Marshall Birnbaum BFA Thesis Spring 2012
I believe that the study of life is as vital for animators as it is for biologists. We have come to a point in history where observational techniques such as X-ray crystallography allow us to peer into, with unprecedented clarity, the molecular structures that are vital to life. Computer-generated artistic interpretations of these structures provide us with high-definition imagery of unexplored landscapes existing on the atomic scale inside of the human body. These breakthroughs have unquestionably altered our understanding of what it means to be animated organisms and also how we create animated artworks. The study of animal locomotion is in a new era of observation. I have chosen to examine the key historical events that have brought us to this point by studying the lives and works of two innovators, Eadweard Muybridge and Etienne-Jules Marey. Thought this study I have come to realize the enormous impact both inventors had on our visualization of time and space and the dramatic effect their work had on the artists and scientists of their time. Today, a new wave of contemporary animators and software developers are pushing the way sin which we observe life in the same spirit of Muybridge and Marey, by providing new techniques to explore and create images. These methods and tools have brought me to reexamine my understanding of animation on many levels. By utilizing software developed by the Scripps Research Institute to create molecular imagery, I have chosen to display my interpretations in large-scale, panorama format, as well as in sculptural form to express the influence scientific observational techniques have had on me as an animator.