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Summer 2019: FAU-MODS Apptitude AR Course

FAU SCMS and Computer Engineering faculty taught a STEAM (STEM+Art) summer school course for high school students that focused on designing and developing augmented reality (AR) apps for research posters. This course is part of the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) Apptitude internship program, and runs for three weeks in the summer at FAU Boca campus. Students learned how to create an AR app in Unity game engine that displayed green-screen video and animated 3D models on their research posters for museum exhibit topics.

FAU-MODS Apptitude 2019

Students working in class and the Freshwater habitat group poster:

A video of the last week and final AR poster presentations:

Spring 2019: FAU MTEn Grad Research Day Posters

Media, Technology, and Entertainment (MTEn) MFA students in my Interactive Interface Design (DIG6605) course presented research posters at the 10th annual FAU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) Research Day. Pictured are clockwise: Raven, Monisha, and John Horvath: Alex Henry; Monisha Selvaraj; Camilo Morales; Brandon Martinez and Alberto Alvarez; Alex; Raven Doyle.

Spring 2019: FAU MTEn-XR Lab Open House

We had an open house in our Media, Technology, and Entertainment (MTEn) Extended Reality (XR) lab for potential MFA students. We demo’d our Magic Leap, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Noitom Perception Neuron mocap technology:

Spring 2018: USCB Film & Digital Media Symposium

We had the second USCB Film and Digital Media Symposium in partnership with the Beaufort International Film Festival, with a Sea Island Center gallery reception, lightning round talks from USCB faculty and BIFF filmmakers, and a keynote talk by The Simpson’s director Mark Kirkland.

“Hopscotch Joiner” (55”x24”), Digital Imaging course compositing demo of applying David Hockney’s joiner compositing technique using digital media to create a seamless panorama scene, Spring 2018.

Hopscotch_Maraffi_Joiner_Pana_web

“Self Portrait” (32”x24”), Digital composite print on canvas, and then layered with acrylic paint, Spring 2018.

Topher_SelfPortrait_Painting_web

Fall 2017: USCB Faculty Exhibition

In November, see the latest artworks by USCB Fine Arts faculty at Sea Island Center gallery on the historic Beaufort campus. Here are some pictures of our opening reception on Thursday November 2nd. The show featured two of my mixed-media canvases and digital imaging studies, as well as a poster and teaser video on my documentary project.

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Artist Statement

This year I am showing three creative works and related practice-based media arts research that began as class demonstrations in my 2017 USCB courses.

“Persistence of Vision: Coasting Ahead, Hitch Throws Hopper the POV Sign” (42”x26”), Media Design digital compositing demo with samples of Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper imagery, printed on canvas and layered with acrylic paint glazes, Fall 2017.

Topher_HitchPainting1

The piece displayed in the main gallery entitled Persistence of Vision: Coasting Ahead, Hitch Throws Hopper the POV Sign was started as a compositing demo in Adobe Photoshop for my Fall 2017 MART B102 Media Design course. The POV theme refers to the nineteenth century concept of the same name that gave birth to cinema. The term described the visual phenomenon that a sequence of images played at a sufficiently fast rate creates the illusion of continuous motion. More conceptually, POV is being used to reference the evolution of a visual aesthetic that was first introduced by Renaissance painters experimenting with optical devices, evolving to the techniques used in chemical photography and cinematography, and very much employed by digital artists today. The compositing process I demonstrate in my course uses the same techniques Renaissance painters first developed in the Fifteenth century; staging a scenic narrative from a variety of image sources, modeling the curvature of forms with high contrast lighting, and using perspective lines to create the illusion of depth.

In addition to exploring concepts related to the POV theme, students were required to research at least one cinema artists and one fine arts painter that relate to each other, such as Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper, and then digitally compose an image that incorporated visual and style references from both. My demo piece referenced how Hopper was inspired by early cinema, often going to the movies for weeks at a time, and how Hitchcock staged scenes that echoed the aesthetics of a Hopper painting. Source elements were significantly processed through digital filters to create a unique aesthetic, and the Hunting Island lighthouse was incorporated to relate the scene to Beaufort. Then I printed the digital composite on canvas so that I could hand paint acrylic glazes onto the surface, adding a final layer of texture and color depth to the piece.

“Lab Monitor” (36”x28”), digital “joiner” collage printed on canvas and enhanced with ink, colored pencil, and acrylic paint, Summer 2017.

Maraffi Painting 2017 2

The mixed-media piece in the hallway entitled Lab Monitor, with related studies and research poster, was also started as a class demo inside of Adobe Photoshop. However, the work went through a more complex process of alternating between digital and physical media in my MART B145 Digital Imaging course. We initially used digital photography to crowd-source images of a scene in our lab where I did a simple action of rotating in my chair. Students used the photos to explore David Hockney’s “joiner” collage technique, where photos are treated like brush strokes to create a Cubist representation of motion in time and space, but inside of Photoshop. This allowed us to process source photography through paint filters to make them more compatible with physical media, and then to print the final result on matte paper to enhance with ink, colored pencils, and paint. The next stage of the project involved using the prints to create texture maps in Blender 3D software and model a digital representation of the original scene. We then imported the scene into Unity game engine to make a “joiner” game where we could interactively create Hockney style collages through a photography play metaphor.

“Study for Lab Monitor” (16″x20″), digital animated “joiner” in Blender 3D software.

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I composited several of these game-generated collages to create the final image that was printed on canvas, and then layered with physical media to add the hand of the artist back into the work.

“Jumpin’: SC Roots of Swing Dance Documentary Teaser” (30” Mac), Digital video loop, Summer-Fall 2017.

The Jumpin’: SC Roots of Swing Dance video teaser and research poster shows work being done related to my MART B250 Broadcast Design course. This project involves using the latest digital filmmaking techniques, including visual effects and motion graphics, to create a PBS-style feature documentary on how swing dancing in the early twentieth century originated from the Gullah-Geechee culture in Beaufort County. The pre-production research displayed in this work was conducted over summer and fall 2017 with a Sea Island Institute grant, in partnership with SCETV, including storyline and visual development for motion graphics, backgrounds for green-screen interviews, 2.5D visual effects, and lower-third graphic designs.

“Research Poster for Jumpin’ Documentary” (48”x36”), Digital print on paper, Summer-Fall 2017.
Jumpin' Research Poster
Jumpin’ Research Poster

 

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tophermaraffi

I am an Assistant Professor of Multimedia Production at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where I teach game design, 3D animation, and extended reality courses in the Media, Technology, and Entertainment MFA degree program. I also teach undergrad design courses in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies BA concentration in Film, Video, and New Media.