Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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

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

Animation Show of Shows – The Student Perspective

Monday, October 6th, 2014

On Thursday evening, the 25th of September 2014, Cogswell College was given the privilege of once again being host to the Animation Show of Shows. A collection of the most intriguing (and at times perplexing) animated shorts of the year from all over the world, the 16th Annual Show of Shows demonstrated a diverse number of contributors, ranging from studios like Disney and Pixar to small indie production teams.
Prior to the show, the two shorts that were easily the most anticipated by students were titled LAVA and Feast, from the studios of Pixar and Disney respectively. Feast followed the technique of an earlier short by Disney called Paperman, using 3D animation with the appearance of a 2D medium. With Feast, more concentration was placed on the language of shape and color in contrast to each other.

Feast by Disney

The story follows a stray puppy that is saved from the streets and given a home. The puppy is very lucky indeed, because his new owner is the kind of person who enjoys cooking for their pet on a daily basis. Consequently,

the pup is showered with bacon, eggs, spaghetti and meatballs. (At this point, I was feeling rather envious and really wishing I was the dog instead of a college student who doesn’t have time to cook.) Suddenly things change for the dog when his owner finds himself a girlfriend! *Gasp* Much to the dog’s horror (and to mine, being raised in an especially carnivorous family where meat takes up the top three food groups), his meaty, greasy diet is replaced by sprigs of parsley and brussel sprouts due to the girlfriend’s health-conscious influence. I won’t detail out what happens next, as the ending should be saved, but the resolution was pretty satisfying and it was easily one of my favorite shorts in the whole collection.

Other shorts in the program were more figurative instead of having an obvious plot (at the end of one, a friend turned around to me and whispered “What the hell did we just watch?”) and some in particular were on the depressing side and made the audience question life in general. One distinctive short was titled We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, which was simultaneously humorous and heartbreaking as it followed the story of two astronauts who were as close as brothers.

The biggest impact of all was made by the short titled Hipopotamy which the show’s curator, Ron Diamond, saved for last because – in his words – we wouldn’t be able to concentrate on any other shorts after we’d seen it.
Hipopotamy, by Piotr Durnala, framed humans in a light as if we behaved like hippos—the reverse of the concept of anthropomorphism. What we didn’t expect was that every character in the short was pretty darn naked in the most blatant sense. It was also disturbing as we found out that the humans behaved with extremely animistic instincts—children were not spared from violence, and women were subjugated to open force. It was a raw outlook on perhaps how similar humans’ behavior really is comparable to that of animals like the hippopotamus, and could be interpreted as a statement about things that desperately need to be changed about society.

After going to the Show of Shows last year, I was hooked and eager to see the presentations again this year. I definitely was not disappointed—I walked away inspired and feeling just a little bit different. It’s a refreshing perspective to see things from someone else’s eyes, and Ron Diamond’s collection achieved that for me once again.

by Sierra Gaston, Digital Art & Animation Student

Feast by Disney
Ron Diamond (left), curator of Animation Show of Shows with Cogswell College Dean (right), Jerome Solomon

Cogswell Student to Present Mobile App Game at SIGGRAPH

Monday, August 4th, 2014

SUNNYVALE, CA – A student from Cogswell College’s Game Studio will present a newly produced, school-developed mobile app game during the 2014 SIGGRAPH Conference’s “Appy Hour” showcase in Vancouver.

Cara Ricci, one of Cogswell’s Game Design Art students participating in the project-based learning Game Studio, will be presenting the new game, titled Tangram Jam, at SIGGRAPH. The game was developed and produced as part of a Cogswell Game Design & Development course. SIGGRAPH’s “Appy Hour” is designed to showcase the next generation of mobile applications and their creators. Demos by developers of interactive, animated, location-based, visualization and game apps will be presented.

Tangram Jam is an iOS and Android mobile educational puzzle game created by students attending Cogswell’s Game Studio. The game is aimed at third- and fourth-grade students, and has been designed to teach them concepts of adding fractions. The game leverages visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning style techniques in a fun and stimulating environment. 3D characters and procedurally generated music are also featured in the game.

Jerome Solomon, Cogswell’s Dean of the College and Director of Game Design & Development program, says,

“Cara Ricci’s contribution to the exciting new kids game Tangram Jam has been invaluable. She completely redesigned our user interface and contributed much of the game’s UX (user experience). She also worked as a character animator on our team. The look and feel, UX, and animations featured in this new game are critical to making its game play experience fun and engaging for third- and fourth-grade students.”

Adds Cara Ricci, “Almost everything on this project was new and different for me, since I had never previously worked on a video game project with a team comprised of more than five people. There was a lot of teaching and learning from each other, since we had to pass off work and take on unfamiliar tasks. It was exciting for me to have learned such a huge amount of information in a very small period of time. Our original idea was to develop a game that would teach fractions to children in a fun and visually pleasing manner. I believe that the kids who ultimately play Tangram Jam will learn math through shape and color association, as well as how fractions are basically pieces of a whole. Hopefully, it will also teach them how to make decisions quickly, and how to organize and categorize within a restricted time limit.”

As seen on Computer Graphics World:

Other sources:

Computer Graphics World
Animation World Network
Shoot Publicity Wire
Games Press

2014 NCIIA Papers Feature Cogswell Authorship

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) supports technology innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education, and has a membership of nearly 200 colleges and universities from across the country. This 17-year-old national nonprofit organization engages with over 5,000 student & faculty entrepreneurs each year, by helping them to commercialize their concepts.

The NCIIA is holding their 18th annual conference from March 21-22, 2014, right in Cogswell’s backyard in San Jose, California. It is an intensive two-day conference for practitioners of technology entrepreneurship in high education. Conference sessions explore policy, programs, funding and insights into what is happening in higher education today; and how that will impact tomorrow.

Cogswell Polytechnical College is proud to share the 2014 peer-reviewed papers written by our very own Christopher-John Cornell & John Duhring! Topics include Project-based Learning Kickstart Tips, The Metamophosis of Business Plan Competitions, and Crowdfunding: More Than Money Jumpstarting University Entrepreneurship. Follow the links for the full publications.

Visit our website for more information about Cogswell’s Master’s Degree Program in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the Immersion Program for visiting students and entrepreneurs, or the Kauffman Fasttrac Program.

Inventor and Hacker Collide in the Person of Pablos Holman

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Pablos Holman at Cogswell College

On February 13, 2014, renowned futurist, inventor and hacker, Pablos Holman spoke to students, faculty and staff at a noontime gathering. If you missed his insightful and thought-provoking presentation, this video of his talk is your chance to see what you missed or to relive the moment.

Pablos has informed and entertained audiences at world-renowned technology summits including United Nations, the World Economic Forum at Davos, The CIA, TEDx and DEFCON on invention, innovation, cyber security and the future of technology.

Do you have a favorite moment in the video?

Can the Hacker Philosophy Change the World?

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Last week Cogswell College was lucky enough to have renowned futurist, inventor and hacker spend the day on campus meeting with students and faculty and visiting each of our project-based learning studio classes – Project X, MediaWorks, Studio E and Game Studio.

Pablos also delivered a noontime talk exploring the reasons why hacking is important and how that eventually led to working as an inventor at the Intellectual Ventures Lab outside Seattle. His philosophy is simple, hacking things and breaking them is we learn things and then how we can change things. He offered a number of examples of things people had hacked but he finished by saying, “I’m telling you about these guys because they think differently, they are the people who don’t read the directions and that’s the key to new ideas and new ways to use things.”

He sees the hacker philosophy as the key to solving the world’s problems which is how he became involved with the Intellectual Ventures Lab. The focus of the lab is on the beginning stages of invention, validating the concept and refining the technology to demonstrate its potential for commercial or humanitarian use. He talked about some of the projects the lab is working on ranging from shooting mosquitoes down with lasers in the effort to fight malaria to a system to reuse, and thus reduce, nuclear waste to produce energy.

For a more comprehensive description of the these and other projects his team is working on, check out the Ted Talk he gave in 2012.

Absorb Inspiration from Bay Area Museum Exhibits

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

With both a Thanksgiving and a Holiday break coming up, here are some outstanding art exhibits in the Bay area to help you recharge your creative juices after the grind of getting through finals.

De Young, San Francisco, website

  • Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, until 02/17/14
  • David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, until 01/20/14

Legion of Honor, San Francisco, website

  • David Waterston: A Compedium of Creatures, until 12/29/13
  • Matisse from SFMOMA, until 09/07/14
  • Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter, until 02/02/14

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, website

  • In the Grand Style: Celebrations in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty, until 01/12/14
  • The Carved Brush: Calligraphy, Painting & Seal Carving by QIBAISHI, until 07/13/14

Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, website

  • Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus, until 02/03/14
  • Bruno Bozzetto: Animation Maestro, until 03/17/14

Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco, website

  • Sam & Max – Swift & Mirthful Justice: The Art of Steve Purcell, until 04/20/14
  • Grains of Sand: 25 Years of the Sandman, until 03/16/14

Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, website

  • Star Wars, until 02/23/14

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, website

  • Hidden Heroes: The Genius of Everyday Things, until 02/02/14

Which exhibits would you like to visit?

Famed Game Designer, Brenda Romero, Visited Cogswell College

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Yesterday award-winning game designer, artist, writer & creative director, Brenda Romero,  gave her IndieTalk, “Jiro Dreams of Game Design.” The talked was inspired by the movie, “Jiro Dreams of Shushi.”

If you ever wondered what a 3 star Michelin Chef can teach you about game design, well Brenda Romero has an answer. Even if you never wondered – Brenda’s talk was well worth listening to.

Brenda had been making games for Facebook where the mentality was to create minimum viable products. This approach meant that you expected to fix bugs and then add features as you discovered what players really wanted. You did not expect to ship, or strive for, a great game. In the real-world producers don’t say, “let’s make this game great so take all the time you want.” In the real-world the goal is to deliver games on time and on budget.

One of her personal projects was “Trains” – where every single decision mattered as she labored to make a game that was as good as she could make it. She had the luxury of time and never put in something to just to make the game work. She could wait until the right decision appeared.

She wondered what made some things great and others not. Then she came across asparagus – one perfectly prepared, perfectly decorated and perfectly presented plate of asparagus. She realized that a fully designed experience is the foundation of greatness.

Following are some of the things she learned from studying this 3 star group of chefs:

  • Great ideas – you can never rest on your laurels.
  • Great Ingredients – start with the best you can get. You will spend more time managing failures than successes.
  • Think in terms of shipping constantly – great chefs ‘ship’ 10,000 items during their lifetime while a game designer may only ship 100. Polish and perfect every step of the way.
  • Consistency – a chef must deliver every night.

Brenda will be presenting her talk at the upcoming GDC next spring.

Brenda Romero to Speak at Cogswell

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Cogswell College is pleased to welcome award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director, Brenda Romero, to campus on Thursday, November 14. During this student only event she will be giving her IndieCade talk entitled:  “Jiro Dreams of Game Design” from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Dragon’s Den.

During her presentation, Brenda will talk about the traits that three-star chefs share and the lessons game designers can learn from them. From early on in the careers, three-star Michelin chefs – a rarified 106 in the world at present – have a nearly tyrannical hold on their kitchens. They insist on perfection in every ingredient, in temperature, in presentation and in accompaniment. From the first to the last impression, every part of a perfect culinary experience is an obsession so many chase and so few achieve. Interestingly enough, it is something they do because they are driven to, not for money or fame, but because of the pursuit of perfection itself. It is a passion many of us share and struggle to achieve in a world where shipping a game often means compromising on our ideal vision.

About Brenda Romero

Brenda entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry. Brenda worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space. She is presently the Program Director for the UC Santa Cruz Master’s in Games + Playable Media and the Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer of Loot Drop, a social and mobile game company. Brenda serves on the advisory board of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play and also works with John Romero and The Romero Archives to record game designers discussing their game design process for historical archiving.

She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft and previously was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes “12 Women in Gaming to Watch” in 2013 and Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 Magazine in 2010, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007. Nerve magazine also called her one of the 50 artists, actors, authors, activists and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place.

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.