Pima JTED students work with new Holofan technology

3D animation and design students are learning to use technology that many students do not have access to until college.
Students in Pima JTed’s 3D Animation and Game Design program are learning to work with a Holofan, a new piece of technology designed to bring 3D images to life.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 5:36 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Students in Pima JTED’s 3D Animation and Game Design program are learning to work with a Holofan, a new piece of technology designed to bring 3D images to life.

The students have only been working with this device for two months, but they have already created multiple designs.

“It’s really cool because it’s like taking something that’s just an idea at first and then turning it into something you can see in 3D space without any screen or anything which is really neat,” said Joseph Jerolamon, a Pima JTED student.

3D animations instructor David Fuller said the students are learning to create 3D logos and demos, which includes a pause button to highlight the stages of constructing a complex project.

He said using Blender software, students have been able to create animations that can play in a continuous loop.

“So this was completely from scratch, using Blender in about two days. Then we rendered in cycles, and it came out as an MP4. Then we convert the MP4 to G code, which is what the fan uses,” Jerolamon said.

While this may seem like a complex project, the students said the process was easy to learn and they faced only minor problems.

“It was pretty straightforward. It’s mainly getting all the programs to work together and various small bugs since it is new software and new hardware,” Jerolamon said. “There are little quirks and little bugs you have to deal with to get it all working smoothly and coherently. One of the main challenges is getting the files to transfer over between programs.”

This kind of technology is something Fuller said most students do not encounter until college. Students said working with this while in high school is preparing them for careers like graphic and game design.

“Being able to get experience and get a handle about it, it will make it easier to go into college and already be familiar with like Blender, one of the things that we use,” said Alexis Chaires, Pima JTED student. “That’s how I created the Companion Cube is within Blender. So being able to work on it while in high school makes it even better because once you reach college it ends up helping a lot.”

Fuller added that while this is preparing his students for future careers, it could eventually transform the way others learn.

“PowerPoints will no longer be boring. They’re going to be a whole different kind of animal. We always have been able to transcend and go through some sort of a seamless transition to different ways that we relate, process and give out information,” Fuller said.

It is also echoed that this technology is a glimpse into the future of media.

“I feel like the future, advertising could be a huge between windows or even billboards could be a main point of advertising. Having these holograms could be much more attractive for customers because it catches your eye more than standard billboards do now,” Jerolamon said.

Fuller said he hopes to invest in 12 more of these fans, which he plans to set up in their event center to project animations that get visitors excited about what they are doing here.