Archive for the ‘Student Life’ Category

Welcome Back From Spring Break

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Poor classrooms, they miss the students!

Campus has been sad and lonely the past week. Most of our students – except the intrepid Project X crew and a few other hardy souls – took off for parts unknown last week.

Quiet hallways, no lines at the vending machines in the student lounge, empty classroom and no good-natured banter echoing throughout the campus – it’s downright eerie. We missed our students but we hope you all had a great time!

Enjoy the photos of ‘sad campus’ versus ‘happy campus.’

We're all glad to have the students back!

The Art of Making a College Physics Class Fun

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

So if one object is moving and it hits another object that is stationary, what happens? How can you know in advance what the outcome will be? The answer involves lots of ‘Xs’ and ‘Ys’ and ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ along the horizontal and vertical axis mixed in with a healthy dose of computational analysis.

Students in Cogswell’s “College Physics” class recently spent a lively afternoon loading metal balls into pendulums and launching them into space – or at least as far as the momentum would take them – which was generally over the edge of the counter.

So what does all of this have to do with creating games and animations? One of the glories of these art forms is that things move and are influenced by the world around them. If artists don’t understand the theory of motion and other laws of physics, they are less likely to create realistic scenes in their games and films.

In this exercise students are studying projectile motion and collisions using a ballistic pendulum. First they put the ball inside the bucket and then pull the trigger. This sets the pendulum in motion and sends the ball flying. Next students calculate the results by using measurements that include the height the pendulum swings, the speed of the ball’s trajectory and the speed and arc of the pendulum.

Cogswell specializes in doing hands-on work and this experiment is just one example of the illustrative laboratory work the College uses to cement theory in the minds of its students.

During the semester students learn the fundamentals of mechanics, fluids and heat with a focus on vectors, translation and equilibrium, acceleration, projectile motion, momentum, uniform circular notion, rotation of rigid bodies, simple harmonic motion, thermal expansion and the thermal properties of matter and wave motion.

Not only to students gain valuable knowledge about how objects move and react to stimuli, they have fun in the process.

Cogswell Student Attends San Francisco Writers Conference

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Cogswell College student, Aaron Miner, recently received the 2013 Smokler Scholarship award to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference from February 14-17. Following are his reflections on the first session he attended:


The sun warmed the bright, long room as I seated myself for my first panel at the San Francisco Writing Conference. The conference comprises four days of presentations, workshops, keynotes, consultations and exhibitions for authors, agents, and publishers. I arrived early for this first panel—the one slated to begin at nine in the morning. Its title was: “How to Turn Your Book Into a Movie.”

I introduced myself to the several women who also sat in the front row. Among them was a nonfiction author from out of state, who was writing a memoir about her grandmother. She reacted with curiosity when I mentioned my studies at Cogswell. She expressed an especial concern about how studios might alter the scripts they purchased against their author’s intentions.

As the matter was one I had given much thought, I happily shared what I knew. What I saw as the film industry’s tendency to shoehorn stories into ill-fitting, but marketable, packages was what led me to entrepreneurship in the first place. As a child, my love of books and movies developed into a passion for writing, and later I also developed an interest in animated filmmaking.

Founding my own studio was the plan from the start. I have a strong independent streak, and I balked at the notion of altering my story to make it more saleable to an executive. With my own studio, even if the market demanded a compromise between art and business, I could at least decide the best compromise for myself. When I transferred out of De Anza College’s animation program, I chose Cogswell College over San Jose State because Cogswell taught entrepreneurship alongside digital media.

Though my interests in fiction, filmmaking and entrepreneurship complement one another, I have always struggled with their seemingly disparate natures. At times, they seem like two vocations too many for a single lifespan. The question of how to integrate them into a whole, and avoid burnout, tortured me for a long time.

Soon, our panelist arrived: a producer and manager who works out of Hollywood. Her trade involves adapting novels into television shows and pitching them to the networks. “Everyone is looking for a built-in audience,” she said towards the middle of her talk. There is a market for adaptations, as well as the ubiquitous sequels and prequels, because their renown guarantees a turnout. The expense involved in filmmaking also requires that this be a mass audience. Such expenses have all but eliminated the independent film studios. Our speaker regretted this fact, because she believes that some less popular perspectives deserve a hearing.

The epiphany washed over me like a wave. It was an obvious epiphany, but an epiphany nonetheless. We live at a time where telling a story across multiple media is a matter of course. Novelists want films to promote their novels, and film studios want novels to promote their films. The economics of the old industry demands high budgets and cultivates a tyranny of the mainstream. However, producers, creators and audiences alike find themselves disgruntled by this fact. Furthermore, as the panelist herself mentioned, the development of new distribution methods via the Internet clears the way for a myriad of voices to find their niche. Being an author, filmmaker and entrepreneur in this day and age suddenly seemed appropriate.

As our technology advances, and our culture evolves with it, I expect the boundaries between professions will undergo immense shifts. The media industries in particular will feel the effects. In recounting her tales of shopping series based on her clients’ books, our panelist described a convoluted industry, stuffed with middlemen. Now that any filmmaker can distribute their work with a click and a tweet, we may have no more need of these intermediaries. I look forward to seeing the kind of world that emerges when the dust settles, and the transformation is complete.

The panel ended at fifteen minutes to three. I introduced myself to our speaker afterwards and shook her hand before hurrying off to the next event downstairs. The San Francisco Writer’s Conference was just beginning.

Aaron M. Miner is a writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur attending Cogswell College. In 2012, he founded Studio Kenaz–an independent animation company–and produced a video for Murs and Josh Blaylock, which was featured at that year’s San Diego Comic Con. He is presently revising his first novel, and maintains a blog at

Look Who Took the 12 Hour Comic Challenge

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

On Friday, February 15, the Cogswell Comic Creation Club – fondly known around campus as the C4 – seven hardy souls and one faculty adviser gathered in room 156 at 2:00PM for 12 hours of intense comic development. Yes, that does mean that they were busy drafting and drawing in this art form until 2:00AM Saturday morning.

The goal was for each participant to generate one six page story. They were well fortified with snacks and caffeine enhanced beverages.

Some students created their artwork the old-fashioned way – using paper and pencil – while others generated their comics straight from their computers. A lively discussion ensued about digital versus hand-drawn. The main question centered on, can you say you are selling original artwork if it’s digital? They didn’t reach a conclusion but had a good time arguing the pros and cons of each method.

Can’t wait to see the final products!

Let us know what you think about the digital versus hand-drawn debate.

Oscar Nominated Short Films in San Jose

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Here’s your chance to actually see the Oscar Nominated short films on a big screen in a local theater. The San Jose Camera 3 will screen all of the shorts today and tomorrow.

Camera 3 is located at:  288 S. Second St.,San Jose,CA,95113  (408) 294-3334

Screening Schedule:

2/1 (4:45p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/1 (6:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/1 (8:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
2/2 (12:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (2:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (4:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
2/2 (6:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (8:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action

Welcome to Spring Term 2013 Students

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Cogswell College kicked off another term on January 7. We are pleased to see that our student population is growing by leaps and bounds.

To welcome our new students the College held orientation on Thursday, January 3, so everyone could settle in. The next day a group of 30+ new and returning students went bowling at Moonlite Lanes in Santa Clara. As you can see it was a great time to bond and get to know your new classmates better.

Cogswell College Hosting Site for 2013 Global Game Jam

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The 2013 Global Game Jam – slated to run from January 25 to 27, 2013 – brings together thousands of game jam enthusiasts from all over the world and Cogswell College will play host again this year.

Each year the number of participating countries grows as does the number of sites available to participants. So far 270 jam sites in 58 nations are set to go. GGJ 2013 also welcomes the first-time participation of 10 new countries: Bolivia, Chile, Egypt, Greece, India, Macedonia, Morocco, Nigeria, Serbia and Tunisia. Cogswell College has been a Bay Area host since the first event in January 2008.

The Global Game Jam begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 25 and ends at 3:00p.m. on Sunday, January 27.

Game Jams foster innovation and experimentation – it’s all about making games. A game jam is not for the faint of heart. Expect two days of hard work, experimentation, little sleep, new friends, great ideas, laughs, technical issues and the time of your life.

What could be better than the chance to challenge your creativity and technical expertise in a collaborative marathon? If you can’t think of anything, then join us and be part of the experience!

Learn more about the event and reserve your space now.

Space limitation:

50 participants, so make sure to register early.


$10 Students (with a college email address)

$20 Cogswell Alumni

$40 General Public

Twas the night before Christmas, at the VFX House

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

“Twas the night before Christmas, at the VFX house
Everyone was still there, ’cause shots “HAD” to go out.
The clips were all loaded, ready for playback again,
With hopes to be home by a quarter past ten.

The artists all wiggled, back and forth in their chairs,
Confident that “Finals”, soon would be theirs.
VFX sup at the ready, their anticipation grew,
As they all settled in, for one last review.

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their seats to see what was the matter.
From through the door a producer screamed like a loon,
More shots just came in, due tomorrow afternoon!

“How could this be, do they know it’s Christmas eve?”
“We’ve been on OT for 6 weeks, and now we can’t leave?”
“For my family I’ve bought, nothing at all!”
“On the way home, I was going to stop at the mall!”

Sadness and anger took over their minds,
But soon they were off, they dared not get behind.
Back to their desks, away they did flee,
Anxious and worried, what kind of shots would these be?

No new characters or props, a bit of good news,
A new environment, no time, an old one they’d re-use.
More rapid they typed, as they got back to work,
They drank coffee, and yelled, and started to curse!

“Screw Maya and Nuke and this proprietary crap!”
“Wake me when that file loads, meanwhile I’ll nap!”
“Ok, it loaded, but my assets aren’t showing!”
“Where the hell are those files, there’s no way of knowing!”

After awhile they all settled, back on the right track,
They had to make haste, there was no going back.
Hours and hours they slaved at their screens,
Pushing every pixel, every red blue and green.

And then, via email, a bit of joy after all,
Donuts in the office, at the end of the hall.
Pushing and shoving to claim circular delight,
Glorious sugar and frosting, some fuel for the night.

With simulations and renders, out on the farm,
A slight glitch here and there, no cause for alarm.
Keeping tabs on their renders, frame by frame,
Soon they would finish and freedom they would claim.

By four the next morning, all tasks were complete,
Freshly animated and lit, then composited neat.
Shots uploaded and queued, so they gathered once more,
Tired and haggard, the team was drained to it’s core.

The VFX Sup stood up and looked over his crew.
A wave of pride rushed over, and immediately he knew,
These people had families that soon would awake.
These words he spoke so loud, the ground it did shake!

“Get away from this place, another minute do not spend.”
“Be with your spouse and your kids, go home my dear friends.”
“If during review the client says these shots do not pass,”
“I’ll turn to him and say, why don’t you kiss my ass!”

They looked at each other, then started to cheer,
Finally it was time, they were all in the clear.
They got up and walked out, goodbye they all waved,
Racing home in their cars, Christmas might have been saved.

Back in his office the VFX sup awoke from his slumber.
Where had everyone gone, out loud he did wonder.
Up on the roof, old Santy morphed back to himself,
“Happy Christmas to All!”, shouted the jolly old elf.”

Students, Faculty & Staff Help Needy

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This year, Cogswell participated in the Family Giving Tree Holiday Wish Drive which fulfills the needs of children in low-income neighborhoods who would go without anything during the holidays. Students, faculty and staff donated almost 80 gifts!

Cogswell’s Seeing The Hobbit!

Friday, December 14th, 2012

All Cogswell students are invited to attend the final free ASB movie of 2012: The Hobbit!  The event takes place tonight at 9:00 pm.  Don’t miss this great opportunity to celebrate the end of finals!!