Part of what makes the 3D Animation & Visual Effects department at New York Film Academy (NYFA) one of the best animation schools in the world is its experienced, professional, award-winning faculty.
These working animators and visual artists are the perfect instructors to NYFA Animation student, able to share a wealth of industry secrets and practical knowledge to prepare students for professional careers in a competitive industry after graduation. By showing students first-hand how they’ve applied their skills on well-known projects like Star Wars and The Last of Us, these exceptional instructors help embody NYFA’s mission to teach the practical, technical and artistic skills necessary for a career in the visual arts.
Here is a closer look at some of the esteemed faculty of the NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects department. Click each image for a detailed, fullscreen look at each faculty member’s achievements!
You can find more information on the programs offered by the New York Film Academy 3D Animation & Visual Effects department here!
If you’ve been to the movies recently to see a blockbuster comic book movie, or were one of the 19.3 million viewers who watched the series finale to Game of Thrones, then you’ve likely seen the work of New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso.
LoRusso, originally from Seoul, South Korea, attended the 1-year 3D Animation & VFX conservatory at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus in 2014. She was originally inspired to work in animation and the film industry after seeing the Disney animated classic, Dumbo.
Since graduating NYFA, LoRusso has worked as an assistant editor for numerous television shows, including The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Her primary work has been in visual effects, though. LoRusso worked as effects technical director on Suicide Squad, Alien: Covenant, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Additionally, she has worked as effects artist for Scanline VFX on several blockbuster films, including Justice League, The Meg, Aquaman, and Dark Phoenix, as well as the final two episodes of HBO’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones.
After the finale of Game of Thrones, NYFA caught up with Alex LoRusso to talk about her work on the show and what other projects she’s been working on:
New York Film Academy (NYFA): What type of work have you done on Game of Thrones?
Alexandra LoRusso (AL): Our team worked on the King’s Landing destruction in Ep805 – “The Bells.” We also did the Iron Throne melt and some of the final scenes with Dany for Ep806 – “The Iron Throne.”
NYFA: What else have you worked on recently?
AL: I just got done working on Gemini Man [starring Will Smith and directed by Ang Lee] and I helped out with a few shots on Spider-Man: Far from Home before I left ScanlineVFX Vancouver.
NYFA: What’s next for you?
AL: I just started a new job at Mill Film in Montreal a few weeks ago, which is very exciting as well.
New York Film Academy thanks NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alum Alexandra LoRusso for taking the time to catch up with us and looks forward to seeing what amazing visual effects she cooks up for Hollywood next!
Earlier this month, representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT) visited New York Film Academy (NYFA) at its New York City campus near Battery Park in downtown Manhattan. The Jinling Institute of Technology is an officially accredited higher education institution located in Nanjing, Jiangsu.
The distinguished representatives included Mr. Chen, Professor, Party Secretary, Jinling Institute of Technology; Mr. Dai, Professor, Dean, School of Animal Science and Technology; Mr. Xing, Professor, Dean, School of Art; Ms. Zhao, Deputy Head, School of Animation; and Ms. Fang, Deputy Chief, Foreign Affairs Section, Office of International Exchange & Cooperation.
The representatives sat down with Michael Young, President of New York Film Academy, Mr. David Klein, NYFA Senior Executive Vice President, and Dr. Joy Zhu, NYFA Executive Vice President for the China Region.
At the gathering, President Young and Dr. Zhu introduced the history of the New York Film Academy, its various disciplines, and the characteristics of each discipline. They highlighted NYFA’s commitment to an intensive, hands-on approach to education in the visual arts, as well the high employment rate of NYFA graduates, especially from the Academy’s Animation department.
Additionally, the representatives from both institutions discussed their respective student bodies. The student body of NYFA is not only talented but diverse in many ways. Not only can students from China attend NYFA workshops, but also teachers and other administrators.
Mr. Chen noted that roughly half of the students of JIT study engineering, mathematics, art & media art, but that the school is interested in cultivating more composite talents. He also expressed his thoughts on less theory-oriented and more hands-on education for students in general.
Both parties shared mutually agreeable views on co-cultivating additional students that are especially talented in their respective fields, including 3D Animation & Visual Effects, and both looked forward to further cooperation between the two educational institutions in the near future.
The New York Film Academy thanks the representatives from the Jinling Institute of Technology for their visit and for a meaningful and intelligent discussion over several topics both schools find very important.
Vampire bats, West African flying squirrels, pangolins and tigers — oh my!
During their field trip to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, New York Film Academy (NYFA) students from this summer’s environmental biology course saw a myriad of species firsthand that most people will never be lucky enough to encounter.
Mammal Collections Manager Dr. Jim Dines gave a behind-the-scenes tour for the students and generously introduced them to the world of natural history collections and explained the importance of museum specimens to scientific endeavors.
The specimens presented have been collected and preserved over the past century for use in ongoing and future biodiversity research. Students also learned about specimen preparation and the usage of specimens for animation and filmmaking.
The environmental biology course is part of NYFA’s Liberal Arts and Sciences department, where the creative artists pursuing their degrees at NYFA can build a foundation in courses ranging from Arts & Humanities to History of Art, Theatre & Media to the Social and Natural Sciences.
The New York Film Academy thanks Dr. Jim Dines and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for giving NYFA students an invaluable insight into this amazing resource and the chance to see and feel such remarkable animals!
UPDATE: The winners were announced last night, February 11. The list includes Free Solo, which won Best Documentary, and which was edited by New York Film Academy (NYFA) instructor Bob Eisenhardt.
The full list of winners for this year’s BAFTA Film Awards are named below.
–February 12, 2019
Nominations for the 2019 BAFTA Film Awards were announced earlier today, as this year’s awards season continues towards its crescendo.
The BAFTA Awards are given out by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and celebrates cinematic achievements by both British artists and those around the world. The Academy was formed from the combination of the Guild of Television Producers and Directors, founded in 1953, and the British Film Academy, started in 1947. The first BAFTA Award went to silent film star and filmmaking legend Charlie Chaplin.
Many of this year’s BAFTA nominees should seem familiar, as they have already been recognized by various industry guilds as well as this year’s Golden Globes. Historical comedy The Favourite dominated the nominations with a total of 12 following star Olivia Colman’s win for Best Actress at the Globes.
Spike Lee picked up his first BAFTA nom for directing Best Film nominee BlackKklansman. Bradley Cooper broke BAFTA records by earning five nominations from five different disciplines for his film A Star is Born, which received seven total, including Best Film.
Two previous guest speakers of New York Film Academy (NYFA) also received BAFTA nominations. Adam Driver, who spoke with NYFA students at our New York campus last year, received a nod for Best Supporting Actor for his work in BlackKklansman. Glenn Close, who also spoke with NYFA students, picked up a Best Actress nomination for her starring role in The Wife. Close won earlier this week at the Golden Globe Awards for the same performance.
Three films that were worked on by New York Film Academy faculty and alumni also received BAFTA nominations. Avengers: Infinity War received a nod for Best Special Visual Effects. NYFA 3D Animation and VFX alum Francesco Panzieri worked on the visual effects team for the epic blockbuster.
Additionally, two of this year’s Best Documentary nominees feature work by faculty members of the NYFA Documentary school. RBG, the hit documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, was shot by director of photography and cinematography instructor Claudia Raschke. Free Solo, the critically-acclaimed film about Alex Honnold as he attempts to free climb El Capitan, was edited by instructor Bob Eisenhardt.
Here is a full list of this year’s BAFTA nominees. The WINNERS are listed in bold.
Best Film BlacKkKlansman The Favourite Green Book Roma A Star Is Born
Outstanding British Film Beast Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite McQueen Stan & Ollie You Were Never Really Here
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Apostasy — Daniel Kokotajlo Beast — Michael Pearce, Lauren Dark A Cambodian Spring — Chris Kelly Pili — Leanne Welham, Sophie Harman Ray & Liz — Richard Billingham, Jacqui Davies
Film Not in the English Language Capernaum Cold War Dogman Roma Shoplifters
Documentary Free Solo McQueen RBG They Shall Not Grow Old Three Identical Strangers
Animated Film Incredibles 2 Isle of Dogs Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
Director BlacKkKlansman — Spike Lee Cold War — Paweł Pawlikowski The Favourite — Yorgos Lanthimos Roma — Alfonso Cuarón A Star Is Born — Bradley Cooper
Original Screenplay Cold War The Favourite Green Book Roma Vice
Adapted Screenplay BlacKkKlansman Can You Ever Forgive Me? First Man If Beale Street Could Talk A Star Is Born
LeadingActress Glenn Close — The Wife Lady Gaga — A Star Is Born Melissa McCarthy — Can You Ever Forgive Me? Olivia Colman — The Favourite Viola Davis — Widows
Leading Actor Bradley Cooper — A Star Is Born Christian Bale — Vice Rami Malek — Bohemian Rhapsody Steve Coogan — Stan & Ollie Viggo Mortensen — Green Book
Supporting Actress Amy Adams — Vice Claire Foy — First Man Emma Stone — The Favourite Margot Robbie — Mary Queen of Scots Rachel Weisz — The Favourite
Supporting Actor Adam Driver — BlacKkKlansman Mahershala Ali — Green Book Richard E. Grant — Can You Ever Forgive Me? Sam Rockwell — Vice Timothée Chalamet — Beautiful Boy
Original Music BlacKkKlansman If Beale Street Could Talk Isle of Dogs Mary Poppins Returns A Star Is Born
Cinematography Bohemian Rhapsody Cold War The Favourite First Man Roma
Editing Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite First Man Roma Vice
Production Design Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald The Favourite First Man Mary Poppins Returns Roma
Costume Design The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Mary Poppins Returns Mary Queen of Scots
Makeup & Hair Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Mary Queen of Scots Stan & Ollie Vice
Sound Bohemian Rhapsody First Man Mission: Impossible — Fallout A Quiet Place A Star Is Born
Special Visual Effects Avengers: Infinity War Black Panther Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald First Man Ready Player One
British Short Animation I’m OK Marfa Roughhouse
British Short Film 73 Cows Bachelor, 38 The Blue Door The Field Wale
EE Rising Star Award Barry Keoghan Cynthia Erivo Jessie Buckley Lakeith Stanfield Letitia Wright
Twenty years ago, the animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist aired on Comedy Central and began six seasons of squiggly cartoon avatars of leading standup comics complaining to the ultra-dry shrink. Created by and starring Jonathan Katz, the show has maintained its cult status ever since, as well introducing the world to popular voiceover artists H. Jon Benjamin and Laura Silverman.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the show will have a special live performance at the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival in Austin, Texas. Katz will hold staged therapy sessions with today’s leading comics, including Andy Kindler, Emo Philips, Maria Bamford, Dom Irrera, Dana Gould, and Eddie Pepitone as well as surprise guests.
While it’s been fifteen years since the show produced new episodes, its legacy lives on today. In addition to Katz, the show was primarily produced by Loren Bouchard, who went on to create the equally-squiggly animated series, Home Movies. Today, he runs one of the most critically acclaimed animated shows on television, the Fox sitcom Bob’s Burgers.
Robert Appleton lecturing to his Animation students
Over the past few years there have been huge leaps and bounds in the development of modeling software, especially for us folks doing organic modeling– such as monsters, animals and other strange creatures!
At the New York Film Academy Animation School we have traditionally based our organic and hard surface modeling on Maya software. Maya is pretty much an industry standard and is used at places like Pixar Studios, who work intimately with Autodesk, the developers of Maya software, to constantly refine and improve its abilities.
More recently, we have introduced ZBrush for high-end organic and hard surface modeling. I especially enjoy using it for concepting – by that I mean quickly sketching in 3-D format ideas for characters and environments.
ZBrush is not for everybody because it’s quite a steep learning curve, and it is very different from traditional modeling software. I often tell my students that it was probably created by a race of insectoid aliens! That said, it is incredibly powerful and well worth the time invested in learning it, if you are interested in CG modeling for a profession or if you intend to make it a significant part of your 3-D focus.
We are also using Mudbox as I and many other fellow professionals believe it to be superior for texturing, especially in relationship to Zbrush. The reason being, Zbrush paints individual polygons, which means that the model has to be divided up into many millions of polygons in order to achieve the desired resolution for creating a texture map. This is in contrast to Mudbox, which does not need the surface to be divided up into such small units, and is more efficient for texture painting.
For smaller studios, especially in New York, Mudbox may be more frequently used (even for modeling). Mudbox is more user friendly (the hotkeys and user interface are very similar to those in Maya) and is much easier to learn. In the long run, these are just tools and it is a person using those tools that really makes the big difference. Ultimately, I am content to let my students choose the software they wish to use in order to create the models they require for their projects.