3D Animation

  • Two Animated Shorts from NYFA Alumni to Screen at NYC ACM SIGGRAPH’s MetroCAF

    NYC ACM SIGGRAPH will be presenting the fourteenth edition of its annual metropolitan-area college computer animation festival. The organization aims to foster the synthesis of art and technology while promoting and educating the computer graphics and interactive media community through the exchange of printed and electronic information and innovative ideas.

    Two New York Film Academy student animated films from this past year’s crop of animators have been selected for the MetroCAF Student Competition, with the screening held on Friday, September 23rd.

    The two films that will screen are:

    “Ravage” by Felipe Amaya

    Ravage from Felipe Amaya on Vimeo.

    Amaya says his film is all about the very plausible outcome of what will happen if we allow ourselves to continue producing and consuming en masse without environmentally friendly alternatives and practices.

    “There were two goals that I wanted to achieve with this project: I try to be a very environmentally conscious person and wanted to include a little bit of that aspect of my personality in this short film,” said Amaya. “I consider that humanity, being the dominant species of the planet, has a great responsibility to the environment as well as the obligation to change its practices in order to prevent mass pollution and global warming.

    I wanted to explore the technical aspect of rigging in more depth and in a more mechanical way, therefore the machines. My goal was to learn more about the virtual bolts and screws that hold everything in place and allows 3D objects to move.

    I combined these two goals and came up with the result you will see at MetroCAF.”

    Amaya is currently working at VRAM FX, a visual effects company based in NYC.

    “The Right Way” by Elena Zobak Alekperov & Flavia Groba Bandeira 

    The Right Way from Flavia Groba on Vimeo.

    This short story is about a mom trying to do the right thing raising her child, but sometimes things are not what they seem to be.

    “The inspiration behind this video was taken from my life,” says Zobak. “I wanted to share my experience of being a parent and trying to do the right thing with everyday life choices. And since sometimes we’re a little bit hypocritical with all this ‘right approach,’ this funny scenario just came to mind.”

    Flavia was responsible for environment design as well as the overall look.

    “I tried to fit the environment to the characters personality or, in the case of the girl, her imposed personality by the mother,” said Groba.

    “It sounds trite to ‘write what you know,’ but by doing so, this team was able to tap into the emotions—humor, frustration, love, contradiction—that make this mother-daughter relationship so relatable, and so funny,” said NYFA 3D Animation & Game Design Chair, Phoebe Elefante. “The high level of technical expertise exhibited in the production is seamless, so the audience can be completely immersed in the storytelling. That’s the kind of mastery to which we encourage all students to aspire.”

    “The Right Way” also screened at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

    September 16, 2016 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1716

  • NYFA Showcases its Talents at the Venice International Film Festival

    It was quite an honor to take part in the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. The exclusive New York Film Academy Showcase at the VIFF began with a Q&A between NYFA Florence Program Director, Diana Santi, and NYFA alumnus, Giorgio Pasotti, who attended a Filmmaking Workshop in 2003. Pasotti has acted in numerous well-known Italian films, including Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award-winning film “The Great Beauty.”

    Held at the Venice Production Bridge platform at the Spazio Incontri of Venice’s Excelsior Hotel, Pasotti discussed his overall education at NYFA, which he described as an amazing learning experience.

    diana and pasotti

    “It was more useful to study 8 weeks at NYFA in NY than the years I’ve spent studying and watching movies,” said the Italian actor. Pasotti used the skills he learned from NYFA to direct his debut film, “Io, Arlecchino.”

    Following the Q&A, the festival screened five NYFA student and alumni films that included two live-action shorts, two animated shorts, and one documentary short.

    The five films that screened were:

    “The Life Of Janka,” by Luis Henriquez Viloria (fiction)

    After the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, thousands of kids went to the streets and became targets for organizations of child traffickers. These kids were traded like livestock. “The Life of Janka” is a fictional story of two brothers who go through such an experience.

    “Fumo,” by Sean Miyakawa (fiction)

    Set in the mid-1920s, a frustrated sound composer works as one of the first sound engineers in the history of cinema, and happens to be madly in love with the main actress of the production. On the day he decides to finally declare his love to her, he finds out about an affair going on between her and the director. The discovery drives him crazy.

    “Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa,” by Lara-Ann de Wet (documentary)

    In Limpopo, South Africa, the village grannies lace up their soccer boots and start kicking their way down the field — and through centuries of oppressive taboos. They play serious soccer and then break into the laughter and traditional song that help fuel their singular struggle for decent lives and a league of their own.

    “The Perfumist,” by Yukari Akaba, Shannon Lee, Daniela Lobo Dias, Sandra Rivero Ortiz (animation)

    “The Perfumist” is a dramatic story highlighting the battle of Machine-Equipped Man against Cosmic Nature. Seeking the perfect scent for his perfume, Benedict Malville runs into the consequences of trampling on sacred, natural ground.

    “The Right Way,” by Elena Zobak Alekperov & Flavia Groba Bandeira (animation)

    A short animated story of the day in a mom’s life of raising her young child. While the child tests the mother’s patience, there is a final moment of relief after the mom reveals her secret oasis within the confines of the home.

    Following the screenings, director Sean Miyakawa spoke in-depth about the making of his original film, “Fumo.”

    Additionally, “The Life of Janka” director of photography Leandro Mouro spoke about his cinematography on Luis Henriquez Viloria’s film, shot in Haiti.

    The prestigious Venice International Film Festival will continue to run until September 10, 2016.

  • Two Animated NYFA Shorts to Screen at Venice Film Festival

    In addition to the two live action shorts and a documentary short, the New York Film Academy will be screening two animated short films at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

    Both films were created in NYFA’s 3D Animation program as collaborative projects.

    the right way

    still from “The Right Way”

    One of the films, “The Right Way,” was created by Elena Zobak Alekperov and Flavia Groba Bandeira. The short story is about a mom trying to do the right thing raising her child, but sometimes things are not what they seem to be.

    “The inspiration behind this video was taken from my life,” says Zobak. “I wanted to share my experience of being a parent and trying to do the right thing with everyday life choices. And since sometimes we’re a little bit hypocritical with all this ‘right approach,’ this funny scenario just came to mind.”

    Flavia was responsible for environment design as well as the overall look.

    “I tried to fit the environment to the characters personality or, in the case of the girl, her imposed personality by the mother,” said Groba.

    “It sounds trite to ‘write what you know,’ but by doing so, this team was able to tap into the emotions—humor, frustration, love, contradiction—that make this mother-daughter relationship so relatable, and so funny,” said NYFA 3D Animation & Game Design Chair, Phoebe Elefante. “The high level of technical expertise exhibited in the production is seamless, so the audience can be completely immersed in the storytelling. That’s the kind of mastery to which we encourage all students to aspire.”

    the perfumist

    still from “The Perfumist”

    The other animated film that will screen at the NYFA Showcase in Venice is “The Perfumist,” which was a collaborative effort amongst several animation students — Yukari Akaba, Shannon Lee, Daniela Lobo Dias, and Sandra Rivero Ortiz.

    “The Perfumist” is a dramatic story highlighting the battle of “Machine-Equipped Man” against “Cosmic Nature.” Seeking the perfect scent for his perfume, Benedict Malville runs into the consequences of trampling on sacred, natural ground.

    “I love this short film for many reasons,” said Elefante. “Its exquisite beauty, its dark humor, its depth. But I am most proud of this short because it is creative collaboration at its best. Each woman worked to showcase the others’ talent, and together they were able to produce something exceptional — even beyond what each could have done by herself. That embodies the spirit of ambition and cooperation I hope to see in every student.”

    The animated shorts will be introduced on September 1st by NYFA alumnus Giorgio Pasotti (“The Great Beauty,” “After Midnight,” “Salty Air”) at the brand-new Venice Production Bridge platform at the Spazio Incontri of Venice’s Excelsior Hotel.

    August 30, 2016 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2191

  • NYFA Los Angeles Animation Instructor Highlights

    Our award-winning faculty and instructors continue to shine in both the classroom and the professional arena. Recently, New York Film Academy Los Angeles Co-Chair of Animation and VFX, Matt Galuppo, and ace faculty member, Matt Sheehan, recently created a refugee awareness video for the Ad Council.

    Galuppo’s company produced the beautiful PSA that is both touching and timely in this time of derisiveness. One can truly appreciate the trials and suffering of our fellow humanity around the globe. Sheehan is featured in the PSA as one of the people chosen to engage in the “experience” of being a refugee.

    Meanwhile, NYFA LA Chair of Animation, Mark Sawicki, contributed matte painting work to the award-winning documentary “Inside the Garbage of the World” directed by Phillipe and Maxine Carillo. His work depicts hundreds of dead whales on the sea shore as a premonition of the ecological catastrophe that awaits if the issue of plastic pollution in our ocean is not addressed.

    The film is now available on Amazon Prime and will be distributed by Dreamscape to universities and public libraries. The film will also be translated into foreign languages and distributed internationally by Journeyman pictures.

    August 16, 2016 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights • Views: 594

  • The Multi-Talented Paul J. Salamoff Visits NYFA’s Business of Screenwriting Class

    Paul J. SalamoffThis past week, multi-hyphenate entertainment professional Paul J. Salamoff joined our Business of Screenwriting class to explain how this kid from Natick, Massachusetts went on to work on more than 50 films, TV shows, video games, comic books, and commercials, wearing practically every creative hat imaginable — writer, producer, director, executive, and yes — make-up artist.

    Salamoff originally began his career as a Special FX/Make-Up Artist, working for years on such iconic films as “Critters 3-4,” “Ed Wood,” “Escape from LA,” “Batman & Robin,” “Doctor Dolittle,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Dogma,” and “Me Myself and Irene.”

    But, Salamoff was also bitten by the writer bug, and before long his career as a TV and film writer took off as well, with credits including “The Dead Hate the Living” (co-written with Dave Parker), “The St. Francisville Experiment” and “Alien Seige” for the SyFy channel. He was also recently named one of The Tracking Board’s Top 100 Up & Coming Screenwriters and has developed projects with Blumhouse Prod., Ritchie/Wigram Prod., Mosaic Media Group, Hollywood Gang, Silver Pictures, Valhalla Motion Pictures, Vertigo, Unstoppable Entertainment (UK) and Eclectic Pictures.

    Salamoff is also author of the novel “The Silent Planet” and two non-fiction books: “On the Set: The Hidden Rules of Movie Making Etiquette” (which is in its 3rd Edition), and “The Complete DVD Book.” His short stories have been included in acclaimed anthologies including “Midian Unmade: Tales From Clive Barker’s Nightbreed,” and he is a two-time Bram Stoker Award Nominee.

    As a comic creator, Salamoff is the writer of a number of comic book series including “Vincent Price Presents Black Scorpion” and the critically acclaimed “Logan’s Run:Last Day,” “Logan’s Run: Aftermath,” “Logan’s Run: Rebirth,” written with William F. Nolan. He is also the creator of the original graphic novel “Discord” and its prequel “Tales of Discord.”

    In 2005 Salamoff became Vice President of Production for David Lancaster Productions working on Wes Craven’s “The Breed” and “Hollow Man 2.” After a successful merge with Bold Films, he became their Vice President of Production and worked on such films as “Legion,” “Bobby,” and Starship Troopers: Marauders.”

    Having been involved with The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films for over twelve years; he produced the 22nd, 23rd, 33rd, 34th and 35th Saturn Awards. Salamoff has also produced Video Game TV/Web Development Diaries and Trailers working on such high-profile projects as “Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur,” “The Adventures of Tintin, Bulletstorm,” Mass Effect 2,” “Gears of War 2,” and “Dead Space.”

    Salamoff answered a diverse range of questions from students ranging from how one gets into the comic book and video game writing arenas, to his process when he writes his screenplays (he sees the whole movie in his head before he begins, and bangs out the first draft in a mere 4-5 days!), to what it was like working on some of the more racy puppeteering and animatronics scenes for some of the most famous Farrelly Bros. movies.

    A treasure trove of knowledge, as is evidenced by his many successes, the students thoroughly enjoyed his warm energy, breadth of Hollywood experiences, and hilarious anecdotal stories.

    Next up for Salamoff, (amongst other things – no surprise), he is working steadily on his original horror screenplay “Beyond Repair,” currently being produced by Closed on Mondays Ent. (“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”) and is directing a Sci-Fi/horror drama (which he co-wrote with Actor/Producer/Director Noel Clarke) for the UK’s Unstoppable Ent.

    August 11, 2016 • 3D Animation, Game Design, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1756

  • Lessons From Storyboard Revisionist for DreamWorks Animation

    This past week New York Film Academy Animation students were given an opportunity to meet with Diana Ling, storyboard revisionist for Hasbro’s Transformers. Ling has worked in advertising, storyboarding commercials and on animation projects including Transformers.

    diana ling

    Ling began her career by drawing ten hours a day. She drew over and over until she could sketch at a lighting pace. “Fast is fifteen to twenty clean sketches a day,” said Ling. “So, I decided to go back to school…to specifically learn how to draw, because I still didn’t know what it is I wanted to do. I built up my drawing chops. You sit there for five hours drawing and then you go home and you draw for another ten hours for each class. It’s a lot of mileage.”

    “I took this storyboarding class because I thought, ‘Well, I know how to draw.’ That means I can probably apply it to a practical skill. I used the portfolio that I had, the work that I had for that class, and decided to try advertising boards.”

    She would get a call asking if she could be at the studio in an hour. She’d meet with the commercial director. They’d talk about the look and story. By the end of the day, Ling produced a series of sketches that made up the entire advertisement.

    “In advertising boards you have to be able to draw relatively realistically,” said Ling. “A lot of it’s photobashing if you want it to be. But, for me, I just did everything hand drawn. You also need to know how to draw cars and environments. Your perspective has to be pretty good. And you have to learn to draw really fast too, because the turn around in advertising is one to two days.”


    “The agent will call you and say, ‘Are you available today at 1:00 PM to come and work at the studio? They need boards for a pitch.’ I would meet with the director, one on one in a coffee shop or a Starbucks. We’d go over the boards and what he wants. I’d do little sketches. It was a really good experience because it introduced me to a lot of different people. It introduced me to what a director’s life is like. Where you just go from job to job. And it introduced me to the advertising world. In the process of doing that I learned to draw, really, really fast.”

    After some time, Ling began to have a crisis. She realized that she wasn’t fulfilled doing promotional work. So, she quit. She took some time to consider what she wanted and decided she wanted to tell stories. This is how she ended up at DreamWorks Animation working on Transformers.

    “In advertising you make a lot of money, but if it’s not fulfilling you artistically then you haven’t really succeeded. So I think my advice would be sit down, go to the beach, relax and think about what it is you want to do. I would write it down. It doesn’t have to be really specific, but if you keep thinking about that thing that’s on the tip of your tongue. If you just keep trying to kneed that dough than it’ll come in to fruition and it’ll be beautiful. And you’ll like it. You won’t be doing things that you don’t like to do.”

    “When I graduated in 2012, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I really wanted to draw for a living and so I tried finding work as an artist. I realized that it was really difficult. I was kind of just getting these one to two day jobs for about a year or so. It was like one a month. It was very, very little.”

    diana ling

    Ling continued, “I realized, like some people, all they want to do is draw and enjoy themselves doing that. But I realized that I kind of wanted to create something for myself. I wanted to create a name. In the past year I had been starting to think, ‘What kind of mark do I want to put on the world?’”

    Ling then looked over the students’ reels and sketches. She gave them advice and encouragement in applying themselves in the future:

    “A job is really just a job and as an artist you really need to think a little more entrepreneurially because there’s so many great artists in the world. Anyone can pick up a camera nowadays. Anyone can create a film on YouTube. Anyone can draw. There are lots of people who can draw very, very well. I used to be really worried about beating the competition. But now I’m not worried about that anymore. Your career is not really about beating other people. It’s about fulfilling what you want to do in your own life.”
    “If you want to become a master draftsman than you go do that and then the jobs kind of come. So you’re thinking more like an artist, rather than trying to progress your career. I think it’s more important to focus on your internal growth rather than begging for jobs.”
    “I believe the road to mediocrity is conformity. Trying to do what everyone else is doing and just trying to fit in to what all the people at Disney are doing. Rather, if you want to be successful you have to think about your own voice and be a non-conformist and trust that your voice and your skills will take you in the direction you want to go. You want to get job that you want. You don’t want to get jobs that you’re not interested in. You want people to be like, ‘Oh, Diana Ling she does that kind of stuff. We want that.’ They recognize your work and they associate your name with your work, because it’s not like anyone else’s.”

    New York Film Academy would like to thank Ms. Ling for taking the time to come speak with students. You can find Diana Ling’s work here.

    August 2, 2016 • 3D Animation • Views: 1953

  • Oscar Winning VFX Artist Jim Rygiel Advises Students on Working in Visual Effects

    Jim RygielThis week, New York Film Academy students in Los Angeles were treated to a Q&A with visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel following a screening of Godzilla. Rygiel won three Academy Awards for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His excellent work has also contributed to other feature films such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fast and the Furious, and Night at the Museum. NYFA Animation Chair Mark Sawicki moderated the event.

    One of the things that Rygiel touched on was using real imagery alongside digital effects. “We always tried to get something in the shot,” said Rygiel. “My trick is to always try to get something real In the shot…it’s a mix. I’m always trying to get the director to shoot more, not less.”

    He stressed the importance of keeping parts real in order to keep it feeling real.

    jim rygiel

    Rygiel also advised students that when trying to get hired, they should let their work speak for itself. “What you mostly get hired on is your portfolio,” he added.

    One of our NYFA students asked for advice on how to act for effects, such as motion capture or with green screens. Rygiel reassured the student, saying, “Just shoot it. Act like you normally would—we’ll never replace actors. I could never create whole scenes [without actors].”

    Finally, he talked to the students about the importance of a balance between sticking to the plan for shooting and rolling with changes. He said that costs can go up if you change from what was already planned but, “don’t be a complete stickler to the pre-vis. There are things that happen. It just might be a better shot—always go with the better shot.”

    June 21, 2016 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 2796

  • Starting a Career in Animation Through Social Media

    As a graduate of the 3D Animation program at the New York Film Academy, Eliska Podzimkova has utilized her skills and creativity through the emerging social media platform, Instagram. Since creating her account animateNY, Eliska has grown over 56k followers, who all check their newsfeed for Eliska’s unique take on both New York City and, currently, the world.


    A photo posted by Eliska Podzimkova (@animateny) on

    The Prague native has loved New York City ever since she was a child and her pursuit of the arts at the New York Film Academy only furthered her love. To continue her stay in New York, Eliska was welcomed to NYFA’s social media team to liven its artistic brand and engage with likeminded artists. Her work was well received by students, alumni, and followers of the Academy.

    “The Story of New York”

    A video posted by Eliska Podzimkova (@animateny) on

    After nearly a year of working with NYFA, Eliska’s sense of exploration and desire to travel the world led her back to Europe where she continues to work, travel, and animate. Eliska has worked alongside British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, and has been featured in numerous publications including Metro NY, Evening Standard, boredpanda, and others. Her short film Babl won Best Animated Short at the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival in Brooklyn.

    BABLS from Eliska Podzimkova on Vimeo.

    This summer, the New York Film Academy is reuniting with the animation alumna through its annual #NYFASummer Photo Contest. For the past few summers NYFA has held a photography contest on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) for our summer camp students to show off their locations, sets, and overall campus life at each of their specific locations.

    For more information on the #NYFASummer Contest, please CLICK HERE.

    June 14, 2016 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 3517

  • Game Design and 3D Animation Graduation

    The New York Film Academy’s 26 Broadway transformed into a miniature arcade last week as Game Design and 3D Animation students showcased their final games and thesis films to peers, friends and family.

    game design grad

    “I am immensely proud of our graduates,” said Game Design and 3D Animation Chair Phoebe Elefante. “They have stretched themselves beyond what they thought possible, and they have achieved so much in such a short time.”

    Visitors had the chance to play student-made games like Kramacus 2 and Climaniacs while 3D Animation student films were shown both during a screening showcase and on a rear projection at the graduation reception. It was quite remarkable seeing what each student had accomplished in just a year’s time.

    game design graduates

    “They have acquired all of the skills they will need to pursue their passions in the fields of animation and game design, and they have demonstrated the dedication to succeed,” added Elefante. “It has been my honor to help them on their way, and I wish them all good hunting.”

  • ‘Blair Witch’ Producer Michael Monello Discusses TV Marketing Through Storytelling

    New York Film Academy Game Design Chair Phoebe Elefante invited Michael Monello, a pioneer in digital marketing and storytelling. As one of the creators of the cult classic The Blair Witch Project, Monello and his film forever changed how audiences engage with story, and how marketers approach the Internet.

    After Blair Witch began opening doors for Monello, he founded Campfire—where he currently leads the creative team—working with some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious brands including HBO, Cinemax, Harley Davidson, Infiniti, National Geographic, FX, Verizon and more. His work has been awarded top honors at the One Show, Clio, Mixx, ad:Tech, Effies and Cannes Lions Festival.


    Still a staunch storyteller at heart, Mike was a charismatic and highly informative speaker, who understands the future of storytelling and the rapidly shifting media landscape. As a creative entrepreneur who has landed major work with shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood, Monello advised students interested in acquiring similar clients to have a tight pitch with a focus.

    “You must understand what the investor or the specific company wants,” said Monello. “You have to know who you are selling to. What’s the organization like? Where are they going? Is there a statement about the future of the company? Then, pitch through that lens.”

    As an example, Monello recalled his initial pitch to HBO in order to promote their first season of True Blood. Not only did Monello and his team have to discover who their audience is and what they want, but they also had to learn and truly understand the overall internal landscape of HBO—the creators, executives, marketing team, on-air promo team, etc. Once he and his team had a firm grasp on the duties and needs of each team, they were able to secure the job with a “capabilities pitch” that fit the needs for everyone.


    Michael Monello and NYFA Game Design Chair Phoebe Elefante

    In terms of continuing to work and maintain relationships with networks like HBO, Monello says it’s all about delivering quality work and always knowing your audience. “Never get cynical about your audience,” says Monello. Just as gamers don’t want to be typecast as teenage boys who live in their parents’ basement, other audiences do not appreciate being pigeonholed in terms of the marketing approach to gain their interest.

    As a final piece of advice for NYFA game design students, Monello encouraged them to look for ideas outside of gaming. Do not draw inspiration solely from other games. Considering the surrounding landscape of our campuses and the diverse background of our students, we’re feeling pretty confident that our students will be able to develop truly original content.

    April 21, 2016 • 3D Animation, Filmmaking, Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 1204