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Ohio State graduates gear up for digital animation and interactive media theses presentations

Courtesy of Nicole Lemon

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Three recent graduates of Ohio State’s digital animation and interactive media program, who haven’t abandoned their art for the past three years, will release it into the public Thursday.

Nicole Lemon, Jeremy Baker and Zachary Maynard graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the program last summer. They are scheduled to present their work, which includes animations and an interactive installation, 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Urban Arts Space, located at 50 W. Town St.

Lemon, who also received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from OSU, said her animation explores the concept of previsualization.

“My short animation is about finding the fantastic in the mundane, making your everyday world wondrous through imagination, and realizing the potential of it,” Lemon said. “My thesis research was in previsualization, specifically in computer animated filmmaking.”

Maynard, who attended Bowling Green State University for his bachelor’s degree in fine arts, said he will be presenting an interactive installation.

“I’m using 3-D modeling in a real time game environment to recreate a way of storytelling,” Maynard said. “The interactive piece is a way of giving the viewer control in this space, like looking at a painting rather than playing a video game.”

Alan Price, an associate professor in the department of design and Baker’s and Maynard’s thesis adviser, said the event offers a chance for graduates to showcase what they learned at OSU.

“We’re holding this opportunity for them to show off their work,” Price said. “When the grad students are in our program, one of the primary objectives is to complete one or more animated works in addition to their thesis, so they will be screening those projects and talking about their work.”

Price also said the department of design hosts this event annually for its recent graduates, but because the number of students is smaller this year, the event has been downsized accordingly.

“We’ve been doing it for the past several years at the Wexner Center for the Arts,” Price said. “We decided to go this time for a little smaller scale and a casual, cozier environment.”

Price said Baker’s work explores the concept of documentary filmmaking and how it relates to animation.

“Jeremy became really interested in the direct cinema style of documentary … and how that relates to animation,” Price said. “So he worked in the motion capture lab to capture in real time his handheld camera work.”

Maynard said he is “excited but nervous” to present his thesis work.

“I’m a little nervous about it,” he said. “Hopefully there are no technical issues. I’ve got to make sure nothing breaks.”

Lemon agreed she has mixed feelings about presenting her work.

“I’m excited to show what I’ve been working on for two years, but I also feel like there will always be more to improve,” Lemon said. “It’s just as they say, ‘art is never finished, only abandoned.'”

The digital animation and interactive media’s MFA program is three years long. Students typically spend their first year conceptualizing and exploring ideas for their project. During the second year, they refine those ideas, and during the last year, they produce their projects.

Price said he hopes the students’ presentations will be stepping stones for their future careers.

“The goal is to let the students shine,” Price said. “It’s part of our vision for the program that the students … not only get to screen their work, but in the year that follows, submit their work to film festivals and get their work seen. We really want the work to continue to have a life.”

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