Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Californias' Best Kept Secret


In terms of animation education, one of the best programs I have seen is CSU Summer Arts. When I got out of high school, I really wanted to learn stuff about animation. I think it was something I saw in an issue of Amiga World Magazine (I'm dating myself) that prompted me to check into a computer animation program that was being run by this organization. Back then, all the stars of computer animation gathered at Humboldt State University. We did films using swivel 3d. It was great! It was the first time I really knew that I wanted to make films. The CSU summer arts program has been running for 21 years now.. Lately, its been at Fresno State.

This Year I had the privilege of being a guest artist for the 5th time. Rick Vertolli has been the guiding light of the computer graphics program at CSU summer arts. The range of Guest Artists is really amazing. We had Mike Wellins, who is an independent film maker and director. He works up at Leica. Rusty Mills, who has been a Producer/Director for many projects including Pinky and the Brain and animaniacs. Brian Boyd, a TD from Pixar was their to talk about all aspects of color, lighting and also rigging. Chuck Harvey, who trained under Milt Kahl was also one of the guest artists. Chuck, having worked with the greats, had so much inspiring artwork to show. His collection of animation art blew everyone away. The subject of this years workshop was character development. The students got to take acting classes from a teacher from Second City and then develop that character using a CG rig. Things like Walk cycles, Pose Tests and Acting scenes are some of the work being done. The students were also lucky enough to get a tour of Pixar, which usually is impossible to do for a group this size.

Another great thing about summer arts is the fact that alot of other workshops are going on around the campus. There is an energy that really feels great. Students are working till 2 am. Its an intense experience. One thing that should be noted is that 80% of students receive some sort of scholarship. When you think about how expensive animation education can be, this is why Summer Arts is the best kept secret in animation education. The culmination of the work will be on Friday, the 27th of July 2007



Blogger Nick said...

first post!!! (and that is all i can come up with?)

That summer course looks amazing. The variety of disciplines covered would be very worth while...

Thanks for the great post!

1:18 PM

Anonymous Paul said...

Very cool! Although the drive from Fresno to Pixar is a loooooong one. :0)

3:38 PM

Blogger Fränk Spalteholz said...

it's a long way to pixar anyway ;) ...

6:44 PM

Blogger Ira said...

Ah -

Summer Arts at Humbolt State. I remember it well Andrew. You were so focused. I think you were the only one to come away with a complete piece with a beginning, middle and end. Was it Ants on a Micro Chip ?
And in Swivel 3D no less. You have come a long way young man !

10:40 PM

Blogger cem said...

7:09 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thanks for the tip! I was just wondering if you've heard of Ringling School of Art and Design down in Sarasota, Florida...I hear they're also ranked among some of the top animation schools...Billy Merritt (from Pixar) is also teaching there =)

11:56 PM

Blogger Darryl Bisson said...

Hey guys, I just want to say that I love your blog. Keep up the great work!


5:34 AM

Anonymous Christian said...

That brings back memories. I went to the very first summer art program back in 1987. It was called CSSSA back then and was held on the CalArts campus. I tried to get into the animation class but had to take painting instead. Bummer.

But they had had great guest speakers back then as well. I remember going to hear Irving Kershner talk about directing "The Empire Strikes Back". Good times.

11:58 AM

Blogger Dr. Gordon said...


You were at summer arts 90? I'm not sure I remember exactly who you are. I'd love to talk to you about it.


7:35 PM

Blogger Sheldon Kruger said...

CSU Summer Arts is great program. I was there in 2005 and learned so much from working in group creating and short film. There wasn't a whole lot of time to sleep...but it was well worth it. Gotta love it!

I remember you talking about some new program idea that some guys were trying to start at the time called "Animation Mentor"...well...I am now completing class 2 at Animation Mentor next week and just loving it! Its awesome!

I still remember many things you taught us that summer. I learned a ton. Thank you!

1:44 AM

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