
John Anderson is the founder of Gridloop and a researcher in the 3D Visualisation Group at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee. He has spent many years developing interactive products to support the teaching of dance and music in mainstream education and his work was nominated for an Interactive BAFTA award in 2005. As well as holding an MSc in Animation and Visualisation from the University of Dundee, John is also a graduate of the London School of Contemporary Dance.

Caroline Wilkinson is currently Professor of Craniofacial Identification at the University of Dundee. Her work includes craniofacial depiction from skeletal and partially decomposed human remains for use in forensic and archaeological investigations and she is author of Forensic Facial Reconstruction. Dr Wilkinson has also been involved in many archaeological investigations and her work is exhibited in museums around the world, including facial depictions of bog bodies (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark & National Museum of Ireland), Ancient Egyptians (The British Museum) and British Archaeology (Museum of London & National Museum of Scotland).  She has appeared on television in popular archaeology programmes such as Meet the Ancestors (BBC2), Secrets of the Dead (Channel 4) and History Cold Case (BBC2).

Paul Goodfellow is an artist-animator, and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) degree in Motion Graphics and Animation Design, at Northumbria University. He is a practicing artist, and has many years experience in animation, with film and television credits. He began his career in science and data visualization and used early 3D computer animation software to visualize change in complex spatial and temporal data. He is currently undertaking a practise-based PhD. In Systems based Painting entitled ‘Mapping the Limits of System based Painting’.

Dr. Chris Rowland is Head of Animation at DJCAD and leads the 3D Visualisation Research Lab. His research interests are centred around exploiting animatin methodology to investigate real world problems. His collaborative projects include the visualisation of historic and environmentally significant shipwrecks on the seabed from multibeam sonar data . Projects have included the visualisation of sunken Russian Nuclear submarines in the Arctic Circle. Recently visualising the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which lies a mile beneath the sea in the Gulf of Mexico after causing the biggest oil spill in US history in April 2010.

Dr. John McGhee was originally trained as an Industrial Designer at Grays School of Art. John then spent several years in the computer graphics industry working on web design, multimedia and 3D computer animation. John’s research began on the MSc in animation and visualisation at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, where he explored the relevance of creative 3D computer graphics technologies in medical imaging. Through collaborative work with the department of Radiology, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee he developed a series of 3D computer animation tools that may have the potential to be used as a means of improving patient disease understanding.
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Posted by:  Ebru Surek