by Dave Buchanan
The cry of “Play ball!” may have added significance this spring for UW-Parkside students in classes taught by visiting assistant art professor Rob Miller. The students could have their animation work on display at the Milwaukee Brewers’ home stadium as part of a program Miller set up with the team.
Thanks to his long-term association with the Brewers (Miller has provided the team’s animation work for nearly 20 years, inventing the famous sausage race along the way), students in his Introduction, Advanced, and Independent Studies in Animation classes have the chance to see their ideas come to life on Miller Park’s scoreboard.
Fans at Milwaukee's Miller Park may
be enjoying scoreboard animation
created by UW-Parkside students
"Because he was teaching an animation class, I came to him with an idea," said Mike Jakubowski, the Brewers’ director of electronic media operations. "I asked, would it be possible to involve your students in a process where the animations they work on could be submitted to us here at Miller Park? We would use the best ones and provide the opportunity for students to have their work appear at a Major League ballpark."
Most students are starting with smaller projects—clips about batters drawing walks, runners stealing or being caught stealing bases. But three of Miller’s students, Tim Schmidt, Carrie Dahl and Amanda Roslansky, are working on more complex projects.
"One of the students is working on graphic design types of things where the (Brewers) logo will be flipping in and doing effects," Miller said "The two others are doing more character-based animation. One of them is going to concentrate on taking famous soundbites from baseball history and then she’s going to have interesting characters saying them."
For the Brewers, the UW-Parkside partnership saves the team money and
gives them an early look at talented new animators. For the students,
it’s great practical experience and something that looks good
on a resume. Who knows, they could even come up with the next sausage