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Remora News & Events

Features

April 30, 2013


Savannah College of Art & Design
Animation Students Create
Digital Field Guide to Gray's Reef

A student works on the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.

Detail is displayed on a student's computer screen as she works on the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.
Photo: Michael Jordan

Is it real, or is it a computer simulation? You may be hard-pressed to tell if you watch a digital video created recently by a group of students from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The 30 graduate and undergraduate students from the Visual Effects Department used high-tech computer animation software to create a digital field guide to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

A scene from the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.

A scene from the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.

Said participant Rachel Start, "This project had a pretty high standard, because we're going for photo-realism, and we wanted to really portray what these creatures look like in their environment." Added graduate student Andy Hernandez, "Gray's Reef has a very specific type of sand, very specific types of rocks, and we can't just put any type of rock texture or sand texture on there, because it will look like rocks and sand, but it won't be accurate as to what we're trying to do."

A scene from the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.

A scene from the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.
Photo: Michael Jordan

The project has been a useful exercise for the students, and a great educational tool. It will also come in handy when these SCAD students look for jobs in the movie world. Said Film and Television Professor Jon Alvord, who worked on the project, "It's an opportunity for the students to see a real world working environment". It gives them an opportunity to actually interact with a client. They have delivery deadlines. We actually produce something that is professional quality." Visual Effects Department Chair Barbara McCulough added, "It's really interesting for me to observe their work ethic, how serious they are about what they're doing, and their commitment to it."

Students who helped create the digital field guide to Gray's Reef.

Students who helped create the digital field guide to NOAA Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary pose for a group photograph with Cathy Sakas, Gray's Reef Education Coordinator (2nd row, 2nd left) at the completion of the project.
Photo: Tarana Mayes

Click here to view video of the students work-in-progress.


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