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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & Visual Effects Alumni Bring to Life Superhero Films, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Star Trek’ and More

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    Students who graduate from the 3D Animation & Visual Effects programs at New York Film Academy (NYFA) have gone on to work on numerous high-profile, visually stunning films, games, and television series, including Game of Thrones, Shazam!, The Orville, and more.

    It’s no surprise NYFA 3D Animation & VFX alumni have found success after graduation—they learned their craft from a professional faculty of working, award-winning animators and visual artists who shared their own industry secrets and practical knowledge to prepare students for careers in a competitive and rewarding industry. 

    NYFA offers workshops, conservatories, camps, and BFA and MFA in 3D Animation programs where students will use state-of-the-art software and equipment and learn the various skills necessary for successful careers in the industry—including storyboarding, modeling, particle dynamics, advanced rigging, and much, much more.

    Take a closer look at some esteemed alumni of the NYFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects programs and see where their studies have taken them so far. Click each image for a detailed, fullscreen look at these graduates’ achievements!

    You can find more information on the programs offered by the New York Film Academy 3D Animation & Visual Effects department here!

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    July 22, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 518

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA 3D Animation & Visual Effects Student Chris Su Wins Pixar Storyboard Contest

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    Xingyu “Chris” Su, a BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects student at New York Film Academy-Los Angeles (NYFA-LA), recently won a storyboard contest held by Campus Movie Fest and Pixar Animation Studios.

    Su submitted his work to the contest, which was judged by representatives from Campus Movie Fest and Pixar, the studio behind animation blockbusters Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E, Up, and Ratatouille.

    Chris Su

    NYFA 3D Animation & VFX Student Chris Su

    As part of his prize, Su was able to work with Pixar executives and artists in Atlanta, Georgia for four days at the end of June. Su and other contest winners visited the CMF Terminus at the Hilton in Atlanta, where he was able to participate in creative workshops and attend a Pixar SparkShort screening. There was also a mixer where Su was able to network with other artists and experienced members of the industry. The weekend concluded with the Golden Tripod Award ceremony.

    Perhaps most importantly, Su was able to work with these established animators, including producers and directors from Pixar and Disney, who shared their experiences and passed some of their knowledge along to the contest winners.

    “It was a fun weekend and I received so much good experience,” Su tells NYFA. “It was such a good opportunity. And I encourage NYFA students to submit their films to the contest next year.”

    Su is currently working on his thesis project. He plans to work as a storyboard artist after graduating NYFA’s BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects program, ideally for Pixar or Disney. His favorite recent Pixar film is Coco. “It’s such a touching story,” says Su, “and I want to tell a story like that some day.”

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA in 3D Animation & Visual Effects student Chris Su on his win and looks forward to his future career in animation!

    See the award-winning work Chris Su submitted to Pixar below:

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    July 18, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 553

  • Meet the Faculty of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & Visual Effects Department

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    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!

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    July 9, 2019 • 3D Animation, Faculty Highlights • Views: 335

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX Alum Alexandra LoRusso Works on ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Gemini Man’, and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

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    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.

    Alex LoRusso Alexandra LoRussoLoRusso, 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!

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    July 3, 2019 • 3D Animation, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 532

  • Representatives From Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT) Visit New York Film Academy (NYFA)

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    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.

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    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. 

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    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.

    Jinling Institute of Technology (JIT)

    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. 

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    March 21, 2019 • 3D Animation, China • Views: 768

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) 1-Week Animation Workshop Concludes With Special Chinese Tea Performance

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailTwenty students from the Chinese GMFZ High School joined a 1-Week Animation Workshop from July 30th to August 3rd at New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus. At the end of the course, the students prepared a special Tea Performance to show their appreciation to the New York Film Academy (NYFA).

    During the week-long animation workshop, the students learned about Paper Puppets, Stop Motion Animation, Visual Story, VFX, and Editing. In addition, they had the opportunity to film on the Universal Studios Backlot, Hollywood’s world-famous lot where movies such as American Beauty, Back to the Future, and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds have been filmed. NYFA has a special relationship with Universal Studios, where students have the unique opportunity to spectate the importance of “studio life” to the Los Angeles area up close and first-hand, while also getting the one-of-a-kind experience of shooting on the lot themselves.

    The location shooting went very well as students were taught hands-on skills in storytelling. The GMFZ students showed satisfaction with this learning experience upon getting their certificate at the end of the week.

    The program was concluded with the Chinese GMFZ School performing a unique tea performance, a cultural exchange that was greatly appreciated by NYFA staff and faculty. The performance demonstrated the traditional Chinese art of tea tasting as a show of gratitude to NYFA for arranging their Animation Workshop. 

    During the ceremony, students explained the history and procedures involved in the art of tea-making with a recital and performance. A sample of 10 kinds of teas from various provinces in China were brought to the Chair of Animation, Craig Caton-Largent, who happened to be an ardent fan of Chinese tea.

    The New York Film Academy proudly holds a special relationship with Chinese filmmaking students. In 2017, President of NYFA Michael Young visited multiple schools in China, and the Academy has offered local workshops in Shanghai and Beijing. The New York Film Academy congratulates the Chinese GMFZ High School students on their completion of the 1-Week Animation Workshop, and warmly extends their gratitude for their exquisite Tea Ceremony!Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    August 9, 2018 • 3D Animation, International Diversity • Views: 1067

  • The Simpsons Director Mike Polcino Shares Special Master Class at New York Film Academy

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) 3D Animation & VFX and Filmmaking students packed the Riverside Theater at NYFA’s Los Angeles campus for a storyboarding master class from veteran The Simpsons director, Mike Polcino.

    The Simpsons just surpassed Gunsmoke to become the longest-running scripted show in television history, and Mike Polcino has been with the Simpsons from the very beginning, directing 31 episodes in addition to episodes from the first season of Family Guy.

    Polcino started his career in animation doing all of the tedious work that goes into a massive production such as The Simpsons, such as animation timing and quality control.

    “Occasionally, we’d get the final animations back and Bart’s eyes would be looking in two different directions,” Polcino reminisced. “You’d be surprised what people miss.”

    His talent was unmistakable and, after a few short years, he moved up to become a director. Since then, Polcino has been a staple at Fox Television Animation, whose office is next door to the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus in Burbank, California.

    Polcino took the students through his process of breaking down an Emmy-winning script to put it on screen. Episode #593, Fland Canyon featured some of The Simpsons most cinematic sequences, such as great sweeping shots of the Grand Canyon. Polcino took the enraptured audience through a visualization process to find the key shots.

    “Part of the fun,” he said, “is coming up with shots that would be impossible without the animation.”

    He then melded the material for both the Animation and Filmmaking students by sharing his process for storyboarding The Simpsons and how it is more directing than animating. The students loved the class, asking for autographs and even taking selfies with the Homer Simpson drawing Polcino left on the whiteboard.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mike Polcino for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with our students.

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  • “Rick and Morty” Writer Mike McMahan Visits New York Film Academy Los Angeles

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailThe New York Film Academy (NYFA) was excited to welcome one of the hottest writers on the animation scene, Mike McMahan. McMahan is currently one of the lead writers for “Rick and Morty” on Adult Swim. A funny kid from Chicago, he originally made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles to become a feature film comedy writer. Luckily, he fell into the world of animation, and television may never be the same. He spoke with NYFA Instructor, Eric Conner, about how to become a Writer’s Assistant, the secrets of the Rick and Morty writer’s room, and his journey from Chicago to Hollywood.

    Like the vast majority of comic writers and performers from Chicago, McMahan began his career at the Second City. While still in college studying drama, he would do basic things for the Second City Theater like help set up the stage before a show. From that experience, he was able to get a P.A. job at Scott Rubin Productions, which led to him being hired on Comedy Central’s “Drawn Together.” When the plug was pulled on the show one of his superiors was able to recommend him for “South Park.” From there he went to Fox Animation where he met Justin Roiland.

    "Rick and Morty" writer Mike McMahan answers questions from students at the New York Film Academy

    Roiland is now known as the voice of both Rick and Morty, but back then he was pitching pilots. “They were just as good as Rick and Morty,” McMahan said. He knew right away he wanted to work with Roiland in a professional capacity. “I know you’re going to have a hit show one day, like, you’re brilliant. ” he told Roiland, “Can I, please, just work on it in some capacity when you do?” A couple of years later, when Adult Swim picked up two scripts to prove it should be a series, Roiland asked him to come on as a writer’s assistant. The rest, as they say, is history.

    McMahan gave the students the skinny on working as an assistant in a writer’s room. “It’s kind of different depending on what room you’re in. It’s an insanely amazing job to get, particularly if you want to be a comedy writer.” A day breaks down like this: the assistant arrives about thirty minutes early. All day they sit on their laptop and take notes as the writers pitch ideas. The assistant is the keeper of all knowledge.

    In the “Rick and Morty” writer’s room, they use a program called Pear Notes, which records all the dialogue in the room. The recording is then sent to the writer assigned to that particular episode. This recording is vital because it doesn’t just serve as a reference for the writer. In a show that uses improvisation heavily, it captures those magic moments, like Dan rapping a song off the top of his head. The writer can add those lyrics verbatim to the script, but it might not capture the cadence or expression of a word. Luckily, the audio can also be played in the recording booth when an actor is doing their voiceover, too.

    At the end of the day, the assistant throws out all of the trash in the room and gets it ready for the next day. “You’re kind of like their babysitter. You’re going to spend the entire next day in that room.” The assistant then organizes all the notes and pulls clips from films and television that were referenced during the meeting. Traditionally, writer’s assistants work for a year and then they’re given an episode to write. “On an Adult Swim show, this is a chance to prove your voice as a writer.”

    Mike McMahan answers students questions about screenwriting

    McMahan got his first chance to write for Rick and Morty with season one episode nine, “Something Ricked This Way Comes.” This now iconic episode featured an ending where Summer and Rick get buff and beat up cruel people like a man who strangles his dog, and a Nazi. It earned him a new title in the show’s second season, Story Editor. By the third season, he had earned the position of Story Producer and written a total of four episodes for the show: “Rickshank Redemption,” “The ABC’s of Beth,” and “Total Rickall.”

    McMahan warned students that as incredible as these jobs are they are also difficult to come by. “They usually go to the assistants of the lit agents because they know the job exists in the first place. If the creator doesn’t have someone they’re already interested in usually the answer is yes because the agent’s assistant tends to be responsible. They set up meetings and manage the calendar so they should be able to handle the responsibility.” Another way to get in is to be the writer’s PA.

    Connor asked McMahan, “What do you think you learned as a Writer’s Assistant that you couldn’t have learned in a classroom?” McMahan responded, “I think you learn that every room is going to be different. There’s no manual you can read that is going to teach you how to be chill and do a good job.”

    He goes on to explain that nobody remembers the job that was done; they remember the person who did the job. “A lot of advice I give to first time writers who are moving out here is, it doesn’t matter what job you get, it matters that you’re the best at doing the job.” A writer’s room is like a family. Integrating one’s self into that family is how people stick around.

    One student, Nigel Robinson, asked, “What are some of the techniques you use to reverse audience expectations to make the show re-watchable.” McMahan contributed a large part of the show’s success in this area to Reddit. “If somebody guesses something we were planning to do on Reddit, we all get together and say ‘We’re not doing that anymore.’” If somebody tweets ideas at McMahan, he lets them know that they won’t use it.

    “If a thousand people guess an ending then that means a thousand people will watch and think that’s’ just an okay episode.” So they stretch themselves to come up with something completely different. “When I tell other writers how many weeks we spend on these shows they’re in awe.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Mr. Mike McMahan for taking time to speak with our students. There’s no word yet on whether the show has been picked up for a fourth season, but keep watching Adult Swim for more information.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    November 30, 2017 • 3D Animation, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting • Views: 1576

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

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLast 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    February 3, 2017 • 3D Animation, Community Highlights • Views: 1891

  • NYFA Animation and VFX Students Visit California Science Center

    Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailLast 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.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

    January 13, 2017 • 3D Animation • Views: 3496