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Ligonier Library workshop features animation artist

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Animation has been enriching Jeff Boller's life for a long time.

As a child, the software developer would draw images on hundreds of sheets of paper and then use a Super 8 camera to create motion pictures with the images.

These days, Boller, 41, of Greensburg is taking animation to another dimension.

Boller will teach a free “3D for Kids” workshop at 11 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Ligonier Valley Library. The program, for children ages 7 and older, will provide a look at how 3D works in various art forms.

Boller, who plays multiple instruments, started doing 3D animation for the benefit of his experimental pop band, The Simple Carnival. His upcoming album will have 3D music videos to accompany each track.

He said he fell into his educational gig by chance.

Last year, he decided to give a presentation about 3D animation for arts day at his son's school, which asked parents involved with creative arts to speak to students. Boller showed students how 3D works, receiving an enthusiastic response from his audience of second-graders.

“They lost their minds,” he said. “They were screaming, hooting, hollering and laughing. I wasn't expecting that kind of reaction.”

“I thought, ‘This is fun,'” he said.

Since then, Boller has traveled to schools and libraries around Westmoreland and Allegheny counties to teach “3D for Kids.”

Boller tailors each presentation for its audience, but children will make drawings, photographs and movies, all in 3D.

Participants will get to take home a pair of 3D glasses, a 3D postcard, a 3D greeting card and an activity sheet.

Boller said his workshop touches on numerous disciplines, such as psychology, science, art and media literacy.

“Most of us have two eyes, and we take for granted the fact that we see in 3D,” he said. “A lot of people never really stop to think what it means and how we perceive things.”

Boller said he enjoys the response he receives from kids during the workshops.

“I feel like I feed off of their energy,” he said. “Every now and then something will happen where it really makes me understand why someone would want to be a teacher.”

At a past workshop, one 14-year-old student told Boller his presentation inspired her.

“I saw the gears turning in her head,” he said. “I swear it seemed like she was making a decision right then and there that this is what she wanted to do with her life.”

Library executive director Janet Hudson said the workshop is the “big end of the summer program for the kids.”

It fits in with earlier programs that had a science theme, like the “Fizz Boom Read” reading club.

Hudson said the library heard of the success of “3D for Kids” at other libraries.

“They just raved about this program,” she said.

Registration is required for “3D for Kids,” and there is limited seating. For more information, contact the Ligonier Valley Library at 724-238-6451. To learn more about the workshop, visit

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or