Student Scott Woyak Elevates the Experience of Painting From a Live Model Virtually

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Screenshot of art model Anastasia in Squint

 

Over the summer, our staff and Instructors attempted to replicate the experience of working from a live model in the digital space. Many video streaming programs were tested, including Amazon Chime, Google Meet, and Zoom, but poor video quality was repeatedly an issue. Knowing that demand for virtual experiences would only grow in the coming years, fourth year student Scott Woyak worked with Dean of Fine Arts Dan Thompson on an original streaming program, which he dubbed Squint.

Through a web browser, Squint takes high quality photos at 3-10 frames per second depending on bandwidth and streams them to users. The images can then be expanded and panned and edited in real-time by changing attributes such as contrast, chroma, and brightness. The ability to apply editing in a live-streaming format is not only unavailable in current standard video software but is undoubtedly the future of virtual capabilities.

Woyak’s skills in software development stem from a previous life working in R&D (research and development) for 20-plus years to create software products and bring them to market. “It's still an enjoyable hobby that I dabble in to keep my skills current. Who knew I'd find a place for those skills at an art school.” he commented.

 

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Scott Woyak

 

Squint took over 100 hours to come to life and was inspired by Woyak’s desire to return as a student in the Fall semester. Had Zoom been the only answer to virtual classes, he was skeptical about continuing to attend. Happily, the program is a resounding success with opportunity for growth. In the future Woyak hopes to add grayscale viewing to better understand values, adjusting chroma to search for colors, and changing exposure values to explore shadows and better see smaller shapes blown out by light.

“While there is no substitute for painting or drawing from life, Squint now enables us to work from high quality imagery with zoom capabilities to capture as much detail as we want. Squint can become a valuable tool to supplement the artistic process.” Woyak said.

 

 

Learn more about the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Advanced Fine Art Program.

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