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.
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.
Having no previous experience in the craft of animation, New York Film Academy One-Year 3D Animation & Visual Effects Conservatory student, Felipe Amaya Quintero, put together a remarkable short film, Lights, that has been accepted into NYC AMC SIGGRAPH’s MetroCAF 2015. Amaya is the first non-degree student to have his film accepted into the prestigious animation event, which is considered the leading showcases for student animations in the New York City area. Celebrating the thirteenth edition of its annual metropolitan-area college computer animation festival, this year’s festival will be held at NYIT’s Auditorium at 1871 Broadway.
Amaya says he began developing the idea for Lights while taking a screenwriting class at NYFA. His main goal was to tell a story that was appealing and funny; and could me made with one character, with no dialogue, in under one minute.
“My education at NYFA was mainly what made this project possible,” said Amaya. “Without the knowledge I have gathered here, this animated film would not have made it further than just being an idea written down on a piece of paper.”
Amaya’s goal is to accumulate as much knowledge as possible in order to be able to continue to produce better and more compelling computer generated imagery. We think he’s on the right track!
The MetroCAF screening will begin at 7:00PM and will be followed by the MetroCAF Awards presentation.
One of the more enticing aspects of the New York Film Academy is its belief that our instructors should not only be well versed in their crafts, but also strongly established in their respective fields. As a testament to this commitment, we focus on the New York Film Academy Los Angeles 3D Animation and Visual Effects Chair, Mark Sawicki.
After attending USC film school, Mr. Sawicki entered the film industry as a lab technician at Cinema Research Corp., where he worked on the original Superman film. He later began working as a cameraman for Roger Corman’s New World Studios on low budget sci-fi pictures such as Escape from New York. From there, he went on to shooting effects and creating award-winning animation for commercials, rock videos and 3D features including Jaws 3D and Friday the 13th Part 3.
In 1986, he became the matte photographer for Illusion Arts, working under visual effects masters Albert Whitlock, Syd Dutton, and Bill Taylor. During this period, while working on mainstream films, Mr. Sawicki became an instructor for Kodak’s Cineon system (a landmark digital film compositing system). After a 10-year stint of compositing matte paintings at Illusion Arts, for such projects as Cape Fear, The Birdcage and Star Trek IV, he became a co-supervisor for Area 51 on Tom Hanks’ From the Earth to the Moon.
Mr. Sawicki was later the head effects camera supervisor and digital colorist for Custom Film Effects, contributing to films such as Gangs of New York, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,Tropic Thunder, and The Dark Knight Rises.
As to reaffirming his remarkable insight into the field of animation and visual effects, Mr. Sawicki has authored three DVD’s on the art of clay animation and a documentary entitled Twilight Camerman, which focuses on the craft of optical printing available from firstlightvideo.com. He is also the author of the book “Filming the Fantastic: A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography,” published by Focal Press.
And to top it all off, Mr. Sawicki frequently performs as an actor in independent films. Indeed, an incredible career that carries with it a lifetime of knowledge and hands-on experience that can be passed on to his students.
“Whenever possible, I will take pictures of professional green screen set-ups and share them in the classroom,” says Mr. Sawicki. “This is extremely helpful in giving the students an up to the minute, real-world exploration of what is happening in the industry today.”
His involvement with the school’s animation and visual effects students is not only valuable to NYFA, but also to himself. “Teaching at NYFA has been a rewarding experience for me as I am able to address an international community with different insights and attitudes. The one commonality among them all is the love of movies and the desire to work hard toward their goals. It has been a pleasure to see them blossom and grow to be artists in the field.”
His advice to students graduating from his program, with the intention on working in the field, is to build up an impressive reel and resume that can only be created by working with a small team or as a vendor on independent films and TV commercials. Graduates should expect to work on projects that may not be particularly glamorous, but getting even the most mundane animation job will keep animators focused and allow them to build credits and move up the ladder.
As a professional who embraces most aspects of the entertainment industry, Mr. Sawicki recently wrote a feature screenplay called Call Center, which he describes as a comedy comparable to Mike Judge’s Office Space. He also has a short film in the works that he hopes will bring interest to the script.
One thing is for sure, Mr. Sawicki’s hard work and dedication to both his career and his students is extraordinary. There is no doubt that under the tutelage of Mr. Sawicki, NYFA’s 3D Animation and Visual Effects department will continue to grow as one of the most demanding schools for aspiring animators and visual effects experts.
Director of Photography Yan Rymsha composes the shot of Sawicki playing the giant.
The students in my Cine 810 class in visual effects cinematography outdid themselves recently by shooting a mock Solar Power commercial complete with miniatures and size scaled performers. Originally, the plan was to have the concept take place during the day but director of photography student Yan Rymsha suggested that it take place at night with mysterious film noir lighting.
I loved the idea and modified the script just before the shoot. The principal photography took place on a green screen stage in Hollywood and is an example of a poor man’s virtual set. The miniature and myself (playing the giant) was set up at one end of the stage and was shot with a Red Epic A camera. Colin Meyer, playing the solar panel owner, was shot in the same room simultaneously with a Red Epic B camera, using the same focal length lens as the A camera. This enabled the performances and camera angles to be synchronized very easily.
To “pre viz” the shots a Panasonic AS50S switcher was used to do a rough video composite between the two cameras to make sure the critical alignment was spot on. The crew also used an Atomos Ninja recorder to record the output of the switcher for editing purposes. The giant coin prop was created by sticking a blow up photo of a coin on a film can and having Colin pick it up off of a C-stand. Animation of the giant’s hand holding the coin was then executed in After Effects to link up with the prop coin that Colin picked up at just the right frame. The shoot took all of a fun filled eight hour day. Post compositing was executed in After Effects and saved in our database of real world exercises. The students and I had a lot of fun shooting the project and we look forward to developing more virtual stage projects here at NYFA Los Angeles.
It’s hardly an understatement to say that H.R. Giger, who died on Monday at the age of 74, permanently altered the way Hollywood depicts aliens. When his frightening and singular extraterrestrial debuted in Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, mainstream audiences had frankly never seen anything like it. Having pioneered a biomechanical style that infused robotic elements into his representation of biological organisms, Giger hit upon a truly original style that has continued to keep movie fans up at night thirty-five years after his creation first hit the screen.
Simply put, Giger created the first extraterrestrial that looked positively alien. After all, who can ever forget his creation’s mouth within a mouth moving Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley to terrified tears? From the metallic sheen of its over-exaggerated forehead to its sleek to its skeletal body—with what looked like steam valves protruding from its spring—and limber legs and threateningly ribbed tail, Giger fused together natural and mechanical motifs to create a creature that looked positively other. While his alien creation—also known as a “xenomorph”—became his calling card, Giger is also credited with creating the film’s “facehugger” and “chestburster”, embryonic versions of the xenomorph that emphasized the biological influences on his work.
Though aliens have had a presence throughout the history of sci-fi, before Giger, aliens were often exaggerations of the human form with actors dressed in absurd make-up and costumes that often looked downright goofy. After all, the modern viewer will often be moved to laughter when viewing the creations of such schlock masters as Roger Corman or the aliens that plagued Doctor Who. But Giger’s alien is unlikely to elicit even a giggle from the most veteran sci-fi fan, a creature so terrifyingly original that it helped to spawn three sequels of diminishing quality and a prequel, Prometheus, that is essentially an exploration of Giger’s mind and aesthetic.
Once Alien entered the popular consciousness and helped to win Giger and his colleagues an Oscar for Best Achievement for Visual Effects in 1980, extraterrestrials on the big screen started to look nastier, more menacing, and truly otherworldly. Even though the adorable Wookies are often what first come to one’s mind when thinking of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Giger’s influence can be seen in such terrifying creations as the Sarlacc, the sand pit beast that gleefully swallows its victims down its spikey opening. The height of Giger’s influence can arguably best be seen in Predator, whose titular creature fused human-like dreadlocks and reptilian mandibles with a technologically advanced creature that looked equal parts alien and machine. It only seemed a matter of fate that both creatures would face off countless times in comic books and movies like Alien vs. Predator.
To this day, Giger’s biomechanical vision of extra-terrestrial life continues to permeate popular culture, be it the aliens in movies such as The Avengers and Transformers to the cyberpunk creations of William Gibson to characters in countless graphic novels and comic books. While Giger was a true artist who created an extensive pantheon of paintings, movies, album covers, and works of interior design, when it comes to Hollywood and its many aliens, his influence is likely to be felt for decades to come.
Computer animation attracts a wide variety of personalities and incorporates a variety of interests; a glance at the credits of any CG or visual effects-heavy film will show just how many different roles and people are incorporated. Not only are there the artists, character designers, and modelers; there are people in charge of dynamic simulations (i.e. cloth, crumbling buildings, explosions) and developing and maintaining the pipeline (i.e. streamlining the interaction of various departments through programming and scripting). Not everyone has to be da Vinci — or, on the flip side, a computer genius like Pixar’s Ed Catmull — to find a niche in CG.
Students with skill in drawing (or, again, other areas such as programming) will definitely be able to exploit those skills. Students who have not done much drawing (or programming, etc.) will get the chance to develop and subsequently flex those muscles thanks to the instruction offered, for instance character design, storyboarding and life drawing classes which are all part of the NYFA animation curriculum.
New York Film Academy’s 3D Animation programs are generalist programs, meaning they will touch on all these aspects, and give students a chance to find the areas which interest them most.
-Robert Appleton, Chair of NYFA Animation Department