Nicholas Giovinco

[geō-VEEN-koh]

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The Dr. Glass Story

 

 

I have always been a fan of pixar and the amazing ability of 3D animation to tell a story. to paint a picture that everyone can see and appreciate instantly, has fascinated me to this day. At my cousins house for Christmas Eve one year, we popped a copy of Toy Story in the VHS player, and that became a truely awe inspiring moment for me. After watching that film for the first time, I knew that I wanted to learn how to do something like that.

Years later, I started dabbling in Photoshop at my high school's computer deptartment during my free time, as well as an animation program called True Space. Wow! This was going to be a challenge, because unlike Photoshop, I couldn't just "wing-it" I was really challenged when trying to take my artistic enthusiasm into the third dimension.

Soon after graduating from high school, I then took up a job at a company called Talentino Media. Joe Talentino was one of my old bosses at a previous job, and he showed me a lot of how the day to day business of production actually works. He was a veteran of the comercial and film industry, and he would set me up on one of his computers and let me have full access to his library of software, manuals, tutorial videos, and raging fast harware (circa 2002). I spent hours in front of that box CRT trying out new stuff and following guides. All the while, he would be checking in every so often to throw a helpful hint or two, to pull me along. A very cool experience for me, and one that I'm still very grateful for.

I kept up with animation over the years while at undergrad. As a freshmen at military college, I could always use an escape from my quarters from time to time. (Charlie Mike!! :-) As I started taking my upper level science classes, I had a presentation to perform on an underwater sea creatures for biology. I decided to my put my primitive animation skills to work and see if I couldn't spice it up a notch. So I illustrated something to show/fill a few of the powerpoint slides in addition to the usual science data one would expect. It was very well recieved and I gained enough confidence from that to begin doing animation as much as possible.

My professor and long time mentor Dr. Ralph Hitt, told me about an oppurtunity to shadow for a few weeks during the summer, that year, at the University of Georgia's School of Veternary Medicine. This was my first real exposure to medical illustration. These guys were working on an ambitious educational project called Glass Horse. (no relation to DrGlass; I'll explain later) as an amateur, I was little use to them at all but they had a spare machine in a corner cubical, which they let me have at! So once again I sat for hours everyday trying new stuff and, of course, reciving more valueble advice and feedback to boot!

When I arrived at podiatric medical school, it didn't take long to realize what a visually intense field that I had chosen, (particularly orthopedics and surgery). So once I got my general science classes out of the way, I decided to throw down a chunk of money on a production laptop and Newtek's Lightwave3D. I then got in touch with two of my collegues and friends, Shane Baker and Kelly Powers, and pitched them the idea. They were 100% for it, so we just needed to get some scripts going and we were well on our way. There was only one finer detail that still needed to be worked out: what do I call it? I didn't want to make it named after me because, afterall, it wasn't about promoting myself as it was to promote podiatry. Unfortunately, the typical web URLs were already taken, such as podiatry.com, podiatryforum, podiatryspotlight, etc., so I thought of the only pseudo-name I could remeber, "Glass".

The backstory on that name actually dates back to the freshmen year of my military college days. Our uniforms and supplies were on display at place on campus called the Foxhole. The Foxhole also carried a number of books and dress items, too, but the display manikins are where were this story goes. These manikins were dressed to the level of perfection one would expect from a traditional military college. From workout uniforms, to combat fatiques, to ceremonial dress, they represented a visual example of how our uniforms were supposed to look for every occasion. The shirts were pressed, the buttons and ribbons were at perfect measure in "dress right" format, and they all adorn the same generic name tag/tape of "Glass", (with proper rank of course).

One day, a FROGgie buddy of mine decided to steal one of these name tags from the campus PX. He returned to Charlie Company halls in first batallion, wearing it proudly; he was a real character. Exploring this new alter ego, he marched up and down the hallway shouting rediculous orders and demanding we sound off to him loud and proud. This was an afternoon's entertainment for well enough and, from then on, we had an inside joke that c/CPT Glass was going to return one day to set things strait. (I promised an explanation, just not a mature one)

So because of that whimsicle debacle, the best example of proper display was always "Glass" to me, and thus Dr. Glass would be born. Over the last few years, I and a number of other enthusiasts, have put in many sleepless nights to continue to live out the dream of being amateur medical illustrators. For me it has always been about the learning experince and the need for as much feedback as I can squeeze out of this world. Good or bad, I couldn't do it any other way. Its been a heck of a ride, and I have learned many hard lessons and perspective shifts along the way, but that's another post to come. :-)