Posts Tagged ‘Alumni’

Cogswell on CG Society

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

CG Society Article

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to bring you some really cool and exciting news that just came across my desk. You have all been seeing the success that the latest Project X film, Worlds Apart, has been seeing. A few of you have even seen how cool it is by having the privilege of watching the whole thing. This next bit of news is huge for Worlds Apart and for Cogswell..

Recently, a couple crew members from Worlds Apart contacted CG Society and inquired about getting the film featured on their site in some way. They never expected anything crazy, just a link, maybe a small summary on their list of animated shorts. After they send some material to the editor they couldn’t believe his response. He decided that he wanted to do a full 2 page article on the film!

If you don’t know who or what CG Society is, it is probably about time that you checked the site out. They are one of, if not the biggest, online CG Art and VFX websites in the world. They not only feature individual artists work but also professional studio work as well. They get thousands of hits on their site everyday and host some of the most beautiful cg art that I have ever seen. It is not only and honor to be featured on their site but a privilege and the crew of the film couldn’t be more happy.

If you want to check out the article and more about Worlds Apart, follow the link below.

http://www.cgsociety.org/index.php/CGSFeatures/CGSFeatureSpecial/worlds_apart

Congratulations to the Worlds Apart crew! Hope you just as much success in your coming projects!

-Zombie

Cogswell’s 125th Anniversary

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Cogswell Celebrating 125 Years

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the 125th Anniversary of Cogswell College. The night was very relaxing and fun. A pretty large group came out to help the school celebrate, many of which were alumni or friends of the school. It was very nice to hear some of the wonderful memories and stories they had to offer from back in the day.

The night started off with our esteemed Chancellor, Chuck House, greeting everyone with his friendly smile and captivating words. Chuck then introduced Dr. Tim Duncan, head of the Digital Audio Technology department, who gave a presentation on some student work for Worlds Apart. Then we got to watch Worlds Apart in its entirety, it was my 3rd time seeing it, so that was a treat. After, Michael Huber and the students of the current Project X gave a presentation on their production process which was really informative and I found quite interesting. After that, Debby Hindus, the Entrepreneurship Program Director took the stage and gave us an update on what is being developed and coming to surface in the near future, all really good news. Afterword, everyone stuck around to talk and to take tours of the school. It was really great getting to be a part of the whole event and was a very momentous occasion.

-Zombie

Day 1 at GDC – Update: 003

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Hey Everyone,

So today was a great day for Cogswell at GDC. So many people stopped by the booth to talk to our students and representatives. Many connections were made that could end up being potential partnerships. Also, many companies that saw Cogswell as a very special place for training the future of the game design industry. Many alumni stopped by as well took a look at our games and demo reel, every one of them commented about how great the work from the students is looking and especially things coming from Project X. I had several conversations myself with people who thought what Cogswell is doing is an amazing thing.

A bunch of the student volunteers and other Cogswell people decided to stick around for the IGF Awards to see who won. If anything special comes from that I will be sure to let you know!

If you have never heard of the IFG, click here to get the details: http://www.igf.com/

So all in all, today was a great for day on the Expo floor. We are looking forward to an even better Thursday and Friday. I will check in with you guys soon. Stay tuned!

-Zombie

Alumni Interview: Adrian Majkrzak

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Adrian Majkrzak: Bungie Concept Artist

For those of you who don’t know who Bungie is, let me give you a brief overview. Bungie is responsible for one of the biggest game franchises ever, Halo. Their history goes back much further than that though, they were also shipped a game called Oni and several other Mac gaming titles including Marathon and Myth. Adrian Majkrzak, one of our alumni, got a job there recently and agreed to an interview with us. So here goes…

Zombie: Hey Adrian, thanks for talking to us. Could you give me a quick summary of where you work and what your job is?

Adrian: I’m a Concept Artist at Bungie. My job is to provide visual designs for anything that’s asked of me, including characters, environments, vehicles, weapons and props.

Zombie: So what does a typical day look like for you?

Adrian: Being a night owl, my day usually starts with a big cup of coffee. After that I’ll look over my tasks for the day and talk to anyone involved in them (my lead, the art director, the game designer in charge of the aspect of the game I’m working on, and any 3d artists who are going to have to model my designs). Once I have a clear idea of where I’m heading, the majority of my day is spent in front of the computer, painting away in Photoshop. As a design progresses, I’ll usually ask my teammates for a critqiue, which is almost always invaluable and I end up with a stronger design for it. At the end of the day I fire off my work to everyone involved for a round of feedback. If everyone is happy with the design, then I submit it and move onto my next task. Rinse and repeat each morning.

Zombie: What is something that surprised you when you first started your job?

Adrian: Maybe not surprising, but the sheer talent of the people I’m surrounded with can be pretty intimidating. I like the challenge though and love being able to contribute in whatever way I can.

Zombie: Can you tell us about any of the projects you have worked on in the past?

Adrian: Prior to joining Bungie, I worked at CCP Games for about 3.5 years. There I worked on concepts for EVE Online, the EVE-related shooter DUST 514 and the World of Darkness MMO.

Zombie: What is one of the most rewarding parts of your job?

Adrian: Being able to work in a creative field and getting paid for doing what I love. Cliche, but true.

Zombie: Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into your field of work?

Adrian: Be prepared to put in a ton of work outside of class and your assignments, to supplement everything you’re learning. Unless you’re a prodigy, it’s going to require a lot of self-discipline, study and hours upon hours of practice to break into the field. Spend time on online art forums, not just lurking but actively participating and asking people for feedback. Contact professionals and ask them for a critique of your work (be courteous and most people will be receptive). Learn to not be precious with your artwork because ultimately it’s the client you’re designing for, not yourself?

Zombie: Are there any qualities that someone needs to be successful in your field?

Adrian: Passion for drawing and painting is number one. Make sure you love it, because there are million other things you could be doing if not! Learning self-discipline is another big one, both for preparing your portfolio to break in and once you’re working, because you’re going to be expected to deliver and there isn’t going to be someone constantly over your shoulder to make sure you’re getting your work done.

Zombie: Is there anything special that Cogswell did to help your prepare for your job?

Adrian: For my normal day-to-day, I have to thank Reid Winfrey and Thomas Applegate for giving me an excellent foundation in drawing, painting and sculpture to build upon. They helped me recognize that 2d art was my real passion and encouraged me to pursue it. My education in 3d software wasn’t wasted either, as I still use 3ds Max frequently to create quick block-ins for me to paint over. Having that knowledge has helped make my process much more efficient.

Thanks Adrian for you time and all the cool info you provided. And for everyone else, be sure to check back in for more alumni interviews. Take care everyone!

-Zombie

Alumni Interview: Stephanie Lostimolo

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Stephanie Lostimolo

I’m pretty excited about this one everyone! I got super lucky and was able to get in contact with an alum that I have been trying to find forever. Stephanie Lostimolo is one of the biggest reasons I came to know about Cogswell, I have been a fan of her art since High School. So…. enough gushing, let’s get down to this interview.

Zombie: Thanks for taking time out of your day to talk to us. I am not going to waste any time here, would you mind giving us an overview of where you work and what your job is?

Stephanie:  I currently work for Michael Curry Design in Portland, Oregon and Faerieworlds LLC and Imaginosis in Eugene, Oregon.

For Curry, I serve as a concept designer for theater, music festivals, theme parks, and other venues. I also work as a graphic designer for Faerieworlds LLC (producers of art/fantasy/music festivals on the east and west coast), creating the look and feel for all of their websites, posters, advertisements, brochures, program books, and other collateral. For Imaginosis, I design countless books, posters, calendars, t-shirts, hats, magazine articles, advertisements, and other items for clients such as Brian Froud & Siegfried & Roy.

I also make and sell paintings, prints, jewelry, and mixed media art in my “spare time.”

Zombie: So what is a typical work day look like for you?

Stephanie: It varies. On days when I work in Curry’s office, it’s like a normal work day for anyone. I wake up at 6am, drive an hour to work in traffic, work an 8-hour day doing all sorts of design work, and then I drive an hour home. Then I work on my freelance gigs in the evenings. I work on Faerieworlds and Imaginosis stuff at home.

Zombie: Was there anything that surprised you about your job when you first started?

Stephanie: Deadlines. Must. Be. Met.

I always knew this but it didn’t hit home until I got a real job. All personal work goes out the window when someone is paying you to be their design hero!

Zombie: Would you mind listing some of the projects that you have worked on in the past?

Stephanie:

FILMS

  • Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith
  • John Carter (march 2012)
  • Outlander (2008 sci fi film, vikings)

THEATRICAL / TV

  • Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil
  • the upcoming Madonna appearance at the 2012 Super Bowl

BOOKS

  • Brian Froud’s World of Faerie
  • The Art of Kinuko Craft
  • Siegfried & Roy: Unique in all the World ($700 limited edition collectable box set)

Zombie: What would you say you find most rewarding about your job?

Stephanie: The ridiculously long list of things I’ve been a part of. I like to point at something in a theater or a store and say “I WORKED ON THAT!” It’s a very satisfying feeling and it definitely makes writing the checks for my student loan payments easier every month.

Zombie: Do you have any advice for students who are maybe preparing for a job like yours?

Stephanie: I hope you like working! Laziness is a disease that is sweeping the nation; luckily for hard workers, it’s easy to stand out in this sea of lazy folk. My significant other happens to be my art director and owner of Faerieworlds and Imaginosis, otherwise I don’t think I’d have time for a personal relationship. Sleep is optional, and options only open up after the work is done.

Zombie: Are there any other qualities a person could have that would help them along?

Stephanie: You must also know how to take care of yourself. Remember to stand up for yourself when asking for money and never tolerate being treated badly. Seek jobs where you feel appreciated, but know that you will never be worshipped again the way you may have been in school or at home. That is a very hard thing to learn.

Zombie: Is there anything you would like to leave the students of Cogswell with?

Stephanie: Cogswell helped me prepare for my career by introducing me to other like-minded people who inspired me to keep moving forward. The contacts I made at Cogswell lead directly to my first job, and all of my jobs to this day.

When I started at Cogswell I thought I wanted to be a 3D animator. I soon realized 3D was not for me, and that I was more of a 2D person. It was an easy transition and I’m glad the school supported my choice to abruptly change gears.

Zombie: Thanks for all of your time and insight Stephanie. We all are looking forward to what you will be working on next.

And for any of you who would like to check out Stephanie’s work I have provided a link below. Be sure to check back in for more Alumni interviews!

Stephanie Lostimolo’s website: http://www.nethersphere.com/

Do You Know This Girl?

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Rachael Reisdorf

Hey ya’ll!

Do you know the girl in the picture posted above? If you don’t, you really should get to know her!

This is Rachael Reisdorf! This girl is one of the craziest chicks on campus (in a good way). She is around for almost every student event helping out in pretty much any way she can. She is an alum of Cogswell (Game Design program) as well as being an employee here now. She does an insane plethora of work that ranges from design to student life. Seriously, if you go to Cogswell and you don’t know this girl, you need to stop in to her office next to the student lounge and chat with her for a bit. She is super accommodating, easy to talk to, helpful and is always down for a good laugh. Oh! And today is her 9 Year Anniversary of her stay here at the majestic Cogswell College! She also loves World of Warcraft….. so there’s that too…… (I heard she is with the Horde though, yikes).

Keep up being you Rach!

-Zombie

P.S. Her husband (also an alum) works for Sledgehammer Games!!!

Symphony of the Goddesses

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Symphony of the Goddesses

Hey Peoples!

If you hadn’t read here earlier, we had an alum work on the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony. Well, after the two shows in LA and London, the show took a 3 month hiatus and revised the show for its big 2012 tour. This included taking some movements out, adding some and re-working some of the visuals (this is what my inside source told me at least). I might also add that they re-packaged the show as well and are now calling it The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The best part of all this news to me is that IT’S COMING TO SAN FRANCISCO!!! I’m totally going, see you all there!

If you want to get the skinny on the concert go check out this full article at Destructoid.

Also, this is the link the Symphony of the Goddesses’ Official Website.

P.S. Fun Fact – did you know that the Producer and Director of these shows was the Editor on both Project X films? Crazy right!?!?

-Zombie

Alumni Interview: Jessica “Psy” DeLacy

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Jessica "Psy" DeLacy

Yesterday I got the honor to sit down and chat with one of our most recent and successful alum, Jessica “Psy” DeLacy. She was really easy to talk to and had so much to talk about. Read on to see what we talked about in the interview!

Zombie: So Psy, where are you working right now and what is your job?

Psy: I work at Rhythm and Hues!  I am a Technical Animation TD, and I’ve been working here since December of 2010.  It’s my job to make cloth, fur, dynamics, and interaction look awesome.

Zombie: So what would be a typical day at work for you?

Psy: When I get to work in the morning, I usually have a few shots waiting for me that need attention, and I will work on these based on highest priority, aka what lighting wants first.  Shotwork involves simulating clothing and fur, but for everything to work correctly I need to make sure all geometry is cleaned up and the characters are interacting with each other in such a way that the cloth can evaluate properly.  Then there’s getting certain materials to act and feel a certain way: a sweatshirt on a chipmunk behaves differently than a kite tied to a penguin, wet fur will move differently on a character standing still than it will on a dry character that’s running, etc.

I have a whole toolset that I use to clean up geometry and make interactions play nicely together, but often I will script out tools that I use a lot to optimize them and make my workflow faster.  Generally I will do this if I’m waiting for animation or feedback on shots, or if I have multiple simulations running that I am waiting for.

Zombie: Can you give an example of something that surprised you about your job when you first started?

Psy: I was genuinely surprised that they’re paying me to do this.  I mean, this is fun – this is what I do on the weekends for fun.  I guess I was also surprised how prepared I was – I was able to dive right in and adapt to the pipeline fairly quickly.  Thanks PX!

Zombie: So what projects have you worked at at R & H?

Psy: At Rhythm I have worked on Hop, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Alvin 3: Chipwrecked, and currently I am working on Snow White and the Hunstman.  So far Alvin has been the most fun, and the most challenging.

Zombie: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?

Psy: Figuring out the monster shots and making them look good.  When you work on a shot for weeks on end, and then see it on the big screen and it looks great – that’s an awesome feeling. I had this shot on Alvin that was a monster for tech: Simon unties a piece of seaweed from around his arm, ties it around his head, then rips off his sleeves.  That shot took hours upon hours of doing RnD, testing out different ideas, building the rigs to allow for the sleeves ripping, getting the fringes on the sweatshirt and the fur to react correctly – it was a multi person effort, and at times quite frustrating.  Seeing the final render of that shot caused high fives all around.  Also seeing peoples’ reactions, especially kids.  When kids in the theater are excited and enjoying the movie, I’m happy.

Zombie: Do you have any advice for students wanting to get into your industry?

Psy: Yes I do, You have to want it.  It’s a competitive industry, and you can’t just expect to get a degree and automatically be ushered in.  You really do have to work hard through school, and come out with a good reel and good communication skills.  Get to know people, get used to working in a team, and be the person that everyone wants to work with.  Always thirst for knowledge, and be passionate about what you want to do, and be willing to adapt to a new pipeline.  It takes work and diligence, but you can get in, and you can go far, if you want it enough.

Zombie: What kinds of skills or abilities would someone need to get into your line of work?

Psy: For Techanim specifically, you need to have technical and artistic skills.  You need to understand anatomy and have a good eye for how characters, cloth, and interaction should look, but also need to be able to write scripts and understand what’s happening under the hood during a simulation.  Patience is also key, as sometimes you will spend days on a single shot getting it just so.  There’s a lot of “well, object A needs to act like X until it hits object B.  How do I do that?”  And then you figure it out.  It’s a lot like rigging in that it’s both artistically and technically demanding, requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, and can be a bit tedious at times.  That’s probably why I love it so much.

Zombie: So how did Cogswell help prepare you for what you do today?

Psy: I’ll give you the same quote I gave to Bonnie, regarding Project X, because although Cogswell laid the foundation, Project X was really what prepared me for this.

“Project X was the most difficult, most challenging, and most demanding thing I’ve ever done.  I loved every minute of it, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  When we started X, we were students.  When we finished it, we were ready for the industry.”

Zombie: You have already said so much, but do you have anything else to leave our readers with?

Psy: Ah man, I could say so many things.  I could talk about how awesome my coworkers are and how much fun we have at work.  But instead I’ll try for something inspiring.

You can get here.  You can get into the industry – whether you’re a modeler, animator, rigger, concept artist – you can get here.  But it’s not easy.  Please don’t be the person who coasts through school thinking that you’ll graduate and be welcomed with open arms.  A degree is not a ticket in.  You want in?  Treat every assignment as if it’s going into your portfolio.  Spend your time after class, your weekends, any time you have learning more and challenging yourself.  Quit playing WoW and get involved in a student project.  Compete amongst yourselves, team up – do something you think you can’t do.  You’re a modeler?  Study edge loop theory, model the same thing over and over until it looks amazing, get someone to rig it and critique the edge flow, and model outside your comfort zone.  Concept artist?  You should be filling sketchbook upon sketchbook.  Draw from life.  Draw from conceptual techniques.  Take the shapes you see everywhere and make something from them.  Take a sketchbook with you everywhere.  You get where I’m going with this.  And no matter what you are, don’t be afraid of critique.  Accept it gracefully and don’t argue it – and most of all, seek it out.

Go forth and follow your dreams!

Zombie: Thanks Psy, keep up the good work!!!

For those of you who have never heard of Rhythm & Hues Studios, check out their website and check back soon for more alumni interviews.

-Zombie

Alumni Interview: Will Reichenthal

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Alumni Interview 002

Hey Everyone! I recently got the privilege to sit down and do an interview with alumni, Will Reichenthal. Will has one more semester left here at Cogswell and ALREADY has a job in the industry. I wanted to get the low down on his stay here at Cogswell and how he scored a job before graduating.

Zombie: Hey Will, thanks for coming and taking time away from finals.

Will: Hey, no problem, it’s my pleasure.

Zombie: What did you study here at Cogswell?

Will: Well first, I still have one more semester at Cogswell but to answer your question I am a DAT student, concentrating in Audio Engineering. I wanted to work in software development for the audio industry, like making plugins and applications. It was really a pipe-dream before I heard about Cogswell , but then I got here and saw this it was within my reach.

Zombie: So tell us more about this project or internship?

Will: The company is called Sonoma Wire Works, based out of Mountain View. I am a programmer there. I basically work on a guitar amp app for the iOS platform which means, I sit and program with a guitar in my hands, I think I played guitar at work for about 4 hours yesterday.  We just had a hardware launch at Sonoma, so my days have consisted of taking the device and plugging it in and going through all the features on the software side to see if it’s working with the hardware. I came across two major bugs recently and went and de-bugged them. It’s always something small – like something isn’t capitalized when it should be since all of the code is case-sensitive. Another thing was one of the amp settings didn’t sound right. As a musician, I know what it’s supposed to sound like and with my engineering background I was able to do some more research. In the end it was just that the frequency needed adjustment.

We also did a commercial for our product recently so I went out and shot that with the camera crew and I have worked at a couple of trade shows with another one of our alumni, Danny Codella, who also works at Sonoma. Things that we learned in classes like sound synthesis totally influenced what we do at work. Danny and I listen to reference songs and then try to simulate their sounds and make presets in the software.

Zombie: How did that come about?

Will: So I was in Audio Programming and this class I took was held in the teachers personal office at Sonoma Wire Works. We would have the class and go through the lecture and afterwards I would look at all the equipment and would stay talking till like 3 in the morning and playing guitar so that he can hear all these guitar amps and effects.

So when the summer semester ended, in the middle of finals, he gave me a call and asked me if I could come in and start work there.

My first day they threw me into the studio to recreate a HI-Watt amp, so I went to work. Then Doug Wright, the owner, plugged into it and started playing and told me that he loved it and it was perfect. It was pretty cool.

Zombie: Any big plans for the future?

Will: Graduating… does that count? That’s the big one right now. Once I graduate I should hopefully be working full time at Sonoma. Past all that, I would like to make more and more tools. Every time I make music and I encounter something in the software that isn’t right, I feel like there is an opportunity for me to create something to solve that problem. So I guess what I’m trying to say is my dream is to create any tool that I think of and to be able to use my experience as an artist and knowledge as a recording engineer to solve the hurdles that a musical artist encounters in their everyday tasks.

Zombie: Great! Thanks again Will, it was awesome getting to talk to you and hear your story.

Will: Thanks, talk to you later!

For those of you that are interested, I have imbedded the video that Will told us about below. Stay tuned for more updates from Will!

-Zombie


Modern Warfare Alumni (there are three of them, and it’s MW3…get it?)

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Greg Reisdorf & Rosie

Ron Andaya

Check it out guys! So a couple days ago, MW3 (Modern Warfare 3) was released and everyone here at Cogswell was pretty excited – especially since we had a few alumni who worked on the game. Greg Reisdorf and Rosie Wrede (grads of 2003) were at Best Buy with some of their team and Ron Andaya (grad of 2005) was at GameStop. They were all signing swag!!!

We have cool celebrity Alumni! (Below is a little blurb about each of them)

Greg Reisdorf (2003 grad) – Greg, a Sr. Level Designer, blocks out the level and makes iterations on the design. He also makes sure that the pacing and combat are good. Another aspect of his job is to ensure that the objectives work and players understand the level. Greg previously worked on Dante’s Inferno, Godfather I & II and Knockout Kings 2003.

Rosie Wrede (2003 grad) – Rosie, a Level Designer, pretty much does the same thing as Greg. She has worked on Tiger Woods 2007, Godfather II, Dead Space 1 & 2.

Ron Andaya (2005 grad) – Ron is a Technical artist which means he makes sure everything runs at frame rate, tweaks the game and works with the artists to maintain 60(beautiful)fps! He worked on Dante’s Inferno, Godfather I & II and Dead Space 1 & 2.

-Zombie