Archive for the ‘Digital Arts Engineering’ Category

Maya Updates – A Student Perspective on New Tools

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Recently, while taking a break from working on a model, I decided to look through Maya 2015’s new features to see if there was anything awesome and worth trying. I found that there were some pretty cool changes that made Maya much more intriguing than before. First, Autodesk has enhanced the user interface to make it much more intuitive. They have added support for multi-touch viewport navigation on Wacom and Apple track pads. The Walk Tool was added which allows you to control Maya’s perspective camera. This tool allows video game controls so the user can easily move and scale objects on two axes at once. In addition, they have added new deformer options, (to alter and animate object shapes), as well as geodesic voxel binding for use with rigging along with several other improvements. The most noteworthy of all changes is the way Mental Ray benefits from interactive production rendering. Through the use of progressive mode, the process of lighting and shading shots has greatly sped up. Mental Ray now displays preview ray-traced reflections, which gives an overall better visual when designing materials. Thanks Autodesk, for continued awesome updates to one of the best 3D modeling suites!

Peter Gazallo
Digital Art & Animation Student
Cogswell College

OM3D – 3D Manipulation of 2D Photos

Friday, November 14th, 2014

When it comes to editing photographs, Photoshop reigns supreme. But what if there was a better approach to editing a photograph? What if you could take an element within a picture and have full manipulation control over everything about it? Better yet, what if you could do it for free? Researchers over at Carnegie Mellon and the University of California found a way to do just that – through the announcement of a new, free, suite of 3D manipulation software. Their software, titled OM3D, allows a user to take an object within a 2D photograph and turn it into a 3D model. That model can then be manipulated and moved around the photo however the user desires. It also allows the users to adjust the lighting and texture of an object in order to blend in with its surroundings. The software achieves this by utilizing vast libraries of stock photographs and 3D models, and compares them to the two dimensional object the user wishes to shape. It then merges the attributes from the library of stock photos with that of the 2D object to create a 3D model that is viewable from every angle. Once the model is created, the photograph can be freely edited.


Demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipTyCJi0t1Y
Download: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~om3d/code/OM3D_1_0_0_source.zip

Cogswell Presents: Nye Warburton

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Cogswell College Presents: Nye Warburton
Cogswell Presents: Nye Warburton
Tuesday, November 11th
12:45 – 1:30
Dragon’s Den

Students!
Do you find yourself starting projects that never get finished, or find yourself swimming in awesome ideas and never do anything with them? Come see Nye on Tuesday to learn how to…

Finish it! How to take your creative ideas and finish the project.
Tips from the industry. How to go from idea to final film, or final game, or whatever you are building. A little bit of project management, a little bit of creative advice and a little bit about the business and how to get your work out there.

About Nye:
Nye Warburton is an animator, cartoonist, game designer and artist. His graduate thesis film, Magnetism, landed him in the Los Angeles animation industry in 2004. He spent a decade at studios like Electronic Arts, Sony Imageworks, Fox, Blur, Proof, Digital Domain and  The Third Floor. He has worked on 30+ high budget films including Monster House, Thor, Battleship, Men in Black III and Oblivion. He has had development deals with Fox Animation and Comedy Central, as well working on several independently funded animation and game projects.

Nye currently works as a creative director for start ups, out of his office space in downtown Los Angeles. Visit him online at http://nyewarburton.com

Behind the Scenes with Toy Story III Video Game

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Join Sr. Producer, Jonathan Warner, for Toy Story III in this behind the scenes tour of Avalanche Studios – based in Salt Lake City – and the game design process for this video game. The studio pitched creating both a story version of the game and a toy box version of the game. Disney loved the idea and the designers got to work.

Not only do you learn a few fun facts about Salt Lake City but you get to follow the camera through Avalanche Studios and watch some of the development team at work.

How to Create an Effective App Demo Video

Friday, February 7th, 2014

You’ve built a great app that you are sure will have a large audience. The next question is how do you get the word out – you know, market it. Many app developer are turning to demo videos to entice potential users to check it out and from there hopefully download it.

So what are some elements that lead to a successful demo video? According to this article in DevsBuildIt by Sean Casto, CEO of Alliance member PreApps, here are a few tips:

  • Choose your tools carefully
  • Don’t shy away from creativity
  • Harness the power with a strong voice
  • Keep it to the point
  • Hook the viewers

Please share links to any great demo videos you have seen.

Sony Shines in Golden Globe Ad

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Bringing together art and engineering talent.

Sony is running a multifaceted media campaign that harkens back to their early days of innovation and pushing the envelope. They ran an ad during the Golden Globes award show that got to the heart of their philosophy. When I watched the video clip, all I could think was that sure looks like a day at Cogswell College.

They say, “When you combine the artist with the engineers, you get something really new – something special.” The ad went on to say, “when great thinkers combine with great doers, 1 + 1 can equal 3.” So true! Great things happen when you create an environment that encourages – and even demands – collaboration across disciplines.

Walk into any classroom at Cogswell, step into the student lounge or listen to conversations taking place in our hallways – and you know you are in a unique place. Students and faculty are passionate about what they do and are eager to learn from each other.

Our next Open House is February 22. Why not RSVP now and come see for yourself how well we have integrated art and engineering? Step into our world of possibilities.

Cogswell’s MediaWorks Presents its ALearn Corporate Identity Project

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Screen Shot from the ALearn Animated Logo Project

MediaWorks, a project-based, learning program in which student teams engage in audio and visual production projects for real-world clients just completed a flagship corporate identity and messaging project for the Santa Clara-based nonprofit, ALearn.

Check out the project on YouTube.

Cogswell College instructors Julius Dobos and Anthony Dias envisioned the concept and are leading the implementation of the MediaWorks program. Utilizing their industry experience, they oversee student-produced works that include animation, live action footage, sound design and original music. The program’s audio and visual production projects involve real-life client meetings, creative brief and concept generation, participation in the approval process and project and time management.

The ALearn media production, just a little over a minute long, included a newly-animated corporate logo, original music and sound design. A preliminary version of the video was previewed and well-received at ALearn’s annual fundraising dinner in October.

“The MediaWorks program is designed to immerse students in the real world process of audio and visual production,” says Anthony Dias, co-leader for the project and digital audio technology (DAT) instructor at Cogswell. “Our students sat down with the client, listened to their vision and asked them questions aimed at guiding the creative process.”

The class meeting about the project.

MediaWorks has created a shift from the college’s standard semesters-long portfolio classes—some of which can take up to 18 months for completion—to 6-8 week deadline-driven client projects where students work in teams of 12-20. Dias and Dobos, adopted this model in an effort to mimic the experience of working for a large creative agency.

“We wanted the students to feel the pressure of the project’s deadlines, just as they would if they were working in a large creative agency,” says Julius Dobos, distinguished lecturer at Cogswell and MediaWorks’ co-leader for the project  “There’s a big difference between creating sound design for movies and sound design for corporate communications, one is entertainment, the other is advertising.”

Dobos has composed movie scores for Hollywood films and admits that most of the students want to work in Hollywood or a big studio environment creating varying forms of entertainment.

Dobos continues, “Our students have the chance to utilize traditional corporate work as a stepping stone to the entertainment field, which is a lot harder to get into directly. Through MediaWorks, they will have big-name Silicon Valley companies in their portfolios that even industry professionals would envy, which presents a huge edge in the marketplace. Not only being ready to work with a major client but showing the results of having done so makes a significant difference on a job interview or when you are launching your own business.”

The goal of the MediaWorks program is to generate sufficient revenue to provide for student compensation and the ability of the audio, engineering and animation departments to make technology purchases as new industry tools become available.

Cogswell is in talks with several high-visibility Silicon Valley firms for media projects for 2014 and has begun work on a yet-to-be announced multinational corporate client project, currently under non-disclosure.

We look forward to sharing the projects with you as they become available.

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.

Software Testing without Documentation

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Software engineers are sometimes faced with the task of testing a piece of software without any accompanying documentation to help them understand the design of the software. As the title to the Slideshare presentation states: “No Time to Explain! TEST!”

Author, Oleksandr Lutsaievskyi who is a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, shares insights and techniques for making the best of this situation as you work to deliver the results your client needs. Discovery methods include exploratory testing, error guessing and your experience.

Another of the tips Lutsaievskyi offers is that finding and working with the person responsible for the results of the testing is crucial to a successful outcome. This contact is key to helping you understand what is expected from test scenarios, pass/fail and anticipated results. Check out the presentation for additional insights.

If you have tested software without documentation what issues did you encounter?

Cogswell Students Selected for Disney Animation Inspire Day

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

L. to R., Robert Mariazeta, Steven Chitwood, Alondra Paco, Colton Fetters and Michael Sardi

On Wednesday, October 3, Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California is hosting its 5th Annual Disney Animation Inspire Day and five talented Cogswell College students will be among the select few invited to participate. The students taking part in the day-long event are: Steven Chitwood, Colton Fetters, Robert Mariazeta, Michael Sardi and Alondra Paco. The group includes two technical artists and three animators.

For the first time Inspire Day attendees were chosen through an online application process that required them to submit an application, resume, demo reel and letter of recommendation from their faculty. If they had a website, the application asked for links to that as well. Since the application period fell during Cogswell’s break between the summer and fall terms, students who applied had to scramble to get everything in on time.

“For me it was pretty last minute,” said Michael Sardi, “but I had some good 3D work from the Animation in Game class and the Intro to Animation class, some clay models from Sculpture class and some 2D work from an animation project that Robert and I are working on so was able to put my reel together.”

Alondra Paco and Robert Mariazeta faced the same issue. Alondra had a rough reel ready but had to come into campus during the break so she could access Premier Pro in our computer labs.

Steven Chitwood and Colton Fetters had both worked on the most recent film from Cogswell’s Project X animation studio class so were able to populate their demo reels half with material from the film and half with projects they had worked on in various classes. As the two technical artists, Colton focused on compositing and lighting skills while Steven focused on visual effects work.

The group is taking an early morning flight to Burbank tomorrow morning so they will be at Disney by 9:00AM.  During the day students will get a behind-the-scenes look at how Disney films are made, have their demo reel critiqued by industry professionals and a lucky few may be invited to apply for either an internship or job.

They fly back home later that evening and though we know they will be tired – we’re sure that the Disney experience will inspire them! Good luck and we can’t wait to hear how your day went.