UNO gets help to build digital animation studio

Posted on June 13th, 2016 by Leonard Alsfeld

The University of New Orleans has been awarded a $94,000 to build a digital animation studio for students pursuing jobs in animation and special effects.

The studio is expected to open next spring.

Jeff Rinehart, an instructor in UNO’s fine arts department, led the effort to secure the grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

The funds will be used on an 11-station laboratory housed at Earl K. Long Library.

Each station will be equipped with a high-definition tablet as well as software enabling animation, rendering, video editing and web design.

The department is hoping to create a new media and animation arts degree program. The creation of the lab inside the library will give students needed access to the equipment outside of class hours, freeing them to use the technology at their convenience, Rinehart said in a news release. As of now, only three similar tablets are available to fine arts students and they are accessible mainly during class hours.

The lab will be located on the fourth floor of the library and accessible to all students, but is targeted for students in the fine arts and film and theatre departments.

The new lab will complement work being produced in the recently opened digital media laboratory, which was unveiled on the library’s third floor this spring as a collaborative project between the Department of Computer Science, Department of Film and Theatre and the library.

In the Innovation Lab, students have access to 10 high-performance computers, a 3-D printer and motion capture equipment, all of which assist them in creating digital game prototypes such as the “Honest Abe” side-scrolling action game students developed this spring.

The two labs will allow students to participate in a project-driven curriculum, giving them maximum amount of professional development before leaving school, according to the UNO news release.