Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Cogswell College is a 2014 Global Game Jam Host Site

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Eating pizza and waiting for the Opening Presentation at GGJ 2013

Cogswell College is pleased to once again serve as a host site for the Global Game Jam. The College’s involvement with the annual event began with the first sponsored Game Jam in 2009.

DATE: January 24 – 26, 2014

TIME: 6:00PM on Friday and wrapping up at 3:00PM on Sunday

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

Registration required

COST: $10 students (with college email address); $20 Cogswell Alumni and $40 general public

INCLUDED with registration: Pizza on Friday evening, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and snacks and coffee throughout the weekend.

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal.

REGISTER now for an action-packed weekend of game development and networking!

Don't miss the fun!

10 Short Animated Films Considered for an Oscar

Friday, December 27th, 2013

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies and whenever available, a link to the trailer.

Feral,” Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa)

Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation)

Gloria Victoria,” Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada)

Hollow Land,” Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada)

The Missing Scarf,” Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.)

Mr. Hublot,” Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions)

“Possessions,” Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.)

“Requiem for Romance,” Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.)

“Room on the Broom,” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)

Subconscious Password,” Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment)

Do you have a favorite?

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Unique Piano Heard Again After 500 Years

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Artist, inventor and genius, Leonardo da Vinci, drew up plans for a piano and cello combination instrument 500 years ago. While we don’t know if da Vinci ever built the ‘viola organista,’ Polish concert pianist, Slawomir Zubrzycki, used copies of the original drawings to bring the instrument to life.

Check out this short video of this musical and mechanical work of art and listen to the first performance at the Academy of Music in Krakow.

Let us know what you think of the sound. Pretty amazing!

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.

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.

10 Startups That Are Changing the Music Industry

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Once upon a time, you either turned on the radio and listened to your favorite DJ spin popular tunes or you went to the music store and purchased  a record (a big, flat plastic disc with grooves that when placed on a record player magically produced sounds) so you could play what you wanted, when you wanted.

But the times and technology has changed – and so has the music industry. This slideshare presentation by the Biz Journal, highlights 10 companies that are making waves within the industry. Check out what they have to say about Spins.FM, Tomahawk, Lisnr, Vyclone, Songza, Songkick, NoiseTrade, SoundCloud, Murfie and Bandcamp.

Are there other companies you think should be on the list?

Cloud Computing is Changing the Face of the Animation Industry

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

A decade ago if you couldn’t get your hands on a huge server farm, your animation output was limited. Studios invested a lot of money acquiring the resources they needed to create their films.

Now the advent of cloud computing has opened the door to small and mid-sized companies in their pursuit to produce high-quality animation products. Cloud Service providers deliver the computing resources in a more cost-effective way, that make it possible for smaller firms to compete in the marketplace.

In this article by Xath Cruz in Cloud Times, he examines the animation industry’s challenges along with the power that cloud computing puts in the hands of even amateur animators.

Have you used cloud computing for one of your projects?

Cogswell Faculty, Bret Sweet, Announces Publication of First Book

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

If you are looking for a fantastic read that will transport you to another time and place, grab you by the lapels and keep you enthralled from beginning to end, then Cogswell faculty, Bret Sweet’s, first work of fiction completes your quest. “Among the Veils,” the first book in the Paper Thrones series, was released in paperback on August 19th and Kindle version on September 4th.

Bret conceived the book during a difficult period in his life. His father suffered from dementia and eventually spent time going from assisted living to emergency rooms for extended periods. A musician friend told Bret that he wrote songs in his head when he was worried. Bret took the suggestion to heart, though he didn’t want to write music, he challenged himself to write a book in his head during the many long hours devoted to making sure his father would not be alone and received the best care.

“The story just sort of came to me,” said Sweet. “I started feeling isolated because caregivers I met at groups seemed to have more resources than I did. I began feeling like maybe the odds were against me. The book was how I stayed on point.”

“Among the Veils” plot follows Clay Durward who works with young people in San Francisco. When he is called to a crime scene and asked to protect a small old boy, he learns the child carries the spirit of a ten thousand year old energy locked in his subconscious. In trying to help his ward, Clay finds himself embroiled in a civil war between two factions of Ancient Egyptian deities fighting out their rivalry among the darkest streets in America’s crumbling cities.

“The conception process took about 3 months,” said Sweet, “and about another 3 months to get it down on paper. The hardest part was the editing and getting it ready for print. About the 4,000th time I had to read through the book, it was really hard to concentrate.”

Bret said he wrote the book for people who are taking care of their parents or other loved one suffering from some kind of neurological disease. He understands that these people are burning the midnight oil as they try to take care of the people they love. He hopes they will feel less alone, that they will feel validated. He wants them to know that they are his heroes.

The book embraces the culture of today with an effective use of modern technology through the use of a sound track, illustrations and wiki. The goal was to create an interactive experience for the reader and really involve them in every aspect of the story. Bret calls his unique genre, ‘urban sci-fi’ or ‘street sword and sorcery.’  His wife calls the style, ‘Harry Potter meets The Wire.’

“Brilliant is an overused word, but appropriate for this story. Bret is an exceptionally talented writer and clever speaker. I’m sure he relates to Clay’s character because Bret is also connected to the minds of the youth and has an unwavering passion for helping them….even if it means putting himself at risk among the darkest streets of America.”
— Enitan Bereola II, Author ‘Bereolaesque’

You can purchase a copy of “Among the Veils” at CreateSpace or Amazon.

About Bret Sweet

Mr. Sweet is the director of Digital Media Management at Cogswell, following his work in launching the College’s Entrepreneurship initiative in 2010. He continues to develop Cogswell’s entrepreneurship curriculum and teaches a variety of “business for artists” courses. He is certified by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and has taught business building strategies to thousands of Bay Area low-income youths and their families. From 2003-2007, Mr. Sweet was the lead entrepreneurship instructor at BUILD, which provides entrepreneurship education to high school students in low-income areas boasts an excellent college acceptance rate for its seniors. His activities have garnered him a host of accolades, including the NFTE’s prestigious Teacher of the Year Award in 2004 and a speaking engagement at the 2012 NAACP National Convention. Mr. Sweet’s background is as an entrepreneurial musician, music promoter and restaurateur. He received a B.A. in Television and Radio Production from San Francisco State University and a dual-MBA from the University of San Francisco.

Cogswell Announces the Appointment of Dr. Zachi Baharav to Lead Engineering Program

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Dr. Zachi Baharav joined the Cogswell College faculty on August 1 as Director of Engineering, Director of the Master’s program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Executive Director of the Cogswell Idea & Innovation Lab. Dr. Baharav is a Silicon Valley innovator who brings a rich background in research and applied engineering, most recently with Corning West Technology Center.

Dr. Baharav envisions an engineering department that brings the artistic flavor of Cogswell to tangible products, drawing on the cultural strength of Cogswell’s animation, game and audio programs. A Silicon Valley resident for 14 years, Dr. Baharav plans to use his familiarity with local industry to engage engineering students with real-life applications by collaborating with local Silicon Valley groups. These relationships will also contribute immensely to the Masters in Innovation & Entrepreneurship program. A focal point for combining all this will be the Idea and Innovation Lab, where undergraduates from all of Cogswell’s degree programs benefit from the skill, talent and creativity of each other as they build their ventures or work on corporate projects.

“Engineering is the process of bringing science into practical applications. It is the perfect tool to bring various abstract artistic ideas to fruition and make them work,” says Dr. Baharav. “It’s important to give undergraduates the chance to solve specific problems and bring things to completion. We are focusing on making things practical and relevant, without sacrificing the theoretical base. One of Cogswell’s advantages is that it is small and nimble—allowing its students greater flexibility to engage collaboratively with other departments—while being set in the incredibly creative environment of Silicon Valley.”

According to Dr. Baharav, art and engineering are highly complementary disciplines. “We have moved from functional-centered products to design-centered products,” says Dr. Baharav, “In the past, engineers determined the functionality of the product, which in turn drove the design. These days, the designers determine the look and feel of a product, and engineers need to make it work. As we move forward, people are looking for personalized devices. Artistic, personal expression in your own device is coming, be it in the external design or in the content you watch – and this is exactly the intersection of Art and Engineering.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Baharav’s high-profile Silicon Valley background and engineering expertise to Cogswell,” says Dr. Deborah Snyder, provost and chief academic officer at Cogswell. “The energy and creativity he brings to the engineering program will incorporate the world of mobile, consumer electronics and big data visualization into our curriculum. Also under Dr. Baharav’s guidance, graduate students will work on their own innovations and ideas and create their own business plans before taking their product to market.”

Dr. Baharav holds more than 30 patents in diverse areas ranging from printing to millimeter wave imaging, from digital cameras to touch sensing, and others. Many of those were used in products. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society. He previously worked at HP/Agilent and Synaptics.