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Animations: An Unexpected Journey

Author: Priscilla Riscica, Urban Animator - Gerard Coutts & Associates

What do you think when you think ‘Animation’?

Immediately, what comes to mind are cartoons, Marvel movies and games. While this would be any animator’s dream, there are so many more avenues that a career in animation can take you. How about creating virtual reality simulations for training doctors, firefighters and airforce pilots? How about animating logos and video intros for businesses?

How about educational apps and games for schools, visualising how atoms work, showing what it’s like to fly through space?

Car commercials? Fly-through’s of architecture and shopping centre complexes? Designing and marketing the latest iPhone?

The marriage of STEM and the Arts

I was good at math in high school, but better at art. I had to choose between studying studio art and advanced mathematics. My creativity took precedence and I pursued a career in animation. During my time at university, we used specialised software to model and animate characters, objects and environments. This software was built with code and functioned on mathematical principles. You may have the best idea for a feature film, but unless you have a good understanding of coding, the laws of mathematics, physics, etc., you would not get very far in making it happen.

Even though I was creatively inclined, I’m glad I paid attention in my STEM subjects during school. It benefited me greatly when transitioning from a pencil and paper to a digital canvas.

The relationship between STEM subjects and the Arts/Humanities subjects, remind me of how our brain works; the right hemisphere has its strengths in creativity and the left has its strengths in logic. Yet both must work together to reach full potential. After graduating with a Bachelor of Animation, I landed unexpectedly in the field of urban planning. Animation can take urban planning principles and transform them into real world workable solutions.

So where do drones come into this?

We work with qualified pilots to fly drones over land that has development potential. We run the drone data through editing software and track the drone camera motion. We make 3D models and overlay them on the drone footage (like augmented reality). These 3D models can include houses, roads, trees and parks. We also overlay 2D infographics of important information like the boundary of the land, surrounding schools and shops.

So what’s the point?

Who does this help? Animation over drone footage can be a powerful tool. It can assist with lobbying local and state governments to approve a project. It’s especially useful for end-users who want to invest in or develop future opportunities.

The uses of animation in industry are vast. Every project I come across is unique and requires a custom approach. This keeps me positively challenged and learning new things on a daily basis. Pursuing a career in animation has been rewarding. I have been able to contribute in a small way to help solve real-world problems, to build a sustainable environment and a better standard of living for the future.

“You have brains in you head

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

In any direction you choose.”

- Dr Suess

Priscilla Riscica

Urban Animator - Gerard Coutts & Associates


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