UW-Stout News Story

Class uses animation to continue Rube Goldberg tradition

April 2, 2012

The spirit of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is alive and well at UW-Stout, even if the university did not have a team in the whimsical, national engineering competition held last weekend.

UW-Stout won national Rube Goldberg titles in 2010 and 2011 at Purdue University with complex machines designed by a team of students. This year, a different kind of university team took on the challenge. Nine students in 3D Animation taught by David Beck created virtual machines.

Videos of each animated machine running its course can be seen at https://vimeo.com/channels/stoutrubegoldberg. The competition challenges students to create a machine that turns a simple procedure into something complex. This year’s challenge was popping a balloon.

“There was a great deal of problem-solving for each student, since their animations and themes were unique. It combined creativity and technical skills,” said Beck.

The students are majoring either in game design and development or entertainment design, the latter a new major in the School of Art and Design approved in February by the UW System.

“Nearly all of them were creating an animation for the first time,” Beck said. “They were responsible for creating 3D models (props), the materials, the lighting, the environment, the sound and of course the animation.”

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