Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Cogswell Student’s Artwork Featured On Kotaku!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Matt Bard

Dungeonesque Walls

One of our students, Matt “Bardler” Bard, had his polycount rock formation featured on Kotaku as, “A rather magnificent-looking, somewhat dungeonesque wall from Bardler”

Clicker here for the article!

Awesome job, Matt!

10 Impressive VFX Breakdowns

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Ever wonder what decisions go into putting together a VFX shot in a movie? How it is visualized and then made real by a team of artists? It’s Art Magazine put together an impressive collection of behind-the-scene clips from 10 films including: “World War Z,” “Pacific Rim,” “Thor: the Dark World” and “Gravity.”

Cogswell grads were part of the VFX teams on  “Oz the Great and Powerful” (Evan Clover as an animator), “Pacific Rim” (Gregory Smith as pilot suit and pod arm artist and Carl Frytz as an uncredited visual effects artist) and “Thor: the Dark World” (Evan Clover as an animator and Carl Frytz as previsualization artist).

Here are 10 VFX breakdowns to inspire you to challenge yourself.

A Conversation with the Directors of Five Top Animations

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Five animation directors, Chris Sanders ("The Croods"), Chris Renaud ("Despicable Me 2")Dan Scanlon ("Monsters University"), Jennifer Lee ("Frozen")and Chris Wedge ("Epic") gathered for a round-table discussion about their films and the special needs of the genre.

The LA Times recently covered the Envelope Animation Round Table and had a conversation with five directors of top feature animations. The directors were Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”), Chris Renaud (“Despicable Me 2″), Chris Sanders (“The Croods”), Dan Scanlon (“Monsters University”) and Chris Wedge (“Epic”) tackled such topics as the challenges of female characters, the effect of celebrity voice actors and the changing economics of feature animation.

Congratulations to the Cogswell alumni who had the opportunity to work on these films:

  • Frozen – Christopher Evart, character technical animator; Andrew Jennings, character technical animator and Chad Stubblefield, modeling supervisor
  • The Croods – Steven Sorensen, final layout artist and Carrie VanEtten, image finagling artist.

Did any of their comments surprise or inspire you?

10 Films Under Consideration for VFX Oscar Nominations

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Last week the Academy of Motion Picture & Sciences announced the films in contention for the 2014 VFX Oscar and the results are in Animation Magazine. The Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee determined the shortlist. All members of the Visual Effects Branch will now be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Thursday, January 9, 2014. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

The films under consideration are:

  • Elysium
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Oblivion
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Pacific Rim
  • World War Z

Congratulations to the Cogswell alumni who worked on one or more of the films! Evan Clover, animator (uncredited) on Iron Man 3; Gregory Smith, pilot suits and conn pod arms and Carl Frytz, visual effects artist (uncredited) on Pacific Rim and Carl Frytz, previsualization artist and Evan Clover, animator on Thor: The Dark World.

Oscars nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

How Disney Made the Snow Look Real in ‘Frozen’

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

It’s only snow, right? How hard can it be to make snow look real? Well several Cogswell alumni who worked on the film could probably tell you stories of long hours in front of their computers striving for the perfection that is a Disney hallmark.

This article and short video in Mashable, talks about the new technology called, ‘material point method,’ that Disney animators created to bring the desired realism to the scenes in the film. The accompanying video was first shared at this summer’s SIGGRAPH when the animators explained the algorthms behind the complex particle response and showed some nifty and very realistic demonstrations of their “snow” in action.

Congratulations to Cogswell alumni Christopher Evart and Andrew Jennings who each received credit on the film as a Character Technical Director and Chad Stubblefield who is credited as Modeling Supervisor!

If you saw the movie, let us know what you thought.

Double Fine Productions Hosting Fan Day

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Double Fine Productions has announced that it is hosting a special “Day of the Devs” event on November 2. The event is open to the public and in addition to meeting the great Double Fine crew – which includes several Cogswell graduates – guests will mingle with other indie developers and have the chance to test the company’s new Kickstarter-funded game, “Broken Age.”

Learn more about the event at GamePolitics.com or RSVP at the Day of the Devs website.

Day of the Devs will take place at Public Works at 161 Erie St. in San Francisco from 4-8 p.m. on November 2. The event is free to attend, though no one under 21 will be allowed in, likely due to alcohol being on-site.

Reflections From a Level Designer on SimCity’s Edgewater Bay

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Cogswell alumnus, Kyle Brown, is a Level Designer on SimCity and was responsible for building the recently released map for Edgewater Bay. Kyle wrote a blog post for the company blog describing the process he used to create the world and some of the issues he encountered along the way.

Congratulations Kyle on a job well done!

Let us know if you have built something in Edgewater Bay.

An Interview with Nathan Brenholdt on Being a Sound Engineer for SCEA

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Nathan Brenholdt (Cogswell College class of 1996) holds a BS in Music Engineering Technology and is a Sr. Sound Designer, Sony Computer Entertainment America

1.    Company name, your job title, a brief description of your job responsibilities and how long you have worked there.

I am a Senior Sound Designer at Sony Computer Entertainment America.  I have been here for 16 years.

2.    Can you give an example of what you might do on a ‘typical’ day?

A typical day is spent planning, recording, creating, editing, implementing, and reviewing sounds for our games.

3.    Can you give an example of something that surprised you about your job when you first started?

It was many years ago, but I was most surprised that my initial title was “Multimedia Specialist”, and that I received at home a generic form letter from HR saying they received my resume, and would get back to me if any positions became available – almost 2 years after I had started working at Sony!

4.    Describe your piece of the production cycle. How does what you do move the project forward?

I generally start early in the production cycle, talking with the creative director and producers about roughly what they are looking for from sound.  Often times, they really don’t know, and can only answer some basic questions about the overall game design.  Usually the type of game and overall look of the game suggest the direction of sound.  From there, I will meet with the audio programmer to design the audio engine and naming conventions.  Our design tools often don’t cover every aspect of sound, so we need additional support for things like debug displays, additional interactive audio parameter tweakers, implementation tools, and formulas for how sound travels through the environment.  Then it’s time to put together some of the main sounds, and get feedback on the overall audio design.  And the rest of the game is usually an iteration process: creating, implementing, reviewing, and tweaking the sounds, dialog, and music.  A fast iteration time is important because of the large number of changes that are made during the development cycle.

5.    How big is the team you are part of for a typical project? What kind of interaction do you have with other team members?

The basic in-game sound effects team is often still fairly small, sometimes as few as 2 or 3 people.  But those numbers can grow quickly if the game is large, or a lot of original content is required.  And once you add dialog, music, and post-production, a lot more people become involved.  A lot of additional work will get contracted out if the people aren’t required for the full project:  Foley, dialog, post-production, music sessions, editing, testing…  The numbers might jump into the hundreds, once you credit everyone involved with the audio in some way.

6.    What projects have you worked on in the past?

I have been most involved with the franchises: Twisted Metal, Syphon Filter, SOCOM: US Navy SEALs, God of War, and Uncharted.  I did a lot of work for the SOCOM games, and really enjoyed going out with the Navy many times over the years, recording their vehicles and weapons.  But with each new game and each new hardware platform come a new set of challenges, which is fun.  Also, games aren’t like movies.  The games are extremely dynamic and you have to plan for so many possibilities with a limited set of sounds and memory.

7.    What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Being able to do something that I enjoy that stays fun, challenging, and new.

8.    What advice would you give students preparing for a career like yours?

I would learn as much as you can, especially on the math, science, and engineering side.  Combine different fields.  You’ll open a lot of doors if your artistic side comes together with computer programming, scripting, engineering, business, or production.  Create your own projects.  Get involved with groups.  Apply for internships.  Measure your work against professionals or direct competition.

9.    QUOTE about how Cogswell helped prepare you for this career?

Cogswell was a great place to combine my passions for sound, music, computers and electronics.

10.  What qualities does someone need to have to be successful in this field?

The engineering, math, scripting, and project management side can be just as important as the creative side.  It’s important to be able to communicate well and adapt to changes.  And of course be able to create high-quality sounds for games!

Remembering the Cogswell Alumni Who Served in WWII

Monday, May 27th, 2013

"Cogswell Spirit" newsletter from March 13, 1942

This is a day to honor all of the men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country in the time of war. We know that many Cogswell grads did their part and served in the US Military or as a civilian in the defense industry.

Following is the copy of page from the “Cogswell Spirit” newsletter dated March 13, 1942. The ‘news’ section of each newsletter from this period was filled with notes about our alumni’s involvement in the war effort. While we don’t know the fate of these specific individuals, we do know that many alumni paid the ultimate sacrifice.

We hope you will take a few minutes today to be thankful for what these individuals did.

Here’s the text from the News section:

“Thursday proved to be ‘Ole Grad’ day for Cogswell when the following alumni visited school.

Lee Stephens, how a 5th Class Technician with the 826th Tank Destroyer Battalion at Camp Roberts, reported that his division is the first Tank Destroyer unit formed for this war.

Conrad Schudel, a mechanic at McClelland Field in Sacramento said that he may be transferred to the air base at Hamilton Field.

Ray Miller is still working for P.G. & E. and is awaiting the results of the draft lottery next week.

Jean Auerbach gave an interesting account of her work with the Chemical Warfare Procurement District to the Filing class.

Peter Gaviglio, a lieutenant in the Navy who was wounded at Pearl Harbor, has been sent back to this country and visited school last week with his wife and small daughter. He is able to walk again and is anticipating taking command of a destroyer soon.”

Cogswell Commencement 2013 is a Wrap

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2013

Cogswell College held its 2013 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Participants processed into the hall to stirring strains of the Stewart Highlands Pipe Band of Menlo Park.

The ceremony took place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View in the second floor in the Hahn Auditorium. Cogswell individually recognized each of the 36 graduates participating in the ceremony as they received their diplomas onstage.

Presiding Officials included: Ms. Janis Paulson, President; Dr. Deborah Snyder, Provost; Mr. Michael Martin, Dean of the College, Dr. Kathleen Broome Williams, representing the Cogswell College Faculty Senate.

Before the diploma presentations began, outstanding students, faculty and staff received well-deserved recognition. Award presenters included: Ms. Janis Paulson for the Staff award, Dr. Deborah Snyder for the Faculty awards, Mr. Michael Huber for Digital Art and Animation, Dr. Kathleen Broome Williams for General Education, Dr. Timothy Duncan for Digital Audio Technology, Mr. Bret Sweet for Entrepreneurship, Dr. Younes Mourchid for Fire Science, Ms. Josie Alexander for Student Life and Mr. Nirmal Singh for the Legacy Award.

Faculty Award Recipients, Group L to R, Susan Harby received the John & Ginnie Chin Excellence in Teaching Award; Karen Keister, Director DAA program; Jonali Bhattacharyya, received the Dorothy Scholten Award for Excellence in Teaching; Deborah Synder, Provost; and Janis Paulson, Cogswell President

  • Student Award Recipients:
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Digital Art and Animation – Taylor Hodgson-Scott
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Digital Audio Technology – Kaleb Grace and Francesco Grieco
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Entrepreneurship – Eric Tran and Zachary Irwin
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, General Education – Jessica Burgoyne
    • 2013 Outstanding Student, Student Life – Aaron Weingarten
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – James Bryla
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Alfredo Estrada
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Harry Higgins
    • 2013 National Fire Academy Achievement Award – Mark Walker
    • 2013 Henry Cogswell Legacy Award – Marialuisa Yazar
  • Faculty Award Recipients:
    • 2013 Dorothy Scholten Award for Excellence in Teaching – Jonali Bhattacharyya
    • 2013 John & Ginnie Chin Excellence in Teaching Award – Susan Harby
  • Staff Award Recipient: 2013 President’s Award for Outstanding Staff – Milla Zlatanov

For their high academic achievement, graduates Mark Walker, Degrees at a Distance/Fire Science and Jeannette Thomas, Digital Art and Animation and Kaleb Grace, Digital Audio Technology were selected to speak to the estimated 350 graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff in attendance.

Former Cogswell Chancellor, Chuck House. Mr. House sits on the Board of the Computer History Museum and helped arrange hosting Cogswell's commencement there.

Joel Slayton, Executive Director of ZERO1 delivered the Commencement Address.

Commencement Keynote Speaker, Joel Slayton, Executive Director of ZERO1

About the Commencement Speaker: Mr. Slayton took the helm of ZERO1 in June of 2008 after serving as a both a board member for the organization and chairperson of ISEA2006, which was held in conjunction with the inaugural 01SJ Biennial. An artist, writer and researcher, Mr. Slayton is a full tenured professor at San Jose State University where he served as Director of the CADRE Laboratory for New Media from 1988 to 2008. Established in 1984 CADRE is one of the oldest and most prestigious centers in the United States dedicated to the development of experimental applications involving information technology and art.