Holy Cross Learning Model

The way by which this project was passed on to me is a wonderful example of the unpredictability of life. I had created a few 3D graphics (shown below) for my final senior presentation to present ideas and also showcase some of my ability. After I had presented it, my teacher came up to me and asked if I could modify it just a bit to fit some of the ideas he had. I got to work, and the teacher excitedly explained what I was doing to other faculty members. Before I knew it, I was in a meeting with the executive vice president of the college, working out the details for a related but completely new 3D animation about the core ideas of the college. And here I am with yet another purposeful, large project, all stemming from some personalized graphics in my presentation. The chief purpose of this project is for the executive vice president to be able to show it to both the Higher Learning Commission and current, prospective, and confirmed faculty and students. It is for this reason that the graphic is very meaningful and requires a great deal of significance in how it is constructed and what the various elements may be. When talking with the vice president, her biggest concern is meaning; when talking with me, my biggest concern is clarity; and when talking with my art professor, his biggest concern is design cohesiveness. Undoubtedly a common situation when the art and business worlds collide. This was the one of the few projects in which I had a consultable client with an identifiable audience. I excitedly took advantage of this, asking a number of questions in my meeting with her. What I originally perceived to be a series of still pictures ended up turning into comprehensive animations. What I had originally thought to be a partially completed project ended up needing complete reconstruction. It is hard to ignore some of the interesting aspects of what I take on with this project. Essentially, I am helping to come up with a strong image for a college through brainstorming the college’s core ideals but also considering art, design, and architecture. After coming up with a framework, I am also charged with executing it in 3D and animating the result, ultimately leading to my delivering it to them. This is the kind of work that large businesses devote whole departments to, and here I am the lone ranger taking it on. Nevertheless, this is all part of the experience, and I am happy to say that I am truly enjoying completing it.


One major point the executive vice president made was that it needed to be a structurally sound edifice mimicking the classical age of architecture. This strongly contrasted my floating cubes and pyramids, so I got to work looking up the appropriate architecture. The exciting part about this work is that it has the potential to involve an incredible assortment of subjects. There are not many other fields that require you to study such a great variety of themes in order to effectively solve a problem. There does seem to be a slight disconnect between all of the information the client wishes to include and the fact that the structure has to be architecturally sound. Incorporating some form of capstone or keystone combined with a dome poses certain difficulties, but I suppose that is the name of the game. Luckily, research has prevailed yet again. In looking online I found some literature on classical Vitruvian circular structures and got some ideas, but I also took a stroll around some of the campuses in the area and found a few wonderful structures that greatly resembled what I had imagined this project’s structure to be. This moved me closer to being on track, but understanding how to achieve this specific project’s goals still prove to be rather challenging.


I began by refining the pillars I had created for the original piece. They had served their purpose in the formal presentation setting as a quick graphic, but in this new setting, they simply did not cut it. The new pillars I created look a lot closer to the Doric column family and work better for the polished feel the vice president wants. Currently, I am working out the details of the circular structure, trying to figure out what works the best and how I can convey the various messages most efficiently, embracing clarity. The most time consuming part of the project thus far has been the creation of the college’s official seal. Unfortunately, they did not have a seal in vector format, so I had to create my own based on a low resolution image I had. Once I had the vector file I imported it into Cinema 4D as splines, allowing me to extrude the various parts of it and cut holes into other parts. Needless to say, after several hours of tinkering and texturing, I finished the marble floor logo and it was rendered nicely. I am also very excited to try a program called Vue, which specializes in 3D environment modeling, handling very complex forms such as trees, rocks, and terrain in a very straightforward manner. I have begun to understand how it works, and am excited to see if I can implement my finished scene into a lush, fitting landscape that further complements the project as a whole.


Since form is often driven by the confines of any project, the final product is a rather peculiar size for today's standards. However, seeing as the final delivery medium was Microsoft PowerPoint, there was no need and no room for an HD format. That, combined with relatively excessive render time from the progressive marble shaders and advanced lighting, the end product was comfortable. I was there when it was a vague notion of an idea, and I'm here for its final render and successful delivery. I was overwhelmingly pleased with the look and movement of the piece, and I think it achieves what we initially set out to do. On top of learning about Vitruvius and his column theories, I learned a lot about texture baking (although I did not end up using that method), global illumination for a full animation, and advanced multi-pass compositing in After Effects.

© 2014 Jeff Kyle | TOP