One of the easiest ways to promote awareness and appreciation for science is by using art to display the world of science in unique and innovative ways. One particular artist that excels at doing this in an amazing manner is Peter Blaskovic, a 3D animator and designer from Slovakia.
You can find Peter's most stunning work in the "experiments" section of his website.
All of his 3D artwork located on that page is based upon sound scientific principles. Educators and teachers could benefit greatly by bringing Peter's artwork into the classroom and incorporating each of his "experiments" into the lesson plan.
The following are a few examples of Peter's scientific artwork and the scientific principles that he accurately portrays with these 3D models. Most of the 3D animation lets students observe how the numbers, formulas and facts that they learn in class actually exist in a very tangible form in the real world.
Escape Motions Main Page
The main "experiments" page of Escape Motions lists a collection of over 25 activities that are very fun, entertaining and educational to explore. Each of these pieces of 3D artwork is interactive in different ways.
In some cases, the interactivity is just the ability to rotate or swivel a 3D animation in different ways. However, with some of the artwork, the viewer can actually click the mouse in different spots to cause a reaction or change in the digital artwork itself. These reactions are actually accurate mathematical representations of scientific effects - in other words they are 3D simulations of real world science.
The best place to start to see a good example of this educational interactive activity is actually one of the 3D simulations listed toward the bottom of the page. The "Water Ripples" application shows a 3D simulation of a water ripple effect.
The default state is a clear surface of water with a light rainfall taking place. You can just sit and watch the surface of the water dimple and ripple as simulated raindrops hit the surface. However, you can also click your mouse on the water and drag it around to create a fun ripple effect. The animated 3D ripple effect is carefully calculated to represent real world water ripples. Playing with the simulation actually has a very calming Zen-like effect.
One of Peter's best creations is a fluid simulator called "Fluid Water Simulation 3". This is an amazing application where you can combine elements like water, oil and foam with environmental effects like air, sewer drains and solid walls.
By carefully placing walls, drains, and air streams, you can design a very dynamic and turbulent world of fluid where no molecule stays at rest for very long. This tool is an excellent resource to teach students about fluid dynamics.
You'll notice on Peter's website that some of his favorite artistic pieces involve particles and fields. Two of the applications called "Particles I" and "Particles II" are only interactive to the extent that you can rotate them left and right to get different perspectives. These display Peter's affinity for gravity fields and the art that field and particle science can create.
However, the application called "Fields" is much more interactive in that you can choose the number of fields that interact with each other, and you can place them to influence how they interact as the algorithm intensifies each field.
The Flame app rivals Water as far as the number of features and the innovation of the program itself. By carefully modifying colors, saturation, opacity and other features of your drawing "tool", you can design some of the most stunning artwork out of what looks like colored "flame" coming out of your virtual paint brush.
For biology students, Biolab is a fantastic cellular simulation tool that lets you create new cellular bodies and watch as cells move around the petri dish and interact with other cells as you modify cell characteristics like cell membrane, separation, and biomagnetic field. It is fascinating to watch the simulated action of cells as the divide or consume other cells.
Another amazing simulator similar to "Water 3" is the "Fluid Fire Simulator 3". Instead of using water, oil, foam and walls, this simulator lets you use particles, air and water to essentially play with fire. Once you have air currents and particles flowing, the fire turns the entire simulation into a true work of art. This one is a lot of fun and a great way to show how airflow can affect both particulates in the air as well as fire.
The pixel animator seems like more playing than learning, but the tool is actually a wonderful way to teach children about the art of animation by slightly modifying just pixels within a picture. With the pixel animator, kids can draw a picture by coloring the pixels one at a time. Once the picture is done, they can copy and paste the picture into the next frame and modify it slightly. When they're done, they can click "play" and watch the animation that they created!
Another set of Java apps Peter created that truly look like a work of art in motion are the Particles apps, Particles I through V. These simulators show the motion of particles through various fields, fluid or just interaction between other particles. The resulting collisions and motion of these millions of particles produce a beautiful image.
All of these applications are an impressive showcase of Peter's talents, and each one of them offer parents and teachers with innovative ways to introduce 3D simulations into the process of learning about science.
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