Posts Tagged ‘Animation degree’

From Rocket Scientist to Animator

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

So how do you go from being an engineering student to an animator? According to Cogswell student, Robert Mariazeta, you identify and then follow your dream. Since coming to Cogswell, Robert started the Animation Club, is working in Studio E and was one of the 5 Cogswell students selected by Disney to attend their 2013 Inspire Day.

In this short video, Robert talks about the journey that brought him to Cogswell to major in animation, his love of the field and why he thinks it’s important to be a ‘T’ shaped worker.

Visit Cogswell’s website to learn more about our Digital Art & Animation degree program.

Halo 4 Animator Talks About His Job

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Halo 4 Soldier ImageThe following is an interview with Cogswell College alumnus, Pat Gillette (2006), who earned a BA in Digital Art & Animation and is currently an Animator for 343 Industries (a division of Microsoft)

Q.  Company name, your job title, a brief description of your job responsibilities and how long you have worked there.

A.  I started at 343 Industries in March, 2011 as a gameplay animator. I’m responsible for creating in-game character animations and vignette’s utilizing key frame and motion capture pipelines. In other words, make stuff look good any way I can.

Q.  Can you give an example of what you might do on a ‘typical’ day?

A.  During production on Halo 4, I’d start my day between 8 and 9, do the usual email checking and try to remember what I was working on the day before. Then I’d get to start animating any number of characters doing any number of things, although most of those things are violent. I was also the ‘character owner’ for a number of characters and so I’d usually spend some part of the day reviewing other people’s work and giving feedback. The goal was to improve the overall animation but also to maintain a consistent look and feel for the characters across multiple animators. Throw in a lunch/workout break, some bug fixing, problem solving, goofing off, writing tutorials, playtesting, occasional meetings and more animating and you have a ‘typical’ day that ends somewhere between 5 and midnight.

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

You mean besides the fact that people pay me to do this job? I think it’s surprising how much you learn day to day on the job – and that’s also one of the most exciting parts!

Q.  What projects have you worked on in the past?

A.  The list starts pretty sad, but it gets better so hang in there. Drumroll Please!
Leapfrog’s ClickStart Educational Software
Leapfrog’s My First PC

Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo: Sea of Keys

Create and Learn

Disney Pixar’s Toy Story

Godzilla Unleashed Double Smash (Nintendo DS)

Spiderman Vs. the Masked Menace (TV Plug and Play)

Tomb Raider: Underworld (Nintendo DS)

Red Faction: Beast (Wii, Cancelled)

Tales of Monkey Island: Chapters 1,2,3. (Wii, PC)

Halo: Reach (XBox 360}

Penguins of Madagascar: Dr. Blowhole Returns Again (Wii, PS3, XBox 360 Kinect)

Halo 4 (XBox 360)

Q.  What do you find most rewarding about your job?

A.  Seeing people get excited about the work you’re doing is pretty great. We often get to display our work on a big screen in front of the whole company and when you get a studio-wide reaction to an animation you’ve worked on it’s a pretty wonderful feeling. Combine that with the millions of people who willingly pay money to play something you helped create is amazing.

Q.  What advice would you give students preparing for a career like yours?

A.  Work really, really hard. Ask lots of questions and REALLY listen to the answers. Teachers tend to know some stuff that might be good to pick up. Be nice to people. College is equal parts learning and networking, so take advantage of both while you are there.

Q.  What qualities does someone need to have to be successful in this field?

A.  You need to be intrinsically motivated to keep getting better. It’s not that hard to get too comfortable with your abilities or your job and soon you’ll find yourself at the same quality level you were when you left college, and guess what, other people are working harder than you to get better, and they’ll succeed if you don’t do something about it. Unfortunately, most jobs would like you to get better but they don’t really help you do it, so it’s up to you to do it on your own time.

It also helps to be a people person, or at least be nice. You want people to like you, so that when job opportunities come up, your old co-workers remember you fondly, would want to work with you again and recommend you for positions at their company. I can proudly say I have never started a job where I didn’t know someone there before me who gave me a strong recommendation. This ‘learning and networking’ thing is a recurring theme.

Q.  How did Cogswell helped prepare you for this career?

A.  Cogswell gave me the opportunity to develop the foundational skills and the connections to start my career in animation.

An Animation Career with Real World Application

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Many companies want their customers to step into their world – that’s where a good animator comes in. Your skills give people the chance to explore, experience and learn more about a company.  Animation is used in many different industries beyond entertainment and getting a great education from Cogswell College can teach you the skills you need.

Are you curious by nature or been known to take things apart just to see if you can put it back together? Then you might have a knack for mechanical animation. Mechanical animation can be found in almost any industry – from the auto industry creating auto simulations to the small appliance industry providing a demo on how a product works. Creating these things digitally gives consumers life-like simulations and lets them truly experience a product.

Are you more interested in visually wandering through a landscape during the planning and designing phase?  Then landscape or architectural animation may be a better fit for you. It used to be that landscaping and architecture renderings were all hand drawn, static images before bringing the project to life. But in recent years with the advances in technology, it makes much more sense to have digital, interactive animations of the environment.  Architecture, landscaping and interior design are very different from how people expect to use their animation skills but are still very rewarding careers that you might find far more suited to your tastes. The base skill sets aren’t much different; it’s how you apply them that drives the career.

Cogswell’s Digital Arts and Animation degree program can prepare you for a career in animation and will teach you the skills needed to take your career in any number of different directions. The “craft” of animation plays a major role in our  education program and will help you succeed no matter what career path you wish to take.

Find out if a degree in animation from Cogswell is right for you!

Cogswell Faculty Spotlight – Michael Huber, Digital Art & Animation

Monday, November 16th, 2009


Michael Huber

Assistant Professor Michael Z. Huber is a computer graphics animator and effects supervisor, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Born in the Arizona desert and raised in the Silicon Valley, he is the product of an engineer father and an artist/actress mother. It seems only fitting that his line of work involves the marriage of art and technology on a daily basis.
Michael’s interest in animation began while attending film school in San Francisco, where he studied stop motion animation, cinematography and film production. He eventually transferred to San Jose State University, where a new program called CADRE (Computers in Animation, Design, Research and Engineering) was introduced, which was one of the first places to study computer animation. He furthered his own education by investing in animation software, called HASH, and continued to teach himself enough computer animation to start a freelance animation company, called Gravity 3D.

Having been in the visual effects industry since 1994, Michael’s freelance projects for commercials and videos eventually led to major motion picture and video game projects. He has worked on over fifteen feature length films and has been fortunate enough to work for directors such as Wolfgang Peterson, Luc Besson, Ridley Scott, Roland Emmerich, Michael Bay, and Steven Spielberg.

What classes do you currently teach?

Currently I am teaching advanced classes in computer character animation {part of the Digital Art & Animation program). Also I head up the Project X production group. In Project X we create short films for film competitions.

Do you have a favorite class to teach? If so, why?

I enjoy teaching period. When I see someone grow or that light bulb turn on over someone’s head that is very gratifying. But if I had to pick one I would say the Project X, as it’s really the most creative environment for the students to grow in.

Have you worked for non-academic companies in the past? Which ones? How did that experience make you a better teacher?

Yes, I have been all over the map as far as entertainment is concerned. I have worked for video game, visual effects, and broadcast companies alike. To name a few I worked at Electronic Arts as a Lead Artist, Disney Feature Animation as an animator and Art Director, and Digital Domain as a Technical Director. And that is just a few of them. And yes the more experience you have outside of academia the more of a holistic approach you will be able to bring the to the teaching table, it’s pretty simple.

What made you decide that you wanted to teach?

Not what you would expect. I had a death in the family and it made me realize that I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do. Furthermore the industry is so fast paced that I had to slow down or I would be in for some serious health problems for myself. Teaching seemed like a way to slow down. Ironically it’s just as difficult. I think any job can have its challenges if you care about it.

What projects have you worked on in the past? What was your role in the project?

Well going backwards I have worked on Tiger Woods PGA tour 2005, 2006, and the 2007 versions, also The Godfather video game as Lead Lighter. For films I played a large role on the Roland Emerichs version of Godzilla as Senior Animator. Also the last two Matrix Films, Black Hawk Down, Armageddon, Poseidon, Titanic, Blade two and three, Minority Report, and there are several others. It’s funny but the work has been so fast paced and hectic that I can’t remember half of the films I have worked on sometimes.