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Student creates walker animation

May 6, 2022

Isabel Small created 2D animations of a robotic walker for Michael Bankowski, CEO and founder of Prosperous Home Health, a Sioux Falls-based organization.

Small is a senior Digital Arts and Design Production Animation major from David City, Neb. She grew up drawing and always enjoyed stories and found DSU as an affordable option to pursue her passion.

Daniel Seman, Assistant Professor of Animation, connected Small with Bankowski for an internship. As part of the internship, she used schematic diagrams to design a 2D model of the robotic walker, Rose.

Rose not only functions as a physical assistant, it also can communicate with the user’s family, has motion sensors, and can call 911 if a user falls.

“It helps with walking, and it’s pretty much an in-home caretaker,” Small explained.

She was able to showcase the robot’s abilities through her animations, highlighting the main character using the walker to call his granddaughter to wish her luck before a soccer game.

Small is excited that her animation is being used as part of Bankowski’s business idea. She also appreciates the experience she gained from it.

Learning opportunities outside the classroom are a great way to see if the student remembers what was taught in class. This could include methods of working with studios and clients, or learning what it’s like to have a client or art director give the animator requirements to fulfill for the project, Seman explained.

“I thought Isabel did a great job,” Seman said. “To see what she created and then for it to be used for someone’s real-world project was wonderful. She now has some really good things for her portfolio and résumé.”

Throughout her time in the program, she has enjoyed learning and developing her skills. Her favorite part of animation is the pencil test, which uses digital capture to make sure the animation is working, and watch it come to life.

As a 2022 spring graduate, Small hopes to work in visual development. In the animation field, visual development artists create the world with background designs and concept art all based on the story.

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