Monthly Archives: March 2007

Project Identity: Synopsis

James Barany
Associate Professor of Foundations
Milwaukee Institute of Art + Design

Rotoscoping + Ideation

The following is a synopsis of my planned sabbatical scheduled for the fall semester of 2007. Through this national Artist in Residence project I want to challenge all participating students about the perception of their identity, and have them question and examine who they are. Through digital video I’m seeking to ask them about their personal journey – what have they experienced, who have they become and who do they wish to be?

In the near future, posted tutorials on this MIAD blog and linked video’s on youtube will explain the video and editing process and will walk these students through the procedure in a step-by-step manner. These videos will then be sent directly to my personal studio so that I may weave these individual interpretations into a collective group work, that attempts to expresses our collective identity. I will play the roll of chief editor for the production as a students’ entire video may be utilized or perhaps only moments of the visual or audio tracks.

To continue forward at this point in the project, all participanting students will have to submit a release form containing their own signature and the signature of their guardians. This release form will allow me to utilize, manipulate and weave the participants work into the larger collaborative project. I will not be able to use a participating students work in the final project without a signed, returned release form.


Through the animated process of rotoscoping, the original video will be drawn ‘over’ and replaced with the students’ own creative interpretations of each frame. This process will also be thoroughly explained with a tutorial, as images from the video’s will be sent to each participating program preemptive of my scheduled visit. We will work in collaboration on each other’s video segments as we attempt to weave together our visual languages into a stunning animated mosaic.


This is the point where I will hopefully visit the participants Institution for approximately two days and work with these students to complete the drawings and ‘shoot’ them into an animation. To ease this process I will be bringing all required technology with me during each visit.

Upon my departure the new section of animation will be woven back into to combined work and when completed the final Project Identity animation will be submitted to numerous film festivals throughout the United States and also to several International venues under the umbrella of MIAD. Similar rotoscopes from a selection of my previous students can be seen right here on this direct link to youtube:

All participating individuals and programs will be listed in the credits. Any profits will be used to first, compensate my travel and material costs. Secondly, all remaining funds will be pooled and distributed equally to the programs so that each school could purchase the software utilized during the project. To complete each visit, I’m asking for the opportunity to present to all of the advanced art students in each program. In a very unique way analogous to the project itself, I will illustrate everything that MIAD has to offer them as a potential post-secondary program.


MIAD will be hosting an exhibition and screening of the project during the 2008 academic year, and will invite all participants who can physically travel to MIAD for the special event. Plans are also being considered for live video broadcasts to be implemented during the exhibition so that participants from different institutions with supportive technology can communicate with each other in real-time, adding to our sense of identity within a collective community – that’s both real and virtual.

The only costs forwarded to the participating schools would be first, my lodging requirements while I visit their school. Secondly, for any consumable supplies that we would need to use at the school for the project. Lastly, any postage costs from the school to my studio for the transportation of videos, drawings etc. Donations for my travel costs from participating programs would be greatly appreciated, but are not required.

Sound interesting? I am accepting nominations for participating secondary programs through the month of April. Please contact me at for further information.

Map of potential participating programs (red stars) last updated 4/13/2007 @ 9:17am CST