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Computer Science Art Show

Posted: 04/18/2012

Everyone who owns a computer has used Java, but few attempt to program in it. Among those who do are all  Skidmore students who take  CS 106, Introduction to Computer Science I. All of the images in this album were  produced in that course, taught by Leo Porter, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science.

Use of Photoshop is prohibited, so students essentially must recreate the programming that underlies Photoshop. It's not easy.

“What might take ten minutes in Photoshop can easily take ten hours to code in Java,” said Marcella Jewell, who with lab partner Jackie Avellar produced the image that took "Best in Show" in the recent "Computer Science Art Show" that Porter organized in the lobby of Murray-Aikins Dining Hall. “It’s a skill that takes an immense amount of practice and intuitive understanding."

In one assignment, students were required to create a "chromakey" image, which involves taking a photo in front of a green screen and then substituting the background (green screen) with another image and an article of clothing with a different image."

That was tough, says Keith Kallas ’12, who took "Best in Show" in last fall's show with lab partner Zach Sussman '14. "The biggest challenge was to figure out exactly which color values to replace in what areas of the photo. Get the numbers a little off, and a chunk of my arm would be missing.”

Porter and a colleague at the University of California, San Diego, where he did his graduate work, came up with the idea of a Computer Science Art Show as their contribution to a new major in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts.

“Programming is ultimately about creativity, and I think computer science is best taught when students have a creative goal,” he says. “By holding an art show, we enable them to showcase their work for their friends and the rest of the College. I hope those who attend can see that the intersection of art and technology provides a unique opportunity for creativity.”

All images exhibited in the spring show can be found here. All images exhibited in the fall show are here. Below is a sampling from both.

Click on a thumbnail to view larger image and scroll through entire gallery