Posts Tagged ‘Animation’

Raymond Crook On What It’s Like to be an Animator

Thursday, July 16th, 2009


I am working as an animator and character modeler/rigger at Double Fine Productions in San Francisco. I started working here shortly before graduation from Cogswell College in 2001. All of the animators in our department are required to know how to model characters as well as rig them. We all wear several hats. We released Psychonauts in 2005 – and our game Brutal Legend that just premiered at the E3 Expo was nominated to receive the Game Critics Award for Best in Show.

The thing I like most about my career is that it gives me a creative outlet. I’m doing something that I love to do and making a living at it. I am happy to say that I truly enjoy my job but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. It can be very stressful at times and the hours can also be long but the satisfaction of seeing your work inside the game is very rewarding.

If not for Cogswell, and particularly some key faculty members and alumni, I would not have this job or this career. The courses at Cogswell College gave me the foundation in fine arts and digital media to be able to step into my position here at Double Fine and immediately begin working. This is what the company needed at the time. Of course I have learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes since then, but I had enough practical skills and know-how to hit the ground running.

When it was time for me to find a job, it was a faculty member and one of our alumni who helped me get my first interview and get my demo reel to the right people. I will always be grateful for that. The classes were small enough that I was able to get to know some of my instructors on a personal level and have remained good friends with them. I attended a much larger university before transferring to Cogswell, and because of sheer size of the classes and the inapproachability of the professors, I was not able to create the kind of relationship with them that I did with the Cogswell faculty.

I think a key distinguishing factor that sets Cogswell apart from other colleges is the leadership and vision that focuses resources as needed, pays special attention to the experience of the students and builds relationships with alumni and the community/industry.

If you are planning on being an animator, know that this field is very competitive but also very gratifying. I would suggest to anyone seeking a career in animation that they develop strong, traditional, fine arts skills – then move into the digital realm. The computer is only a tool that you will use to apply the traditional skills of drawing, sculpting and painting at your job. It is important to have some talent for the arts before going into this field. Remember, the job is not glamorous, don’t do it for the bragging rights. Do it because you love to be creative. And certainly don’t do it for the money. Like most art-based careers, you can make a living but don’t plan on it making you wealthy. However, I have found when you do what you love and what you are good at, the rest works itself out.

Click here to learn more about Cogswell’s animation degree program.

- Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Pilot Animation Program for Silicon Valley High School Students

Friday, July 10th, 2009
Award ceremony on June 19, 2009

Award ceremony on June 19, 2009

What’s next after high school? How about working toward a career in the animation, game or digital audio fields?

Cogswell Polytechnical College wants to open doors to these industries to local youth by offering introductory classes in these subjects. The College is working with The Silicon Valley African Productions through its Future Stars Program, an area nonprofit, to identify candidates.

Students must apply to participate. They are required to maintain high academic standards and be involved in the local community while they are taking advantage of these opportunities.

Cogswell currently provides instruction in beginning and intermediate animation techniques using Maya, beginning and intermediate game level design and beginning and intermediate audio production.

The next series of classes begin in September. Though anyone can apply, the goal is to recruit a more Latino and African-American students in Santa Clara County.

Click here to learn more about the pilot program.

Click here to learn more about Cogswell’s Animation and Game Design degree programs.

Click here to learn more about Cogswell’s Digital Audio degree program.

- Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Allen Stetson Featured in 3D World Magazine

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Allen-StetsonCogswell alumnus, Allen Stetson (class of 1999), Lead Technical Director at DreamWorks, was featured in the ‘Inspiration’ section of 3D World Magazine’s December 2008 issue.

In the article he describes how after viewing the film, The Little Mermaid, in seventh grade he became fascinated by the way the artists handled light and the distortion of movement through water. He knew then, that this is the field in which he wanted to build his career and Cogswell was the college he chose to make his dreams a reality.

Cogswell recognized Allen as its Silicon Valley Campus Alumnus of the Year at Founders’ Day in March 2008. The award is given to alumni who have made contributions to their professions and had an impact on Cogswell.

Click here to read the interview.

Click here to learn more about Cogswell’s animation degree program.

Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement