Cogswell Student Interns as Graphic Designer for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

February 4th, 2014

Aston with his Merceds Benz poster design.

Aston Majors knew he wanted to complete an internship before he left college but had no idea it would lead to such an exciting opportunity. In his wildest dreams he hadn’t imagined interning for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I found a site called TeamWork Online that all of the major professional sports teams use to recruit staff,” said Majors, “and signed up. I saw on the job board that the Buc’s needed a graphic design intern and applied.”

The Buc’s called, interviewed him, reviewed his work and Aston was on his way to Tampa Bay. Though it was not a paid position, he feels that what he learned on the job will pay big dividends in the future. In fact, his supervisor at the Buc’s asked him to stay in touch and the Banana Republic offered him a graphic design job but Aston said he has to finish school first.

Aston spent the Fall term doing his internship, working full-time with the Marketing Department and tackling a variety of design projects.

“I got to go to meetings and present my work,” said Majors. “It was a great learning experience and I found out I really liked the process. My advice to all students – don’t leave school until you have done an internship. It will make a big difference in your career and you will make a lot of connections.”

Aston will graduate this summer in Digital Art & Animation with a concentration in Entertainment Design.

Favorite Film Noir Bad Guys

February 3rd, 2014

Everyone loves to hate the villain. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary a noir film is: a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.

Here is a list of the top 5 film noir bad guys from Pretty Clever Films.

Who would you add to the list?

It Can Be Lonely at the Top if You Go It Alone

January 31st, 2014

Planning to launch your company as a solo act? Some seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that launching a business without a partner is like the kiss of death but this article in Inc. Magazine by Elaine Pofeldt, says not necessarily.

While going it alone may not be the fatal mistake that some industry analysts think, there are certain issues you should consider.

-Loneliness: The solution – “get up from the desk once in a while. Go to industry conferences and attend local meetups with other entrepreneurs.”

-Myopia: The solution – “setting up an active advisory board of startup veterans can help you avoid that trap.”

Why or why not would you choose to run your business by yourself?

Sound Designing for the Video Game Tearaway

January 30th, 2014

Fascinating commentary by Kenny Young, Head of Audio at Media Molecule, gives you an inside look at the joys and challenges of designing sound from the bottom up for a video game in this article in Designing Sound. He discusses his work on Tearaway and offers several opinions about creating the audio for video games in general. For instance:

“Those of us who work in games have a massive advantage over those who work in traditional linear media – even if audio tends to be brought in later than other disciplines, the constant iteration and flux of a game during development provides opportunities for audio to influence the project.”

“If there is one thing that is missing in the early stage of a game’s development it is well-defined and reliable context, even more so when developing a new intellectual property from scratch… There is a leap of faith required whereby you need to let go of creating anything coherent and embrace your inner incompetent audio designer – kiss goodbye to doing any work that chimes on multiple levels. It’s like being a beginner all over again, only more painful because you have the curse of knowing what it feels like to do good work.

“Sounds thrown at a prototype by a programmer are not going to develop and improve over time which prevents a more sophisticated audio aesthetic from emerging.”

The article includes samples of work throughout to demonstrate the techniques used or solutions developed. He also talks at length about the decisions that went into creating what seemed like a simple idea – give players the chance to touch the record to make the music stop, scratch the record to scratch the music and have fun doing so – but it wasn’t as simple as it sounded.

After reading the piece do you agree/disagree with any of his ideas?

Listen in as the Development Team of ‘Elder Scrolls Online’ Discuss Gameplay Strategy

January 29th, 2014

Would you rather play a game by yourself or be part of a group effort? ‘Elder Scrolls Online’ hopes you choose the latter and their game design team was tasked with motivating gamers on their MMO to play with others.

Paul Sage, Creative Director; Nick Konkle, Lead Game Play Designer and Dan Crenshaw, Dungeon Lead talk about the strategies they used and challenges they faced to achieve their goal in this article in GameInformer. Some of the game incentives offered to players include the ability to teleport to join your team and creating foes that are too strong for a single player to defeat. Their discussions take place as voice-overs during scenes from the game.

What strategies would you use to encourage multiple players in a game?

Cogswell Faculty Shares His Expertise with DreamWorks Artists

January 28th, 2014

Even professional artists who are at the top of their game still have things to learn. Cogswell faculty, Thomas Applegate, brings inspiration and a new perspective to the artists who take his workshops through the Artistic Development Office.

Applegate designs the workshop content to meet DreamWorks goals which typically focus on expressive narrative and character design and expression. Most of his workshops run for 6 weeks and average 15 to 25 participants.

Some of the classes he has taught include: Character Development, Character Sculpture and 2D Water color Character Portrait. His most recent class was Character Expressions.

“When you teach a class to professional artists,” said Applegate, “the expectations are really high. It requires a lot of energy on my part to make sure I challenge them. But on the other hand, these very talented artists come in with lots of humility and are eager to learn. I feel honored that they approach our time together with that attitude and do my best to reciprocate.”

Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Art and Animation program at Cogswell and is the Director of the Studio E project class.

The Engineering Behind Making Cool Sounds on Your Guitar

January 27th, 2014

At Cogswell students are given the flexibility to weave personal interests into class projects as long as they are relevant. Engineering student, Edward Aslanian, turned his passion for guitar and playing around with creating different sounds into an interest in engineering.

For one of his final class presentations, he explored how analog delay impacts the sounds produced by his guitar. This short video gives you an overview of his presentation and findings.

Most overused Profile Buzzwords on Linkedin

January 24th, 2014

Are any of these in your Linkedin profile?

Putting together your Linkedin profile and want some tips on putting your best foot forward? Then check out this article from the Linkedin blog about best practices and avoiding the ‘buzzwords’ that everyone else is using.

For the past four years Linkedin has conducted a survey of words members use to describe themselves and which words appear most frequently.

Which of these words are in your Linkedin profile? What do you plan to replace them with?

Five Ways to Improve Your Creativity

January 23rd, 2014

Even creative people – or maybe, especially creative people – occasionally hit creative blocks. They have looked at the same problem in the same way and need some mental gymnastics to move past where they are and to gain a different perspective.

This article in the Ketchum blog offers tips for creating that “supple mind” and giving your creativity an all-important boost.

Do you have other tricks for inspiring your creativity?

10 Impressive VFX Breakdowns

January 22nd, 2014

Ever wonder what decisions go into putting together a VFX shot in a movie? How it is visualized and then made real by a team of artists? It’s Art Magazine put together an impressive collection of behind-the-scene clips from 10 films including: “World War Z,” “Pacific Rim,” “Thor: the Dark World” and “Gravity.”

Cogswell grads were part of the VFX teams on  “Oz the Great and Powerful” (Evan Clover as an animator), “Pacific Rim” (Gregory Smith as pilot suit and pod arm artist and Carl Frytz as an uncredited visual effects artist) and “Thor: the Dark World” (Evan Clover as an animator and Carl Frytz as previsualization artist).

Here are 10 VFX breakdowns to inspire you to challenge yourself.