Archive for the ‘Digital Art’ Category

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?

Things You Should Not Say to Creative Types

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

If you’ve ever designed something for someone else, lots of these statements in BuzzFeed will sound familiar.  This humorous collection of cards was conceptualized and spearheaded by Mark Shanley and Paddy Treacy, an advertising creative team in Ireland.

The posters were created by several Irish design professionals, including graphic designers, other ad creatives, illustrators, animators, and directors, to name a few.

Do you have any favorites?

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.

Giving Up Won’t Solve Your Problems or Why Art Can Be a Problem

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Disney Character Artist, Chris Oatley, shares insights into learning from your failures, knowing when you’ve learned everything you can from the piece of art you are working on and knowing when to move on. Oatley says, “Works of art abandoned for frustration, self-doubt and depression are needless casualties of a needless war.”

According to Oatley, the process of art-making is basically just a sequence of problems with corresponding solutions that begins with an idea or an inspiration and ends with a finished piece of art. Instead, he suggests that artists look at the rocky patches they hit during the creative process as a measure of progress.

His final piece of advice is, “Art problems are external. Don’t internalize them. Don’t blame yourself for their existence.”

What ‘rocky patches’ have you hit during the creative process and how did your solve them?

22 Animated Shorts from Around the World

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Pixar's "One Man Band" short animation.

This blog from Design Your Way list what it considers as 22 of the best short animated films. While best is a subjective term, many of the films they included in the list were either film festival winners or recommend for consideration by the Academy Awards.

While some of the film links are missing, there is still plenty of variety in both technique and subject matter to give you plenty of food for thought.

Hopefully these will offer some inspiration for your own projects.

Michael Mattesi Offering FORCE Drawing Workshop

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Cogswell College will host artist, author and animation industry resource in one of his FORCE Drawing Workshops. The event is only open to Cogswell students and limited to 50 participants. Sign up in The Pulse now because spaces are filling up fast.

Date:  Saturday, November 9

Time:  2:00 – 6:00PM

Place: Dragon’s Den

The workshop centers on Mattesi’s new approach to drawing based on the FORCES found in the figure and how they coincide with gravity. Any artist could use this concept of drawing but the animation industry has most used the technique due to its many parallel concepts in animating.

Mattesi has contributed his skills as a professional production artist on many award-winning projects. A brief client list includes Pixar, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Consumer Products, Marvel Comics, Hasbro Toys, ABC, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, DreamWorks/PDI, The School of Visual Arts, Peking University, Art Center, Nickelodeon and LeapFrog.

A Short History of Animation Techniques with Demo Clips

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Paper Cut Out Animation

If you’ve ever wondered how animated films are made, the National Film Board of Canada took a neat look at a few of the many techniques that animators use to create their special brand of art. While some of the techniques are more widely utilized than others, the variety definitely gives artists the chance to share their message in a way that expresses their individuality.

Some of the techniques covered in the article include:

  • Animated drawing
  • Paper cut outs
  • Drawing & etching on film
  • Pinscreen
  • Computer

Do you have a favorite technique?

Pinscreen Animation Technique

Animated Drawing Technique

Cogswell Hosts SVForum SIG – Sixense Demos MakeVR, 3D Modeling/Printing Solution

Monday, October 21st, 2013

When SVForum 3D Printing SIG – which fosters innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership within the San Francisco/Silicon Valley ecosystem – needed a space to host it’s upcoming October 28 event, Cogswell was a perfect fit. The event features Sixense Entertainment and a demo of the company’s MakeVR solution for 3D modeling and printing. We’re pretty sure that all of our 3D modeling and engineering students will enjoy the presentation so make sure you reserve a space.

MakeVR uses Sixense’s STEM System™ for motion tracking and control to give consumers a natural, intuitive, and fun way to model and print in 3D. The STEM System provides precision tracking of a user’s every move. Coupled with the easy-to-use yet powerful MakeVR application, users can have fun creating and printing 3D models quickly and easily.

DATE: October 28, 2013

TIME: 6:30 to 9:00PM

PLACE: Cogswell College, 1175 Bordeaux Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Refreshments served

Radically fun, easy-to-use, and powerful, the MakeVR solution from Sixense is an entirely new take on modeling objects for 3D print and other uses. MakeVR’s two-handed interface paradigm is specifically designed for Sixense’s one-to-one motion tracking and control technology as embodied in the company’s STEM System™ wireless motion control platform, for which there was a massively successful Kickstarter campaign (almost $605K!). The solution allows people to create simple to very complex objects with natural hand motions.

To attend, register here and use coupon code ‘3DPrinting100’ for free admittance.

Check out the great 3-minute MakeVR overview video

“MakeVR marries the familiarity of joystick control with a pro-caliber CAD engine. The upshot is that regular-old, non-designer civilians can create relatively complex models.”TechHive.com

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.

Independence High School After School Program

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Faculty,Tony Dias, helps students with the day's lesson. Tony graduated from Independence High.

Cogswell College and Independence High School have teamed up to introduce high school students to the exciting opportunities that blending art and technology opens to them. Over the course of 10 weeks students choose either digital painting or audio desktop production for the first 5 weeks and software engineering or video game design for the final 5 weeks.

“The goal of this program is to get students excited about something they might initially think is boring,” says Abraham Chacko, executive director of admissions and facilitator for the after school program at Cogswell College. “These are kids from the Silicon Valley,” Chacko continues. “When they hear the word ‘engineering,’ they think ‘I don’t want to have a job like my parents,’ but when you mention Disney, Pixar or video games and the job opportunities associated with them, they become excited about learning programming and engineering skills.”

Faculty, Reid Winfrey, offers design tips to students on the day's lesson.

The demand for skilled engineers in the U.S. continues to grow, with engineering degree holders experiencing some of the best job prospects in the country straight out of college. Jack Aiello is a Project Lead The Way trained instructor who teaches Introduction Engineering Design at Independence High, and is coordinator of the pre-engineering program, Space Technology Engineering Academy Magnet (STEAM). He serves as the faculty facilitator for the after-school program, in partnership with Chacko and uses a project-based, individualized teaching method similar to Cogswell’s.

“The ability to connect and engage our students in Cogswell’s environment is incredible,” says Aiello. “Running a class with 25 students working in a project-based environment is more advantageous than a traditional teaching model with lectures or video presentations at the front of a classroom of 35 or more students. The hands-on computer and audio equipment, programming tools and Industry experienced instructors available at Cogswell allow our students an exciting peek into the real world of the digital creative arts. At the end of each of our two hour weekly sessions at Cogswell, the students walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and pride for what they have created. They are enthusiastic and look forward to coming back next week.  Our students are on the consumer side of the ‘Digital Divide’, many from immigrant families that use technology, social media and video games, but don’t know how to leverage the technology to create something NEW; such as designing a video game, making an animated movie, or producing their own music. ”

Learn more in this news item.