Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a recent message

On 04/06/11 9:01 AM, Martin L wrote:
Hi Carolyn. I'd like to learn more about animating for light shows. What's a good primer book or web site on the subject?

Thanks....Martin L

Hi Martin.

I created animation for laser shows in the early eighties. I did not know of anyone else who was doing this. The software was proprietary and still being developed at the time. I would go in and find out the guys had changed my computer so it worked completely different from the way it worked the day before. Sometimes it felt like I was drawing with a rubber band on the end of two long sticks.
It didn't help that computers were still new and I had never used one before. If there were such a thing as a web site, or the internet, I'd never heard of it.
I taught myself to animate using Walter Foster art books and THE ILLUSION OF LIFE (a Disney book). I had to figure out for myself how to translate that information into this new technology. I worked in a dark windowless room, entering points on a Summagraphics pad with a new gadget called a mouse. While I did this, my work would be projected on the wall with a red helium-neon laser. My art did not appear on the monitor, only a list of x-y coordinates.
I worked four ten-hour days a week so I wouldn't lose my seniority at the drug store where I worked as a sign painter. I continued to work there two or three days a week.
I did this for a year and a half, until our laser company went out of business.
Years later, a company in Florida contacted me. They had bought the equipment and they wanted me to make some animation for them. I was flattered that they had gone to the trouble to hunt me down, as I had been divorced, moved, and changed my last name.
If there are any books about laser animation, I've never heard of them.
I'm sorry if I gave you too much information. No one has asked about this for a long time.

Good luck to you,
Carolyn Pile

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