Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Puzzle Game Project Class Gets Underway

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

In a recent Skype call on a large monitor at the front of the classroom, George Gagnon, Founder of Prairie Rainbow Company, met with students and faculty for an introductory session to clarify parameters for the project and to present the concepts the two student teams developed in a 48 hour turnaround.

The eleven students enrolled in the class were divided into two teams and tasked with creating a video game version of the Rainbow Squares table top game. Rainbow Squares is a puzzle game designed for elementary, secondary or adult learners to use as an individual or group learning tool. The game consists of six squares, each made up of three different rainbow-colored pieces. Each of these pieces can be used to form other squares using two, four, five or six pieces or can be used to learn addition and fractions.

“Rainbow Math Models are designed to engage students and let them learn through the method that is best for them,” said George. “Feelings learners get to build a physical model, image learners can create a visual model, while language learners have the chance to hear, read, or write a number model,” added George.  “I think by offering Rainbow Squares as a virtual learning tool, more students will have access to the learning method that works for them.”

After students introduced themselves, a representative from each team outlined the concepts they were considering for the game design.

The Red Team started with general ideas and then branched out. They thought it was important for the video game to represent the physical game since the product has been so successful. The team’s goal is to make students want to play the game over and over. They also discussed implementing different levels for different shapes such as one level to focus on manipulating squares, another for pentagons and another for triangles. Other ideas involved creating a limited moves mode or an addition mode with each block being assigned a numerical value. The team would also like to explore a multiplayer option.

The Blue Team first wanted to know if George would prefer a more structural approach to presenting the concepts of addition and fractions or would he consider a more spatial representation of the math concepts through graphs or perhaps as weights on a scale. Would he like the final game to be more session-based play or individual play? If he would like a more structural approach to teaching the concepts, then they are thinking about a more traditional approach with something like Tetris.

“I love the creativity the teams have put into the process. I’m excited about what I’ve heard today and can’t wait to see the finished products,” said George.

Things to Think About Before Starting Your Own Business

Friday, September 6th, 2013

You’re tired of working for someone else and are sure you have what it takes to make a success of the business idea you’ve been kicking around for years but before you head off on your own, here are a few things to consider. Small Business Trends lists 7 questions to ask yourself.

While this may seem obvious, the first question should be, why do I want to work for myself? Here are few more. How disciplined are you? Can you be your own salesperson? Are you passionate about what you want to do?

Check out the article for other questions and a discussion of each.

In your opinion, what else should you be thinking about before you start turning your idea into a reality?

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.

Common Interview Questions for a Software Engineering Job

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Applying for that first job is nerve wracking but getting the call to come in for an interview – while welcome – can turn those stomach butterflies into a herd of wild elephants. Your best defense – be prepared.

This handy slideshare, walks you through seven things you should consider as you get ready to impress.

Do you have any other tips to offer?

LinkedIn CEO Talks About the Importance of Scheduling in Free Time

Friday, August 16th, 2013

How many times have you looked at your schedule and just wished you could bury your head in the sand for a while? Probably too many times. It seems to be a fact of modern work life that our days are filled with an ever increasing number of meetings, answering emails and just trying to put a dent in the number of projects on desk.

In this article in Fast Company, LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, who tends to have lots of demands placed on his time – shares his thoughts on carving out time in your day to just think.

How can you make this happen in your life?

Best Metro Area to Find Top Tech Grads

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

You’ve put in your time, studied hard and now with your software engineering degree in hand it’s time to start looking for that first job.

Here’s a list from Entrepreneur.com where companies find the majority of their tech grads.

Did you know that two of the top ten are right here in the Bay Area? Cogswell College grads are lucky enough to be right here in the middle of best place for companies to find those quality tech employees.

Interview with Creature Sculptor for Pacific Rim

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Concept art for Leatherback for the Pacific Rim movie.

David Meng, sculptor behind the awesome Leatherback-Kaiju in the film Pacific Rim, was recently interviewed by Sculpt Club about his work on the movie. In this wide-ranging interview, Meng covered his childhood fascination with developing creatures – one of his early influences was Jim Henson of the Muppets – how he got started in the business and the creative process on the film.

If you are interested in concept design or sculpting, you will enjoy learning about David Meng’s experiences.

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.

Common Mistakes Made in Concept Art Portfolios

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Concept Artwork by Cassandra Matteis, titled Pixies.

Chris Oatley, a Character Designer with Disney, shares his tips for creating a great concept art portfolio by suggesting what not to do. In this short article – with accompanying illustrations – Oatley boils it down to 5 common mistakes that artists make when putting together their portfolio.

His advice includes thinking about the message your portfolio gives, does it fit the company you are showing it to and is it professional looking?

At Cogswell, students take several portfolio classes so they can revise their material over time. What are your favorite portfolio tips?

Number One Key to Productivity

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Do you have a ‘bias toward action’ attitude or do you let life get in the way of your productivity? In this fascinating article, Brent Summers, talks about why action-based behavior can help you achieve what’s important but also shares brief profiles of action-based creatives.

Their examples offer useful insights into how you can benefit from their perspective on getting things done. The piece also practical tips for you to achieve an action-oriented bias.

What  tips do you have for becoming your most productive self?