Hanna Johansson, an alum of the Fall 2016 1-Year 3D Animation & Visual Effects conservatory at New York Film Academy (NYFA), has been hired as a character animator for Paradox Interactive.
Paradox Interactive AB is a video game publisher based out of Stockholm, Sweden, and was founded in 1999. They are best known for their historically-themed strategy games, as well as role-playing games and management simulators.
They are perhaps best known for their games Prison Architect and Cities: Skylines. The latter was released in 2015 as a competitor to SimCity, and has sold over six million copies.
At NYFA’s Los Angeles campus, Johansson learned the craft from an award-winning faculty of professional animators and visual effects artists. In addition to working as a Teachers Assistant in NYFA’s Animation department, Johansson has worked as a freelance 3D animator since graduation. She has been working with Paradox Interactive’s Arctic Studio as a character animator since June 2019.
New York Film Academy congratulates 3D Animation & Visual Effects alum Hanna Johansson on her position and looks forward to her future work as an animator!
Last month, New York Film Academy (NYFA) hosted the Creators Society monthly meeting and panel discussion. 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. The topic for August’s panel was “Freelance Vs. Big Studios: Navigating a Career in Animation.”
Artists, producers, and animators from DreamWorks, Warner Brothers, Disney, and more came to NYFA to mingle and share their advice with Creator Society members and students of the NYFA 3D & Visual Effects Animation department.
The panelists included:
Melody Severns: Severns started her career interning at Film Roman and moved into the role of layout artist on The Simpsons (both the show and movie). She’s worked in production management on Monster High, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and DC Superhero Girls. She is also the founder and head of Girls Drawin’ Girls, an art organization dedicated to promoting the work female artists in the animation industry.
Daniel “Hashi” Hashimoto: Hashi worked for DreamWorks Animation’s visual development team. Since 2014, Hashi has been using his VFX skills to turn the playtime of his young son, James, into the viral webseries Action Movie Kid, which has over a million followers across social media. He’s partnered with Disney, LucasFilm, Warner Brothers, Target, and Toys ‘R’ Us in commercial campaigns, and is now a Senior Content Creator at Red Giant, creating their series Cheap Tricks. Hashi still consults for animation studios on upcoming feature film projects and is developing new and fun ideas with his writing partners.
Liz Climo: Climo has worked in animation as a writer, storyboard artist, layout artist, and animator on shows like The Simpsons and Harvey Beaks, as well as The Simpsons Movie. She is also the writer and illustrator of the Rory the Dinosaur series of children’s books, as well as You Don’t Want A Unicorn, Lobster is the Best Medicine, and other titles.
Students and alumni attending the event had a wonderful time listening to the panelists. Here are just some of the responses from the attendees:
“My first Creator Society event was an extremely pleasant, eye-opening experience. To have the chance to mingle with artists in the industry, make connections, and listen to their stories and experiences is invaluable.
“One of the things I took from this event was that as an artist, you don’t have to be good at everything. Most of the people I spoke with—along with the event’s speakers—weren’t jack-of-all-trades types but were instead exceptionally good at something that made them artistically unique, which (along with luck and the right connections) is what helps you get a job in the industry.”
“They talked about how to stand out as a woman in the animation industry—to which they talked about making yourself be seen and occupying space. Like not sitting in a corner where no one sees you, but instead take your space and make yourself be noticed and not be overshadowed by the men. Which, in a way, I think it can be applied to recent hires in the sense of voicing their opinions and not being afraid to give suggestions that might help the overall project.” -Juan Gordillo, BFA 3D & VFX Animation Student
“The event with the Creator Society was the first of its kind for NYFA, and a successful one at it. The panel was divided between professionals who work at bigger companies and ones that are self-employed and work as freelance. It was very interesting and helpful to hear the collected thoughts of these brilliant panelists, on the differences between working at a studio for others and being your own boss.
“They talked about what traits artists should have when working at bigger studios, what to expect, and the division between creativity and technicality at these two different settings. The four professional panelists were also very fun to listen to. They were serious with their answers and opinions, yet in a joking and funny way that made the event more casual and fun than a boring Q&A session. Students and visitors responded positively to the event, and many wanted to talk to the panelists afterwards.” -Gayatri Ankam, 1-Year 3D & VFX Animation Alumni
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 departmenthere!
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.
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:
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!
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
Craig Caton-Largent has just marked his first anniversary as Chair of 3D Animation & VFX at the New York Film Academy (NYFA) Los Angeles Campus. Caton is renowned in the film industry for his groundbreaking VFX work on beloved blockbusters including Jurassic Park, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles,Big Trouble in Little China, Edward Scissorhands, Apollo 13, Tangled, and more.
To celebrate Craig’s anniversary, we’re sharing some highlights from his first year as chair of the Animation School at NYFA Los Angeles. Here’s looking forward to another great year!
This year, the NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation School created an art wall and added a display cabinet to show off student work. The wall was a wonderful encouragement and inspiration for 3D Animation & VFX students as they worked on their showcase projects, creating a great talking point in the community and sharing their work with others. It was a great to share all their hard work with the rest of the NYFA community!
It’s been a big year at the NYfA Los Angeles Animation School — this year we’ve seen a 283% increase in student enrollment in our 3D Animation & VFX programs!
The NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation & VFX School also joined Instagram this year! Follow “nyfa_animation_gaming” and join the conversation!
It’s been a great year for our NYFA Los Angeles 3D Animation &VFX alumni! Here are some inspiring stories:
BFA grad Jessica Chung is the Winner of the LA Livescore Film Festival for Best Original Score for her animation short, Sushi Man.
1-Year Conservatory grad Alex LoRusso isurrently working as an FX Artist at Scanline. Her 2017 major film credits Include Justice League, Pirates 5, & Alien Covenant. She also recently worked on Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
1-Year Conservatory grad Soraia Malaquias is working as a 3D Generalist at TNF Visual Effects. Her impressive list of 2017 film credits Include: American Gods and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
1-Year Conservatory grad Gabriel Fernandez currently works as a Production Assistant at Eight VFX.
1-Year Conservatory alum Ujala Saini is a VFX/Post Production at Electric Theatre Collective.
There have been a lot of special events to celebrate this year!
Chair Craig Caton’s new animation software Animservo was announced, and NYFA conducted the test phase. The announcement was broadcast live, then received over 20K views in the first hour.
SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest, most influential annual conference and exhibition in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Chair Craig Caton gave demonstrations during the course of the convention at the Faceware Technologies booth.
Motion capture data from Faceware’s Analyzer and Retargeter software was output to an animatronic goblin using Caton’s new animation software, AnimServo.
This year also saw NYFA Los Angeles’ launch of the the Media Lab, to create opportunities for students and instructors to collaborate on research projects.
The first project was testing Chair Craig Caton’s animation software Animservo. With testing successfully completed, Animservo has now be become available atanimservo.com.
Matt Sheehan has been given directorship of the Media Lab and there is an exciting list of topics coming up … stay tuned!
The New York Film Academy’s Guest Speaker Series saw a number of incredible animation and visual effects artists visit to share their insights with NYFA Los Angeles Animation School students.
Amy Lawson Smeed, lead character animator of Disney’s Moana, came for a special screening and talk with Chair Craig Caton. That’s not all — NYFA alum Hanna Johansson then had a chance to meet with Amy personally to discuss her reel!
Amy Lawson Smeed
Byron Bashforth, character shading lead of Disney’s Coco, revealed more Disney magic in an intimate Q&A with Chair Craig Caton.
Head of Research and Development of DreamWorks Animation, Jeff Wike, was another honored guest, who treated Animation School students to a remarkable industry insider perspective on the innovation and inspiration behind much of today’s most cutting-edge animation.
Chair Craig Caton-Largent and Jeff Wikes at NYFA Los Angeles
Jason Liles, the Lead Actor in Netflix’s DeathNote, gave Animation School students an inside perspective of what it’s like for the actors working on the other side of motion capture technology.
There are many exciting projects as we move into Chair Craig Caton’s second year of leadership — stay tuned for more. Congratulations, Craig, on a remarkable 1st anniversary!
A storm whipped through the New York Film Academy Theatre last week—a combination of wind, water and sharks, known by the title Sharknado. After the screening, NYFA students welcomed Emmy Winning VFX Artist Glenn Campbell and VFX Supervisor Joseph Lawson from “The Asylum” Studio. NYFA Animation Chair Mark Sawicki moderated the event.
NYFA Animation Chair Mark Sawicki with VFX Supervisor Joseph Lawson and Emmy Winning VFX Artist Glenn Campbell
Sharknado was a made-for-TV disaster film produced between the SyFy Channel and “The Asylum” Studio. Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante and starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, and John Heard, the film has been a cult sensation since its release, spawning a franchise that includes three sequels (the fourth installment will be coming out this summer, titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens).
Following the screening, Glenn Campbell and Joseph Lawson showed a reel featuring shots from the movie before and after the visual effects were added, with their own personal commentary on the process. They showed scenes from the first three films in the Sharknado franchise.
Campbell and Lawson explained that visual effects aren’t just for storms featuring murderous aquatic creatures—it’s for things as simple as turning a blue sky into a stormy sky, or removing satellite dishes from houses.
They both agreed that planning was a very important part of the process—making sure that all necessary shots are taken, knowing what you want before you start setting up. “Don’t change your mind so much,” they advised.
They also spoke to the importance of things like storyboards to help with planning and getting the best performance out of the actors. “It’s a challenge…nothing can replace the tangible, someone holding something in their hands.”
Finally, a student asked them if there is, or should be, a limit with visual effects. “There is no limit,” they responded. With enough time and creativity, anything that one could imagine is possible with visual effects.
Mindfruit is a Los Angeles-based team with the goal of creating diverse, unique, and beautiful videos. Fantastical costumes, puppets, and stop motion are their bread and butter. They’ve worked on everything from a video billboard for Forever 21 to a film shot entirely on a computer scanner. Their work has been featured at South by Southwest, Vimeo Film Fest, the Disposable Film Fest, and on screens around the globe.
Not only did the students of Matthew B.W. Sheehan’s stop motion class get to pick Damon and Cassandra’s brains about all things stop motion, they even received help wrestling some deeper questions when 3D Animation BFA Jessica Chung asked about the do’s and don’ts of freelance work and making your first deal.
All in all, a victory for education at the New York Film Academy.
New York Film Academy students in Los Angeles had a glimpse into the new dimensions of filmmaking with a screening of Interstellar and the subsequent presentation by VFX supervisor and Oscar winner Ian Hunter, co-owner of New Deal studios. The film event was reminiscent of Star Wars screenings in the 70s with a line stretching out down the long hall in front of the NYFA Theater and around the corner!
After the screening, Ian gave a brilliant PowerPoint presentation giving a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of the epic film. He related that the models were built at a massive 1/5 scale and shot with high resolution Vista Vision film cameras running at 72 frames per second to create the majestic imagery. Miniature explosions, rotating rigs, special light sources and tons of in camera VFX work were the primary techniques. Only one green screen shot was used in the entire film.
NYFA LA Chair Mark Sawicki with VFX Oscar Winner Ian Hunter
At the end of Ian’s presentation, chair of animation Mark Sawicki spoke with him to reflect on the modern shooting methodology used for the tentpole picture. Ian shared that unlike many productions, the pre viz of the film was used as a starting point and not a locked down template. Director Christopher Nolan, in his wisdom, knew that the final models photographed in real light would give rise to different and better ideas spring boarded from the pre viz. As a result, shots were not shot to the frame but as full takes, as if shooting live action, giving editing options later on. The process points out the proper use of pre viz as a starting point, thereby allowing the iterative filmmaking process to continue yielding happy accidents and lightning in a bottle. Mr. Hunter shared that pictures done in the 90s such as From the Earth to the Moon had 10% miniature and 90% digital effects, whereas Insterstellar reversed the equation with 90% of the imagery executed with real world miniatures to a stunning effect.
At this time Mark pointed out Ian’s groundbreaking involvement as a director in the new immersive cinema experience of Cinema VR where audiences witness the photoplay in a full 360 degree panorama. This new miracle of the screen is tantamount to adding to the cinema language itself. Ian made note that while takes are much longer when using this process, cuts are possible and sound cues and other techniques can be used to direct the audience’s attention. Mark could not think of a better person than Ian to take on and develop this exciting new art form. Ian’s film Kaiju Fury was shown at Sundance’s new frontier category launching the spectacular screen spectacle.
Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for shedding light on your process and guiding us to the next dimension of movie making!
NYFA LA Chair of Animation Mark Sawicki with Ian Hunter