Mar 30, 2011

John Whitney

John Whitney is sometimes called the father of computer animation. Although he started by making films on 8mm, and in 1939, he and his brother, James, began to make more abstract films. One of their pieces, Five Film Exercise, was given the first place prize at the International Experimental Film Competition in 1949.
Whitney, having been an inventor and having experience with computers, used these skills to make commercials for television during the 1950's. He, along with Saul Bass, made a sequence for the movie Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock. This fulled his interest in using computers to make animations and film. In the 1960's, Whitney opened Motion Graphics Incorporated, where he continued to make motion graphics and sequences for television. IBM saw what Whitney was creating and offered him a job in 1966 as a resident artist. While working, Whitney became interested in the processing language and medium. He used this to create the work Arabesque, a film using lines and color set to music.
I personally found Arabesque to be beautiful and intriguing. I have been taking a course in processing and wanted to see if there was a way I could re-create parts of Arabesque on my own. The code for it took time and involves much more to make the entire sequence that Whitney made, but I found a way to make the linear set that transforms into dots. Here is a link to this piece.



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