Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

Cogswell College: A Microcosm of Silicon Valley

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

While many regions around the world have access to talented artists and engineers, groundbreaking marketers, infusions of capital and excellent universities – what is it that makes Silicon Valley so special and difficult to reproduce elsewhere?

It’s not in the water but it does seem to be in the air we breathe. We operate differently in the Silicon Valley and have a very different mindset about how to do business. Words often used to describe this unique area include: entrepreneurial, passionate, future-focused, collaborative, high-energy, innovative, creative, techy, team-oriented and willingness to take a chance.

In an article published in the Washington Post, author Victor Hwang, identifies a key element that is often overlooked. Other regions “focus primarily on its ingredients — its obvious assets, like venture capital, skilled workers and universities. What they have largely ignored is its recipe — the social interactions that turn those ingredients into vibrant companies.”

He goes on to state, “arguably, the most important factor in its success has been the formation of a unique culture — one that allows people with diverse skills, who often don’t know each other, to mix and match: collaborating and trusting in ways that people in other cultures don’t. It is not simply creative destruction, as many observers say. More importantly, it is a process of creative reassembly, as people join forces on temporary projects and then recirculate and recombine for other projects later.”

Cogswell College, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a true microcosm of Silicon Valley. Within our walls a true collaborative spirit exists. Students, faculty, alumni and external ventures dive into projects and work together to give them life thus gaining valuable collaboration and teamwork competencies. The groups formed bring a diversity of talents, skills, life experiences and perspectives to the task at hand plus an eagerness to learn and desire to create something extraordinary.

Visitors to our campus respond to the natural curiosity and energy permeating Cogswell’s classrooms and labs as teams tackle whatever challenge is in front of them. Whether you are a student in our Undergraduate program or Master’s program Cogswell encourages its students to create, innovate and apply what they have learned in a project-based curriculum that focuses on delivering market-ready products. Students learn to work on teams that mirror real development teams consisting of artists, animators, audio experts and project managers – with software engineering at its core.

With the ability to assemble multidisciplinary teams from within its programs of study, Cogswell College is uniquely positioned to deliver market-ready projects to partner companies and organizations. A sampling of projects we have collaborated on include:

  • Interactive Logo Designs – Cogswell’s Sound Design class developed new logo treatments for Cogswell (seen at the end of the video posted below) and for two different external partner organizations.
  • Interactive Book – Using the latest industry-standard technology, students are working under faculty guidance to create an artistically stunning interactive book (or whatever text Thomas approves).
  • Mobile game – Prairie Rainbow develops table top games to help younger students learn math concepts. Cogswell students are developing a mobile game version of the company’s Rainbow Squares learning tool.

Cogswell also encourages it students to develop their own projects through and supports their efforts. Original student development projects include: game development, operating student store, 3D printing and audio theater projects.

One of the things that sets Silicon Valley apart from other tech development centers, is the sharing of ideas and expertise. Few days go by without an opportunity to attend meetups, salons, hackathons, live/work houses, clubs and industry-specific events. Most have an open door policy – if you are interested in whatever the topic, stop by to learn and network. There is an accessibility to successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley unavailable in other tech regions largely fostered by the area’s culture of sharing knowledge with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

At Cogswell College we bring all the pieces together in one place. Our students have the opportunity to collaborate with other students who possess a diverse range of skills and interests on projects, they have access to Silicon Valley thought leaders and a long history of innovation and cutting-edge education. Cogswell College truly is a microcosm of Silicon Valley.

Check out this video to learn more about how Cogswell mirrors the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

5 Obscure Marvel Characters

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Gamora – Drax the Destroyer – Rocket Raccoon – may not we well known Marvel Comic book characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy series but might make a blockbuster movie under the guidance of Director, James Gunn.

Check out this slideshare presentation to see what he has in mind.

Which one is your favorite?

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Here are a few to pique your interest:

#5 – Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you are losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#12 – Discount the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

#21 – You gotta indentify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool.’ What would make YOU act that way.

Check out the rest of the rules in Imgur.

What would you add to the list?

Creating Interactive Books: An Interview with Author, Roxie Munro

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Since one of Cogswell College’s newest project-based class involves creating interactive books, we thought it would be fun to hear from someone in the industry. In this interview in Digital Book World, Beth Bacon talks to children’s author and illustrator, Roxie Munro.

During the interview, Roxie shares her thoughts and lessons learned when converting from traditional children’s book author to interactive children’s stories. Roxie talks about making the transition from children’s books to apps, the most difficult thing about this new form of storytelling, the future of children’s books and what advice she has for other creative people in this industry.

Can’t wait to see what our Interactive Studio class creates!

Special Effects Are More Then Blowing Things Up

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Much of the time special effects teams spend working on a film is on the task of creating the environment the viewer expects to see – but that environment either wasn’t available where the filming took place or for some other reason was just not practical to capture with a camera. Enter the deft hand of the special effects artists.

This fascinating article by Ian Failes in fxguide.com offers a tantalizing peek behind the scenes of several films from 2011. The first behind the scenes look is from the film, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Fredrik Nord, Visual Effects Supervisor at The Chimney Pot in Stockholm, and his team created the MI:6 ‘Circus’ archive set in Softimage, complete with textured bookshelves, stairs, beams and pipes. Check out the videos and before and after photos of some of the scenes the artists created.

The article also covers the work of special effects in: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” “Machine Gun Preacher,” “Jack and Jill,” “Young Adult,” and “Dolphin Tale.”

Animation for Game Class Video

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The Animation for Game class worked hard all summer – producing 30+ assignments over the course of the summer.

Near the end of the summer, they held an Open House to show off their work. Faculty member, Jonali Bhattacharyya who teaches the class, said she was really pleased with the quantity and quality of work the students produced. “I wanted them to learn how to work under the pressure of a real work situation,” said Jonali.

Here are a few video clips taken during the Open House as faculty, staff and students tested out the video games. Clip one. Clip two. Clip three.

Cloud Computing is Changing the Face of the Animation Industry

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

A decade ago if you couldn’t get your hands on a huge server farm, your animation output was limited. Studios invested a lot of money acquiring the resources they needed to create their films.

Now the advent of cloud computing has opened the door to small and mid-sized companies in their pursuit to produce high-quality animation products. Cloud Service providers deliver the computing resources in a more cost-effective way, that make it possible for smaller firms to compete in the marketplace.

In this article by Xath Cruz in Cloud Times, he examines the animation industry’s challenges along with the power that cloud computing puts in the hands of even amateur animators.

Have you used cloud computing for one of your projects?

Animation Show of Shows Comes to Cogswell

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Cogswell College will have the distinct privilege of hosting “The Animation Show of Shows” right here on campus on September 24, 2013. This exclusive evening of short animated films brings together a collection of the best the film festival world has to offer. Many of these films have only been available on a limited basis – making this rare opportunity even more special.

DATE:  Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TIME:  7:00 to 9:00PM

PLACE:  Dragon’s Den

SEATING IS LIMITED

RSVP:  Sign up in the Pulse Office and pick up your ticket

Since 1998, The Animation Show of Shows has selected the best in animated short films from the world’s most renowned animation festivals and presented them at the major animation studios to inspire their animators and directors. The screenings at major studios such as DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney and many others throughout North America have served to inspire and enrich the many professionals who have been lucky enough to see them.

The techniques range from hand-drawn, paint on glass and stop-motion, to the latest computer-generated imagery, with its ability to conjure entire worlds with astonishing verisimilitude. Together these films capture, in the words of Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo, “all the wit, cleverness, integrity, warmth and humor that humanity is capable of,” and have a universal appeal that makes them ideal for sharing with family and friends.

Join us in the Dragon’s Den on Tuesday, September 24, to enjoy the art, talent and creativity of some of the best animators in the world.

Envisioning Disney Characters in Real Life

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

If Ariel from the “Little Mermaid” was a real person, what would she look like? Or Jasmine from “Aladdin?”

Here’s is one artist’s concept of what the model of the animation might have looked like.

Do you think the artist, Jirka Väätäinen, whose images are posted on Behance, has captured the essence of the characters?

What is an Animation Technical Director?

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

People with these job skills can fall into several different categories – Lighting TD, Character TD or Shader TD – but all require artistic sensibilities, technical savvy, a good eye and good problem-solving skills. Other TD’s focus more heavily on the programming side of the industry but still need a basic understanding of the art process.

Quite a few of Cogswell’s Digital Arts Engineering graduates have gone on to work as the more ‘technical,’ Technical Directors while some graduates from our Digital Art & Animation program have followed the lighter and character TD career path.

This concise article in 3D Renderer offers a good overview of the job.