Digital Puppetry

App Development | Performance | Professional Work

During my tenure at the Imaging Research Center, I have spent significant time devoted to the development of digital puppetry. This was initiated by a collaboration between the IRC and the political cartoonist Kevin “Kal” Kallagher in 2005 to re-envision illustrated satire for an increasingly interconnected and mobile world. A team of four, including myself as lead animator, brought Kal’s illustrations of former President Bush to life as a 3D caricature, translating his signature style by digitally scanning and animating a bust made by Kal himself. After personally working with Kal to ensure all additional shapes and expressions modeled met his personal vision, I animated the two shots below as a proof of concept. Once we were sure Kal’s sensibility could be maintained, this data set was nested within a programming environment that allowed users to control the model as a puppet through the use of flight simulator joy sticks. Bush v1.0 was debuted at the Walters Art Museum as part of the opening night celebration of a retrospective show of Kal’s work entitled Mightier Than the Sword: The Satirical Pen of Kal. Much more about the project can be found here.

Years later this same technology and process was utilized when working with the Center for Women in Information Technology @ UMBC to develop avatars for their yearly festival Computer Mania Day. I worked directly with Collette Searles of UMBC Theater, who expertise in puppetry elevated the performative aspect of our system immensely by enlisting undergraduate theater majors to perform as a developed character named Jennifer Webb. More about the project can be found here.

Technical Expertise

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

    • After Effects
    • Photoshop
  • Animation Software

    • Cyslice
    • Maya

Skills and Abilities

  • 2D/3D Animation

    • 3D Animation
    • 3D Modeling
    • 3D Texturing
    • Character Animation
    • Laser Scan Decimation
    • Rendering
    • Rigging
  • FX & Compositing

    • Color Correction
  • UX/UI

    • App Development