The Digital Media Major at the University of Central Florida

I wake up, yawn, and casually step foot out of the oh-so-comfortable down blanket I am encompassing. Ten o’clock in the morning can feel like dawn when you’re a college kid off the typical eight hour schedule. I walk into the kitchen to make myself a bowl of cheerios when in steps my roommate, Annie Capps, from a hard night out. She looks tired, exhausted, and completely drained of all her lively personality; all I can do is shake my head at her, wishing I had that kind of endurance. Annie wasn’t out all night drinking or partying with friends, she was back from an eighteen hour stretch of animating, creating, modeling with an entire group of animation majors, who all have this kind of devoted stamina, that underachievers, like myself, can only dream about.

Annie Capps is an animation major through the Digital Media program at UCF. This basically means that she is training to create live animated screen plays with computer models, not dissimilar from the fun fictitious characters we all know, Nemo and Shrek.

“I’m not a concept artist, I like modeling, I like the tedious stuff” Annie confesses when showing me some of her project pieces.

Annie seems to enjoy the work that requires hours and hours of designing small pieces and parts of larger objects. She claims that her favorite thing to do thus far is modeling; for all of the non-animation majors out there, modeling is the process of creating the intricate construction of each character and prop in an animation. This process can be paralleled to the old way of making cartoons, when artists would spend hours drawing out each panel to create only one short film; now the characters are created once by a modeler, and animated separately by�well� an animator. She can do both of these processes, but she considers herself an expert in the modeling field.

“Sometimes I think of switching to the art department and majoring in animation that way, but I’ve already come so far in digital media, and I like being able to take so many different types of classes. It helps me to tap into my not-so-artsy side. Art really isn’t my only hobby.”

While most students have a resume that spans the length of one page; Annie was required through course work to create a packet of information outlining all of her accomplishments and abilities (sometimes a page just isn’t enough, even if you are breaking the most sacred rule of resume writingâÂ?¦.just one page in length.) In addition to a resume, she created a website that houses all of her best work and showcases her interests and abilities.

One of Annie’s most recent projects and her first feature in the list of accomplishments on her resume was the creation of a music video for a fellow digital media major. The video included video editing, live footage, and over one and half minutes of animation. Video editing skills and techniques are taught through digital media as some of the required coursework, and so are video shooting techniques. “I am very interested in making music videos-shooting the footage, developing cartoon models of the characters, or even just video editingâÂ?¦hopefully I will be able to involve that in my career somehow,” Annie dreamily comments, after verbally unfolding her recent video creation.

Another project that Annie was involved with was her design and implementation of a website devoted to the Elvis Impersonator band-Elvis Presley Experience. She followed her friend’s group around for 3 months to all of their shows, taking photos and filming their acts on and off the stage. When she recorded enough data, she created an entire website for the band and included in it clips of their songs, video, and all of the digitized photos that she took while on the road.

Annie isn’t exclusively a spectator when it comes to music; she has an electric guitar, bass guitar, and even knows how to keep a beat on the drums. She has been playing for years and loves to jam with her friends, who are mostly musicians themselves.

“Since when does art have to be a specialized sport? I dunno, I don’t think my love of music is unrelated to my love of art, it’s all like, the same.”

Art, in some way, shape or form, seems to be a recurring theme within all of Annie’s diverse collection of hobbies. But she is also a tech geek, who has worked with programming languages and technical website development. Anne commented to her roommate one day as they discussed an intro to computer programming course, “I liked programming JavaScript in that (Computer programming) course, but I really want to learn more about coding. I think next semester I will take C programming and really get into the tough stuff.” Annie can take a variety of computer programming courses, along with her art courses and still be moving towards a Bachelors degree in the same major. Kids todayâÂ?¦ Can’t keep still for one second, can you?

Annie embraces technology, and considers her major-Digital Media, as the renaissance major for anyone with an interest in about a million different things all at one time. There is only one defining factor within all of the programs through Digital media-Technology. Digital media teaches the application of technology to all kinds of interests. Art is taught through computers, music is taught with a digital medium, math is taught using computer language; the list of applications could go on and on. For Annie, well, she is just interested in how technology applies to virtually everything.

When Annie graduates she hopes to land a position creating graphics or models for music videos during the production process, she also wants to help edit these videos, shoot the footage for the videos, and create the settings for videos. Whatever position she finds herself in, it will be in technology and it will be in some form of art-whether the art is in music, computer language design, or computer graphics. She is not unique among the other students of Digital Media at UCF, and most of the pupils study more than just one aspect of technology. I guess Annie is just an example of what I like to call-modern day renaissance student. Don’t misconstrue this denotation with a student who can’t decide on a major and takes an assortment of seemingly unrelated classes, rather, it is a student who chose a major that allows you to take an assortment of seemingly unrelated classes, a major that finds a way to relate them.

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