Posts Tagged ‘cogswell’

Cogswell Kicks Off 2nd Annual After School Program with San Jose’s Independence High School

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

COGSWELL COLLEGE KICKS OFF 2ND ANNUAL “AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM” FOR FALL 2014 IN CONJUNCTION WITH SAN JOSE’S INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL

Sunnyvale, CA, November 10, 2014 – Cogswell College, a leading educational institution offering a unique, project-based curriculum fusing Digital Art, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, has just commenced its 2nd Annual “After School” program with 48 students currently enrolled.

Cogswell College designed this program in conjunction Mr. Jack Aiello a senior instructor with San Jose’s Independence High School. The After School program represents a shared endeavor between Cogswell College and Independence High School, and is made possible for the high school through a five year grant from Goodwill to Independence High and Cogswell’s support of providing free instructions and usage of their studios and equipment.

The Cogswell After School program will run for eight weeks, and offers courses in the areas of Digital Audio, Digital Animation and Game Design. This unique program engages students in a project-based learning environment led by Cogswell faculty, and features classes modeled on a redesigned Cogswell curriculum – one that is specifically suited to meet the needs of high school students.

Abraham Chacko, Cogswell’s VP of Admissions & Marketing, and facilitator for the After School program, said, “The teenagers who attend Independence High School are from the Silicon Valley, so when they realize that we are offering custom designed classes to them in digital animation, game design and digital audio, their ears really perk up! They know that future jobs within companies like Disney and Pixar might be within reach, if they have the knowledge and exposure to these digital art forms early in life.”

“We are delighted to be in the second year of this program. Last year, the response to this wonderful program was terrific. We had 50 students participate in 2013,” Grettel Castro-Stanley, Independent High School’s Principal said. “Those students reported back to us that they learned a lot, were inspired and encouraged, and had a great deal of fun in the process.”

Independence High School’s Jack Aiello is a “Project Lead The Way” – trained instructor who teaches Introduction to Engineering Design at Independence High. He is also a coordinator of that school’s pre-engineering program, Space Technology Engineering Academy Magnet (STEAM). He serves as the faculty facilitator for the Cogswell After School program in tandem with Chacko.

“Running an after school class with 20 students at Cogswell, working in a project-based environment, is far more advantageous than the more traditional teaching model that involves lectures or video presentations at the front of a classroom of 35 or more students,” says Aiello. “The hands-on computer and audio equipment, programming tools and industry-experienced instructors that Cogswell offers us are a tremendously valuable resource. The partnership with Cogswell allows our students an exciting peek into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ world of the digital creative arts, and gives them a leg up into the super competitive, post graduate world of securing creative jobs in the digital space.”

ABOUT INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL:

Located in San Jose, CA, Independence High School is one of the largest high schools in Northern California. With a student body of approximately 3200 for the 2014-2015 year, Independence is also part of the East Side Union High School District. The high school is one of about 400 State of California school participants in the California Partnership Academies (CPA) program. The program stresses rigorous academics and career technical education, with a career focus. Schools involved with the CPA program boast the highest graduation rates (95%) in the state, attributing this to their focus on pre-engineering and technical education programs and smaller learning communities.

For more information on Independence High School, please see: http://www.ihs.schoolloop.com/

ABOUT COGSWELL COLLEGE:

Designed as a “fiercely collaborative, living laboratory,” Cogswell College is located in the heart of the legendary Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California. The school is a WASC accredited, four-year institution of higher education with a specialized curriculum that fuses digital arts, audio technology, game design, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Numerous alumni of Cogswell College have secured prominent positions within the entertainment, videogame, technology, computer, animation, and motion graphics industries throughout California and beyond. Several of these alumni have established careers with such high profile companies as Activision, DreamWorks Animation, Disney, Electronic Arts, Pixar, and Microsoft Game Studio. Many other alumni have launched their own creative ventures.

Recent Cogswell alumni were members of the Academy Award-winning production teams which worked on the blockbuster films “Frozen” and “Life of Pi.” Some of the other well-known consumer projects to which Cogswell alumni have contributed include the feature films “The Boxtrolls” and “The Avengers,” and the popular videogames “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Halo 4” and “Battlefield Hardline.”

Additionally, animated short films conceived and produced by Cogswell students have gone on to win prestigious awards, including those presented by the California International Animation Festival, the Colorado Film Festival, the Oregon Film Festival, the Miami Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival, the San Jose Short Film Festival, and Canada’s International Film Festival.

Cogswell College is located at 1175 Bordeaux Drive, Sunnyvale, California, 94089. For more information, please call 1-800-264-7955 or visit: http://www.cogswell.edu/

Contact for Cogswell College:
Rachael Sass
Creative Services Manager
Sunnyvale, CA
408/498-5150
rsass@cogswell.edu

Media Contact for Cogswell College:
Dan Harary
The Asbury PR Agency
Beverly Hills, CA
310/859-1831
dan@asburypr.com

Michal Makarewicz, Directing Animator at Pixar Studios Coming to Cogswell

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Cogswell Career Development Center Presents: Michal Makarewicz
Wednesday, November 19th
6:00 PM
Dragon’s Den

Have you ever wanted to see an industry professional do an animation demo? Ever wonder how to develop your project? Cogswell College hosts Michal Makarewicz today to answer your questions and more.

Michal Makarewicz, Directing Animator at Pixar Studios and Instructor at Animation Collaborative, will provide an hour-long animation demo at Cogswell. Whether you are new to animation or more experienced, Michal offers tips and techniques for developing your animation project. The presentation is in partnership with Animation Collaborative – an organization that offers workshops throughout the year on various animation industry specialties.

Concept Art Process for Award-Winning Short Animated Films

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Kong Vang, Cogswell alumni and Art Director of two short animated films

Kong Vang, Cogswell alumni and Art Director of the two short animated films “Driven” and “Worlds Apart” – both created in Cogswell College’s Project X class – shares his process of creating character concept designs and more.

While working on the films created in the Project X class, I learned that it takes a very dedicated team to make a short film in four semesters or less. Many of the students on this team are attending classes full-time in addition to contributing their talents towards making an awesome film.

Here’s an overview of what happens during the production process of a short animated film: First the script and storyboards are completed and approved, within the first semester. Meanwhile, the concept team begins creating concepts for characters and environments.  Approved concepts are sent into the modeling pipeline as soon as they are approved where our artists create 3d models. As each model is approved by the Director, they are sent into the texturing and rigging pipeline. Technical artists create animation rigs for each model and prepare them for animation testing.  Animation is a long process so it is important to get the rigged 3D models to the animators as soon as possible. Animation takes almost a year to get all of the shots approved.  After the animation is polished, the first test of the film timing is created, approved, and sent off to the sound effects and music score team.  Also during the process of animation, approved shots are sent to the lighting team for light set and test render. When the finalized lit shots are rendered out, they are sent to the compositing team for the final clean up. After the composite shots are cleaned up and finalized, they are sent off to the film editor who creates the final cut of the film and music score.

On the latest film ‘Driven’, each member of the team wore different hats depending on which stage of the production pipeline the film was in.  For instance, initially I started out in the concept design pipeline, then moved to the animation pipeline and finally to matte painting for the final stage of the film.

One of my jobs as a concept designer was to collect the approved designs from the other artists and finalize them. Because most approved designs are from different artists, each with their own distinct style, the finalization process ensures a consistent look and feel. After finalizing the look and stylization of the characters, I would render each character in 2D using Adobe Photoshop so that it would represent its 3d counterpart.  This allows the Director to easily visualize how each character will look before it gets passed along to the modeling team.

Digital media is the fastest way to work and Photoshop offers the perfect tools and work flow for this demanding field. With infinite tool presets, custom brushes, and limitless iterations, it allows me to work more quickly and easily compared to traditional mediums like paint or ink.

To block out the initial character’s silhouette, I like to use a standard round brush, which I adjust into an ellipse shape, then angle it 45 degrees. This style of brush setup creates a line weight that flows much more nicely than the standard round brushes. Once the silhouettes and internal shapes look good, I create a new layer in Photoshop and start to block out the forms with one color value. At this early stage, I prefer to work in black and white.  It makes it easier to focus just on values and form rather than getting caught up about the colors. My preference in digital painting is to work from dark to light values, or shadows to highlights. It has been my experience to get results much faster using this method than trying to paint from light to dark.  I push and pull (lighten and darken) the values until the character forms are clear.  During this process, I maintain a wide range of values to create depth and realism.

Once the characters have been sketched out, it’s time to experiment with color palettes. I like give a slight color tint to the values before painting on top of the black and white image. The tint layer acts as a color wash so none of the black and gray value show through later. I create a new layer and set the Layer Mode to “Color”. I start by painting over the character with the color palette that the team agrees on. By using multiple layers, I don’t lose my original black and white image – and I can test out different color schemes.  Once I’ve added general color blocks to the characters, I use a new layer to start painting in details. For the final detail stage, I use textures and custom brushes to polish the look of the characters.

The development stages from concept to finished product vary from character to character; it all depends on what the Director is looking for. For example, secondary characters may be approved before main characters. Main characters are often challenging as they have to be visually pleasing and have the right visual attitude. On the other hand secondary characters have far less restrictions, allowing flexibility for designers to explore their creativity.

The concept team spent almost an entire semester designing characters. After four months and multiple iterations, all nine characters were finally approved. Once approved, I took the concepts and started finalizing each character’s look. It took me roughly four or five hours to render out the first pass of each character to show the Director.  One character in particular – the adult Biff cop – took almost ten hours to design.  After multiple small changes, the final designs were approved.

One of the most surprising and challenging characters to design was the Jet Bike that the main character rides.  Its importance in the film is equal to the character that rides it. Although there were many great concept designs shown to the Director, none of them were approved. That’s when I was given the tough task of designing the bike. After fifty designs, we started to narrow down the concept. Once the main silhouette was chosen, I mixed elements from the best three designs together to get the final jet bike concept. The process for this single ‘character’ took three or four weeks, from start to finish, working with traditional mediums like graphite and paper.

This is just the front-end of the production pipeline for a short animated film. It takes a strong team and lots of man hours to complete the film. In the end many people had come and gone, and lots of talented people contributed to the film. We were all so glad that the film was finally finished. It took the PX team about four semesters and two summers of hard work to accomplish the short film, Driven. The Project X class has given me the best hands-on experience possible. It has definitely changed my future and life for the better. Thanks Project X!

Kong Vang

Robert Moog’s Birthday

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Google Doodle - Moog

Hello Everyone!

You may not have known but yesterday was Mr. Robert Moog’s birthday. If you don’t know who Robert Moog is and you are into the creation of music in any way, it’s about time you found out. Mr. Moog was the creator of the most famous analog synthesizer, The Moog Synthesizer. He created it in the mid 1960′s and inspired not just musical artists but nearly an entire genre of music. His accomplishments with how this little machine sounded and the range of nearly limitless possibilities is what made this instrument timeless. This creation gave way to the creation and experimentation of many more different synthesizers in the way of both hardware and software. Many of our students here at Cogswell, including myself, are all very thankful for the huge step that Mr. Moog took.

All of that aside, if you happen to use “The Google” yesterday, you would have seen their front page doodle of a fully functioning Moog Doodle that is mapped into a 4-track tape recorder. Not only is it extremely impressive but its also super fun…AND you can record a little tune and link someone to it!

So Mr. Moog, we salute you and thank you for your truly amazing work!

Link to Analog Moog Synthesizer: http://www.google.com/doodles/robert-moogs-78th-birthday

-Zombie

What Happened at the Maker Faire???

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Even though I was not one of the lucky attendees of the Maker Faire this year I was still able to get a wonderful play by play of the events that occurred in the span of the weekend. What I found out was certainly words of praise from the children young and old that attended the faire. Everyone who stopped by the Cogswell booth and interacted with the group that composes the new class, Genre Electronica, loved what they saw… or heard, rather. Our group of talented students had a few different setups and were recording sounds from anyone passing by who would be willing to lend their voice. After they recorded some samples from people, they would begin to compose dance music. There was even a couple of young professionals that were begging our students to upload to YouTube the rap that they laid down as part of the demonstration. Overall, this was a spectacular event for Cogswell, Genre Electronica and everyone involved. Congrats to you guys!

-Zombie

Genre Electronica at the Maker Faire

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Genre Electronica at the Maker Faire

I just wanted to throw this out to remind anyone that has forgotten or to let anyone know that hasn’t heard yet. The Maker Faire is in San Mateo this weekend, May 19th and 20th! The Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Cogswell’s very own Genre Electronica will have a spot at the faire and will be creating Electronic Dance Music with the sounds that they record at the faire (soooo cool). So, if you have time this weekend, grab a ticket and head out to pay our Cogswell students and all the other Makers a visit. I can promise that it will be worth your time! Have fun!

-Zombie

Dare of the Week: 013

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Sketch Your Favorite Avenger!

Hey Guys! I thought I would send you a little dare while you are on break just in case you were bored. I figured I should probably do this challenge while the hype is still fresh with everyone. I saw the movie and was totally blown away with everything, the effects, the writing, the actors….it was awesome! It completely surpassed all my expectations, especially since I read the comic as a kid and the movie adaptations always seem to fall short of the story/details. So, my challenge to you guys this…

Dare of the Week: 012
Sketch Your Favorite Avenger!

Avengers

And remember, once you are finished, post those sketches here:
http://www.facebook.com/cogswellcollege

-Zombie

Halo 4 Box Art Released

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Hello everyone!

I know that I just posted about Halo 4 in my last entry, but… THEY JUST RELEASED THE BOX ART! This is pretty exciting as 343 Industries haven’t followed the trend that Bungie has set forth with nearly every other Halo release where they have leaked tons more game-play and video previews. This time around 343 has kept the details pretty under-wraps in terms of video footage and releasing very little art. However, a little beauty came flying across my desk today and I had to share it with you guys. Oh and….. little bonus, did you know that two Cogswell alumnus work for 343 Industries? Their names are, Will Christiansen and Pat Gillette, and I would like to give them a big salute and thank you for bringing us this beautiful game, we are all eagerly awaiting its release. Thanks guys!

Halo 4 Box Art

Halo 4 Music

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Hey Everyone!

I was browsing some digital audio articles today and came across a behind the scenes video for the music of Halo 4. In it they talk about how melding the digital and analog sounds and how creating something different really takes a fresh look at the scene. This is very much what the audio students here at Cogswell do, I have seen them work on projects like Worlds Apart and Genre Electronica and it really reflects what the professionals are trying to hard to do: Create Something New but still familiar. In addition to that, there is the eternal struggle of keeping both sides of a project just as high quality as the other, without a compelling soundtrack, a really pretty visual can fall flat. Anyway, I really enjoyed the video and I thought you guys might like it as well. Hope it inspires you to go out and make more amazing music and sound.

Animation is here!!!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Animation from students
As promised, I have some final animation from the students! I am going to post a few here on the blog and if you like them, let me know, I’ll put up more if they let me! I love these guys and think they are going to go a long way! Keep on working hard and always learning Jimmy, Taylor and Robert!