A team from SVA comprising members of the BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects, BFA Fine Arts and MFA Computer Art programs, as well as the Career Development Office, recently attended the 2015 SIGGRAPH conference, the premier international event on computer graphics and interactive techniques, which took place August 9 – 13 in Los Angeles. The SVA reps met with digital arts and animation professionals, alumni and recruiters to cultivate relationships and celebrate the accomplishments of the College’s students and alumni.
The SVA team was part of a select group of colleges invited to participate in education symposiums hosted by Autodesk, DreamWorks Animation Studios and Sony Pictures Imageworks. These events offered the opportunity to learn about new industry trends that may determine the skills students need to successfully enter the field. At Autodesk, the group was also treated to a talk by Weta Digital’s animation supervisor, Dave Clayton, who discussed his work on such films as The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Hobbit series.
While in L.A., the SVA group held several meetings with various representatives of Walt Disney Animation and discussed a range of internship opportunities. “Disney was happy to share with me how pleased they are with our student, Dan West, who is interning with them this summer,” said Jimmy Calhoun, director of operations in BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects. “Our friends at Pixar shared stories about our student Christina Faraj, who joined them in the Pixar Undergraduate Program. And our friends at Industrial Light and Magic told me how happy they are with our alumnus Tom Szenher (BFA 2013 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), who recently joined their team as an associate pipeline technical director.”
Other SIGGRAPH highlights included Monster, a film by Stephanie Lin and Tom Shek (both BFA 2015 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), which screened as part of the event’s animation festival, and a panel discussion hosted by Blue Sky on the studio’s upcoming Peanuts movie, and the technical solutions employed to honor Peanuts creator Charles Schulz’s original art. Panelists included BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects faculty members Ignacio Barrios and Christian Haniszewski, Kevin Edzenga (BFA 2009 Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects), MFA Computer faculty member Ilan Gabai and Alen Lai (MFA 2000 Computer Art), all of them Blue Sky employees who worked on the film.
In conjunction with their SIGGRAPH trip, SVA hosted an industry and alumni reception at the Figueroa Hotel on Monday, August 10. The event welcomed more than 60 guests, including representatives from Blue Sky, Walt Disney TV Animation, The Third Floor and Titmouse. Also in attendance: alumnus Tom Sito (BFA 1977 Animation), an animator who has worked on such modern Disney classics as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. “Tom is a legend in the field,” said Angie Wojak, director of SVA Career Development. “It was great to see him meeting our young alumni and sharing his history and thoughts on the industry.”
Top photo: Jimmy Calhoun, director of operations in BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects; Angie Wojak, director of SVA Career Development; Tom Sito; and Hsiang Chin Moe, director of operations in MFA Computer Art. Bottom photo: alumni reception at the Figueroa hotel.