Ekaterina Terekhovich
Author archives

  • Are Drawing Skills Needed For 3D Animation Program?


    Another often asked question regarding coming to the NYFA animation program is “Do I need drawing and artistic abilities and skills in order to attend your school?”.

    If you have art school and or drawing experience that is a definite plus as it indicates that you have above average ability to visualize your characters and scenes. We do have a life drawing class during our first semester as it’s very important to have a grasp of the human anatomy for modeling and animation.

    For modelers drawing skills are a definite plus and if you can design a character and draw a decent turnaround, then draw him/her in an action pose and model the character accurately with correct topology then that’s a really nice thing to put on your reel. You may for instance see a job advertisement for a modeler with this addition: “Traditional art skills and ability to do draft occasional concept drawings/paintings would be a major plus”.

    However I know some good modelers who are not such great draftsmen, and in allot of companies artists specialize and so one person does the drawings and another does the models.

    As I said in a recent blog, artistic skills are not essential. Technical abilities are highly valued in the animation industry so you can be lacking artistically and still do well in such ares as shading and lighting, rigging, rendering and particle systems. These areas require good skills in scripting languages such as Python, Maxscript and MEL, and programing languages such as C++.

    Robert Appleton, New York Film Academy 3D Animation School Instructor


    April 7, 2009 • Acting • Views: 1140

  • Film School Student Stephanie Okereke in The News


    Nollywood actress, Stephanie Okereke landed her first acting roles in the 1997 movies Compromise and Waterloo. Over the years, the Imo State-born actress has grown to become one of Nigeria’s foremost actresses, having featured in over a hundred movies.

    She got her big break in 2003 in the movie Emotional Crack, which earned her two awards (out of eight nominations) at the Reel Awards for the Best Actress, English and Actress of The Year. The following year, Emotional Crack premiered at the African Film Festival in the United States.

    This opened the door to many opportunities for the actress. As a result, Hollywood came calling in 2005 and the beautiful actress auditioned for a role in The Good Shepherd which featured Robert De Niro, but an unfortunate car accident on her way to the AMAA awards in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State hindered her chances of appearing in the film.

    Ups & Downs

    The actress, who is also a model, was the second runner-up in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria contest in 2002, which was won by Chineye Akinlade nee Ochuba. Despite the fame, the English and Literary Studies graduate of the University of Calabar has had her own fair share of problems and scandals.

    In 2007, the leggy actress called it quits with her husband of two years, Chikelue Iloenyosi, a former player with the Nigerian National football team, who nursed her after her 2005 accident. Okereke was able to bounce back after the incident and she landed a role in the MNET sponsored series, Snitch, shot in South Africa in 2006. She played a Nigerian undercover agent in the series.

    Taking Control

    Having trained at the New York Film Academy Film School, the talented actress cut her teeth as a director, scriptwriter and producer last year with the movie Through the Glass. The movie, shot in the US, featured a Nigerian and American cast.


    March 23, 2009 • Acting • Views: 7078

  • Film & Television Industry Statistics


    Cinema is an incredible artistic medium, but it is also the basis for a multi-billion dollar industry.  Although the major motion picture industry is changing, and independent filmmakers are reaching new levels of creative and economic success each year, audiences worldwide still love going to the movies! That’s good news for anyone considering film school.

    More information can be found by taking a look at the current statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America:

    •    Over 357,000 employees helped make 2007 a historic year for the movie industry.  In fact, there were 19,000 more people working in the industry than there was a decade prior.

    •    In 2007 the worldwide box office reached a historic high of $26.72 Billion, a    4.9 % increase from the 2006 box office of $25.47 Billion!

    •    Here in the United States the box office rose 5.4 % in 2007, reaching $9.63 Billion.

    •    United States customers bought a total of 1.4 billion movie tickets in 2007. The average American went to 6 movies between the middle of 2006 and the middle of 2007.

    •    50 % more films earned over the $100 million mark in the domestic box office than in the year prior.

    •    The average U.S. citizen spent 1,962 hours watching movies or TV in 2007; an increase of 6% from 2003.

    •    Americans also spent 6 % more money on filmed entertainment in 2007 than in the previous year.

    •    DVD players helped bring home theater entertainment into 87 % of American homes.

    •    Similarly, digital cable subscriptions were up 5% in 2007, bringing more Americans a wider variety of options for quality programming.

    We all enjoy different styles of films and television shows, and that means there are myriad opportunities for creative people to have lasting careers in a successful industry.  Working in film and television is certainly a challenging vocation, but it is also exciting and rewarding!  The preceding statistics speak to the fact that employees in this industry are in a position to profit from an ever-increasing desire for quality entertainment!


    March 23, 2009 • Acting • Views: 8300

  • 3D Animation School: Mental Ray Interpolation


    Mental ray glossy reflections are notoriously expensive to render (expensive in this case meaning taking a long time). In order to optomise the render time it can be advantageous to use “interpolation”.

    In this example the MIA (mental images architectural shader) is applied to the spheres, one with a colored metal look and the other with a glass ball appearance. Both have glossy reflections and refractions. In order to greatly shorten the render time, the “interpolation” rollout in the MIA shader is employed in conjunction with the glossy samples in the refraction and reflection rollouts.

    I wont go into the technical aspects of how the interpolation is achieved (you can read an in depth account in Boaz Livny’s book “Mental Ray for Maya, 3ds Max, and XSI”), suffice to say that interpolation of glossy elements for rendering is a life saver for a busy lighting and rendering artist.

    By Robert Appleton, New York Film Academy 3D Animation School Instructor


    February 26, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4453

  • Digital Film School Equipment


    The New York Film Academy is well known for having the best student to camera ratio with one of the largest inventory of cameras in the world – more than any other film school or University. The NYFA Film School prides itself in providing students full-access to state-of-the-art digital filmmaking equipment and software for their film school projects. When students are given a film assignment, which can be weekly, they are permitted to sign out the necessary equipment for up to seven days, depending on the type of project.

    The digital equipment available for students of our filmmaking workshops, one and two-year programs include the following.

    •    Panasonic DVX100 24p Digital Video Camera

    •    HVX200 P H.D. Camera

    •    Lenses 17.5 MM, 25MM, 28MM, 35MM, 50MM, and Zoom Lenses

    •    Final Cut Pro Editing Suite on Macintosh Pro Computers

    •    RED One A.D. (Altered Definition) Camera (1 & 2 year students)

    o    18MM, 25MM, 35MM, 50MM and 85MM Lenses

    o    LCD and 17in HD Monitor

    In addition to the equipment above, students are also provided with access to transmitter mics, gaffer & grip equipment, various tripods, an AC Kit and our famous “Flying Squad”, which is free 24/7 production support provided by NYFA to each student to use in case of emergencies during their shoot.

    The New York Film Academy understands that having access to the right equipment, resources, and sufficient time to use them, is essential to producing your best work.  If you are serious about making films, make sure the film school you decide to attend offers serious equipment, policies and opportunity.

    * A little known fact is that our students at our Universal Studios location in Los Angeles have access to an exclusive prop and costume collection that regularly supplies Hollywood blockbusters.


    February 19, 2009 • Acting • Views: 6644

  • Bevin Prince is ‘Redefining Love.’


    You may know Bevin from her long-run as ‘Bevin Mirskey’ on the hit CW show One Tree Hill or maybe you caught her on Fox’s House. We know Ms. Prince from our Acting for Film program, where she was ever present as the sweetest girl to deal with, not to mention she could act.

    “There are times when you’re in class and a student does a first read, you kind of just have to lean back in your chair a bit to give the student room. You just say, ‘Wow, they’ve got it,’ and Bevin has it,” said New York Film Academy instructor Robert Goodman.

    She is currently in a new film titled Redefining Love which you can check out the trailer for below, the film received a limited theatrical release for Valentine’s Day this past weekend:

    According to the films creators-

    “Redefining Love is the story of the search for the answer to that question. The movie features a hot young cast including Jodie Sweetin (Full House), Serah D’Laine (Wild Things 3), Timothy Woodward Jr. (Whittaker Bay), Bevin Prince (One Tree Hill), and introducing Ryan Small and Jessica Rose Smith.”

    Congratulations to NYFA’s Prince(ss), we look forward to speaking with her in the next couple of weeks regarding several of her upcoming projects, life as a working actor and the trials and tribulations of being a young actor in life… Of course, we will have that posted up for you guys here within the next week or two.


    February 19, 2009 • Acting • Views: 6184

  • 3D Animation School: The Fundamentals of Light


    This is a post for the 1 year animation 2nd semester group project at the New York Film Academy 3D Animation School, which encompasses many disciplines necessary for an animation/vfx career.

    The fundamentals of light. Shaders are the elements of an animation program that provide a surface with color, lighting effects and textures. Understanding the behavior of light and it’s relationship to photography is essential to creating convincing renders and imitating real world natural phenomena as seen by a camera.

    In this class we study how light behaves when it meets different surfaces such as skin, metal, wood and marble etc. Knowing how to construct shaders to emulate these diverse surfaces and the manner in which light is absorbed, refracted and reflected on them is the cornerstone of the lighting and rendering arena. Think for instance of Gollum in LOR or the latest Hulk, their skin textures were quite convincing, and the reason why is that the shader “writers” spent many hours studying the different qualities of skin, how it light responds to it, getting lots of references with which to inform their work and then creating shaders to reproduce that look.

    In order to produce the best possible project lighting and rendering is top of the list. There is a demand in the animation world for those who have lighting and shader construction as their primary skill. It’s in demand because few really understand the deeper concepts of shader construction and rendering, and can do it well. It’s a great opportunity for getting into the industry.
    By Robert Appleton, New York Film Academy 3D Animation Instructor


    February 18, 2009 • Acting • Views: 3729

  • What’s The Best Film School For You?


    Where should you go to film school? The answer to that question requires a lot of research. There are vast, and important, differences between each film program. Some film schools require you to spend one to two years before you even touch a camera while others may have you working with a camera your first week of classes.   Here are the most important factors to look for when deciding what film school is best for you.

    The Real Price

    Tuition, room and board ranges from $17,000-$55,000 per year for many of the top college credited film schools. The tuition you will pay can be found by browsing the schools website. What you wont find on the website, are the costs of  film, books, shooting insurance, equipment insurance, lab fees, cast and crew and the list goes on. All of this can add up…sometimes more then tuition itself! Add all of this up and you will have the the real price of film school.

    Class Size

    Being able to work one on one with the instructor is important. The larger the class size, the less personal attention you will receive. Look for class sizes under 20 if you want hands-on instruction and the ability to interact with your instructor regularly.

    Location of Study

    It is true that you can learn to make films anywhere in the world but there are only a few cities that can help launch your career in filmmaking. A city with a healthy film industry will allow you to network with filmmakers and actors,  participate in film festivals and provide you with the resources you need to create your film.  The obvious cities are Hollywood, known for big budget films, and New York City,  the independent filmmaking mecca of the world. Austin, Seattle, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, Paris and London are also great cities.

    Student to Faculty Ratio

    There is a lot that happens outside the classroom you will need help with as a film school student. Housing, financial aid, equipment maintenance, teaching assistants, and academic advisers are all instrumental to your success. A good student to faculty ratio is 20:1 or less.

    Equipment, Facilities & Availability

    Many schools have film equipment and computer/editing labs available for your use, but how often will it be available for use. Is it from 10AM-2PM on Fridays only or is it all weekend. The quality of equipment and facilities you will be using is also very important. Will you have access to the new state of the art RED One AD Camera and the original Arri-S 16mm, or will you be shooting with a off the shelf consumer camera. Are the computer labs running on the latest Adobe Editing Suits with Mac Pro computers or software and hardware from a year ago.

    Amount of Time Spent Using Equipment

    Once you know what equipment you will be using and when you will have access to it you will need to know the amount of time you will be spending working with the equipment both inside and outside the classroom. The longer you spend working on set, the more comfortable and proficient you will become. After graduation, you should be able to walk onto any set and know your way around.

    Student Work

    Probably the most important factor to look for when deciding which film school is best for you is students films. The reels of the schools students is a good indicator of the quality of work you will be able to produce. The quality of work you produce is ultimately up to you, however, you will be depending on the resources, teachings and instruction of the school to help create it. From the editing suite software to the caliber of students you will be working with on your film, this will play a critical role in your finished works. Whatever you do during your time at film school, make sure your reel is top notch when you leave – this is your resume.

    Professional Alumni

    Who in the film industry has attended the school. This will be your network after you graduate. Do you have to go to school where your favorite director or editor graduated from – no. But, it is very important that the schools graduates are actually working in the industry. The larger your professional network is, the more opportunities you will have and the easier it will be to create film.

    Working Instructors

    As the old saying goes, “only take advice from people that are where you want to be”.  The same applies for learning. Professional filmmakers who are successful in their careers make much better instructors/teachers. They are able to discuss their real world experience and apply it to what they are teaching you. Another factor that is important is your instructors education. When applying, ask for the names of who your instructors would be. Go home and Google them to learn more about their past works and accomplishments.

    Closing thoughts…

    Remember that the name of the school you attend really does not matter in your pursuit of becoming a professional filmmaker. Film producers want to see your completed works – make sure you enroll in a school that provides you with the instruction and resources you need to produce your best work.

    The connections you make and the work you create while at school are the most valuable assets you will have after graduation. If you can find the right school that will give you the opportunities to produce high quality work and make the right connections, your dream of becoming a professional filmmaker is not to far away.

    Think New York Film Academy

    When conducting your research we hope you will consider the New York Film Academy. Please give us a call with any question you may have – (212) 674-4300. Our Admissions department is happy to help you make the best decision for your career in filmmaking.


    February 18, 2009 • Acting • Views: 4623

  • Analeigh Tipton, NYFA’s Next Top Model


    Analeigh Tipton gifAnaleigh Tipton rounds out today’s alumna updates, Analeigh placed third overall in cycle 11 of America’s Next Top Model. Tipton attended the New York Film Academy in the summer of 2005 as at 16-years-old, studying in our six-week film camp for high school aged students.

    While attending NYFA’s high school six-week program Tipton began work on a film, which she showed the following summer at the University of Southern California’s summer program. The film that she produced at NYFA was done well enough that the director of the program guaranteed her admission into USC’s undergraduate program.

    Tipton opted instead to pursue her modeling career; when scouts from ANTM contacted her through her MySpace account and asked her to try out for the show. Since appearing on the show she has appeared on The Big Bang Theory and has signed to Abrams Artists Agency.


    February 16, 2009 • Acting • Views: 5878

  • 3D Animation School Teaches ZBrush


    This is a post for the 1 year animation 2nd semester group project, which encompasses many disciplines necessary for an animation and visual effects (vfx) career:

    Today’s class was an introduction to ZBrush.

    ZBrush is a digital sculpting and painting program that allows a far greater intuitive and creative approach to making detailed and photo-realistic characters than has been available with more traditional animation and modeling softwares. Because ZBrush allows the artist to sculpt models containing many millions of polygons (something previously unheard of), the technical and logistical limitations that constrained previous workflows are now a thing of the past. Students and professionals now feel free to express themselves in a more pure and direct manner, similar to the way a sculptor might feel when modeling with clay.

    ZBrush has gained great prominence in the movie and gaming industry as a fast and efficient way of creating complex and believable characters inhabiting their productions. For instance games developer Ubisoft used ZBrush extensively in their production pipeline for both Rainbow Six: Vegas and Assassin’s Creed.

    By Robert Appleton, New York Film Academy 3D Animation Instructor


    February 11, 2009 • Acting • Views: 6158