Mercer University art students have created animations to show how the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting their daily lives.
The animations were created in Professor Craig Coleman’s digital imaging class using a technique called rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is where the artist draws over individual frames in a video file.
Students were asked to create gestures that spoke about their daily routines after social distancing measures were put in place in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Coleman combined the clips and recently projected them at night on Hardman Hall, which houses the Department of Art, making the building come to life.
“It’s like bringing the students back to campus in a way,” Coleman said.
Below, you can view each student’s individual piece of the project and read their explanation.
For my rotoscope project, I tried to make a very detailed surfing video to kind of go with the theme I have had since my first class, but it was a lot harder than I anticipated, so I was left with a rough draft that turned out kind of cool. The water droplets were very hard because I had to figure out how to make it seem like you were looking from a drone or GoPro camera.
This animation is my visual interpretation of how COVID-19 is affecting the world. The boy is sitting in a box on top of Earth to show the isolation each individual is feeling. He is continuously flipping through the pages of a book to symbolize the new routine every person must adapt to during the pandemic. In the background, the solar system is displayed with Earth being the COVID-19 virus. This is a representation of the worldwide effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on every nation, how it has connected us and how it has destroyed us.
The idea behind this animation was that we are spending so much time on our computers. I currently spend most of my time doing schoolwork or socializing on my screen, and it is exhausting. The animation was to show the transition between typing and feeling tired.
During this period of social distancing, most people have let themselves go as far as appearance. I often spend my time rocking a bonnet and oversized shirts, leaving my better outfits for the rare trip to the grocery store. I spend most of my day with my head stuck inside of a fridge, more because I’m bored than hungry as YouTube is no longer as entertaining. I wanted to communicate that through this assignment by showing my normal interaction with my fridge, which is nothing more than peering inside.
My rotoscope is a video game disk being inserted into a console. The console is blue and the disk is yellow. When inserted, it turns green.
My rotoscope animation shows plugging a cable into a laptop, a hand movement we’re all familiar with. It allowed me to play a bit with changing color by way of the connection.
As I have transitioned to online classes, a lot has changed regarding my everyday routine. I obviously no longer attend classes everyday, go to the gym or eat at restaurants with my friends. Despite not leaving my apartment to do things, I have surprisingly found myself a lot busier now with online assignments than I ever was while physically going to class. So one thing that has definitely changed is my increase in coffee consumption, which was already pretty high to begin with. I wanted to document one of my favorite parts of my day in general as well as during quarantine, which is enjoying a cup (or three) of coffee. I also wanted to avoid routines commonly associated with the pandemic, like washing hands, to give a more personal perspective on how social distancing has changed my routine specifically.
For my animation, I wanted to illustrate the new norm that is ordering food to go. Food is an important part of culture and community, and now we cannot share it with one another like we want to. The gray background represents the bleakness of the time. One day we’ll get to return to sharing food with one another. But, for now, we can only (and should only) get it to go.
The rotoscope assignment centered around animating a gesture that represented a habit of yours during quarantine. Originally, I wanted to do brushing my teeth at 3 a.m., but my vision was too complicated for me to do as a beginner if I wanted to submit on time. I ended up animating myself opening the blinds of my bedroom window, which I have been doing every day because the weather has been so nice. I feel like it works well for the project because it seems like everyone just wants to go outside and for things to be normal again, but all we can do is wait and look.
For my rotoscope project I decided to do a video of me running water from my sink. With all that’s going on in the world with the coronavirus, I chose to do this because it conveys something that a lot of people took for granted before this pandemic — basic hygiene. People would shake hand after hand, touch every surface and never stop to wash their hands. But now we see signs everywhere we go telling us to wash our hands every time we go out and every time we get home. Where was all this before the pandemic? Why wasn’t this already relevant? There were diseases before the coronavirus, and yet we still would walk around without a care in the world with hands covered in germs. With that being said, I did this so people realize that even after this pandemic is over, we should still be mindful of others and wash our hands. No one should have to tell us to do so; it’s common sense.
When we see someone with a mask over their face and their hood drawn tight, we often associate this with bad behavior, maybe someone committing a crime. We wouldn’t normally feel safe if we saw someone doing this before entering an establishment. However, I wanted to highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused people to see the same gesture in a new light. People have taken the action of wearing a mask or a hood to protect themselves and those around them from the spread of the virus. It was intended to show that a gesture which previously made people feel uneasy could have the opposite effect of making people feel at ease in our new world.
The thought behind this animation project was that during the COVID-19 pandemic breakout, I use my laptop to study and entertain, and washing my hands is the main thing I do during the day. I feel like this is a sad joke somehow. Without this pandemic, I should have spent time in the U.S as an exchange student and gain the best experience. Instead, I have to return to Sweden, sitting in my room, having online classes and washing my hands 100 times a day.
This project was designed based on a passion of mine, skateboarding. I’ve been skateboarding for years, and I finally learned how to do the simplest of tricks.
This rotoscope animation is a visual representation of using hand sanitizer and hand soap. Everywhere around the world people are constantly cleaning their hands and making sure they are staying safe. This animation is a great way to show how people from around the world are doing their part.