Archive for the ‘Animation’ Category

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.

Ideas that Form the Core of Arts Education

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Cogswell students learning the fundamental techniques needed to create realistic characters for games and animations.

In a recent article for the Digital Art Guild, Edward P. Clapp, discusses the 1960’s era guiding principles of the art world and whether or not these ideas are still relevant today. At the end of the article he suggests that the future of the arts lies in what’s possible, not in what has been the status quo.

Mr. Clapp in his recently published anthology, “20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education in the 21st Century,” challenges the core assumptions of the field by publishing twenty essays about the future of the arts and arts education from the perspective of young arts professionals under the age of forty. His goal: to find the most radical ideas about the future of the arts from the perspectives of the most innovative emerging arts professionals.

Do you agree with his assumptions?

Wisdom from SIGGRAPH – 10 Men of Steel Facts

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Jerome Solomon, head of Cogswell College’s Game Design & Development program is currently at SIGGRAPH as Chair of the Computer Animation Festival Production Committee, so we thought it might be fun to highlight one of the talks that took place this week.

Five VFX supervisors talked about their experiences working on the film and shared some little known facts about the making of the movie. For instance, can you answer any of these questions?

Which company did extensive previs for the film?

Where did Weta get a lot of its source material to create the Kryptonian environment?

Was Superman’s cape real or fake?

Check out this article in Studio Daily to find these answers and more.

Women in Animation Presentation at Pixar

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Cogswell College students at the Women in Animation San Francisco Pixar Studio event.

On July 16 more than 20 female students attended the Women in Animation San Francisco screening of Monsters University at Pixar Studio. After the movie, everyone at the event had the chance to listen to a panel of talented women who worked in Technical, Artistic and Production roles on the film followed by an audience Q&A session.

Rosalie Wynne, one of the students who attended was impressed by the size of Pixar and the amenities they provide their employees like the dining areas all over the building. “I also enjoyed touring the second floor where they kept their art gallery and had some concept art on display,” she said.

Students Rosalie Wynne and Cara Ricci at Pixar

Rosalie noticed that the panelist had mostly arrived at Pixar in the mid-1990s to early-2000s and were able to work their way up the ranks. She doesn’t think that approach will work now. “Our generation has to have all this schooling and amazing portfolios and reels to be considered for jobs now. I think the days are mostly past when  you can start at the bottom and work your way up into an artist’s position,” she added.

One of the main things the panelists stressed was the importance of being collaborative and to learn to communicate effectively. They said overall, working at Pixar is about being a team player plus learning when to fight for your ideas and when to let them go.

At Cogswell College – in addition to an amazing faculty and curriculum – we provide multiple learning experiences both through on-campus and off-campus events.

Students Amanda Martinez, Ashley Evans, Jennifer Hicks and friends at Pixar.

Special Effects Before the Computer

Friday, July 12th, 2013

We’ve all been amazed at the special effects created for films over the past decade. Each generation of movies seem to be bigger and more fantastical than the last.

But effects are not new to the film industry. Movie studios were inserting things, actions and creatures they either couldn’t find in nature or couldn’t realistically do as early as 1895. According to Film Site, the film “The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots” was the first in-camera special effect used.

Here’s a compilation of 12 films that Buzz Feed thinks represent the best of pre-cgi effects. Let us know if you agree.

What is 3D Modeling and What Does a 3D Modeler Do?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Student artwork by Joe Giambrone

We think of these individuals as the work-horses of the industry. Every building, environment and character has first been touched by a 3D Modeler. Basically they create three-dimensional computer models and provide the ability to view the object or character from all angles.

While the general public tends to think of these jobs being mostly in the entertainment or creative industries – these skill sets are in demand in many fields including military, architecture, medical research and even chemical research scientist.

To learn more about the tools a 3D Modeler uses, check out the article in Wise Geek or to learn how to become a 3D Modeler, read through the learning opportunities on the Cogswell College website.

Worlds Apart is Now on YouTube

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

For all of you who have not had the opportunity to see the second film produced by Cogswell’s Project X studio class, Worlds Apart, it is now on YouTube.  With an amazingly successful film festival run completed in late May, we are happy to make the film available to a wider audience.

By the way here are the results of the film festivals:

  • Official Selection = 46 festivals
  • Best Animation or Audience Choice Awards = 16
  • Screened in 20 different states including 17 different cities in California
  • Screened in 4 International locations including 3 different festivals in England
  • Congratulations to everyone involved in creating this outstanding piece!

Check out the video.

How the Animation Industry is Becoming More Nimble

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Form 1 3D Printer

Most of you have probably heard about the challenges animation studios and VFX houses have faced in recent years. Costs have spiraled yet the demand for ever-increasing levels of realism have escalated.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this article in Digital Arts online explores a few of the options that studios have implemented to increase profitability.

Solutions discussed include using more sophisticated software that allows companies to work with smaller budgets, taking a DIY approach to in-house green screen production to augment VFX shots, crossover between 2D and 3D workflow pipelines, 3D printing to create models and using 3D scanning technology.

What other changes do you see happening in the animation industry?

A Peek Inside Disney’s Monster University

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Disney has put together a fascinating and informative look at the process that takes an animated film from concept to file frame. Cogswell’s Project X students know the process well since it’s the same one they follow as they create the short animations produced during the class.

Follow Disney artists from storyboard – with a breathtaking 227,246 storyboards but who’s counting – to the final version of the film.

The blog also describes what part each of the different departments plays to bring the animation to life. Learn more about the Art Department, Modeling, Layout, Animation & Simulation and the Lighting & Final Frame.

Check out the process here.

Jump Start Your Animation Mojo

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Cogswell College knows what it takes to take your talent from beginner to pro – but here’s a helpful article in 3D World Magazine with a few tips to help you decide if animation is the right path for you.

Their 10 tips include: the best use of your time (don’t waste time playblasting), how to approach each scene (treat each phrase like it’s own shot), dealing with facial expressions (it’s about motion not poses) and troubleshooting (bookend trouble spots).

It’s a challenge for artists to step back from their work and keep moving forward before each shot is perfect.

Check out the trailer from “Worlds Apart” an award-winning, short animation produced by Cogswell’s Project X class.