Stylized Alma Mater
The intent of the artwork is to present a stylized, symbolic representation of the UIUC Alma Mater that references the well-recognized Oscar Awards statuette. Chancellor Richard Herman requested this work as a component of his April 11, 2006 presentation to the Board of Trustees, during which he discussed UIUC alum Ang Lee's recent Oscar for Best Director for the film [i]Brokeback Mountain[/i]. The work was shown as an animation and was made available as a screensaver as well. Alex modeled the Alma Mater in Maya using subdivisional surfaces and based its structure upon photographic references, without physical measurement. Mental Ray for Maya rendered the stills for the screensaver and animation using a technique called "final gathering." "Final gathering" collects "light" from the environment (the background) without requiring the placement of light sources in the scene, creating a look that more closely approximates real-world lighting conditions.
- Alex Jerez , ITG, Beckman Institute