New Animation Club inspires students

Recent+graduates%2C+Lauren+McLaughlin+%28left%29+and+Damian+Monson+%28right%29%2C+are+seen+in+the+Motion+Capture+Studio+striking+poses+in+their+Mocap+suits+that+pick+up+on+the+computer.

Bill Miller

Recent graduates, Lauren McLaughlin (left) and Damian Monson (right), are seen in the Motion Capture Studio striking poses in their Mocap suits that pick up on the computer.

Kali Anditon, Assistant Business & Technology Editor

Often students on campus find a class they enjoy and continue to pursue their passions by taking similar courses and joining related clubs. For some media arts and game development majors (MAGD) this option hasn’t been available to them, until now. For students who have an interest in animation, a new club can now enhance those learning opportunities beyond the classroom.  

The Animation Club was developed for students to take their knowledge of animation to the next level. With help from the club sponsor Dr. Michael Howen, students are able to further their education on two and three-dimensional character animation.  

“There aren’t really many opportunities for students to learn character animation here, and there was a lot of interest in it,” says Howen. “There are limited class offerings for this specific interest, so the club was a way to address this specific need. We wanted a way for people who are interested in it to be able to learn it.” 

Rather than acting as a club, Howen explains, it ends up being more like a free class for students. Being limited to Whitewater’s campus, Howen hopes to eventually open the program to surrounding communities to increase interest and visibility. 

MAGD major Lauren Strauss began working on the creation of the club after Howen suggested the idea to her. She, too, felt there was a lack of classes on animation in the curriculum.  

Bill Miller, Coordinator of the Motion Capture Space, suits up in the Mocap suit. (Bill Miller)

“I get to meet new people who also have a shared interest in animation like me, and maybe I can build connections through the club,” says Strauss. “Maybe I could add knowledge to portfolio work. I really look forward to having an expanding experience.”

By gathering these students with common interests, both Howen hopes that the club may lead to further courses in animation in the future. Strauss thinks it would be a good way to spice up the classes students can take on campus. 

While there isn’t a set structure to the club aside from furthering education in animation, members have exciting projects to look forward to.  

“Before the club started meeting in early January, Dr. Howen and I planned out a project that involves all members of the animation club to create their own animated skits,” says MAGD major Cameron Mumbower. “I’ve always been interested in voice acting, so this project will allow me to gain more experience in that field. The project will involve members of the animation club creating their own short 30-second animations and have me provide voiceover work to go along with them. I’m super excited for this project because it allows the club members to get experience in animation and it will all be completely student-made.”  

The animation club welcomes students from all fields and with all interests related to animation. For more information about the Animation Club contact Lauren Strauss at [email protected] or join their Discord server at discord.gg/dQmPrQq

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