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Human knowledge is one of their biggest survival tools to find new resources and shape the environment into their liking. Humans would have not been able to accumulate knowledge over centuries if it was not for language and more important tool such as writing and use of illustrative drawings. Over the past 10,000 years human language and more importantly reading, writing and illustration have blossomed. Society and technology have reached unimaginable points because of these tools. Science have been guiding human to a better life through history, but art and science have been linked to each other from the beginning, and both rely heavily on human creativity.
Moreover, From the beginning of 20th centuries until now, human have built up on their toolset by inventing computers and digital art.
“At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists began rejecting classical representation and desired to express space in geometric terms. Many desired to produce abstract, experimental animations that explored new techniques such as direct-on-film and collage during the 1970s, figures such as Stan Vanderbeek, John Whitney, and Robert Abel began exploring methods of computer animation for film titles.
” Now in 21st-century motion graphics is one the best way for communication and explanation of new and old knowledge and ideas. Motion graphics has been a great tool for educators and scientists to educate and communicate information to students or their peers. This paper discusses the use of motion graphics historically to explain scientific principles and specifically use of motion graphics to revealed the hidden aspects of the universe.
In order to explain the history of motion graphics in science, we need to see when science and scientific method started. As many point out Aristotle and the Greek philosophers were the prime movers behind the development of the science and scientific method. Although Aristotle was the founder of empirical science, the development of a scientific process was done later by Muslim scholars during the Golden age of Islam. “When it comes to the word ”science”, most dictionaries offer a description which see glance quite obvious. Science is the knowledge of the laws of nature. In other words, it embodies all studies which carry a universal meaning and which are pursued by research methods based on objective and verifiable facts.” However, Isaac Newton is the scientist that refined the process into the one that we use today.
In contrast it is not as easy to pinpoint when Art was invented. Art drawing can be seen as early as when human lived in caves. Art is a creation for aesthetic purposes and human have been trying to express and apply the creative skills and imagination. Art in a visual form such as painting or sculpture is a way to convey an idea or a message to the audience. Science in a way is the same. In history there are many documents to show the interaction between science and art, all the example are important to be aware of the fact that there are similarities between art and science and in retrospect can be seen these similarities very clearly. Also, it is clear that the scientist’s laboratory and the artist’s studio are two places reserved for open-ended inquiry. Always There has been a bridge between art and design, science and technology.
“While the interaction between artists and scientist is often fruitful, a true dialogue was not always easy to establish. To begin with, dictionaries offer several definitions of “art”. One describes art as a form “science or knowledge.” Another suggests that “art is serious of means and procedures tending towards an end.” In some dictionaries, the concept of beauty appears in only fifth position as an element in art.” The advancement in technology have merged art and science. Strosberg in Art and Science describes: In 1965, the first exhibitions of computer-generated art were held in Stuttgart and New York and only a handful of scientists and engineers knew how to create it. Now virtually every artist uses computer-aided technology to create arts. The Stuttgart exhibition was a solo show of algorithmically designed abstractions by researchers at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey.
This was start of a new age. From the beginning of time human’s curiosity guided them in the understanding of the universe through science and art. Cave drawings of the pattern of stars were beginning attempts of explaining their meaning of them. In moderns days, educators using visual effects and motion media to try to explain the universe. Motion graphics involve films, videos, animated text, and web-based animation and it developed very fast as an improvements in technology. Very first animation in 1800’s were devices that produces movement through sequential drawings just as flip books produce motion image. The pioneering field of graphics and animation cannot be given to one person. Many unique ways were tried to create animation projects at the same time. So many people are recognized as an inventor in motion graphics.
Marcel Duchamp, Walter Ruttman, and Fernand Lager’s are some of examples. Their work all show great experimenting in mixing techniques and media for film, but there were many other people who were considered pioneers in the motion media such as Saul Bass, Pablo Ferro and John Whitney. “The history of motion graphics goes back further than Adobe After Effects. One of the first uses of the term “motion graphics” was by animator John Whitney, who co-founded Motion Graphics, Inc. in 1960 to create motion picture and television title sequences. However, motion graphics dates back to before electronic media, sometime back in the 1800’s with presentation flipbooks. Motion graphics, in a nutshell, is any graphics that use technology to create an illusion of motion, transformation, or rotation in order to communicate messages through video and audio storytelling (website…) .”
By using visual effects and motion graphics, astrophysics and scientists try to explain and visualize very complex facts about the universe and life as we know it. Good examples of motion design to describe scientific discoveries are Cosmos TV shows by Astronomer Carl Sagan and a newer series Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey by Neil Degrasse Tyson. Sagan and Tyson visualized the vast universe and how galaxies works with great motion graphics and visual effects.The astrophysicists show these facts to mass audiences with little or no background in physics and mathematics. Cosmos series also used animation to tell stories about scientists’ life and on how every scientist helped to figure out many mysteries of our universe. The series goes into every details of thought process to accomplish the knowledge human acquired over the centuries.
In contrast, one of the area that science is getting a helping hand from visual effect and motion media designers is black hole research. In the movie Interstellar, scientist, motion graphics and art designers teamed up to discovers and push the boundaries of human knowledge by creating a simulation of a rotating black hole. Einstein’s general theory of relativity guided the creation of this mesmerizing visual effect. This virtual effect is the most accurate simulation of what a black hole would look like in real world. It is the product of a year of work by 30 people and thousands of computers. They used new techniques of motion media and ray tracing for light around black holes because black holes bend the light rays. All the previous models of light always assumed that light rays are straight and in parallel.
Using the new techniques, the team simulated the black hole and put it in motion. What they found is amazing. “They found that when a camera is close up to a rapidly spinning black hole, peculiar surfaces in space, known as caustics, create more than a dozen images of individual stars and of the thin, bright plane of the galaxy in which the black hole lives. They found that the images are concentrated along one edge of the black hole’s shadow”. The team published a paper to report their scientific finding. Interstellar and the motion graphics team who worked on this helped to unravel some of the hidden true about one of the most mysterious objects in the universe. They also worked on a visual representation of a wormhole. Another example is the simulation of spiraling merging massive black hole done by NASA. NASA also used many new techniques in ray tracing to be able to bend the light around the black holes in accordance to einstein general theory of relativity.
The result are a dance of two black hole merging in a spectacular fashion that by it self is a piece of art. Also they now know what kind of light they need to look for in the sky to find these events as they are happening. In conclusion, it is important to see how science and art are influencing, explaining and interacting with each other. Dave Featherstone, Professor of Biology and Neuroscience says in Quora: “Both science and art are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. The subjects and methods have different traditions, and the intended audiences are different, but I think the motivations and goals are fundamentally the same”.
Also at every step through the history as soon as technology introduced a new media, art found its way in. Now motion media is not only a tool to create art, but also is a tool to explain very complex subject and even help science to explore universe beyond imagination and produce new science as they are two sides of the same coin. Tv program such as Cosmos and elegant universe and movies such as interstellar are prime example of use of motion media to explain complex fact about universe to audience. In the movie interstellar we see in the process of trying to capture accurate motion graphics, we see new science being produced and that is the beauty of science and art working together.
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