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DMD Solidarity Statement

Behind the Badge
“Behind the Badge” – Digital Illustration by DMD first year student, Katie Aranda, created for DMD 1102 Design Lab 2 course, spring 2020.

 

Statement of Solidarity from the UConn Digital Media & Design Department

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. – ANGELA Y. DAVIS

Dear students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends,

We in the Department of Digital Media & Design feel the pain, sadness, and frustration caused by the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and the innumerable Black citizens whose lives who were cut short by racial injustice in our nation. Say their names.

In honor of those lost and in protection of our collective, societal future, I challenge each of us to commit to being ANTI-RACIST. We can no longer turn away and remain silent – it is not enough to be non-racist, we must stand together, act for social justice, and become actively conscious about race and racism in our daily lives. This is the only way that we can transform the world around us to become a more just and peaceful society.

In our departmental mission, we state that, “…we encourage students to find and express their voice, building from their unique background and perspective. We acknowledge that a diversity of thought and expression is needed in today’s society and see great promise in our DMD students’ ability to make a difference in the world as future digital media content creators, distributors, and analyzers.”

These words are more significant now than ever. Ironically, it is only because Americans carry smartphones – with high definition cameras connected to the internet – that these horrific acts of violence are being brought to light, the same tools that we embrace in Digital Media & Design for content creation and distribution. As a creative community with talents in digital media, each one of us has the potential to make a positive impact, realize complex ideas, empower those whose voices are silenced by mainstream media, and amplify those voices in the digital sphere. This moment is a call to action for each of us to rise up and use our talents to spark meaningful conversations, engage in digital advocacy projects, and share our unique voices and diverse backgrounds.

DMD has become known for its collaborations around social justice through partnerships with the Dodd Center, the Human Rights Institute, Global Affairs, UConn Archives, and our many external nonprofit partners around the state, who we have helped realize professional digital products to support their missions. We have begun working closely with our Office for Diversity and Inclusion and our Cultural Centers, and we formed a departmental Inclusion Committee in 2019. However, confronting and fighting systemic racism requires intentionality, commitment, and coordinated efforts by the entire community.

We join our colleagues at the University of Connecticut in committing to anti-racism, share this statement on racial injustice, and invite you to read those of the Dodd Center and Human Rights Institute, the Africana Studies Institute, interdisciplinary centers, institutes, and programs, and the President and Provost. Together, we affirm our commitment to making the struggle against White supremacy and systemic racism central to our work in building an equitable and just campus community and society

To our black students, faculty, and friends, please know that your DMD family stands with you in solidarity. We hear you, we share your outrage, and we empathize with your pain. And I ask everyone in our community, right now, to reach out to and support our friends of color, who are truly suffering during this time of national crisis, both from racial injustice and the pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted minority groups.
There are many resources available to support this work, but a particularly meaningful one is the National Museum of African American History and Culture‘s “Talking About Race” site. I also invite you to join the Racial Profiling Prohibition Project and stakeholders from across the state for Truth & Reconciliation: A Conversation about Race and Policing at 11am tomorrow, Friday, June 5.

Finally, over the next month, we will be sharing via social media examples of recently created student projects that engage social justice issues, address racism and embrace cultural identity. Please follow us on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to view the works and help amplify our UConn DMD students’ voices as we celebrate their creativity and passion as they learn that they have the power to bring change to the world.

In solidarity, but with hope,

Heather Elliott-Famularo
Department Head & Professor, Digital Media & Design

Faculty member Sue Huang featured in Creative Capital’s On Our Radar 2020

Sue Huang's research

The project Freshkills in Eight Movements, by faculty member Sue Huang and collaborator Brian House, is featured in Creative Capital’s On Our Radar 2020. On Our Radar 2020 features noteworthy projects in all disciplines that advanced to the final round in the competitive selection process for the Creative Capital Award. During each award cycle, Creative Capital has the great privilege of learning about a wealth of exciting artists’ projects. By promoting projects “on our radar” to people who are passionate about the arts, we can help forge connections that lead to new avenues of support and collaborative opportunities. We invite you to explore projects featured in On Our Radar, and follow links to artists’ websites to find out more about how you can get involved making their visions a reality.   

Freshkills in Eight Movements is a sound/video installation that explores the relationship between human and environmental temporalities in a time of climate crisis. The project takes as its starting point New York City’s Freshkills, once known as Fresh Kills Landfill, the largest municipal dump in the world. Currently in the process of a decades-long transformation into a public park, Freshkills is a uniquely liminal space, where our long-term effects on the Earth are palpable. 

House and Huang’s installation emerges from the multitemporal dynamics of this environment—the thousand-year decay of a Styrofoam cup, the multigenerational use of the land by humans, the seasonal cycle of the regenerating vegetation, and the gathering of clouds. Each of these temporal layers is translated into musical notation using municipal and public data, including statistical projections of weather patterns and methane and leachate emissions data from the Department of Sanitation. The resulting eight scores are played by double bassist Robert Black (Bang on a Can All-Stars), whose performances are filmed and later projected onto a labyrinth of screens in an installation space. When heard simultaneously, these performances create a soundscape of data that coalesces multiple temporalities into one immersive experience. 

Congratulations to Professor Huang!

UConn Digital Media & Design Celebrates Graduating Seniors with Online Exhibition & Screening Premiere

 

DMD Class of 2020

 

The UConn Department of Digital Media & Design is thrilled to announce that its 2020 Senior Exhibitions will open online on Monday, April 27, 2020. These virtual group exhibitions feature the work of senior BFA students from the Storrs campus and senior BFA and select BA students from the Stamford campus. These online exhibitions replace the previously scheduled exhibitions in the Jorgensen Gallery of the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts and the UConn Stamford Art Gallery which were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

These exciting exhibitions feature a wide variety of digital projects created by seniors graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a few select Bachelor of Arts, in Digital Media & Design. Artworks range from 2D and 3D animations to interactive web and game projects that tell unique stories that explore many themes. To view the galleries, visit: http://dmd.uconn.edu/bfashow.

 

In addition, the public is invited to watch the completed films and animations in an online screening Premiere via YouTube at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8th, which will also serve as a celebration and virtual reception. http://youtube.com/uconndmd. 

 

Exhibiting artists, Storrs campus: Shay Albert (Woodstock, Conn.), Sign, Hand-drawn 2D animation; Owen Boyle (Branford, Conn.), Out of Left Field, 3D animation; Emily Cesarini (Greenwich, Conn.), Guidance, 3D game; Shawn Chen (Litchfield, Conn.), Internship video; Emma Rose Cooper (Waterbury, Conn.), Home, Interactive 3D environment; Jeffrey Dobbs (New Haven, Conn.), Synth-Sense, 3D animation; Eric Fritz (Millersville, Md.), Stop Talking To Me, Hand-drawn 2D animation; Allie Marsh (Old Lyme, Conn.), Why We Fly, Film; Tal Modiano (Woodbridge, Conn.), Wade/Cull Music Video, 2D animation; Cynthia Reinert (Berlin, Conn.), Wonder, Interactive web art; Morgan Rossi (Glastonbury, Conn.), Waddle We Do?, Installation with 3D animation; Courtney Senior (New Milford, Conn.) & Emily Touch (Cromwell, Conn.), Staraway, Game; Sarah Shattuck (Stamford, Conn.), MIACRO, 2D animation; Sheryl Wang (Ellington, Conn.), A Little Too Real, Animated web comic; Justin Woods (Thornwood, N.Y.), Perfect Fit, 3D Animation

 

Exhibiting artists, Stamford campus: James Campbell-Gibson (Capetown, South Africa), One a Day, Website and animation; Anthony Cavuoto (New Milford, Conn.), The New Nintendo, Video and brand book; Nolan Didio (Monroe, Conn.), Stranded, 3D animation; Jeremy Gonzalez (Stamford, Conn.), Conflict Within, 2D animation; Julian Kinney (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Full Metal Cactus, 2D animation; Tyrrell Serrano (Bridgeport, Conn.), Desert Dash and Tilt:Maze, Mobile games; Ryan Story (Stamford, Conn.), Untitled, 2D and 3D animation; Linh Tran (Bridgeport, Conn.), “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: How the Mad Women Changed the Face of the Ad Industry,” Poster; Andrew Zhou (Trumbull, Conn.), Umbra, Interactive narrative; James Zilvitis Jr. (Winsted, Conn.), HMS Triton Six Gun Frigate, 3D model

The University of Connecticut’s Department of Digital Media & Design 
provides an innovative and transformative experience to educate students in animation, gaming, web and interactive media design, digital media business strategies, film/video production, and the digital humanities. 

The University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts 
balances artistic and cultural legacies with the innovative approaches and techniques of contemporary art. In so doing, the School of Fine Arts serves students at the University of Connecticut in both their educational and their professional development. The outstanding faculty from the four academic departments are committed to providing rigorous professional education and all offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. Our academic programs are supported by specialized and uniquely focused showcases, stages, exhibition space and forums which include the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, William Benton Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Galleries, Connecticut Repertory Theatre and von der Mehden Recital Hall.

student artwork
dmd showcase graphic

(Via UConn Today) Adjusting to Pandemic Reality, 2020 MFA Thesis Exhibition at Benton Museum Moves Online

Undaunted by the restrictions caused by the pandemic, UConn’s 2020 MFA exhibition is now online.

Jasmine Rajavadee
Jasmine Rajavadee, SHRINE: Eternal Belonging (2020), documentation of installation (courtesy of the artist).
Photographer Elizabeth Ellenwood was working at a photo lab in Boston making prints when she decided it was time to further explore her own artistic endeavors.

“I also had an interest in teaching. I wanted to find a place that would give me the opportunity to try out teaching and see if that’s something that I wanted to continue working on,” she says about enrolling in the MFA program in Studio Art three years ago. “While I enjoyed being in the dark room, I was making prints for other people. I just really wanted more time to focus on my own artwork.”

Ellenwood’s exploration of her own photography and art can be seen in the unique 2020 edition of the annual Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at The William Benton Museum of Art, which is posted on the museum’s website due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online exhibition in Studio Art is titled “Tideland” and in addition to Ellenwood includes the works of painter and sculptor Olivia Baldwin, multimedia artist Shadia Heenan Nilforoush, and artist and printmaker Chad Uehlein. The Digital Media & Design online exhibit is titled “Square One” and includes the works of Jonathan Ampiaw, Karin Ching, Stefan Lopuszanski, Laurel Pehmoeller, and Jasmine Rajavadee.

“Square One” offers a variety of mediums including narrative film, hybrid digital and physical games, animation, installation, and projection mapping. Each exhibited work acts as a window through which the audience can access new worlds, personal memories, and cultural reflections, connecting visitors to where each artist started.

Ampiaw’s video game explores the themes of personal development and social growth. Lopuszanski’s game blurs the line between the digital and physical realms to create an innovative gameplay experience. Ching examines her journey to a new country, illustrating the cultural differences she has discovered between Taiwan and the United States, centered around food. Pehmoeller’s short film reflects on her own experiences as a young adult trying to find her way in the world. Rajavadee investigates the artist’s Lao-American upbringing with reference to cumulative memories and emotions associated with connecting the personal and the (multi)cultural.

The 2020 Studio Art and Digital Media & Design Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at The William Benton Museum of Art is now online.

Read the full story on UConn Today.

(Via The Daily Campus) Research Spotlight: Pushing the boundaries of digital media with UConn’s DX Lab

Pictured is a Classroom Management Observation Tool (CMOT) made in the DX lab. It allows observers to enter progress monitoring items and aids in proactive classroom management.

Faculty in the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media and Design program have come together to collaborate on the Digital Experience (DX) Lab.

The DX Lab is led by Joel Salisbury, director of research and user experience design, Michael Vertefeuille, director of operations and emerging technology and Brian Daley, director of infrastructure and app development.

The lab’s work covers a wide range of projects involving digital experiences and interaction, Vertefeuille explained.

“Quite simply, we love to build really cool stuff. Our projects have run the gamut. We work with electronics, connecting it to interesting digital experiences, large-scale databases that serve the non-profit sector, and sometimes we just build things to see if they’ll work,” Vertefeuille said.

These projects include Wellscan, a website and app made in collaboration with UConn’s Rudd Center on Food Policy and Obesity which helps food banks and food pantries manage their inventory. Additionally, the DX Lab has worked on different interactive museum installations, such as the Tree Sway Monitor featured at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT.

Another project to come out of the DX Lab was the Smart Mirror, which is a mirror that doubles as a screen to display things such as time, date, and weather. This mirror was one of the projects built out of the DX Lab’s Special Topics course.

“Sometimes, we run the DX Lab as a Variable Topics/Special Topics course. This is usually where our most “out-there” experimental work seems to occur. In this environment, we pick problems we want to solve or technologies we want to explore and go nuts trying to make something cool,” Salisbury said.

Collaboration with students isn’t just limited to the Lab’s classes, though. The DX Lab has several students run independent projects through the lab. They also employ students in their work.

“Students are the driving force behind all of the work we do. Their creative energy is what makes the DX Lab fun,” Daley said.

The group explained that while the lab officially formed a little over a year ago, the three of them have been working on the same topics since getting to UConn.

“We ‘officially’ formed in December 2018, but the three lead faculty members (Salisbury, Vertefeuille, Daley) have shared research interests since assuming our respective roles,” said the group.

In addition to the work the DX Lab is already doing, they’re quickly expanding.

“As of Spring 2020 the three of us oversee the newly-formed DX Group within UConn’s Center for Open Research Resources and Equipment (COR2E), through which we hope to collaborate with other researches on campus who may be in need of web development, app development, UX design or similar work,” the trio explained.

As for students looking to get involved in digital media and digital experience design, the group encouraged students to lean into the uncertainty of the field.

“Be bold! Embrace the fact that the field moves quickly and allow yourself to get excited about ‘not knowing,’ rather than daunted by ‘not knowing,’” Salisbury said.

Read the full article on The Daily Campus ().

(Via The Daily Campus) UConn Gaming Club Brings Gamers Together

DMD faculty and students gaming student work at the 2018 MFA Thesis Exhibition.

UConn Gaming Club (UCGC) manages to stay connected with its 1,200 members and host online events despite students remaining at home for the rest of the semester.

According to UCGC president, Digital Media & Design major Devyn Lowry (BA ’20), the club has hosted online community nights in an effort to keep members active and connected with each other. In the past two weeks, Lowry has hosted movie nights over the live streaming software Kast and plans to have a game night where members play various Jackbox party games.

Lowry, an eighth-semester digital media and design major, mentioned that the club’s biggest plan currently is to reconstruct Gampel Pavilion, or some part of it, in “Minecraft” and subsequently host commencement in the game. He mentioned this was the club’s plan of trying to give back to the community, especially to graduating UConn seniors. At the moment, the club is trying to figure out the servers that it will take place in and the mods needed for the project.

“We have a team of builders working very hard to get [Gampel] reconstructed,” Lowry said.

During a normal semester, UCGC hosts meetings from 6 to 11 p.m. in the School of Business. The club books up to four different rooms; they set up roughly four PCs for a free-play area or host a small tournament in the main lecture hall, and the smaller rooms are for games with bigger communities like League of Legends or Super Smash Bros. Lowry said that the largest community of players is for Super Smash Bros., mentioning that the game brings in 50 to 60 people each week as they play in one-versus-one or two-versus-two matches.

Lowry said the club’s ultimate goal is “to create a place at UConn where competitive and [casual] gamers alike can come together and form a welcoming community for anyone who has a passion for video games.”

UCGC also has competitive esports teams for games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, League of Legends and Rocket League. One of the club’s goals is to have an esports program that is officially recognized by the university. Lowry cited other universities like Ohio State University and Northeastern University that have official esports programs.

“There’s no reason why we can’t take what we’ve done for college basketball and become the staple for collegiate esports,” Lowry said.

The club’s biggest events of the year are the Husky Games and the Winter Prowl, the former of which would have taken place at the end of spring. The Husky Games is an 11-hour event that brings anywhere between 500 to 700 people to the Student Union Ballroom. University students and alumni are able to form teams and compete for various prizes like mice, keyboards, graphics cards, headsets and more that are donated from sponsors. Some of the sponsors of the event include Nvidia, iBUYPOWER, Microsoft, Logitech and HyperX.

“Everyone’s coming and enjoying and sharing the love for video games,” Lowry said.

UCGC can be reached at their Discord server at discord.gg/ucgc or @uconngamingclub on Instagram or Twitter.

Thumbnail image courtesy of @uconngamingclub Twitter.

Read the full article on The Daily Campus (by Brandon Barzola)

(Via UConn Today) Social Media Analytics to Break Through the Political Noise

UConn’s Social Media Analytics Command Center will provide valuable insights about the mood of the country during the 2020 election.

students in Social Media Analytics Command Center
The Social Media Analytics Command Center can synthesize information from multiple platforms to provide real-time insights into the national mood. (Photo courtesy of Heather Elliott-Famularo)
In the 2016 elections, a vast majority of traditional polls had predicted Hillary Clinton would be the winner. When Donald Trump won, many in the nation were stunned. While standard polling missed the mark, social media data had accurately predicted Trump’s victory.

A team of UConn faculty and students are using a social media analytics command center to better capture public opinion around the 2020 presidential elections and be a key resource for journalists and the public.

“Our department’s Social Media Analytics Command Center could pave the way for UConn to become a national leader in social media analysis expertise, on par with the reputation other universities have for their traditional polling data,” says Heather Elliott-Famularo, Donna Krenicki Professor and head of the Department of Digital Media and Design.

As social media becomes an increasingly important platform for people to express and inform their political beliefs, monitoring online conversations can provide invaluable insights into public attitudes.

Since its founding in 2018, the command center has tracked issues surrounding the Connecticut gubernatorial election and conducted real-time analyses of the Democratic debates. For the 2020 elections, the group has set up dashboards to monitor activity in swing states and observe conversations about important political topics like hate speech. By monitoring social media activity, the team at UConn will form a detailed picture of popular opinions in the American electorate.

John Murphy, assistant professor-in-residence in the Department of Digital Media and Design, has been developing social listening strategies for businesses for the better part of a decade. Social listening is a growing marketing technique that leverages social media activity to gain insight into customer sentiment. Since coming to UConn in 2017, Murphy has launched social listening initiatives focused on topics as varied as sports, mental health issues, and the casino industry.

Using social media to analyze political sentiment is a logical step, says Murphy.

“When it comes to politics, social media analysis helps capture sentiments in a way that traditional phone polling may not be able to,” says Murphy. “When people are being polled, they may respond differently knowing that their answers are being monitored. Gathering data through social listening eliminates hesitancy to respond honestly from the process.”

Throughout the election cycle, Murphy and several undergraduate students will measure and analyze all publicly available social and digital media including websites, blogs, and news sources using a leading platform for social media analytics. The platform specializes in social listening, and can analyze and generate reports on information in hundreds of languages using almost endless keywords. Access to this robust software allows UConn’s team to import polling data and candidates’ financial information and overlay it with the social media data they collect to get a fuller picture.

They will also create sophisticated data visualizations through graphics and animations using historic and live analytics to convey complex issues quickly and clearly. Political scientists and communications experts from UConn’s faculty ranks add additional context to help interpret the massive amounts of raw data collected.

They hope to show that social media analysis can be even more valuable than traditional polling when it’s combined with the scientific rigor that an academic institution like UConn can provide.

“The first televised presidential debate between Nixon and JFK turned politics upside down. TV has been a major part of the equation ever since. Social media is that new platform that we have to factor into politic analyses and predictions,” says Murphy.

The public is invited to see the Social Media Analytics Command Center in action tomorrow at a Super Tuesday Watch Party from 6 – 11PM in the Merlin D. Bishop Center on the Storrs campus. For more information, visit the Social Media Analytics Command Center website.

 

Read the full article on UConn Today.

(Via UConn Today) Projecting a New Image for Films and Animations at The Bushnell

Hartford’s famed Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts hosts a festival of short films and animations made by UConn students, along with a new installation in the theater’s foyer by Digital Media and Design students.

Mural characters that will be animated in the Grand Foyer of The Bushnell as part of the UConn Film and Animation Showcase at the famed venue (courtesy UConn DMD).
Fifteen films and animations created by UConn students will be featured at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The UConn Film & Animation Showcase is a juried selection of works that is part of the event celebrating the premiere of the new projection installation in the Grand Foyer of The Bushnell, which includes animation produced by students in UConn’s Digital Media & Design (DMD) Projection Mapping course taught by Heejoo Gwen Kim, assistant professor of Motion Design & Animation.

The event is free and open to the public, but anyone planning to attend should register in advance at this link.

The Showcase was organized by Ryan Glista (CLAS ’16, SFA DMD ’18), Digital Institute project manager at The Bushnell, Kim and Heather Elliott-Famularo, head of DMD at UConn. Exhibiting works of new media is part of the Bushnell’s effort to cultivate new digital arts and storytelling for Connecticut, says Glista.

“As innovative programs like Digital Media & Design start to grow, new storytellers and digital experiences can transform the theatrical experience,” he says. “Incredible technology is becoming more accessible. It’s an exciting time.”

Projection Mapping is a technique that is used to turn three dimensional objects such as buildings or theatrical stages into display surfaces for projecting artistic content, according to Glista.

The first UConn Projection Mapping class, offered last year, resulted in student designs projected on The Bushnell’s neoclassical walls, columns and pediment in the courtyard. The presentation was initially scheduled as a two-day test, but when Bushnell President David R. Fay saw it he decided to treat the audiences for the three-week, sold-out run of “Hamilton” with the opportunity to see the display.

For the new projection installation in the Bushnell Grand Foyer, Kim’s class animated characters and design from the 187 X 40-foot, hand-painted ceiling mural in The Bushnell’s Mortensen Hall, which is the largest such work in the United States and features the Muse of Drama as its centerpiece. Artist Barry Faulkner and a staff of Prix de Rome artists created the work in 1929 with vivid representations of performance, progress, and hope from ancient mythological times to the 20th century.

“Digital media offers an opportunity to activate spaces and tell stories in ways that young people today can come to the arts and look with fresh eyes and a new vision,” Elliott-Famularo says. “This collaboration was just a start. We’re working already to see how we can continue to collaborate on other initiatives surrounding education, performance as well as activating the physical space of The Bushnell, inside and out. The Bushnell and UConn can work together to transform the arts community of downtown Hartford and the state as a whole.”

The showcase this weekend also includes films and animations ranging from live action short films and documentaries to 2-D and 3-D animations, presented in the Autorino Great Hall. The juried works include:

‘Dirty Laundry’ by Ken Asada (SFA ’20)
‘CULT’ by Noah Bernardi (SFA ’20)
‘Exit’ by Matt Bilmes (SFA ’18)
‘After Flame’ by Dave Cai (SFA ’20)
‘Opening Night’ by Ryan Glista (CLAS ’16, SFA ’18)
‘Butterscotch and Beetle’ by Ali Loftus (SFA ’19)
‘SWARM RAID’ by Anna Lindemann and Ryan Glista (CLAS ’16, SFA ’18)
‘Flow’ by Allie Marsh (SFA ’20), Ali Sailer (SFA ’19) and Helena Sirken (SFA ’19)
‘The Adoption’ by Jonathan Pico (SFA ’21)
‘The Terra Project’ by Kimberly McGuire (SFA ’21)
‘Stand’ by Katie Sawosik (SFA ’19)
‘Birdcage’ by Sarah Shattuck (SFA ’20)
‘Say Cheese’ by Carly Zaleski (SFA ’19), Christian Partenio (SFA ’19), Julia Shikhman (CLAS ’22), and Amy O’Rourke (CLAS ’22)

Bushnell Grand Foyer Projection Mapping Animation by: Gillian Partyka (SFA ’21), Nicole Torino (SFA ’20), Liam McNeece (SFA ’21), Jasmine Rajavadee (SFA ’20), Akari Ohashi (SFA ’21), Claudia Nunez (SFA ’21), Mitchell Lisowski (SFA ’21), Hannah Lim (SFA ’21), Erica Lauer (SFA ’20), Nicole Ellis (SFA ’21).

Watch a video preview of the event here:

 

UConn Digital Media & Design Work Honored with Creative Awards

DMD student work won CT Art Directors Club awards and the international Telly Awards

STAMFORD, Connecticut, October 22 – The UConn Digital Media & Design Department is proud to announce that several of our students and professors were recognized over the summer for their talent in the creative sphere. The 44th annual Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards took place on June 27th. All three DMD teams that submitted work were honored with awards.

DMD Stamford’s Beachball firm wins CADC Gold and Silver Awards
DMD Stamford’s student-led design firm, Beachball, won two awards for their client work in the Student Online Interactive Category. The team’s Fresh Nation New Vendor Campaign, aimed at educating potential new vendors about the services the Fresh Nation client provides, received a Gold Award. This campaign combines messaging and motion design.

2D animation

The Fresh Nation New Vendor Campaign was created exclusively by DMD students. Daria Yaseva was the lead designer and project manager. Other team members include Kaila Baker, Doreen Maclellan, and Bryan Santiago. These students worked together to build a collection of marketing materials for their client. Fresh Nation uses the animated GIFs created for the campaign on social media and in email marketing messages. These clean, colorful, and fun animations will serve as valuable assets the client can utilize to convey their message.

The Beachball firm was also awarded a Silver Award in the Student Online Interactive Category for Kelp the Planet, an integrated campaign created for the client, Sea Greens Farms. This campaign promotes kelp as a viable food product and positions the plant as a “center-plate” item for restaurants.

The multifaceted team that created the Kelp the Planet campaign includes motion designers, Lucas Lazarre and Kristina Frattaroli, and programmers, Nina Drozdenko and Jasneet Chawla. Drozdenko also worked as a video editor alongside Juwan Dumas. Daniella Mossa and Juliana Velez held additional creative roles. Together, this team created a landing page, recipe videos, social media posts, and an explanatory animation.

DMD Stamford’s Beachball project wins CADC Gold Award as well as Silver and Bronze Telly Awards, Silver W3 Awards
UConn Digital Media & Design – Stamford’s Beachball agency was also awarded CADC’s Gold Award in the Public Service Video Category. The team’s Connect to What’s Next animation was created for Digital Media CT by student, Daria Yaseva, and DMD Professor Steve Harper. The two worked as designers and animators on the project, and Harper held the additional role of copywriter.

Connect to What’s Next seeks to raise awareness of the myriad educational and career opportunities relating to digital media in the state of Connecticut. The project paired abstract animations with a concise and engaging message. The project was also honored with two international Telly Awards in May, a Silver Award in the Branded Content Category and a Bronze Award in the Non-Broadcast Category, and two Silver W3 Awards in Non-Profit Video and Video Art Direction.

student artwork

DMD Stamford also won Telly Awards in 2018
DMD students racked up several impressive awards over in summer 2019, but that wasn’t the first time. The Stamford Beachball team also won two Telly Awards last year. In 2018, the Telly Awards received over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. DMD’s #myStamford animation won the Gold Award in the Fully Animated Piece for Social Video Category. Out of all 12,000 entries, only two received Gold Awards. The Beachball agency’s Spirit of the Sound video was awarded a Bronze Award in the Non-Broadcast, one of the largest categories of the Telly’s.

The UConn Digital Media & Design Department is thrilled to be able to share this news about its students’ accomplishments. Each team worked tirelessly to create a product that succeeded in impressing their clients, the Department, and most importantly themselves.

UConn Digital Media & Design provides an innovative and transformative experience to educate students in animation, gaming, web design & development, digital media business strategies, film/video production, and the digital humanities. Learn more about DMD at dmd.uconn.edu.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Stacy Webb at 860-486-6765, or email digitalmedia@uconn.edu.

DMD Student Animators – Winning Hearts and Awards

STORRS, Connecticut, October 13 – UConn Digital Media & Design’s 3D Animation and newly renamed Motion Design & Animation concentrations have always been brimming with talented and passionate student artists, but recently students have been making waves with their work all over the northeast. Several of our talented animators recently had their work juried into competitive festivals. Standing alongside filmmakers from across the globe, Katie Sawosik, Lucas Lazarre, Ali Loftus, Cassidy Keller, and Liam McNeece, proudly showcased their work and are helping to build UConn DMD’s national reputation as a top program to study digital animation.

image of Katherine Sawosik
Katie Sawosik, on the red carpet at the 8th Annual Trinity Film Festival.

Katherine Sawosik, a May 2019 BFA in 3D Animation graduate, has had incredible success with her BFA Senior Thesis project, Stand. The film has won two awards so far, “Best of Individual Category” at the MetroCAF 2019 Festival in New York, NY, and 2nd Place at the 8th Annual Trinity Film Festival in Hartford, CT. MetroCAF is the annual NYC Metropolitan Area College Computer Animation Festival organized by the New York City chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH (Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques). Started in 2003, MetroCAF has grown into the most important local festival of its kind. Trinity Film Festival also features short films made by college students from around the world. Stand was the first animated film to win an award in the festival’s history.  Joining Katie at MetroCAF were Ali Loftus with her 3D animation, Butterscotch & Beetle, and Lucas Lazarre with his 2D animation, Mayhem, which also was a finalist in NASA’s ProjectMars International Film and Art Competition.  All three animations screened at the New York Institute of Technology’s Auditorium on Broadway on September 27.

Cassidy Keller and Liam McNeece, juniors in DMD’s Motion Design & Animation concentration, created a short film titled A Life of Dreaming that was featured in Art All Night: the 7th Annual Trenton Film Festival. This festival took place the weekend of June 15, 2019 and featured more than 200 short films from over 40 countries.

UConn DMD students are striving to create and share meaningful work with the world. The Department and faculty takes great pride in their students’ achievements and are thrilled to see these talented, hardworking students recognized for their efforts.

artist wooden mannequin doodling
A still from Katie Sawosik’s 3D Animation, Stand.

animation with astronaut on a planet
Film still from Lucas Lazarre’s 2D animation, Mayhem.

3D artwork
Film still from Ali Loftus’ 3D animation, Butterscotch & Beetle.

UConn Digital Media & Design provides an innovative and transformative experience to educate students in animation, gaming, web design & development, digital media business strategies, film/video production, and the digital humanities. Learn more about DMD at dmd.uconn.edu.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please call Stacy Webb at 860-486-6765, or email digitalmedia@uconn.edu.