Seneca Valley sophomore Cole Eckenrode stands on a white mat that displays an immersive floor projection wearing a motion-capture suit covered with 37 markers.
Seneca Valley sophomore Cole Eckenrode stands on a white mat that displays an immersive floor projection wearing a motion-capture suit covered with 37 markers.

What do Seneca Valley students have in common with “Lord of the Rings” or “Planet of the Apes?” With the recent installation of the Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab (SMALLab), an embodied learning environment that allows for interactivity within a learning module, students who have signed up for Honors Motion Capture and Animation I courses at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School (IHS) are the first high school students in the country to use this course. In this class, IHS students have the opportunity to conduct motion capture sessions, write code and test new programs they have designed in the SMALLab as well as other SMALLabs already installed at SV.
“With a core focus on preparing our students for the future, the new Motion Capture and Animation course provides the tools, knowledge, and skills to accomplish just that,” exclaimed Seneca Valley Academy of Choice and motion capture/animation teacher Ken Macek. “Learning is taken to a whole new level by giving each student a fun, yet challenging college-level learning experience by experimenting with industry-standard animation technology and software.” Recently, Seneca Valley sophomore Cole Eckenrode stood on a white mat that displays an immersive floor projection wearing a motion-capture suit covered with 37 markers. These markers transmit every movement from the top of his head to his toes. The 12 infrared cameras that are strategically placed around the room pick up the sensors on his suit and are relayed to software that enable students to compile data and create characters using real human movement.“I like this course because it is showing me how animation begins and what aspects it requires to create animation,” stated Mr. Eckenrode. “The classroom is also enjoyable due to its interactive nature and the way we learn is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. This class also helps me see what I can do with the animation, allowing me to find out if I want to work in the Pixar Branch of The Walt Disney Company.”