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  • NYFA Students Attend “Doctor Strange” Screening at Disney Animation

    Last week, New York Film Academy Los Angeles students were offered 50 seats to see Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” at Disney’s theater in their animation lot. After the screening there was a Q&A with the film’s sound team: Juan Peralta, Doc Kane, Jesse Torres and Daniel Laurie. The fifty available spots filled quickly, with students eager to experience this unique opportunity

    As student’s pulled into the lot the first thing they saw was the original Burbank animation building, built by Disney in 1935. Emerging from the garage they could see the seven dwarves looking down on them from their pillars. Security escorted them through the lot, past the water tower and the neon Disney castle sign to the theater.

    Above the entrance, a “Star Wars” banner covered an eighth of the building. Once checked in popcorn and bottled water was handed to each patron before they selected seats.

    There was a slight anticipation in the air. After all, this is the theater where animators screen future classics. This is literally where the magic happens. A smattering of applause as the projector winds up and the curtain is pulled back.

    After the film, chairs are brought out and the guest speakers begin to take questions from the audience. New York Film Academy Animation student Ala Abdelbar said, “I really wanted to see a movie on the Disney Lot,” and after the Q&A, she felt she learned a great deal about the sound design that goes into the film.

    Other students remarked at what a great opportunity the Q and A was to hear from an entire sound design team instead of just a single voice. This event was also a great networking experience since film students and professionals from all over Los Angeles were in attendance.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Disney for this opportunity.

    To learn more about “Doctor Strange” click here.

    February 3, 2017 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights • Views: 370

  • NYFA Animation and VFX Students Visit California Science Center

    Last week, with stops in Santa Monica and downtown, a group of New York Film Academy Animation and VFX students got to go behind-the-scenes at SideFX Software and take in the sites at the California Science Center.

    california science center

    If you don’t know SideFX, well, it’s rapidly taking over the VFX and interactive world with its powerful procedural cg animation and VFX tool Houdini. Gabriel Fernandez and Ujala Saini are one year students in the Animation and VFX program and they made the most out of meeting the people that know Houdini best — the people that make it and use it everyday — and asked lots of great questions.

    Tiffany Victor, a student in NYFA’s Animation VFX BFA program, jumped at the chance to be the first to beta test a new UNITY game built with the powerful Houdini Engine in the Htc Vive Virtual Reality System. Big CG thanks to Ben Mears, Rob Stauffer, Genesis Lee and the rest of the team at SideFX for opening their doors to the NYFA Animation and VFX students here in Los Angeles.

    space shuttle

    After that, the trip headed downtown to the California Science Center with its Science of Pixar Exhibition, and the Space Shuttle Endeavour for the cherry on top. The Pixar show was full of over-sized interactive learning stations that brought the nuts and bolts of CG animation to life. The exhibition gave everyone a chance to see how the tools they use for homework today are the same tools they will use in their careers tomorrow.

    With only time for one last stop, the group took the opportunity to check out NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavor.

    January 13, 2017 • 3D Animation • Views: 1411

  • NYFA Animation Alumna Works on FX for “Suicide Squad” and “Fantastic Beasts”

    alex lorussoSince graduating from the Animation School at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles, Alexandra LoRusso has worked on the visual FX for major Hollywood movies like “Suicide Squad,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” She currently works for the VFX company MPC Montreal, where she is now working on two other films.

    While the animation alumna has admitted she’s extremely busy with her work, she took the time out to answer a few questions about her career in FX.

    Which film would you say is the reason you chose this profession?

    It’s hard to pick just one. I will always remember the first movie I saw and it was also my first Disney movie. “Dumbo” inspired me to want to work in the world of Animation/VFX, and in films in general.

    Which area of 3D animation and VFX has been your focus since graduating?

    Since completing the 1 Year Animation program, my focus has been in Effects Animation.

    Which films or projects most proud of, and why?

    Out of all the films I’ve worked on so far, I think I would have to say that I’m most proud of the work I did on “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

    suicide squad

    still from “Suicide Squad”

    If you take a look at this still from “Suicide Squad,” I was tasked to do all the tracer hits, so all the sparks/debris/smoke.

    fantastic beasts

    still from “Fantastic Beasts”

    For the still from the final trailer of “Fantastic Beasts,” I was tasked to break the crate when it hit the Occamy, and added in splinters.

    When you’re working on the FX for a film, who are you typically collaborating with?

    I collaborate the most with my lead/leads and other FX artists on the film. We do also have daily review sessions with our FX Supervisors who give us feedback on the shot/shots we are working on.

    Would you say your experience at NYFA’s Animation School was useful in terms of the work you’re currently doing?

    The tools I learned while at NYFA were a great introduction to what I’m currently doing.

    Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

    Since finishing up on “Fantastic Beasts,” I’ve gone on to work on two other films, which I can’t really say anything about at the moment.

    January 11, 2017 • 3D Animation, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2052

  • NYFA LA Welcomes Special Guest Eric Goldberg, Disney Animator: “Moana”

    On Wednesday, Nov. 16, legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg brought an exclusive preview of Disney’s latest project, “Moana” to New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. The chair of animation, Mark Sawicki, moderated the event.

    disneymoanaunnamed

    Goldberg’s career is extensive. He’s worked on classic animated television shows such as “Looney Tunes” and “The Simpsons.” His work at Disney includes supervising the dance sequences in Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and serving as supervising animator for the Genie in “Aladdin.” His specialty is 2D animation. For “Moana,” he oversaw the animation of Mini Maui, the mobile tattoo of Dwayne Johnson’s larger-than-life Maui.

    The theater was filled with animation and game design students both eager to hear from someone with over 25 years in the business and excited to catch a sneak peak of “Moana.” Goldberg did not disappoint in either area, treating students to over an hour of behind-the-scenes footage — including messages from the cast and crew, works in progress, and clips from the film.

    Many students wanted to know how 2D animators could survive in a 3D animation world. Goldberg assured students that the fundamentals wouldn’t be disappearing from animation anytime soon. “I always encourage people to look at the principals,” he stated, “They’ve held together for 100 years.” Mock up, character design, and landscaping are still all animation jobs that are originally drawn by hand.  “It’s about creating characters people can identify with. It’s a blend of both sensibilities: theatric and artistic.”

    Walt Disney Animation Studios' artist Jin Kim showcases the look of the title character in the upcoming adventure "Moana." Says director Ron Clements, “Moana is a vibrant, tenacious 16-year-old growing up on an island where voyaging is forbidden. But Moana has been drawn to the ocean since she can remember and is desperate to find out what’s beyond the confines of her island.” Directed by Clements and John Musker and featuring the voice of Native Hawaiian newcomer Auli'i Cravalho in the title role, "Moana" opens nationwide on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    ©2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

    For those hopefuls trying to get into Disney, Goldberg had some additional advice. “Disney is always looking for talent.” He suggests going to the Disney website and looking at the portfolio requirements. He also suggests a tactic that he called “observe and caricature” to up one’s game. “How can you identify a friend in a crowd from behind and 20 yards away?” Goldberg asked.  “It’s their walk. You know how they carry their weight. How they walk when they’re sad or mad.” Goldberg suggests practicing nailing those walks and gestures in order to improve basic skills.

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    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Goldberg for sharing his wealth of knowledge with humor and humility. NYFA would also like to thank Tova Laiter for bringing this presentation to the school.

    “Moana” will be in theaters near you on Nov. 23, 2016.

    November 18, 2016 • Guest Speakers • Views: 1916

  • 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: 2157

  • 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: 2729

  • 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: 1037

  • 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.

    Trap

    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: 4072

  • 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.”

  • NYFA Students Learn Cutting Edge Techniques in Image Based Lighting for VFX

    Virtual lighting expert and Animation department faculty member Fred Durand treated students of chair of animation Mark Sawicki’s digital effects cinematography class to a guest lecture and demonstration of Image Based Lighting. Mr. Durand has served as a digital artist for Disney Animation, Sony Imageworks, The Mill and Digital Domain on such projects as “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Tomb Raider,” “Shark Tales” and “2012.”

    Fred Durand

    The demonstration began with the students lighting and executing a simple dolly move toward a performer sitting at a table. After the dolly shot Sawicki demonstrated how to shoot a 360 degree High Dynamic Range Image of the set using a Fish Eye lens and one of the school’s Canon 5D cameras. Each of the 4 camera views of the set was shot plus and minus 4 stops of exposure capturing the extreme latitude of the entire foot-candle range of the lights on the set. Both the dolly shot and the HDRI data were given to Mr. Durand to add synthetic computer graphic props in time for the next class session.

    In the lecture portion of the exercise Durand explained the process of stitching together all 36 HDRI images to create a virtual bubble onto which was mapped the location and intensity of all the lighting instruments and reflective objects on the set. At this stage Fred also had to create a matte painting to “paint out” the tripod legs underneath the Canon camera. This bubble of set image was then placed around the computer graphic coke bottles to light them with what were essentially the same lights that were used for the live action dolly shot. The “image” of the lights lit the computer graphic props giving them an ultra realistic look that matched the live action exactly.

    background

    To ensure that the virtual Coke props stayed locked to the table and tracked seamlessly Durand had to remove all of the rectilinear lens distortions of the live action lens to create a “perfect” lens that would match the perfect lens of the virtual camera that mimicked the dolly move to virtually photograph the Coke bottles. After the virtual camera tracked the CG props the distortion was added back to the virtual photography to match the live action lens so that the virtual dolly move could be composited atop the original dolly move for a perfect match.

    At New York Film Academy we strive to have our students take a multi disciplinary approach as they enter the field as cutting edge filmmakers. Our student cinematographers now have the skill sets to light on set with traditional methods and an understanding and vocabulary to collaborate with digital artists in the up to date virtual world of today.

    April 14, 2016 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers • Views: 1192