Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Applegate’

Cogswell Faculty Shares His Expertise with DreamWorks Artists

Tuesday, 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.

Studio E Embarks on an Interactive Adventure

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

At Cogswell College we believe that the best lessons are those learned by doing. Our newest studio class – Studio E – is no exception. Students in this class under the leadership of faculty, Thomas Applegate, have an ambitious goal but are confident of success. The crew of 18 is creating the art assets, 3D reference models, animation, programming and audio content for an original story created by Thomas.

Over the course of the next 18 months, the team will create a short animation based on the story along with an interactive book version for mobile platforms to deepen the reader’s experience and further immerse them in the story. Students will take the project from the beginning development phase, through pre-production, then full production mode and finally post production. During the class students are given the chance to work in a setting that mirrors a professional studio and will follow an industry-standard production pipeline.

But in typical Cogswell fashion, the learning process has a twist. While the crew adheres to a full-blown production cycle, much of the work in the various phases will be done in tandem. Pre-production will happen in step with the development phase and some full production will happen while pre-production is still going on. This is possible because everyone works on the same files so the work can progress in stages. Environment artists create temporary environments that can be filled in later while character artists and animators can do rough animation in the temporary environment so they don’t have to wait for the finished environments to do their jobs.

“I really want the students to go through the entire design process and learn what is expected of them when they begin working in the industry,” said Applegate. “We started with the story and the visual design, then created a full 2D animatic, from which we are drawing all our information to create the pre-vis animatic, animation, color script, as well as color and lighting keys to establish art direction.”

In addition Cogswell’s learn-by-doing class format, students work on state-of-the-art equipment. Studio E is equipped with Wacom Cintiq monitors which allow you to paint right on the monitor. According to several of the students it took a little adjusting to transition from drawing on a desktop tablet to drawing on a monitor but the consensus is that this is one of the best classes they have taken.

Check out the video for more information stay tuned to find out how the project progresses.

Sketching with clay! A fun approach to figure sculpture

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
my rough sculpture

The rough start to my first sculpture

Today I had my two favorite classes of the week, Figure Sculpture and Storyboarding.  In sculpture we had our very first live model come in today.  For the last few weeks we’ve been learning about the human form and the main muscle groups that form the main shape of the body.  For our clay we use oil biased clay called “chavant professional plasteline” to create character maquettes (it’s nice because it never hardens so you can always go back and re-work what you did months later).  What I really enjoy is how our teacher, Cogswell sculpture professor Thomas Applegate, teaches figure sculpture.  The idea is to work fast and rough.  We start with getting the gesture in our armature and making sure that the weight and action is distributed well across the figure.  Once we are happy with the gesture we start putting on the clay. We start with the primary forms then move on to the secondary forms.  After that, if we are happy with how it looks, then the third step takes place and we refine the sculpture.  To me it really felt like sketching instead of sculpting.  The sculpture you see in the photo is a 45 minute ‘sketch’ sculpture.  I really like how it came out; unfortunately it will be torn apart next class.  Thomas really stresses working fast with the clay and really ingraining the intuitive feel of sculpting.  Like with sketching you create the basic form over and over and over and as you continue to repeat the process you get better at the process of sculpting.  It’s also a very instructive process.  Thomas will walk around the room and give pointers and test us to see if we can see what’s going wrong before he tells us what we need to fix, again, really trying to build that intuitive sense for sculpting.  When I was working on it I really got into the process of making it, like I was one with the clay (however corny that sounds).  It was a lot of fun.

I’d really love to get the chance to take the portrait sculpture class.  In that class you work on learning to sculpt the head, and more than just a human’s head.  One of the assignments is to combine an animal’s head with your own, thus making (perhaps) one of the strangest self-portraits I’ve ever seen.  We’ve got some great ones around the school and quite a verity of animals.  We have a fish, an ape, a giraffe, and a goat (to name only a few).  There’s more lecture in that class (I’m told) but when you’re learning about the muscles of the face and how the face expresses then you need more lecture.  I think it would be a very fun class to take.

-Amelia Davis