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Above, Noelle Meier ’18 uses Adobe Premiere at one of the Mac Lab’s workstations. Below, Rachel Capek ’18 works on an art project in the lab.

Mac Lab Supports Creative Technology

03/15/17

MCLA’s new, state-of-the-art Mac Lab is providing a learning environment that allows students to experience a platform that is an industry standard for creative art professionals, and accommodates the growing need for a dedicated resource to support graphics design and film editing classes.

“It’s an essential resource for digital arts,” said John Clark, MCLA Computer Help Desk manager. “And, it will provide students experience with software that will spur their creativity and enhance their employment opportunities by becoming fluent in this operating system and the professional design software available in this lab.

“With the high-end power that each of these Mac workstations have, combined with the full suite of creative software installed, the possibilities for creative output is essentially limitless.”

According to Melanie Mowinski, associate professor of art, “Students now have access to Creative Cloud programs on computers that are faster than fast. We move back and forth between the Mac Lab and the Design Studio, seamlessly flowing between using the hand and the computer. Students enrolled in the class have key card access and are able to work on their projects whenever they need to.”

Most of the students in her “Intermediate Design” class have a basic understanding of the software.

“We do real-life projects,” Mowinski said. “For example, they are currently designing the cover for the Undergraduate Research Conference, the poster and postcard for the Museum’s Studies exhibit at MCLA Gallery 51, a promotional item for “Berkshire County Goes to College,” and promotional items for the Fine and Performing Arts Department. Students will begin sketching and prototyping by hand and then take the work into the design lab to execute it. It’s fabulous to watch!”

Adjunct instructor Leonardo Quiles ’16 teaches his “Introduction to Animation” course in the space. It’s the first of its type at MCLA.

“This kind of course and the type of projects we’re producing would be impossible to create without the Bowman Hall lab,” he continued. “We’re just scratching the surface of the potential.”

Quiles’ students presently are focused on 2D animation and 3D puppet animation with subsequent projects utilizing Adobe Animate’s 2D Flash-style animation, “but the CPUs here are robust enough to handle 3D computer-generated model-building and animation, which would allow them access to a cutting-edge visualization skill-set,” he said.

Students that will benefit from the lab could be as diverse as theatrical design majors who want to create photo-realistic renderings of set productions to engineers that conduct physics research with dynamic particle simulations.

Clark expects the tool set offered in Bowman’s Computer Lab will become second nature, “so that students may move beyond mere software fluency, but rather to a place of research and exploration and ultimately towards real innovation.”

To view some examples of short animation pencil tests produced by Quiles’ students go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o99L2L-KqSY to see work by Alycia K. Skerry ’18, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLX9If2KM10 for work by Kathleen Harrison ’18, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcH5pS4diOQ, by Wyatt Mineau ’19.