Thursday, July 23, 2009

NEW Animation Classes!

There are 2 new Anim499 Special Topics classes for FALL 2009:

LIP SYNC, Instructor Linda Bel
A master class on creating a 2 person dialogue.
Prerequisites: Advanced Animation 3, Acting for Animators,


REALISM, Instructor Linda Bel
Includes quadruped walk cycles and animating various creatures.
Prerequisites: Advanced Animation 3

These classes require portfolio review for admission.
Interested students must make an appointment with Linda Bel to review their work to be considered for the class.

To make an appointment with Linda Bel, go to the 180 building, 3rd floor main office, and ask to schedule an appointment for portfolio review, for the class you are interested in taking.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Animation, VFX, MPT, ILL, ADV ---> BBQ!

12th Barbecue

Join your friends and peers for a fall BBQ!

It will be open to the entire school,
hosted by VFX, ANM, MPT, ILL, ADV.

The BBQ will be held Sept. 12
at Speedway Meadows from 1-5.

Meat, buns and all the basics will be provided.

Reminder announcements as we get closer to the date!

Tea Time Animation Club

The goal of Tea Time is to bring together current animation students and Alumni to discuss industry and department related news and concerns, facilitate lectures by guest speakers, nurture communication between the student body and the Animation Department and finally, to provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer critique. We are a networking resource for the student community.

Tea Time meets on Fridays at 3:30pm in room 349 of 180 New Montgomery. On top of the company you want and the critique you need, it's customary that we provide hot beverages and snacks to enjoy while you're with us. After all, it is Tea Time! If you'd like a more in-depth look at what Tea Time is all about, please feel free to tune in to this recording of our online informational session with some of our staff!

What should I Bring? 

Well...yourself! Everything else is optional. That being said, we strongly encourage all Tea Time members to participate in group critique, thus, you should also bring some work! For animated pieces Quicktime files only, please! You also may want to bring a pen and paper for note taking, and, needless to say, a good attitude.

Want more? Feel free to join our brand new Facebook group! This is your opportunity to have a greater voice within our club. Post about anything -- Need critique? Find a cool blog? Have a helpful animating tip? Post it on the Facebook. Share, learn and hear up-to-date information on the comings and goings of Tea Time members. It's the perfect place to hear about any and all upcoming events, while having regular access your peers that you may not usually get in between classes.

Finally, Community Clean Team events happen every month. The animation club takes pride in giving back to our local and global community. For dates and pick-up locations, as well as any additional club updates, please follow to this blog. 

Get to know your Full Time Faculty

Full Time Faculty

Chris Armstrong
Director, Animation and Visual Effects

For the past ten years Chris Armstrong has worked at ILM as a senior and lead animator on over a dozen feature films, as well as animation supervisor on Galaxy Quest, Day After Tomorrow and Star Wars Episode II.

Beginning his career as an inbetweener on Saturday morning cartoons, he has worked on both 3D and traditional feature films and commercials, and has been involved in most aspects of production from storyboarding to final edit. On his own time, Chris works on personal short films.

Tom Bertino
Graduate Director, Animation and Visual Effects

A native of Berkeley, Tom Bertino graduated from the California College of Art & Crafts (now California College of the Arts) in 1981.

Bertino begin his professional animation career with independent producer/director Sally Cruikshank in 1978, and has worked for such studios as Nepenthe, DIC, Hanna-Barbera and Colossal Pictures in a number of capacities including character design, storyboards, layout, voices and sound effects.

In 1986, Bertino joined Industrial Light & Magic as supervisor of the rotoscope department. In 1993, he was asked to bring his traditional animation skills to the digital realm, leading to a successful career in computer animation for feature films and commercials.

In 1995, Bertino was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for the groundbreaking CG imagery he created for The Mask. He received a BAFTA nomination in the same category.

Bertino’s directorial debut was the short film Work In Progress (2000/I), released in 2000.

Sherrie Sinclair
Director, 2D Animation

Sherrie H. Sinclair joins the Academy after almost nine years as a clean-up animator with Walt Disney Feature Animation in Orlando, FL. Ms. Sinclair began her education and career with a BA in the History and Criticism of Art from Florida State University which led her to assume the Assistant Directorship of the Meridian Museum of Art in Meridian, MS. Continuing her educational pursuits with second degree in Illustration from the Academy of Art University in 1991, she worked briefly at Storyboard Express in San Francisco before being accepted for an internship and subsequent position with Disney Feature Animation in Florida.

Ms. Sinclair’s film credits include “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “Mulan,” “Tarzan,” and “Lilo and Stitch.” She was also involved with a Goofy short for Disney TV entitled “How to Haunt a House” and contributed to the Aladdin and Pocahontas CD Rom games. Ms. Sinclair sees her position at the Academy as a wonderful opportunity to share her knowledge and love of art and traditional animation with today’s aspiring animators.

Vince De Quattro
Online Director, Animation and Visual Effects

Vince De Quattro spent most of his visual effects career with Industrial Light & Magic, joining them as a technical director in 1997. While there, De Quattro worked on five Academy-Award(tm) nominated films in Highest Achievement in Visual Effects, Might Joe Young, Star Wars Episode I, Pearl Harbor, Star Wars Episode II, and Pirates of the Carribean. He has worked with several other Bay Area effects houses, including Matte World, Inc., The Orphanage and Tweak Films. Prior to joining ILM, he worked as a technical director and animator for Warner Brothers Digital Studios, Robert Greenberg Studios Los Angeles and the Sony High Definition Television Center in Culver City.

As a technical director and computer graphics supervisor, De Quattro was responsible for the design, development and implementation of visual effects for feature films.

You can view his professional vita at

De Quattro was born in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts/Studio Art from the University of Southern California, and a Master's Degree in Computer Animation in Film from the University of Southern California Film School.

Vince has been teaching at AAU since September of 2004. He is currently the Director of Animation and Visual Effects Online. Vince is an active member of the Visual Effects Society, an academic member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and a member of ACM SIGGRAPH. External links for more info: Currently teaching ANM 405 (Senior Portfolio), ANM 670MV (Pre-production)

George Pafnutieff
Associate Director, Animation and Visual Effects

George’s visual effects experience comes from his work at Industrial Light and Magic where he was a member of the Digital Post Production group. George was an artist working in the “Rebel Unit”, an experimental effort in which production shots were modeled, animated and composited using inexpensive tools (PC’s, “off the shelf” software, scripts and other code written by Rebel Unit team members, etc.), as opposed to relying on the expensive “CG pipeline” that ran all the ILM film projects. Many times a Rebel Unit artist was asked to wear several hats and complete an effects shot by animating, compositing and perhaps even modeling for it. Typically these skills were separate responsibilities on the main CG pipeline. His work can be seen in films such as “Star Trek – First Contact”, “The Phantom Menace” and the three “Star Wars Special Editions”

After ILM, George joined Apple Computer’s Digital Media team as a Senior Systems Engineer. He worked with Film and Television studios to find ways to incorporate Final Cut Pro and other Apple tools into the feature production

George has been teaching at AAU since January of 2003

Department Leads

Rob Gibson

Technology Officer/Computer Animation Production coordinator

With an impressive list of commercial art on his resume and several yeas of teaching under his belt, Rob Gibson is an experienced director of 3D animation.

Most recently, he is the Technology Officer, floor warden and lead instructor of the Computer Animation Production course at the Academy of Art University. A 1990 graduate of California College of Arts and Crafts’ architecture program, Gibson also studied engineering at American River College. He was first employed in 1988 at UCP CAD Productions in Oakland, California as an AutoCAD operator and manager, where he trained and managed the work of physically challenged people using AutoCAD to created drawings for various projects.

During his years of teaching at the Academy of Art University, Gibson has taught courses including 3-D modeling and animation, digital production studio, visual effects for film and television and effects animation. He has been an Advocate with the Student Affairs Department since Fall 2002.

Catherine Tate
Compositing Lead

Catherine Tate is a visual effects artist and compositor with over fourteen years experience in the motion picture industry and has worked on thirty feature films. Some of her film credits include: Hellboy, Men In Black, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Sleepy Hollow, Galaxy Quest, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and The Hulk.

Catherine worked at Industrial Light & Magic for eleven years. She also worked in London, England at Framestore/CFC, and Peerless Camera Company. Since Leaving ILM in 2003, she has worked at ESC Entertainment, The Orphanage, Evil Eye Pictures, Wildbrain and Photon VFX in Australia.

Catherine is now the Compositing Lead at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is also involved in effects creation and supervision on independent projects.

Derek Flood
Visual Effects Lead

As the VFX Lead, Derek Flood brings over 15 years experience in CG animation to the Academy of Art . Specializing in lighting, texturing, and compositing, Derek has worked in major studios here and in Europe, both for feature animation as well as live action VFX films. When he can find the time, Derek continues to make independent animated short films. His most recent film "Emelia The Five Year Old Goth Girl" was the #1 short on iTunes, screened in festivals across the globe, and won several awards.

As a teacher, Derek gets revved up about creating stories of depth and redemption rather than bland entertainment, helping students to find a calling not just a career, and having art and story help us to understand who we are and what life is about.

Scott Leberecht
Preproduction Lead

Scott is from Cincinnati, OH and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design. Applying his conceptual skills to the film arts, he joined George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic in 1995 and went on to become the Visual Effects Art Director on several feature films, including SLEEPY HOLLOW, SPAWN and FLUBBER.

Tareq Mirza
Modeling Lead

Tareq Mirza is one of the most accomplished digital sculptors in the industry today, contributing to blockbuster effects films like Star Wars: Episode II, The Matrix 2, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tareq's gestural style and attention to anatomical detail has earned him the respect of the post-production digital industry, where he has served as a digital modeling supervisor for Escape Entertainment and Industrial Light & Magic.
Tareq's feature modeling career started in 2002 when, after three years at commercial production house Foundation Imaging, he was hired by Industrial Light & Magic to create high-resolution digital models for George Lucas' film Star Wars: Episode II. Tareq's job was to create high-resolution creature models like Wat Tambor.
After a few more years in Production, Tareq decided a change of pace was in order and moved on to the Education field as the Head of 3D modeling at the Academy of Art University. There Tareq found a new appreciation for teaching and helping students attain their dreams.

Robert Steele
Portfolio Lead

Robert Steele's professional background includes working as Art Director and Computer Animator for various video game companies such as Sega Technical Institute, Captivation Digital Laboratories, Full-On Amusement Company Blizzard Entertainment, and Virgin Entertainment.

Project credits include Diablo 2, Diehard Arcade, ComicZone, Robocop vs. Terminator, and Disney’s The Jungle Book video games.

He also produced Commercial Animatics and Storyboards at Jim Keeshen Studios in Los Angeles, California and was a Storyboard Artist for the Widget and Mr. Bogus animated television series for Calico Creations.

He was Producer on animated short, “Monkey Love " at Jim Keeshen Studios which was a Nominee for Animated Short Film ASIFA 1996 and recipient of the Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, 1997.

His hobbies include planning and coordinating the Neo-Luddite Revolution.

Shaun Featherstone
Storyboard Lead

Shaun Featherstone was born in Teesside in the United Kingdom in 1976. Upon obtaining a BA degree in Animation in 1999, he moved into the world of freelance animation and pre-production. Shaun has worked with a variety of European companies such as Telemagination UK, best known for their work on 'The Cramp Twins'. Developing preproduction and story pitches for a wide variety of projects from TV animated series to Music Videos. Shaun also enjoyed working as a freelancer with companies such as Fictitious Egg, 422 South and ATTIC/UK

During this time, Shaun received and accepted an offer to continue post-graduate study while at the University of Teesside's School of Computing where he became a senior lecturer in the Computer Animation Department and successfully led their 2D Animation Department. During this period he was one of the creative forces behind the organization of the AnimEX International Animation Festival, where he was Programme Director. The festival is now in it's tenth year and continues to enjoy great success. This role led to a keen interest in the world of Visual Effects.

Shaun continues work as a Story Artist and Preproduction Specialist and is currently Storyboard Lead for the BFA Story Track here at the School of Animation and Visual Effects. He teaches a variety of classes at both 2D and 3D Animation departments including ANM104: The History of Visual Effects & Computer Animation and ANM499: Short Form Animation Preproduction.

Jason Patnode
Video Games Lead

Jason has worked at such companies as LucasArts, Activision, and Pixar.
He has written one book on Maya and is working on a new Maya and Z-brush book.

Currently teaching ANM 331 (Games: Modeling and Texturing), ANM 413 (ZBrush Modeling), ANM 624 (MS: Maya 2), ANM 800 (MS: Directed Study).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I wanted to share some of my favorite resources.

Movie Wavs has movie/tv/sound effects for download.
If you don't have QuickTime Pro to download the wavs, click the link posted to the direct source, and use your browsers file>save-as function to download the clip.

KeepVid - tool to download youtube vids for reference.
Use the URL for the video(direct link to the video) from the info box on youtube.

Character Animation Studio class blog (Jeff Cooperman's class)
Lots of good posts, links, and critiques of work your classmates have done. Lots of posts full of inspiration and technique.

Animation Tricks-
A fairly quick read, and a lot of stating the obvious. Still a good reminder in manageable doses. Frustrated? Open this up and read a bit. Helpful reminders to get your head back in it.

That's about it for now. Enjoy!