University of Alabama colleges collaborate to put shoe on the other foot

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An unlikely collaboration between two University of Alabama colleges has resulted in an innovative, yet fashionable, way of displaying student work.

The SHOE PRO-JECT started with one goal – expanding the College of Engineerings 3-D projection lab’s scope by providing students a “screen” on which they could showcase skills, said Genna Jones, events coordinator for the College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES).

Rubisch works on a program that warps the image that comes out of a projector in order to project onto multiple 3-D surfaces, like how Disney World recently started projecting on Cinderella Castle at the fireworks show. (Matthew Wood/University of Alabama)

Brian Taylor, instructor in the CHES department of clothing, textiles and interior design, suggested building a giant shoe as a 3-D projection screen, while Jones had the idea to build the entire shoe out of shoeboxes.

“CHES brought to the table the problem-solving resources and creativity needed to build a highly complex and sophisticated canvas on which to highlight the technical and logic skills of engineering,” Jones said.

Projection mapping uses a program that warps the image that comes from a projector to display on multiple 3-D surfaces. For instance, the program could make every side of a cube a projection screen, like how Disney World projects on Cinderella Castle during fireworks, said 21-year-old Laura Rubisch, a junior from Weaverville, North Carolina, who is majoring in architectural and civil engineering.

Rubisch has been “mapping” the footage that is displayed on the 3-D “shoe” screen.

The SHOE PRO-JECT had one goal — providing engineering students a creative “screen” on which they could showcase their projection mapping skills. (Matthew Wood/University of Alabama)

The engineering department used the software on a trial basis, but the goal is to project onto buildings in order to work on blueprint plans or do presentations for special events. Partnering with CHES allowed the department to test the software on a smaller scale and work out the kinks, Rubisch said.

With more than 100 donated shoeboxes, including several vintage boxes donated by Taylor’s mother, Taylor and Jones began building the high-heeled shoe in December 2016.

The shoe’s supporting structure was made of boxes donated by University Printing, while the outer shell was crafted with the donated boxes. The entire piece is held together with packing tape and hot glue.

Since one of CHES’s graduates, Stanley Hu, owns a shoe company, it was decided to top the shoe with two boxes from his company, Liuid, in recognition of his accomplishments, Jones said.

The footage displayed on the shoe is from an advanced apparel design course “Senior Shoot.” In this course, senior apparel design students design and create a cohesive collection for their target market. Those collections are photographed for student portfolios.

Rubisch works on a program that warps the image that comes out of a projector in order to project onto multiple 3-D surfaces, like how Disney World recently started projecting on Cinderella Castle at the fireworks show. (Matthew Wood/University of Alabama)

The student designs were filmed in motion to show fabric drape and movement. They discussed on camera their design philosophy and collection inspiration, and a collection of those videos was chosen for the shoe project presentation, Taylor said.

“I’ve loved working on this project because even though I’m an engineer, I really have a joy and heart for fashion, so it has been so awesome to be able to fuse my two passions,” Rubisch said.

“It’s been really cool to work with multiple groups on this presentation because every department involved sees different things in the project,” Rubisch said. “The textiles department has an eye for detail and the creativity aspect, while the engineering side is focused more on the technology. It’s been really cool to watch this develop and has given me a large appreciation for both groups who are so different but work so well together.”

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.

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