Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

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.

Back in Time with Cogswell College Commencements

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Since our 2013 Commencement takes place tomorrow, we thought it would be fun to take a look at a few of the graduating classes. Our first graduation ceremony took place in 1891.

Faculty and Graduates on the steps of our first campus in 1911.

Class of 1957

Centenial Celebration in 1987 when past grads joined us for Commencement

Class of 1999

Class of 2007

Alumnus, Will Christiansen, Talks About Halo 4

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a team member on a AAA Title game? Cogswell College alumnus, Will Christiansen, talks about his experience and shares examples of his work on Halo 4 in this edition of inside 343 Industries.

“Sitting and working right at the crossroads between design, functionality and how our worlds come to life is what the primary role is for a Gameplay Animator at 343,” said Christiansen.

According to Will, there is always something new and different to challenge him in his work. Take a few minutes to check out his hand-keyed animations in his Halo 4 demo reels.

iPhone Apps for Professional Audio Engineers

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

From games to communication to productivity tools, the number of apps available for the iPhone is seemingly endless. Most apps have been geared to enthusiasts, but recently there have been more iPhone apps for professional audio engineers. Ranging in price from free to somewhat pricey, there are a number of apps that audio engineers use to help make their jobs easier.

The three most common types of pro audio iPhone apps are field recorders, portable digital audio workstations and remote controls.

Field Recorders

Many of the available audio recorders lack the options found in traditional field recorders, but some have come on the market recently that make it possible to conveniently capture professional quality recording without having to purchase a separate device. Here are just a few:

  • Audiofile Engineering “FiRe”
  • BIAS iProRecorder
  • McDSP Retro Recorder

Portable Workstations

Using the iPhone’s built-in audio interface, these apps are actually simplified digital audio workstations used to record or program multi-track song ideas. They can then be exported into a computer later for editing. They include:

  • Cleartune Chromatic Tuner
  • ioMetrics GigBaby!
  • Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer
  • Novation Automap 3
  • Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack (Company founded by Cogswell Alumnus, Doug Wright)
  • Thezi Studio Metronome TS

Remote Control Apps

These allow audio engineers to control digital audio workstations (DAWs) or other hardware devices from the iPhone. They are specific to the devices in use and control the various virtual knobs, buttons and fader. Some of the more popular are:

  • Far Out Labs ProRemote
  • Hexler TouchOSC
  • Planet Waves Rig Remote
  • Steinberg Cubase iC

Tell us what you think!

Which iPhone apps for audio engineers have you used and which can you not live without?

How ILM Turned Mark Ruffalo into The Hulk

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

There’s been a lot of talk lately about what visual effects brings to film and game. The artists who work in this industry do make magic happen.

We thought you would enjoy seeing how ILM turned Mark Ruffalo into “The Hulk.” Three Cogswell alumni worked on the film. Greg Smith as a Digital Modeler, Adam Lawson as an Animator and Vincent Parker as a Video Playback Engineer.

Check out the video and let us know what you think!

Successful Job Fair at Cogswell College

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Welcome to the Job Fair at Cogswell College

A great big thank you goes out to all of the employers, students and alumni who took part in our recent job fair on March 15. This hugely successful event featured 11 employers and drew more than 100 students and alumni to campus to apply for more than 50 positions.

Opportunities included post graduate jobs, part-time summer jobs and internships with employers looking to hire artists, programmers, marketing assistants and retail associates to name a few of the positions available. A good number of the students who completed employment applications at the job fair, have been asked to take the next step and interview for those positions.

From the minute the doors opened at 10AM until they closed at 2PM, students and alumni flocked into the Dragon’s Den, resumes in hand and waited patiently to talk to each of the employers present. In preparation, Nikki Love, Director of Cogswell College’s Career Services, had offered numerous sessions over the last few months on interviewing techniques and resume development to help students be successful at the job fair.

For more information about the next job fair or to advertise a position to Cogswell College students and alumni, please contact Nikki Love at nlove@cogswell.edu or phone her at 408-498-5102.

Job Fair Art Test for Karmen's Art Shoppes

Waiting in line to talk to Grimm Bros, LLC, representative, Ash Monif