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Tenn. college students make sophisticated digital art

By Jim Conrad
Published On: May 15 2013 03:42:49 PM CDT

Digital images are everywhere. But where did those creators come from? Some might be from East Tennessee State University.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

If you didn't know it by now, we're living in a digital world. Everything we look at these days has its roots in digital media. So where do those digital creators come from?

Many come from the East Tennessee State University Digital Media program in Johnson City, Tennessee. You may not have heard of them yet, but they've been around almost 20 years now and it's those students who are creating our new world.

As if final exams aren't stressful enough, the Digital Media seniors at ETSU are preparing for their annual show of experimental digital art. "A big part of this show is the senior graduates. Every year we present them to the public and give them an opportunity to both show their work that they've done while they're here and show their portfolio. Hopefully some of the people that attend the show will be hiring," Digital Media professor Cher Cornett said.

No matter the business that you're in, you going to need the services of graduates like these. "It's crazy how much of an impact [digital media has] in society today. In any business, really, it affects it," graduating senior Rebekah Haug says.

Whether it's digital art displays or the complete portfolio of years of work by these students, you'll find plenty of great examples at the show. "[Digital media is] a lot more than just creating a website. A lot of these guys are going to show you what goes into everything that is digital media," graduating senior Matthew Styles said about the work being displayed.

And they will show you exactly how they created their 'magic,' as they call it. "We're in the digital visualization business. It doesn't matter if you're trying to illustrate a business concept, or trying to illustrate and demonstrate a new product that hasn't been manufactured yet, or if you're trying to build a game; everything has to start from that visualization point," Cornett said.

Past graduates have moved on into the movie business; others have become animators and modelers for big-name game studios. Some go into the fields of graphic and web design while others combine all of the skills they learned to become general media specialists.

So when you see digital images on your many devices, stop and and think of where they might have originated -- it could have been right in the Digital Media labs at ETSU.