Please tell a little bit about yourself. What is your background,
how did you get into design and how long you have used Swift 3D?
Ian: I am an instructor at the University of Colorado at Boulder within the Technology, Arts & Media certificate program. The program acts as a multidisciplinary outlet for students from any major on campus to work with new media technologies and develop digital art and design projects catered towards their personal field of study.
I first began working with design software in the mid-nineties working with early versions of Photoshop and hand-coded HTML websites mainly to create sites reflecting personal interests and hobbies of mine.
I began working with Swift3D within my own work in 2003 and have included it within my course curriculum since 2004.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Ian: Much of my influence comes from early video games primarily those of the mid-eighties through early-nineties. Designers and programmers had numerous technical limitations to try to work with and through those struggles, some of the most compelling stories, play, and artistic advancements occurred during this time. I believe videogames remain one of the most influential forms of digital media expression to this day. I also draw heavily from sites such as tokyoplastic.com and 2advanced.com which first introduced me to the notion of 3D animation within web design.
Tell us a little bit about the site. What is its purpose and why did
you choose to use 3d?
Ian: The site serves as a course website for a senior level, undergraduate course at CU Boulder. The course is the final class in a 21-credit hour certificate sequence and serves as a studio design course for students as they complete digital thesis work. The aesthetic choices and design of the site are intended to break the mold of what an academic website should be. (And normally is) The site is a tool in not only delivering important course information to my students, but also to grab the students attention from the first day of the semester and have them realize that every aspect of the course is intended to inspire creativity and expression. I chose to incorporate 3D elements because of the interesting and eye-catching look 3D and 2D design have as they merge together.
What elements of the site are made with Swift 3D?
Ian: The 3D elements of the site exist within the introduction of the site, through the preloader and building of the interface.
What features of Swift 3D did you use to create these design
Ian: For anything I create in 3D applications, I like starting out with basic shapes and forms and slowly building and adding to them over time. The primary features from Swift3D that I used were primitive shapes, the lathe and extrusion editors, and the advanced modeler for merging shapes together and fine-turning before exporting.
What other software did you use for the site, and how did you
integrate Swift 3D with these other tools?
Ian: I used Adobe Flash as the primary medium and incorporated a lot of vector art as well as raster pieces from Photoshop. Behind the scenes, I am using external HTML and CSS files to call in and style the course content. I integrated my Swift3D pieces by first creating a stark contrast between 2D and 3D and eventually, blending them together using Flash layering and animation. The more flattened, 2D elements of the original 3D object were imported into Photoshop, filtered, and brought back over to the Flash work environment.
Where would you like to see Swift 3D going in the future?
Ian: I am currently intrigued the possibilities Papervision3D has to offer. While perhaps not created in Swift3D (I dont know), sites like ecodazoo.com push the limits of 3D web design to new and compelling frontiers. True 3D interactivity is, I believe, the future of navigation upon the web.
Do you have any other examples of work created with Swift 3D that
you would like to share?
Ian: There are a few new things in the workshop as we speak. I will be happy to share them in the months ahead.
Do you have any comments, words of wisdom, inspiration that you
would like to share with the community?
Ian: Definitely check out Papervision3D if you have not done so already. Swift3D offers easy exporting of 3D models from Swift3D into a Papervision3D format. There are tutorials on the Electric Rain website and beyond which help shed light on the subject.