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The Corporation

Posted: 15/06/17

Design project takes on ‘monster’ proportions

Schoolchildren have seen their ‘monstrously’ colourful creations brought to life as part of a project involving digital design students.

  • Isabella and Wai with their ‘before’ and ‘after’ monster designs.
  • Pupils’ original monster drawings.
  • Students’ 3D interpretations of the children’s monsters.

A group of 25 pupils at King Edward Primary School, Mansfield, were asked to draw pictures of what they think a monster looks like, using their vivid ideas to come up with their very own weird and wonderful characters.

The seven and eight-year-olds were encouraged to let their imaginations run wild as they devised a host of unique, make-believe creatures in coloured pencil or crayon – ranging from menacing beasts and scary aliens, to robots, humorous-looking figures, and bizarre beings.

These were then handed to interactive media students at West Nottinghamshire College, who were tasked with turning them into vibrant, 3D images using state-of-the-art animation and special effects software.

The students, who are on BTEC Level 3 and HND (higher national diploma) courses in interactive media, each devoted several hours to interpreting the children’s original artwork into the intended character – applying complex 3D-modelling techniques using industry-leading software such as Lightwave 3D and After Effects.

Pupils then visited the college’s Derby Road campus with school staff to see their 3D monsters for the first time and meet their creators.

They were also given a tour of its £5m Create building – the flagship hub for creative industries and digital technologies boasting television and radio studios, multi-media suites, 150-seat performance theatre, and music technology and recording studios.

The brainchild of interactive media tutor Tony Hall, the ‘Monster Project’ was inspired by a worldwide project of the same name, which sees children’s artwork created by professional artists. Originating in the USA, the project encourages children to explore their creative potential and get them thinking about art as a possible career path.

Year 3 pupil Isabella Rhodes, aged seven, came up with a colourful character called the ‘Love-heart Monster’ – a curly-haired figure stood with its arm outstretched, emanating a plethora of love hearts.

This was developed by second-year HND student Wai Hung Tsang, 26, who spent 15 hours turning it into a friendly-looking, animal-type figure, holding love-heart wands.

Isabella said: “I spent time practicing which ones I wanted draw but the Love-heart Monster was my favourite idea, so that’s what I decided to do.

"I was amazed when I saw what Wai had done – it’s even better than I expected. I really like the monster, and the background is good as well. I’m very proud of my own drawing but I really like this one. It’s really good.”

Wai, from Ollerton, said: “When I first saw Isabella’s creation, I thought ‘what is that exactly?’ – I hadn’t seen anything like it before! But I began to analyse it and tried to visualise what it was going to look like in 3D form.

“I decided to turn the curly hair into a mane, and give it a sort of lion’s head and a teddy bear’s body, with love-heart wands in its hands. Although it’s a monster, if you saw it coming towards you, you’d probably want to give it a big hug rather than run away!

“The project was a lot of fun and because the children had already provided the initial concepts, we could get stuck-in with creating something they would like.

“I’m pleased with how my work has turned out and even happier that Isabella has given it the seal of approval.”

Interactive media tutor Tony Hall said: “I came across the Monster Project by looking online and thought it was such a brilliant idea that we should do something similar. The schoolchildren came up with some really funny monsters and our students have done a great job in enhancing them. It was lovely to see their faces when we unveiled the final creations.

“Even though this was a light-hearted project, once students go into employment they will be expected to re-create many different types of 3D design, so being able to interpret another artist’s work is very important – even artists as young as these!”