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Flash Goddess
October, 2004
Jenny Mottar
Jenny Mottar
Aura Touch Screen
“Aura Touch Screen” - created for the launch of NASA’s Aura satellite

Science Mission Directorate
Science Mission Directorate touch screen concept – current project

Exploring the Sun
“Exploring the Sun” touch screen- on display at Goddard Space Flight Center

















Jenny Mottar

Jenny Mottar’s experience ranges from designing and programming websites to creating multi page print publications to oil painting, illustration and photography. Her portfolio site, JennysRealm was the 2004 SXSW Interactive Award winner in the personal site category. Jenny has also been featured on www.netdiver.net as a powagirrrl.
What was the inspiration behind JennysRealm?
JennysRealm was an opportunity for me to create something fun, educational and functional. With no deadlines or customers to please, I took my time, enjoyed myself and learned Actionscript in the process. I’ve always loved fine art—painting and drawing—and pull that into my design as much as possible.
How did you get started in design in the first place?
I have loved drawing and painting since I can remember, but never thought I would be able to support myself in that profession. I actually started college as a Classical Guitar Major (another lucrative field…), but took one amazing class in Adobe Illustrator and discovered a whole new medium of expression for my creativity—computer-aided graphic design. My senior year I took a class in web that briefly touched on Flash, and I then decided that was what I wanted to do.
Your Flash skills were self-taught. Did you find this process difficult?
Very! But I have a stubborn nature, and I continued to apply myself until finally discovering an illuminating book on ActionScript (ActionScript: the Definitive Guide) that enabled the breakthrough that fuelled JennysRealm.
What was it about Flash that appealed to you? What was it that first caught your attention in a serious way to bring you to Flash?
To me it seemed that the level of creativity just gained a new dimension with the addition of motion. The whole idea that my drawings could come to life and have an interactive relationship with the viewer inspired me.
What uses of Flash are inspiring to you?
All of them! I am continually amazed by what people come up with. It seems the applications of Flash are constantly being expanded and improved upon.
You are presently working in the Earth Science Enterprise at NASA Headquarters as a multimedia specialist. Any interesting projects that you could tell us about?
I am still working at NASA headquarters, but now under the newly transformed Sun-Earth Systems division of the Science Mission Directorate. I have recently completed a touch screen interface and exhibit design focused on the newly launched Aura satellite. The touch screen theme is built around an illustration of the view from a conceptual spacecraft cockpit and consul looking down on Earth. Selecting from a variety of topics on the navigation lets you zoom into the consul to read up on related information while launching a projection of 3D visualizations of the Earth inside of a large sphere. The interface also allows you to control both animation and rotation speed of the modeling data. The exhibit has been featured at events at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and will tour the NASA visitor centers.
Who has been your artistic inspiration in your professional work?
No one in particular, but I love to surf the web and see what others have come up with, and I’m inspired by new people all the time.
Do you find that you have enough time as you would like for your fine art and classical guitar?
There never seems like enough time for everything. But I spend at least one evening a week oil painting with a friend, and, with an upcoming wedding to perform at, I aim to put in an hour of guitar practice 5 out of 7 days a week. Also, volleyball season starts up in the fall, and I’ll be doing my best to fit it in as well.
What hardware and software do you use?
I have a G4 that needs upgrading and a flat screen Sony monitor. I use Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver to create interactive designs.
Do you have any advice or tips you could give to those starting to learn Flash?
Definitely read forums. When you hit a snag, you’ll almost always be able to find other people who have encountered and overcome the same problems and setbacks. Also, buy a good book on ActionScript; it will really expand the interactivity and depth of your animations.
What’s next for Jenny?
In the months to come, I’ll be designing and building a new touch screen for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Apart from that, I expect my usual variety of design work.
Do you have any final thoughts and what would you like people to take away from this interview?
I feel that Flash not only enables the creation of functional products in a wide variety of applications—pleasing customers—but fulfills that creative itch unlike any other application of design.

Thank you, Ann-Marie, for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

And thank you, Jenny! We're looking forward to seeing more fabulous work from you in the future.