Combining Art & Technology

From Zachary Hardin, who did a directed study for 2016 May Term:

For this year’s May term, I had the wonderful opportunity of taking CIS-160: Intro to 3D Graphics. This class was amazing! I’ve learned so many different aspects about art and how it can be applied in a three dimensional form. I highly recommend it to all students who have a deep appreciation for art and technology. Unlike most art forms such as painting or hand-drawings, 3D graphics combines art and technology; it takes the best from both fields, and allows artists to explore a whole new world.

For my final project, I decided to create a pool table. My goal was to make it look as realistic as possible. It wouldn’t be easy, but I was up for the challenge, so I started right away. I used Cycles Rendered because it offers more advanced texturing, and it would allow me to achieve the desired look. Cycles Rendered allowed me to use and create realistic looking materials and apply them to the mesh objects. I also applied physics to the pool table and the billiard balls so that they could collide with each other. Capturing the realistic physics of the collisions was definitely a challenge, but it worked out in the end.

When it came to creating a scene and a theme, I wanted the pool table to be the main focus. I could’ve created an entire room to place the table in; it would’ve looked awesome, but I didn’t want the viewer to be distracted. My favorite motto is “more is less; less is more.” It’s the motto that I live by, and it essentially means that more isn’t necessarily better… so I decided to do less and it worked out really well. I created a floor for the table; placed some light fixtures above to illuminate the scene, and this helped display the pool table very nicely. As a result, this decision helped me create a calm and peaceful mood that keeps the viewers’ attention.

In the end, I am proud of this accomplishment. I spent a lot of time working on it, and if I had had more time, I would have liked to experiment with more textures and effects. I’m looking forward to continuing my education in 3D graphics outside of school. The possibilities with 3D graphics is endless and I can’t wait to see what I do. I hope you enjoy my very short video and thanks for reading. Cheers!