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  • New York Film Academy Named Top 25 School for Game Design & Animation

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    NYFA Screenwriting Alum Mohamed Diab Directs Marvel Studios 'Moon Knight'

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) is excited to announce that for the second year in a row, our Game Design Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program was ranked as a ‘Top 25 Game Design BFA program in the U.S.’ by Animation Career Review. Our Animation department was also listed as a ‘Top 25 School in California for Animation’ and ‘Top 25 Animation School and College on the West Coast’ for 2022.

    Woot Woot!

    NYFA’s BFA in 3D Animation & VFX  is an eight-semester conservatory-based, full-time study undergraduate program. Our curriculum is designed to immerse gifted 3D Animation & VFX artists in all aspects of the discipline. NYFA’s 3D Animation & VFX programs provide a creative setting in which to challenge, inspire, and perfect the talents of its student body.

    It is an honor to be named among the ‘Top 25 Animation Schools on the West Coast’ by Animation Career Review and in honor of this achievement, we want to highlight the work of some of our alumni!


    Francesco Panzieri

    The NYFA 1-Year Conservatory 3D Animation & VFX alum Francesco Panzieri has a long list of credits ranging from Hollywood A-list films to popular TV series including Dune,Clash of the Titans, For Colored Girls, Madea’s Big Happy Family, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Jingle Jangle, and many more.

    In a conversation with NYFA, Francesco shared with us his advice for incoming students:

    “Working in visual effects requires a never-ending amount of passion every day. For me, to be able to work alongside the filmmakers and the visual effects supervisors of movies that I’ve grown up watching back in my days in Italy still represents my biggest source of motivation and admiration for the job. It is a very challenging field of work because it involves art, science, and physics. You have to be open to always learn new technologies and techniques, and the number one rule in my book is to never give up. You are constantly being challenged with new tasks, new requests, and it is up to you to figure out a way to face those challenges.”


    Diana Lobo Dias

    The NYFA 1-Year Conservatory 3D Animation & VFX Diana has worked on numerous VFX projects since graduating. Her credits include Ad Astra, Venom, Cats, Pokemon Detective Pikachu Ad, Sonic the Hedgehog and many more.

    Here’s Diana’s advice for new students:

    “You get out of NYFA what you put in when you show up each day with enthusiasm and a readiness to listen and learn, you’re planting seeds with your teachers and classmates that blossom into a professional network. I am very grateful for my teachers at NYFA who not only taught me the skills I needed but also nurtured my potential, and then gave me my first industry opportunities. A special shoutout to Rob, Boaz, Gavin, Tim, and Phoebe!”


    Andor Zahonyi

    NYFA’s 12-Week Filmmaking workshop alum and professional Digital Compositor Andor Zahonyi has not stopped creating breath-taking visuals since completing the program. Andor has almost 50 visual effects credits on IMDB and more than 300 TV commercials as either VFX supervisor, editor, lead VFX artist or VFX artist credited to him.

    The trailer for Andor’s most recent project,The HUN, saw great success in the festival circuit where it won first place in 12 festivals including Cannes World Film Festival, Europe Film Festival, Berlin Underground Film Festival, New Harvest Film Festival in Moscow and Hollywood Independent Filmmaker Awards and Festival.


    Guillermo Quesada

    NYFA alum Guillermo Quesada, graduated as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Game Design at our Burbank-based campus. While studying at NYFA, he learned the art and craft of game design and storytelling at the professional level, acquiring the skills of game prototyping, playtesting, iteration, presentation, collaboration, and how to develop software using industry standards—including workflow, multiple platforms, and coding. All skills that he then transferred to his work in the remake of The Lion King using a virtual reality system.

    New York Film Academy is very proud of our reputation in the Animation, VFX and Game Design industries, and we wish the best of luck to all our alumni who keep moving forward to push the limits and create internationally-recognized works.

     

    Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.

     

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    April 26, 2022 • 3D Animation, Game Design • Views: 250

  • OSCARS 2022: FULL LIST OF WINNERS

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    NYFA Celebrates Oscar 2022 Nominations

    The nominations for the 94th Annual Academy Awards are in! This year’s nominees were
    announced by the internet’s favorites Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan on Tuesday,
    February 8th.

    By the pricking of my thumbs, some nominations this way come.

    There were some snubs, firsts, surprises and some not-so-surprising but entirely welcomed
    moments, like Denzel Washington dethroning himself as the most-nominated Black actor with
    his 10th nomination for The Tragedy of Macbeth.

    The Power of the Dog leads with 12 Oscar nominations including Best Picture,
    Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Adapted Screenplay and director Jane Campion makes
    history as the first female director to be nominated for Best Director twice.
    The Power of the Dog’s
    Cinematographer Ari Wegner could make history as the first woman to win Best Cinematography.

    Coming in close second this year is Dune with 10 Oscar nominations
    including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Visual
    Effects. NYFA 3D Animation and VFX Alum Francesco Panzieri was the in-house compositor for
    the adaptation of the Frank Herbert classic. In a Q&A with NYFA about the film, Panzieri
    told NYFA that he had been tapped for the project long before it began production; the
    in-house team at Wylie VFX sought his collaboration after Panzieri’s work on Terminator: Dark Fate.

    Also nominated for Best Picture is NYFA Guest Speaker Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. NYFA Musical Theatre Alum Ilda Mason was casted as Luz, a member of the sharks in Spielberg’s remake, shortly after her run on Broadway in Ivo van Hove’s Broadway revival of West Side Story in 2020. The on-screen revival is also nominated for Best Cinematography making it the 7th Academy nomination for Spielberg’s long-time collaborator and NYFA Guest Speaker Janusz Kaminski. But perhaps most outstanding is Steven Spielberg’s nomination for Best Director; with this nomination, Spielberg became the first director to be nominated 11 times in the category, dethroning former record holder and cult-favorite, Martin Scorsese.

    Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter has been all the rave since premiering last December
    and the debut feature is not letting up. Gyllenhaal is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay
    for her adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s classic of the same title. The film is also
    represented in the Best Actress category, with Olivia Colman nominated for her
    outstanding performance in Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut alongside Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers), Nicole Kidman (Becoming the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer), Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye). Also nominated for her work on The Lost Daughter is Jessie Buckley for Best Supporting Actress. The film’s producers Osnat Handelsmen – Keren and Talia Kleinhendler spoke at length with the Director of the NYFA Q&A-List Series, Tova Laiter, during a Q&A about the process (and difficulty) of securing the rights to adapt an Elena Ferrante novel and filming during a pandemic with closed borders and a mostly international cast and crew. It seems it was worth it in the end as the film continues to collect nominations this award season. Not too bad for a directorial debut.

    Beloved animated film Luca brings in a nomination for Best Animated Film for Pixar Studios.
    NYFA Alum Raquel Bordin is part of Pixar’s International Editorial Department, where she
    worked for 11 weeks putting the final touches on the coming-of-age Italian film. More of
    Bordin’s work is headed to the big screen. She recently confirmed with us that she is
    working on the animated sci-fi feature, Lightyear, set to release this summer.

    Also in the Best Animated Film category is NYFA Guest Speaker Amy Smeed who continues to
    soar as Head of Animation at Walt Disney Animation Studio and co-head animator for
    Raya and The Last Dragon
    which has been nominated for Best Animated Film. The animated Danish documentary, Flee, is also nominated and makes Oscar history as the first film to be nominated for Best Animated Film, Best International Feature and Best Documentary.

    Nominated alongside Dune for Best Visual Effects is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Director Destin Daniel Cretton and actor Simu Liu spoke with NYFA during a Q&A curated and moderated by Tova Laiter about bringing the Marvel comic to life, representation and working with special effects.

    Lastly, Drive My Car, adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story by the same name and
    directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, is the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture
    and the first Japanese film to be nominated in more than one category including
    Best International Feature, Best Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

    NYFA congratulates all the nominees, alumni and guest speakers for their nominations at the
    94th Annual Academy Awards! We look forward to hearing the winners on March 27th, 2022 on
    ABC.

    Check out the complete list of nominees below:

    BEST PICTURE

    “Belfast”
    “CODA” – Winner
    “Don’t Look Up”
    “Drive My Car”
    “Dune”
    “King Richard”
    “Licorice Pizza”
    “Nightmare Alley”
    “The Power of the Dog”
    “West Side Story”

    ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

    Jessie Buckley, “The Lost Daughter”
    Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story” – Winner
    Judi Dench, “Belfast”
    Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog”
    Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”

    ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

    Ciaran Hinds, “Belfast”
    Troy Kotsur, “CODA” – Winner
    Jesse Plemons, “The Power of the Dog”
    J.K. Simmons, “Being the Ricardos”
    Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

    INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

    “Drive My Car” – Winner
    “Flee”
    “The Hand of God”
    “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”
    “The Worst Person in the World”

    DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

    “Audible”
    “Lead Me Home”
    “The Queen of Basketball” – Winner
    “Three Songs for Benazir”
    “When We Were Bullies”

    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

    “Ascension”
    “Attica”
    “Flee”
    “Summer of Soul” – Winner
    Writing with Fire”

    ORIGINAL SONG

    “King Richard”
    “Encanto”
    “Belfast”
    “No Time to Die” – Winner
    “Four Good Days”

    ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

    “Encanto” – Winner
    “Flee”
    “Luca”
    “The Mitchells vs. The Machine”
    “Raya and the Last Dragon”

    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

    “CODA” – Winner
    “Drive My Car”
    “Dune”
    “The Lost Daughter”
    “The Power of the Dog”

    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

    “Belfast” – Winner
    “Don’t Look Up”
    “King Richard”
    “Licorice Pizza”
    “The Worst Person in the World”

    ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

    Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos”
    Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”
    Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick… Boom!”
    Will Smith, “King Richard” – Winner
    Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

    ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

    Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” – Winner
    Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”
    Penelope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers”
    Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”
    Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”

    DIRECTOR

    Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
    Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”
    Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza”
    Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” – Winner
    Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story”

    PRODUCTION DESIGN

    “Dune” – Winner
    “Nightmare Alley”
    “The Power of the Dog”
    “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
    “West Side Story”

    CINEMATOGRAPHY

    “Dune” – Winner
    “Nightmare Alley”
    “The Power of the Dog”
    “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
    “West Side Story”

    COSTUME DESIGN

    “Cruella” – Winner
    “Cyrano”
    “Dune”
    “Nightmare Alley”
    “Westside Story”

    ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND

    “Belfast”
    “Dune” – Winner
    “No Time to Die”
    “The Power of the Dog”
    “Westside Story”

    ANIMATED SHORT FILE

    “Affairs of the Art”
    “Bestia”
    “Boxballet”
    “Robin Robin”
    “The Windshield Wiper” – Winner

    LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

    “Ala Kachuu — Take and Run”
    “The Dress”
    “The Long Goodbye” – Winner
    “On My Mind”
    “Please Hold”

    ORIGINAL SCORE

    “Don’t Look Up”
    “Dune” – Winner
    “Encanto”
    “Parallel Mothers”
    “The Power of the Dog”

    VISUAL EFFECTS

    “Dune” – Winner
    “Free Guy”
    “No Time to Die”
    “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
    “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

    FILM EDITING

    “Don’t Look Up”
    “Dune” – Winner
    “King Richard”
    “The Power of the Dog”
    “Tick, Tick… Boom!”

    MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

    “Coming 2 America”
    “Cruella” – Winner
    “Dune”
    “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” – Winner
    “House of Gucci”

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  • One Year Success for NYFA 3-D Animation & VFX Alum Marthinus Philippus (MP) Rabie

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    To say 2020 was a difficult year, would be an understatement. However, during these uncertain times, Marthinus Philippus Rabie (MP) was not only able to make the most of his final semester of the 1-Year Conservatory program for Animation, but he also landed his dream job at the previsualization, postvisualization, and virtual reality company, The Third Floor (TTF).

    Originally from South Africa, MP was excited by the idea of studying abroad in America. When asked how he decided on animation, Rabie said, “It’s one of those very scarce skills.” Having already tried getting into 3-D animation for several years, he wasn’t able to get the answers he sought on his own, ultimately holding him back from being able to learn and have the ability to create the images that were stuck in his head. MP admits that, “Sure YouTube is a thing, but that only helps you to a certain extent and you don’t really learn that much. It’s better to be taught by a professional who can answer all those burning questions.” Between conversations amongst friends during lunch breaks at his old film school to the many Instagram posts, NYFA seemed like the right place to go.

    NYFA alum MP Rabie

    Much to MP’s delight, the 3-D Animation & Visual Effect’s 1-Year program at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus had no shortage of professionals to answer those burning questions. “Having actual professionals that work in the industry today as teachers is probably the best thing the school could’ve done. Not only are they very knowledgeable about their crafts, but they also have tons of connections and real experience.” Most notably for Rabie was Animation Supervisor and NYFA instructor, Gael Harlow.

    For MP, “all the staff at NYFA are very helpful but sometimes there’s a teacher that’s just an extra ray of sunshine. Gael Harlow is one of them. She goes above and beyond all her duties. Her patience, care about student growth, and passion for what she does is undeniable.” In fact, it was at Harlow’s suggestion that MP look into working in previsualization.

    Work from MP’s Drawing Class at NYFA

    “At the time I had no idea what it was [however], the more she explained the more I liked it!” When it came to Harlow’s attention that The Third Floor was actively hiring, she informed Rabie who wasted no time getting in touch. “[Following my certificate from the program] I got all my stuff together and made a new reel, cover letter, and resume. I sent my reel to Gael, and she sent it to her friends at TTF. They gave me some suggestions, and I changed my reel accordingly; within less than two weeks I got a booking.” This isn’t to say that the road to getting any 3-D generalist’s dream job as a postvis artist was without its fair share of challenges.

    2020 left and continues to leave a significant impact. For Rabie, it meant not being able to see his family for more than two years as well as making the most of his time while living in isolation. “It’s difficult not being able to visit the ones who you care about most in this world, especially if you’re trapped alone in a room by yourself for such a long time. So, I distracted myself by learning as much as I could to try and make everything worth it.” I think it’s safe to say it was definitely worth it. 

    MP replicating lighting for a NYFA assignment

    When asked what advice he’d give to current students and those interested in pursuing animation, MP relayed the following, “learn with intent, practice doesn’t make perfect, good practice makes perfect. The school will give you everything you’ll need to succeed, all you have to do is your part. Just attending classes and doing your assignments isn’t enough, it’s a very tough industry, one where skills are prioritized over certification. So put in your hours after classes, and apply what you learn on your OWN personal projects. That’s how you will get good, very fast.” 

    He went on to say that, “[animation] seems very intimidating for the first two months… every day you will learn something new about the programs you use no matter how experienced you are. That’s what makes it fun, it’s all just one big sudoku puzzle, the more you fill in the better and faster the process becomes. If you love animation enough and can make it through those first two months without quitting then I can safely say that you should stick with it!”

    Photo courtesy of MP

    As for what’s next, only time will tell, that being said, MP has his sights set on becoming a supervisor. “It’s just such a respectable title to hold, everything about it screams experience. I would love to get to that level and be able to run a team of artists as one big collaborative group to create something amazing.” 

    For more information about MP and his work, check out his website or follow him on Instagram @mp.rabie. To learn more about NYFA’s programs for 3-D Animation & VFX, check out our website for more details on our course offerings.

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  • NYFA Instructor Tim Fielder Featured by “The New York Times”

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    In a February profile pieceThe New York Times (NYT) penned a profile citing a boom in comic books and graphic novels that focus on Afrofuturism, a cultural aesthetic that describes the intersection of African diaspora culture with technology. The term was originally coined in the 1990s and for decades has been used by Black creators to envision an alternative present and future that celebrates the African diaspora.

    Among those creators is NYFA 3D Animation & VFX instructor Tim Fielder, who the NYT included in its latest article about the boom of Afrofuturism that goes beyond the popular Marvel comic Black Panther.

    Illustration by Tim Fielder for Aja Oba, an African king cursed with eternal life (Harper Collins)

    Fielder is an illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, animator, and creator of the graphic novel series Matty’s Rocket and the critically acclaimed INFINITUM: An Afrofuturist Tale. He has worked over the years in the storyboarding, film visual development, gaming, comics, education, and animation industries. Fielder has served clients such as Marvel Comics, The Village Voice, Tri-Star Pictures, Ubisoft Entertainment, and New York University. He is an active contributor to the body of work surrounding Afrofuturism, citing Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Pedro Bell, and Overton Lloyd as his major influences.

    Fielder recently released his latest book INFINITUM in January, which melds a tale of African kings and space battles and journeys from the creation of the universe and the dawn of mankind to the rise and fall of great African kingdoms. Fielder’s new release was mentioned by The Times as a body of work that contributes to the boom of Afrofuturist titles being released this year.

    Fielder, who illustrates his work on his computer, is also the creator of Matty’s Rocket, a graphic novel series following space pilot Matty Watty. The story was inspired by Fielder’s parents and grandparents who never saw themselves represented in films or books in fantasy or sci-fi situations. “I wanted to restore parity in that area while I am blessed to still have my parents, both born in the 1930s Mississippi,” he shares on his website. “My art gives me the power to fill that void with an adventurous narrative.”

    New York Film Academy is proud of the well-deserved recognition of instructor Tim Fielder and looks forward to seeing the reception of Fielder’s latest book INFINITUM and for what’s to come from the talented author and illustrator.

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    March 5, 2021 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1233

  • Cinematography Instructor Mark Sawicki Featured in ‘Deadline’ and Discusses New Book “Filming the Fantastic with Virtual Technology” Bringing Movie Magic Solutions

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    As many TV and film productions are grappling with new social distancing guidelines and reassessing working with extras for crowd scenes, New York Film Academy Cinematography instructor for NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, Mark Sawicki, says VFX is here to help.

    Sawicki is a Clio-winning VFX and opticals artist, who has worked on incredible titles from The Dark Knight Rises and Bullet to the Head, to Tropic Thunder, 3:10 to Yuma and X-Men, among several others. Recently featured in Deadline, Sawicki shared how productions will increasingly begin to look to VFX to solve the challenging situations for making safer productions and creating scenes with crowds where multiple extras on set are typically needed.  

    Courtesy of Mark Sawicki

    Using examples from titles like Casanova, Dracula, Gladiator, Pan Am, the Lord of The Rings trilogy, and more, Sawicki explains different VFX and even practical effects that can make movie magic for keeping sets safer. He also elaborated that background actors are still integral to filmmaking, but safety will need to take precedent. “I think background actors are very important. You know, this is a moving target as we’re adapting.”

    Sawicki is the co-author with Juniko Moody of the recently released book Filming the Fantastic With Virtual Technology: Filmmaking on the Digital Backlot. Like his interview with Deadline explains, Sawicki and Moody outline some of the most ambitious evolutions in digital effects in filmmaking and the new and exciting developments in digital cinematography with their new book, ultimately providing solutions for how VFX can help solve many of the challenges arising as crews look to return to work on COVID-safe sets.

    To read the full article on Deadline, click here. Sawicki’s book has recently been released and is now available on Amazon and Kindle. 

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    November 11, 2020 • 3D Animation, Cinematography, Entertainment News, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1799

  • NYFA Alum Francesco Panzieri Works as Compositing Supervisor for Netflix’s ‘Jingle Jangle’

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    It’s the most wonderful time of the year…well almost. Netflix has recently announced the upcoming release of the holiday musical feature film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Jingle Jangle), starring Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Hugh Bonneville, and more. NYFA’s own Francesco Panzieri served as the compositing supervisor for the upcoming film, set to be released November 13, 2020, on the streaming service platform.

    Forest Whitaker in ‘Jingle Jangle’ (Netflix)

    Panzieri has had an extensive career since attending NYFA’s 3D-Animation & VFX conservatory program and has contributed to over 20 feature films and 50 television series. Some of his titles include Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Fate of The Furious, Avengers: Infinity War, Westworld, Spiderman: Homecoming, and so much more.

    The NYFA alum’s latest work will be featured in Jingle Jangle, a holiday musical by David E. Talbert, with songs by EGOT winner and celebrated recording artist John Legend. The story follows a former toymaker (Whitaker), who is rejuvenated in his love of creativity for his craft when his curious granddaughter appears on his doorstep one day.

    Still from Netflix’s ‘Jingle Jangle’ (Netflix)

    Panzieri worked as an in-house compositing supervisor for Jingle Jangle, leading a team of artists who completed over 230 shots of post-visualization, with over 70 production shots that are in the final cut. Panzieri shared that the total VFX shot count was around 550 and is confident that the film will be welcomed warmly for all audiences over the upcoming holidays.

    New York Film Academy would like to congratulate Francesco Panzieri on his involvement on Netflix’s Jingle Jangle and encourages everyone to check out the holiday film on November 13, 2020.

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    October 22, 2020 • 3D Animation, Entertainment News, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1831

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Instructor Bruce Buckley Interviewed by The CG Career Channel

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    On Friday, July 10th, CG Supervisor, Daniele Tosti spoke with New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Animation Instructor Bruce Buckley as part of an ongoing series for his Youtube channel, The Computer Graphic Career. “…Dedicated to helping artists in the feature and digital production industry”, the channel features several interviews with “some of the most successful senior artists and supervisors in the feature digital art business.” 

    The admiration between the two artists is clear from the start of the interview as they speak to each other’s successes and past collaborations. Once underway, we discover the passion and experiences that ultimately lead to Buckley’s long career as a CG Supervisor and Visual Development Artist for films like: Casper, Beowulf, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Fate of the Furious, and Deadpool 2.

    3D design from Bruce Buckley’s portfolio of work on Pixars’s ‘The Incredibles’

    The interview uncovers everything from the ways Bruce is able to find balance between being a supervisor while still feeling like an artist, to what he sees for the future of the business from a technological standpoint. However, it is Tosti’s questions that speak to the more personal nature of artists that separates this series from anything else. “As artists, we are all driven by emotions and subjective beauty. For that reason we tend to see the world differently and our passion goes deep. But balancing that passion with the economy of your professional life as an artist, as well as with your family and people around you is the most critical journey.” It is through this lens we begin to pull back the layers and see what it really takes to be able to make it in the industry. 

    NYFA’s Animation department prides itself on cultivating a faculty of working professionals utilizing a top down method. It stems from our belief that in order to become the best, you must learn from the best, and Bruce Buckley is simply the best.

    To watch the full interview, view the video below or watch on The Computer Graphic Career YouTube channel. To learn more about the Animation School at New York Film Academy, click here.

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    July 20, 2020 • 3D Animation, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1991

  • NYFA Instructor & Alum, Arnold Song, Builds Demo for Houdini Hive Worldwide Presentation

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    On Monday, May 18, 2020, SideFX will host their annual Houdini Hive Worldwide presentation that explores the various techniques used by top studios and artists to meet a wide variety of studio production needs. NYFA instructor & alum, Arnold Song, who works at SideFX, is part of the team testing and building the demos for the presentation.

    Houdini, the premiere procedural animation software by SideFX, is a universally adopted software across animation studio giants like Dreamworks, Disney, and Pixar. (In fact, it is one of the few “off the shelf” pieces of software that Pixar uses).

    NYFA instructor and alum Arnold Song

    NYFA had the opportunity to speak to Song about his work for the presentation, the future of Animation and VFX, and any advice he has for students interested in pursuing a path in this industry.

    When asked about his presentation for the event, Song commented that it will be centered on how things can be done in a new system in Houdini (USD Workflow), called Solaris. USD stands for Universal Scene Description and it allows 3D data to be interchanged among different suites of digital creation applications. The Solaris presentation, Song says, will allow animators and VFX artists to learn “how to bring in USD assets, how to select different models from the one asset set, how you can add effects on the USD asset, and, finally, how to use the new render engine, Karma, to render it.”

    Houdini (USD) Workflow

    “For me, everything is new,” says Song. “I didn’t know anything about USD at the beginning, and Solaris is still under development. Putting two completely new things together, and creating a good result [with his team] is the most fun part.”

    Rendered image using Houdini software

    When asked what advice Song has for students who want to get into effects animation, Song shared this response:

    “Effects animation is unlike other departments like modeling, animation, and lighting. Making an effect is slow. You change some values, and you wait anywhere from ten minutes to a few hours,” he begins. “There is no correct way to make something, which means there could be 100+ ways to make a similar effect. This increases the opportunity to make a totally unique effect but, at the same time, it is really hard to get to know how exactly things should work. So, be patient and just keep practicing.”

    USD could become a replacement for the now standard python language. To see Houdini accepting it so enthusiastically means that it is here to stay and will most likely become the standard of the future. It seems that SideFX, and NYFA alum and instructor Arnold Song, are signaling that USD will become the programming language of the future for Animation and VFX.

    New York Film Academy (NYFA) would like to congratulate NYFA alum and instructor Arnold song on his upcoming presentation for Houdini Hive Worldwide and would like to thank him for sharing more about his work on Polaris and his advice to future students.

    For more information on the 3D & VFX Animation School at NYFA, check out our website here. 

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    May 15, 2020 • 3D Animation, Alumni Events, Faculty Highlights • Views: 1976

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Faculty Matt Galuppo Works on 3 Super Bowl Commercials

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    One of the biggest advantages to studying 3D Animation & Visual Effects at New York Film Academy (NYFA) is studying under faculty members who not only have experience in the industry, but also continue to work in it and have the most up-to-date and relevant perspectives from the inside out.

    Matt Galuppo, Associate Chair of the NYFA-LA 3D Animation & VFX school, is one of these experienced faculty members, with credits as a visual effects artist on films including Divergent, Hercules, Warcraft, The Maze Runner, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). Most recently, he worked on not one but three Super Bowl commercials as part of the pitch and pre-pro team for the production companies behind them:

    Microsoft – Bring it to the Surface
    m:United

    Verizon 5G
    McCann Ericson

    NFL 100 Opening – Take It to the House
    72 and Sunny

    super bowl liv

    In his own words, Galuppo describes what it was like pitching and working on Super Bowl commercials seen by millions of television and streaming viewers:

    Working on the pitch and pre-production for every commercial is different. It can shift between visual research and script breakdowns to taking passes on the actual script itself. You have to have a great sense of collaboration, client sensibilities, visual storytelling, as well as copywriting. It is doing a little bit of everything over a very short period of time.

    Whatever the individual asks for, most agency and production company pitches usually culminate in some sort of treatment or deck. The purpose of these is to take the agency and brand step by step through the spot, covering everything from pacing, tone, story arc, etc.

    For the Microsoft spot centering on the first female coach in the Super Bowl, it included watching and reading hours of interviews of the coach, Katie Sower, to better get to know her. What came out of that research was that she was an avid journaler, and we were able to use her reading from her old journals as a narrative frame for the longer spot itself.

    The Verizon 5G spot did a great job of doing what no one else was doing. While everyone else was talking about smartphones and emerging technologies, Verizon reframed the conversation around those how jobs could work with or without the technology. It refocused the conversation on the bravery and humanity of first responders and their organic relationship to technology.

    The trick of the NFL 100 opening is a giant montage across America where every shot had to include references to both past and present NFL players, coaches, and commentators, while also referencing the city themselves. The agency was very open to hearing additional gag pitches for the teams and cities involved.

    New York Film Academy thanks Associate Chair of NYFA-LA 3D Animation & VFX Matt Galuppo for describing what it was like behind the scenes working on these Super Bowl ads!

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    March 26, 2020 • 3D Animation, Faculty Highlights • Views: 2443

  • Developing Animated Series: The Creators Society Speak At New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    On Thursday, February 20, New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the pleasure to host The Creators Society in a panel of both creators and development executives sharing their expertise on developing an animated series. Mike Blum, founder of Pipsqueak Animation, moderated the event.

    Creators Society 2020

    The Creators Society is a group of passionate, like-minded members of the animation community who work in the fields of film, TV, commercials, visual effects, VR/AR, and gaming. Last week’s panel included: writer, creator, and story editor, Emily Brundige; Executive Producer on Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles, Michael Shawn Lewis; Cartoon Network’s Vice President of Development, Nicole Rivera; Executive Producer, President, and Co-Chairman of Yeti Farm Creative, Frank Saperstein; and Sr. Director, Animation Development at Nickelodeon, Daniel Wineman.

    After sharing their career trajectories, Blum opened up the Q&A by asking, “How do you know if you have a good idea? What is the difference between a good idea and a sellable idea?” 

    Brundige shared, “I only decide to develop an idea into a show if it has legs to generate lots of stories. If the character can drive plenty of stories or if the show concept creates an engine where you can see lots of stories generating, that’s how I know I’ll have something there.” 

    When asked about the best way to decipher what ideas the market wants, Saperstein advised, “The best advice I can give to a newcomer is not only know your audience in terms of who your ultimate audience is, but know the audience you’re going into a meeting and pitching for.” 

    Creators Society 2020

    To that point, Rivera added, “If you’re not sure what people want, you can always ask for a general meeting before you share all your ideas, because everyone is evolving and looking for different things, so making that connection and vibing before you pitch something is really helpful.” 

    Speaking to the development executives in the room, Blum asked, “What for you are the elements that separate a good idea from an okay idea?” 

    Rivera began by stating, “Definitely character–a character or relationship that feels really specific and can lend itself to lots of comedy and conflict coming from these characters being together, regardless of the world or situation. Then, a world or situation that feels very special will be an additive to those characters.” 

    Lewis chimed in, “From the creative side, when I’m playing with my show and my world and my characters, I feel like there’s a connection that is genuinely mine. I’m not trying to pretend that my character is expressing something that isn’t me. Finding that character–whatever that may be for you–if it’s genuinely yours, that is so much more interesting to watch.”  

    Blum then opened up the Q&A to questions from the audience. One attendee asked, “Has there ever been a moment during a pitch when you notice that you’re starting to lose the interest of the executives, and what did you do to reel them back in and salvage something that may not be going the way you want it to go?” 

    Brundige responded, “Sometimes you or your idea just aren’t a good fit for whoever you’re pitching to, but I’ll usually just try to keep it brief if I feel it’s not going well. However, if you feel like there is something that they’re responding to, such as a character or just something they really laughed at, then you can riff more on that thing and just follow their lead.” 

    New York Film Academy thanks The Creators Society for joining us and sharing their expertise with our students.

    Creators Society 2020

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    March 6, 2020 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 2117