Alumni

Thesis | IMDb | Website | Linkedin | YouTube | Vimeo | GitHub | tumblr.

2017

Summer Benton | | |
Pratham Karnik | | |
Chi-Chen Lee | | |
Christian Stith | |
Jenny Thompson | | |
Christian Weeks | | | |
Adam Wentworth |

2015-2016

Jay Mundo |
Wyndham Batton | | |
Doug Rizeakos | | | |
Kevin Boggs | | |
Karl Jahnke | | | |
Wynton Redmond | | | | |
Liam Glover |
Jordan Gestring | | | |
Marie Jarrell | | |
Chuqiao Wang | | | |
Chris Thomas |
Kara Gundersen | | |
Gina Nearing | | |
Jon Barry | | |
Brianne Campbell |
Sarah Runge | |
Gowthaman Ilango | | | |
Alex Beaty | | | |

2013-2014

Hugh Kinsey |
Pisut Wisessing | | |
Ashley Anderson |
Brooke O'Friel (Buckley) | |
Kacey Coley | | | |
Tim Curtis | | |
Mandy Morland | |
Dan McCoy | |
Ben Sledge | | | |
Karen Stritzinger | | | | |
Zhaoxin Ye | | | |
Mandy Choi (Madigan) | | |
Zachariah Inks | | |
Chaoren Li | |
Nicholas McElveen | | |
Kiel Pease | | | | |
Anuradha Pinisetty |
Yujie Shu | | |
Christyna Wilson |
Scott Johnson | | |

2012

Irena Rindos | |
Tony Liu | |
Johnny Jia | |
Justin Kern |
Jonathan Lequire |
Michela (Mikki) Rose | |
Patrick Roeder | |
Zachary Trabookis
Nick Kinerd | |
Cory Buckley | | |
Matias Volonte | | | |
Shirley Yu | | |
Ryan Prestridge | | | |

2010-2011

Ashwin Bangalore | |
Casey Johnson | |
Dan Morella | | |
Martin Furness | | |
Leopold Smith
Micah Carter Richardson Guy | |
Stephen Cooney |
Ryan Cushman |
Lana Sun | |
Lucas Ramsay McDaniel
Kevin Human
Bynum Edward Murray III

2006-2009

Celu Ramasamy | |
Ashley Troutman (Triplett) |
William Earl Robinson
Stan Sims
Edgar Rodriguez | |
Kent Chan |
Rupali Parekh |
James Orara |
Manish Sharma |
Serenthia Ross Gartrell
Josh Staples |
Chris Doehling |
Yu-Ting Chiu
Rachel Drews
Jeremy Hicks

2004-2005

Bahar Aybar-Meulemans
Mick Larkins |
Jerry Gardiner
Ed Siomacco | | |
Gaurav Shenai | |
Erik Jeffreys
Michael Grant
Moira Ballard (John-Williams)
Amit Barman
Daniel Ott |
Brian Cumming
Jin Pei |

2001-2003

Jake Richards
Rebecca Bazzle (Johnson)
Marc Bryant |
Robert Helms |
Uma Havaligi
Deborah Wright
Wil Whaley | |
Dave Stone
Josh Tomlinson | |
Jennifer Brola |
Ben Wyrick |
Jim Soukup
Davy Wenworth

DPA Alumni: Connect with us on Linked

 


TESTIMONIALS

Kevin Boggs '16

Associate Technical Artist, Red Storm

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Lighting, Rendering, Comp, Rigging, Programming, production for film/ games.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Working at Ubisoft Red Storm.
What does your typical day involve? Mixture of tools programming, automation scripting, and 3D content generation/ lighting for games.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Tom Clancys the Division.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Gave me opportunities to improve my art and programming skills, several production opportunities, contacts with people in the industry, and good portfolio and resume material.
Advice for DPA students: Work hard and give it your all! Use this time wisely to better your skills and learn to work as a team.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
kevinboggsportfolio.weebly.com/

Christian Weeks '17

Associate Visual Effects Designer, Walt Disney Imagineering

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: FX and Rendering.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I have been working at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA. My job title is "Associate Visual Effects Designer" but that doesn't really describe my responsibilities. I act more as a Technical Director, ensuring a smooth data flow between departments and troubleshooting artists' problems.
What does your typical day involve? I typically have a set of development tasks with flexible due dates, as I will often have to stop developing software to help an artist or put out a fire in the pipeline.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Can't say :(
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA prepared me by providing me with a strong technical background in digital media and a large breadth of experience in the many programs and artistic fields needed for a digital production.
Advice for DPA students: Take the effort to search for full-time jobs (not internships) a year or even a year and a half before you graduate, and open your mind to opportunities outside of your chosen concentration. A lot of students decide early on what kind of career they want, be it as a modeler, rigger, lighter, FX Artist, etc., without any regard to the industry's need for that skillset. It is vitally important to know the relative availability of positions early on so you don't spend 3 years honing a skill for which there are few to no jobs. An exhaustive job search done before starting your thesis will inject a (possibly unwanted, but needed) dose of reality into your aspirations before you commit to your final year. I know many students enter DPA because they don't want to settle for less and they want to do something they love. I'm not saying abandon those aspirations, but to temper them with the realities of the industry and not get blindsided when you graduate. I can tell you first hand how quickly your steadfast resolve to finding your dream job as a Lighter or an FX Artist or a Modeler will slacken and eventually break under the weight of the realization that, "Oh crap. There are fewer options than I thought." It takes about a month, or less. Just as quickly, though, you will realize opening yourself to other opportunities isn't a bad thing, and that while the jobs available to you may not match up with your vision of the "dream job," know that that very vision took shape in an isolated university computer lab and may be woefully uninformed, and there are many opportunities that don't fit that mold that will be equally exciting and fulfilling. Know the lay of the land before you graduate and be willing to adapt your vision to it. If you are flexible and open minded, you will find something.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
At Disney Land.

Mikki Rose '12

Senior Fur Technical Director, Blue Sky Studios

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I was pretty sure while finishing up my classes that I was most interested in Character Simulation. As I worked at a few different places and learned their pipelines, I found that what I like even better than that is Fur Grooming. Now I'm in a position that allows me to jump back and forth between the two departments that handle those tasks!
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I've worked in Character Simulation and Fur Grooming positions at Rhythm & Hues Studio and Sony Pictures Imageworks while living in Culver City, CA, and then moved on to Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, CT. Along the way I've also kept up my SIGGRAPH volunteerism. In 2012 I chaired the conference Student Volunteer Program, 2015 the Computer Animation Festival, 2016 Production Sessions, and I am currently starting my process as Conference Chair for SIGGRAPH 2019.
What does your typical day involve? My day involves constant checking of email to keep up with notes and schedule changes, working on the assets I'm grooming with the goal of getting renders ready to show our Art Directors at given meeting times, and then attending those meetings and updating our directors on what has changed in my work since the last time they saw it. I also spearhead our documentation efforts and mentor new hire in my department, so I spend a fair bit of time writing informational wikis and helping our newbies as well.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I'm currently working on Spies in Disguise and will be moving onto Nimona next.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA gave me a very solid foundation in the basics of CG work and allowed me the time to independently study what eventually became my specialty, Character Simulation. It also provided me with a group of classmates that I still call friends who helped me acclimate to professional life, since we were all going through it at the same time. They are the base of my network!
Advice for DPA students: Finish your thesis before you move away and start working! It's so hard to do otherwise. Also, at least for the first few years of your career be open to working around the world. You'll have many more opportunities that way. Always attend SIGGRAPH!
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
My website, IMDb, Linkedin

Lana Sun '10

Technical Director-Effects, Pixar Animation Studios

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Special effects.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I worked in PDI/DreamWorks for almost 5 years, then started working at Pixar in 2015.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Can’t say.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Learned everything from DPA.
Advice for DPA students: Learn as much as you can, you've no idea how lucky you are having best professors in the world.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? lanasun.com

Josh Staples '06

Software Architect, 3D Angular

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Wasn't too sure. Knew I didn't want to work for Hollywood. Ended up doing 3D for NOAA in Charleston.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? NOAA -> Startup -> MUSC (engineering work at a hospital) -> Autodesk (123dapp.com) -> NAVIS (3D shipping terminals) -> Stealth Mode Startup (napofearth.com)
Typical day at work: Get to work, code, scrum, code, test. I wear headphones about 90% of the time (we are making a music app) and chat via Slack or Google w/ my colleagues.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Work for a stealthmode startup. We're in private Beta right now but should be public in a couple months. napofearth.com is the 'working title' site.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Gave me a fundamental understanding of 3D.
Advice for DPA students: Learn how to program for the web. Even companies like Autodesk are moving most of their apps to the web. VR and AR are the future... best to jump on that bandwagon sooner then later. Also, learn how to present to the public.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
http://blog.tempt3d.com is an attempt at a blog. MeetUp videos of me presenting some of my work and architectures: youtube | vimeo

Ryan Prestridge '11

Technical Matte Painter, Reel FX Animation Studios

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My main area of interest was Texturing/Surfacing. The main reason for this is because I loved using Photoshop and combining it with 3D. I ended up going into Matte Painting because of a reference from a former DPA student at Rhythm and Hues.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I have been working non-stop on TV shows, commercials, feature films and feature animations as a CG artist and Matte Painting TD. I've worked at Zoic Studios, Rhythm and Hues Studios, MPC and Reel FX Animation Studios.
Typical day at work: My typical day involves shot setup in Nuke and/or Maya, bidding, dailies, digital painting, a workout break during lunch, modeling and trouble shooting.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Currently, I'm working on an animated feature called "Rock Dog." It will be released in China this summer, but not sure if or when it will be released in the U.S.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA taught me and prepared me very well for a career as a professional VFX artist. I learned all the software that I might need and got an understanding of how a pipeline works. I learned how to deal with difficult people and ways of making things work even when technical issues arose.
Advice for DPA students: My advice for current DPA students is to put as much time and effort into learning as much as you can, because it will only benefit you when it comes time to get a job. Current students should reach out to DPA grads for advice, because they know the industry and can tell you what to expect. Don't feel like you are entitled to a job, just because you are in DPA. The only people that get jobs are the ones that work for it and really want it. Don't take criticism personally. Criticism is meant to help with overall look and feel of a show and 99% of the time it is not a personal attack. Don't let a studio take advantage of you. Look around on the net to find reviews of studios and reach out to DPA people that have worked at those places to see if that studio would be a good fit for you. Don't work for free!
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
ryanprestridge.com

Kacey Coley '14

Associate Production Engineer, Industrial Light & Magic

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My areas of interest include FX, pipeline development, deep image compositing and volumetric rendering.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I was a computer science instructor for a year at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics where I taught gifted 11th and 12th graders advanced courses in C++, Python and iOS mobile app development. Afterwards, I started working at Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco as a Production Engineer.
Typical day at work: I work in the generalist department at ILM, which is a Windows-based department in a Linux-based studio. I provide troubleshooting support for the generalists so they can focus on delivering shots. I also manage the render farm, making sure the machines are still running and allocating machines to pools for each show. Finally, I develop and maintain the various tools we use within our department and ensure that we are using the resources from the main Linux-based pipeline when necessary. Each day is always different so I try to be ready to come up with quick solutions when critical issues come up.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Right now, I am working on configuring our render farm to new toolsets so the new technology can be used on the upcoming productions.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? I gained a solid foundation in the core graphics concepts, both at the artistic and technical level. This knowledge is extremely useful when it comes to troubleshooting issues as it is the basis for everything. Contributing to the DPA pipeline gave me exposure to a production pipeline that is very similar to ILM. Using modern VFX technology like OpenEXR, Alembic and Deep Images was also useful as they are used every day. But the biggest help would be communicating technical concepts to artists, as I have to do this all the time.
Advice for DPA students: Learn and contribute to the DPA pipeline. It will help you transition to using other studio pipelines and allow you to focus on making good work. Become familiar with physically-based rendering as it is in all the modern renderers (RenderMan RIS, VRay, etc), as well as color management (OpenColorIO). If you don’t know the answer to something, don’t be afraid to “Google it” or ask someone for help!
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? kaceycoley.com

Justin Kern '12

Assistant Technical Director, Walt Disney Animation Studios

ROLE ON BIG HERO 6: I was an Assistant Technical Director. The TDs have a few roles on the show including maintaining the production pipeline, developing new tools and workflows for artists, and assisting artists when production tools break so they can get back up and running. As an assistant TD, I worked on various development tasks in all of the production departments so I could familiarize my self with their workflows. As production on Big Hero 6 ramped up, my role shifted more toward diagnosing and fixing technical problems for the artists to help them get their work through the pipeline.

Alex Beaty '14

Layout Animator, Blur Studio

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Layout and directing.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Since I graduated I was a freelance generalist for Moondog then moved to LA to work as a layout artist for Blur Studio.
Typical day at work: There really hasn't many days that have been the same since I've been at Blur. Generally I am working with the director and other layout artists creating a rough version of the final project. This involves composing shots, animating characters and cameras, rough lighting and editing. I also write tools for production.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am not sure if I am allowed to say so I better not.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA provided me with a foundation of knowledge in production, technical programming skills and the various software being used in the industry. This was to be expected but where DPA prepared me the most was the creative endurance needed to be a professional artist in such a competitive industry.
Advice for DPA students: My advice for the current DPA students is to take every project as an opportunity to explore something new. Push the boundaries of your work and look for chances to further what's currently around and not just reproduce it.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.alexbeaty.com/

Mick Larkins '05

Executive Producer, Hi-Rez Studios

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Technical Art and Programming.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Upon graduation, I started a position at a brand new startup called Hi-Rez Studios. I was employee #6. We are now over 180 employees and growing, and I've been here for 10 years now. I've hired a few other Clemson/DPA grads over the years.
Typical day at work: Writing code for our flagship games SMITE, Tribes, and Global Agenda. Lots of meetings to coordinate various departments with the production pipeline.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am a project lead on a new unannounced incubator project. I recently wrapped up work on writing the e-sports spectator technology which was used for our first annual Smite World Championship series, which awarded over $2.5 million to the top SMITE players in the world. I also wrote significant portions of SMITE, Tribes, and Global Agenda, focusing on gameplay and animation systems.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA allowed me to focus completely on discovering where I wanted to go as a career. It was one of the few programs that blended strong technical and artistic disciplines. The group projects gave me the experience of working with others in a simulated production environment. This "studio class" was one of the most important aspects of the program. DPA was a crucial link in making my career dreams come true.
Advice for DPA students: Try out all the areas of the production pipeline through the classes and projects you have. Find out what you DON'T like, but also learn the language of those disciplines so that you can work collaboratively on a strong project. It's tempting to want to control or do everything, especially as a learning student, but students should aim to choose an focus area on and become very strong in that discipline. Successful projects are those that are greater than the sum of its parts, so become a reliable piece in the production puzzle.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.hirezstudios.com/

Irena Rindos '13

Software Engineer, IBM

What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I earned a computer science masters from NCSU and have started working for IBM as a software engineer.
Typical day at work: Programming for IBM.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say?Not sure I'm allowed to say beyond that i'm doing development and feature/unit testing.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA exposed me to programming, which I've fallen in love with.
Advice for DPA students: Take advantage of the programming courses- they're super valuable!
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? irenarindos.com

Kiel Pease '13

Sr. Visual Effects Artist, Raytheon

What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Raising children. Some freelance 3D work and personal hobbies such as woodworking.
Typical day at work: Work, kids, sleep, repeat.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Not allowed to say - it's classified.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Helped me understand/write graphics code and developing my skills in a 3d production pipeline.
Advice for DPA students: Be ready to move around and don't be a jerk.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.kielpease.com | linkedin | IMDB

Johnny Jia '12

VFX Technical Director, ToonBox Entertainment

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Interested in Tool Development, VFX.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Since Sep. 2013, I have been working at ToonBox in Toronto as a VFX TD. My major responsibilities include VFX Tool Development and Pipeline Development.
Typical day at work: Having group meetings with other TDs for planning the pipeline and production tools, and coding.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Some typical projects: OpenVDB Pipeline for Maya using C++, Python and Mel; VFX data publish system using Python; Alembic Based Geometry and Material Package module built in C++; Houdini Bgeo file Plugin for Maya
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? The solid technical training in DPA is my most important asset for my current career.
Advice for DPA students: If someone want to work in TD area, strong technical capability can make you stand out.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Linkedin

Robert Helms '03

Software Engineer II, DreamWorks Animation

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Character rigging, software and tools development. At the time I was targeting the games industry, but ended up in film when a good opportunity came along.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? 11 years of mostly character rigging work for film and commercials at Rhythm & Hues L.A., Double Negative London, and PDI/Dreamworks Redwood City. I have also spent some time in or with R&D departments at each company speccing out, testing, and occasionally developing new tools. I have just accepted a new job as a Software Engineer at Dreamworks Animation (Los Angeles).
Typical day at work: As a character rigger, my day was divided between assisting other character riggers, development (tools, nodes, motion systems, techniques using c++ or python), and actually constructing characters for feature film work.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I will shortly be starting development on next generation animation and rigging software.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA provided a broad range of instruction, which as served as an important foundation. That foundation has helped me be a more flexible problem solver.
Advice for DPA students: Take a good hard look at the industry you are targeting, understand what it takes to be a rockstar, and make sure you have it or get it. Understand where the jobs are and what it takes to live there. Also always keep a backup plan - do not *just* be a lighter or *just* a fx artist. Pick at least one minor area of interest and develop that alongside your primary career goal. Very few of the computer graphics related industries are terribly stable, so you will want to be prepared to slide back and forth with the flow of the work and international tax situations.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? I have a public profile on LinkedIn, but much of my more recent work is on or related to trade secrets and unreleased films. Also, here's "Cloudjumper" - one of my characters from "How to Train Your Dragon 2."

Pisut Wisessing '14

Effects Artist, Brown Bag Films

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I specialize in effects for animation and my tool of choice is Houdini.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? My first job was at DreamWorks Dedicated Unit India. I have just recently moved to Dublin, Ireland. When I am not working, I travel around Asia and Europe.
Typical day at work: I am currently the lead effects artist of a pre-school animated TV show. For each episode, I have to attend an animatic review meeting (very similar to DPA 8600 course) to identify key effects elements and discuss them with the episode director. After the meeting, I will write up launch notes with references detailing what each effects will look like and share them with the team. I also create many effects assets for the show.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am mainly working on Disney Junior's Henry Hugglemonster Season 2, and sometimes helping with other short films and pilots.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? My favorite class was DPA 8600: Digital Production Studio. As I mentioned earlier, It translates directly to my everyday jobs. In the industry, we always work in teams and often under pressure. DPA Program will get you ready for that.
Advice for DPA students? First of all, don't stop learning outside the class. It is a fast-changing industry and there are always newer and better techniques. Fortunately, there are also a lot of resources out there on the Internet, free or paid. Your personal projects are likely to be the strongest works on your demo reel. Secondly, keep networking. The person sits next to you in your class or the person you accidentally meet at SIGGRAPH might be your future boss. I got my first job from a friend of a friend in the SIGGRAPH Student Volunteer Program.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
Linkedin | IMDb

Nick Kinerd '12

Lead Artist and Contract Manager, 3rD Corner

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Motion Capture, Voice Work/Sound Effects. Sub areas of interest: Texturing, Modeling, Animation, Layout and Workflow.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I work for a startup company that creates real time VR simulations using Virtual Headsets with hybrid tracking.
Typical day at work: Either running the VR systems for client demos, or working in Maya to create scenes and exporting them to Unity or other real time rendering engines for use in computer based or VR based simulations.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Finishing up two projects, one for Clemson and one for MUSC in Charleston, SC Both are small projects involving computer based training designed to help students learn to complete certain tasks.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Provided me with skills and resources to learn Maya and basic techniques for modeling, texturing and animation. Also, taught me production workflows for creating film/games which carries over to creating storylines/pathways for our simulations. DPA also allowed me access to use the MoCap system which has greatly helped me understand the VR tracking systems which we use almost daily.
Advice for DPA students? Learn more programming. And work on your demo reel ASAP. Also, there are alternatives to working in California and having to move every year or so. If this company works out we will definitely be expanding and looking at the Clemson DPA program for quality artist/programmers. There will be also be others like it in few years if there aren't already.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? We have a minimal website that is under construction at www.3rdcornersolutions.com

Tim Curtis '14

Technical Artist, Red Storm Entertainment

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Animation, Rigging, Tech & Tools, Software Development, Pipeline, FX.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Had an Animation internship with Red Storm Entertainment for 8 weeks in the summer of 2014. Was promoted to Technical Artist at the end of that internship.
Typical day at work: Assisting artists/animators with problems, developing new shaders for the Environment team, prototyping new tech and tools for the Animation team, benchmarking performance and optimizing existing assets.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Tom Clancy's The Division.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? As a Technical Artist, I have to be familiar with as many focuses as possible. DPA exposed me to every stage of production, giving me a well-rounded skill set to be in a such a position.
Advice for DPA students? The more you can do, the more valuable you'll be to companies. It's awesome to be an all-star in one focus, but it's equally as bad to only focus on one thing. Become familiar and work in as many stages of projects as you can, and focus in one sole area that's of interest to you during the research and thesis parts of your graduate career.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
http://redstorm.com/ | http://redstorm.com/category/the-division/ | http://tomclancy-thedivision.ubi.com/game/en-us/home/

Nicholas McElveen '13

User Experience Engineer, Medicaid IT Services

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My focus was hair, fur, and dynamics. I used all of these in my thesis work creating dynamic grass for the animated short, Tartan Troubles. I used Maya hair systems and fields to animate fur styled like grass. I also did some research on recreating rigid body dynamic simulations from Maya in Second Life.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I applied and was accepted to the Human-Centered Computing PhD program at Clemson. I’m continuing my education in User Experience and using technology to solve people problems.
Typical day at work: A typical day for me includes meetings, Java development, and discussing solutions with coworkers.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I’m currently working on the Affordable Care Act Medicaid project for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Focusing on visual communication, storyboarding and perception have supported my current work. Character development and studying archetypes comes into play as well when designing applications for people and thinking from a user’s perspective.
Advice for DPA students? The skills developed in the Digital Production Arts MFA program apply to a range of jobs. I’m not modeling, rigging and animating, but my graduate assistantship in web development/design in conjunction with my DPA education have made me a great fit for my line of work. Whatever you find interesting in the DPA program, do a lot of it. The only way to get better is to do more work.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
Linkedin | www.nicholasmcelveen.com

Josh Tomlinson '02

Software Engineer, Autodesk/Shotgun

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Production pipelines, software development, lighting.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I left DPA and went to work at Rhythm & Hues in Los Angeles, CA. I worked there for 11 years in the Pipeline and Software departments. I left R&H in early 2014 after the company went bankrupt and decided to come back to Clemson and work as a software/pipeline engineer for DPA. In the summer of 2015, I took a job with Autodesk/Shotgun Software working on the team building their pipeline Toolkit.
Typical day at work: Writing code, meetings, writing more code, code reviews, handling support tickets, writing more code.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? When I was a student here, the facilities were nothing compared to what they are now. I think the students now are much more acclimated to a production environment than I was when I left. That said, the thing that I think has been consistent since the start of DPA, and I think all DPA graduates have, is a fundamental understanding of all the pieces that go into production. There is a fantastic balance of courses in the DPA curriculum that really separate it from other programs. In one semester you can be taking a PhD level computer science course in the School of Computing, a figure drawing course over in the Art department, and a stage lighting course in the Performing Arts Center.
Advice for DPA students? My advice would be to really make the most of your time in DPA. Learn as much as you can and find out what you're passionate about. If you can find that passion in your first or second year while taking in all that DPA has to offer and then translating that into your research and thesis project, you've got a great shot at being successful when you leave.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Here are a couple of ways to find me: twitter @vfxtech | github: josh-t | linkedin joshetomlinson

Ben Sledge '14

Rigging Artist, Rainmaker Entertainment

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My focus was on character rigging.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? After taking the summer off to go to some really awesome music festivals, I moved to Vancouver and started cloth and skin simulation work at MPC. In March, I left MPC to join the rigging department at Rainmaker Entertainment.
Typical day at work: I develop animation controls for character and props using our in-house rigging system. I also script new rig modules for new character types (and do a good bit of skin weight painting).
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am currently working on the next installment of the Open Season franchise.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Working with the pipeline at Clemson gave me a HUGE edge at MPC. I was already used to working in a structured way, which helped me understand the system at MPC in half the time.
Advice for DPA students? Get used to working with other people. No matter where you end up after graduation, you'll have to work as part of a team. If you don't have a good attitude when you work with others you won't make it very far.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? On my website: http://bensledge3d.com

Cory Buckley '12

Freelance Production Artist

Areas of interest: Game Development, 3D Modeling & Texture Design, Physically Based Animation, Visual Effects.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I have worked on many projects with 3rD Corner Solutions in Greenville as a freelance 3D modeler and texture artist. I have built multiple responsive websites with integrated content management systems for clients such as ProComm (Seneca based Telecommunications company) and Go Fish Upstate (Upstate SC fishery). I have built and published 2 mobile application to the iTunes app store:
Small Engine Diagnostics Application: This application was created in collaboration with Clemson's Agricultural Mechanization and Business & Agricultural Education departments. The app is an interactive tool to help troubleshoot common problems that prevent four stroke spark ignition engines from starting.
ProComm Mobile: This application is a mobile companion for clients of ProComm's telecommunication subscription services. The app allows clients to check their messages, schedules, and contact directories on the go.
Typical day at work: My typical day depends on the project I'm freelancing on at the moment.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am currently working with Rapptor Studios in Greenville, SC on a project that I am not allowed to discuss.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA gave me the foundational 3D modeling, animation, and technical art skills that I use to create 3D assets for clients.
Advice for current DPA students? You have 2-3 years to spend working on a portfolio that will net you your dream job so you must do everything you can to focus on developing the specific skills that you want to capitalize on.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? my LinkedIn page: linkedin.com/in/corybuckley. Here are some illustration work for personal projects I've been working on over the past few years: link1 and link2. They are two traditional Pacific Northwestern Native American characters that appear in many folktales: Raven and Eagle. I devote a portion of my spare time to work on an independent video game featuring these characters and their folklore. Since I've recently moved to the Pacific Northwest, I hope to see this project through to fruition.

Matias Volonte '12

PhD student, Human-Centered Computing, Clemson University

Areas of interest: My interests at that moment remain almost the same. I love compsiting, developing, and visual effects in general.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I worked in a feature film called Metegol (Foosball) as a Jr. Pipeline TD and as a Stereo Compositing Assistant. After that experience, I worked as a compositing freelance for film and advertising.
Typical day at work: I work every morning as a video editor and producer for the College of Engieering and Science at Clemson University. After that, I attend classes.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Currently, I attend classes.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA built up my technical side and motivated me to learn the most I can about VFX.
Advice for DPA students? No matter what area of VFX a student is, the only way of achieving a goal is by working hard.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? www.matiasvolonte.com | IMDb | Linkedin

Mandy Morland '14

VFX Artist, The Coalition

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Effects.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Worked at PDI/Dreamworks for 8 months then moved to Vancouver to work for Black Tusk Studios. In the spring of 2015, I was hired by The Coalition (previously Black Tusk Studios) to work on the Microsoft/XBOX title Gears of War 4.
Typical day at work: Typical day involves using Unreal Engine 4 to create different visual effects for the Gear of War games.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I work on the Gears of War games.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA allowed me to explore and understand the wide world of visual effects. I ended up falling into the effects artist field but knowing all the other facets of production has helped me greatly.
Advice for DPA students? Don't be afraid to explore areas that might be intimidating to you. Try everything (animation, story boarding, rigging, effects) because every department works closely with all the others. You will be eternally grateful you know how other departments function even if you aren't part of them.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? mmorlandportfolio.wordpress.com

Brooke Buckley '14

Freelance Modeler / Texture Artist, Moondog Animation Studio

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Texturing/surfacing and now, modeling.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Well I got married and settled in to Charleston, SC. I started an apprenticeship with Moondog Animation Studio and started working on improving my modeling skills.
Typical day at work: A normal day starts around 9am and ends about 6pm. First I would check on any critiques/fixes on work from the previous day. Then it's time to start work. When a piece was ready for critique, I uploaded the work and notified my supervisor that new work had been added. Monday mornings were usually team meetings to give updates on what was expected for the week and keep everyone in the loop about other areas of the pipeline.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? We just finished up our 2 commercial spots for the SC Aquarium.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA gave me a great foundation and understanding of the pipeline and how my work fits in and gets passed to others. The 860 project definitely prepared me for my current work. Working on a project with a small team I learned to pitch in on other aspects of the project to get it done on time!
Advice for DPA students? Just because you graduate and get a job doesn't mean you're done learning. Never stop learning.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? www.bdbuckley.com

Michael Grant '04

Senior Manager of Instructional Systems Design, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My areas of interest initially joining the DPA program were 3D animation, user interface design and computer generated special f/x for motion picture and video games.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? During my last year in the DPA program, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to a highly selective graduate fellowship (GK-12) program through the National Science Foundation (NSF) where I was assigned to work with a middle school (6th grade) math teacher in Anderson, SC to assist with integrating more technology into the lesson plans and curriculum to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) awareness. Leveraging that opportunity with the middle school students, the idea for my DPA thesis project was spawned, "Integrating 3D animation Into K-12 Educational Curricula." I discovered the industry of Serious Games where I could use my training and skills in 3D software programs such as Maya, 3D Studio Max, After Effects, Flash, and Fireworks for rich media learning solutions and simulations for educational, corporate, and scientific instruction. - A serious game or applied game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, and politics.- Wikipedia. After graduating with my MFA in DPA in 2004, I became an instructor at ITT Technical Institute teaching interactive multimedia and later became Department Chair of the Multimedia and Digital Entertainment & Game Design program. In 2006, I won National Department Chair of the Year across all 120+ campuses nationwide. My career evolution has been in the world of high-end interactive eLearning and serious games for corporate, educational and non-profit entities. I was a contractor for the National Science Foundation on two large projects to create 3D interactive virtual worlds with Flash based lessons teaching Algebra concepts to inner city youth in Chicago. I have presented my research and projects at numerous world conferences for learning and development and won many awards for the serious games / high-end eLearning training programs that integrate 3D animation simulations and case studies that put technical information and concepts into context for adult learners.
Currently, I am the Senior Manager of Instructional Systems Design at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). I currently manage a team of 20 diverse professionals ranging from Learning Experience Designers, Graphic Designers, Interactive Media Developers, and Digital Production Specialists. My team just won our 3rd Global eLearning Program award at the Learning Solutions Conference in March in Orlando Florida.
Typical day at work: My team designs and develops premium interactive learning solutions (eLearning courses) for our 400,000 CPA members worldwide in the profession of accounting. We generate revenue in the high end courses we sell, using Maya, 3D Studio Max, After Effects, Flash, Captivate, and Photoshop to create rich media learning experiences working alongside Subject Matter Experts to create meaningful, memorable and compelling learning experiences that put concepts into context.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? We continue to explore new innovative learning technologies to fulfill course demands for the variety of portfolio topics in the profession of accounting. I absolutely love my career and am appreciative of the top notch education I received at Clemson University.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? My educational experience in DPA was amazing. It was an intense interdisciplinary curriculum that improved my foundation in computer programming, supercharged my existing knowledge of multimedia programs, and introduced me to new dimensions of learning in topics such as stage lighting and professional communication. The large scope team animation projects in DPA mirror the highly collaborative production model that my current team follows for high quality interactive animation based eLearning programs. Creativity is key once you know how to code and create/render computer graphics and leverage software tools. Creativity has always been one of my strengths. It has a strong link to strategic problem solving and I have been fortunate to marry my artistic creative talents with technical programming skills and mastery of interactive media software to transform the learning experiences for a variety of end users across many diverse industries and win some awards along the way.
Advice for DPA students? Follow your passions, diversify your learning opportunities, and gain as much exposure to any creative outlets as possible. Admire and follow creativity in art, music, programming, science, engineering, and technology. Watch the TedTalks, take some MOOCs on various topics, follow some innovators in the area you want to specialize in on Twitter and LinkedIn. So many valuable resources are tweeted and shared through social media channels. Be disciplined so that your focus is on your projects in the DPA program and the top notch education you are receiving. Maintain relationships and contact with your classmates, as these powerful skills will help give all of you a competitive edge in whichever industry you choose.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Linkedin

Ashley Anderson '14

Software Engineer, EA Sports Tiburon

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I'm into art, surfacing, lighting, compositing and writing code.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Finding a job and keeping up with my skills.
Typical day at work:I just started so I am not sure what my typical day entails, but I am excited to see what happens.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I'm working on the alpha for Madden 16.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Going through the DPA program gave me a well-rounded knowledge of artistic and technical skills. The program also taught me the values of perseverance and pride in one's work.
Advice for DPA students? Stay frosty.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Linkedin.

Celu Ramasamy '09

FX Artist, DreamWorks Animation

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Computer Graphics and Stereoscopic 3D rendering.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Working at Dreamworks Animation as an FX Artist.
Typical day at work:Working with the department head,Visual effects supervisor and the DIrector to help bring their vision to the screen through visual effects work.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Kung Fu Panda 3.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? The skills I learnt while working on animation production under a tight schedule helped to prepare me for my current position.
Advice for DPA students? Have a side project that you are really passionate about and use that project as your experimentation lab to learn the skills you are interested in developing.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Linkedin. Also, here's a recent news article with some info on some of my projects: link.

Yujie Shu '13

Technical Artist, NVIDIA

What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Working in California.
Typical day at work:Working in proprietary software and scripting in lua.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? NVIDIA Drive Design demos.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Helped me to build a solid foundation of computer graphics and technical skills.
Advice for DPA students? Try to explore new topics and areas, and apply your skills on new platforms. Make things look cool. Apply to internships in the summer.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? www.nvidia.com/object/drive-design.html

Serenthia Ross Gartrell '06

Director of Training, Massage Envy Spa Greenville

What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I have held positions mostly in higher education. Right after graduate school at Clemson, I took a full-time instructor position at ITT Technical Institute under the School of Drafting and Design teaching classes in graphic arts, animation and game design. After teaching full-time for a year, I was promoted to Chair, School for Drafting and Design. After working at ITT for 4 years, I decided to pursue other areas of higher education and started with the University of Phoenix in the Enrollment department. While at University of Phoenix, I pursued an additional Master's degree, Masters of Education in Adult Education and Training. I decided to start back teaching and begin at Webster University as an Adjunct Associate Professor, where I still currently teach all of the art courses, in addition to working in my current position.
Typical day at work: Training, training, and more training.....and compliance.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA helped prepare me to teach others to be successful in the field of graphic arts, animation, and game design. I use a lot of the concepts learned currently in my class curriculum.
Advice for DPA students? Work hard and stay focused, no matter how hard it gets. Going through the DPA program helped me realize how hard I could work through major obstacles and succeed.

Tony Liu '12

Technical Artist, EA Sports

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Games and animation.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I had been doing contractor work, freelance art, and indie development for some time before my current job.
Typical day at work: Typically, I spend the day writing and maintaining pipeline and animator tools as well as investigating any problems with tools or the game.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Currently working on future workflow tools for Madden 16 (and beyond).
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Gave me familiarity with 3D programs such as Maya and time to learn rigging, which is a fundamental tool.
Advice for DPA students? Even in an art-focused path, be sure to understand the basic technical aspects of 3d animation and rigging, it can make modeling or animating much less frustrating when you can anticipate why certain methods and procedures may cause problems and increase flexibility/efficiency when working.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? www.bokwon.net

Shirley Yu '12

eLearning Developer, Duke University

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I was interested in layout, cinematography, and using computer graphics in visual arts and nonfiction creative storytelling.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Recently, I participated in the POV Hackathon put on by PBS, creating an interactive experience. I teach graphic design at Clemson. I am an elearning developer.
Typical day at work: It could involve creating graphic design, building animations, shooting and editing video, recording audio, coding for the web, designing UX/UI, photography, managing users in learning management system, writing and planning educational content, developing curricula, meeting with clients, providing user support... all of these things can go into elearning.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Continuing towards completing the interactive experience the team and I started at the POV Hackathon. At Duke, I am building elearning on a variety of topics.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? I was taught how pixels are calculated to create the perception of an image to the human eye - with that knowledge, you can do anything digitally. It's not about learning software; DPA taught me how to use a computer like a painter uses a brush.
Advice for DPA students? When building your reel, concentrate your energy on making a bunch of small things look amazing as opposed to a couple of big things look good. Be kind to your fellow classmates and team members; these people will be your future co-workers and, if you're lucky, lifelong friends. A career is never a straight line; embrace the zigs and the zags. Learn to love what you do as opposed to only aiming for doing what you love; you'll discover there are a lot of great jobs out there that you may never have thought of before.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? heyshirleyyu.com | Twitter @sherryyo

Karen Stritzinger '14

Production Artist, Bespoke

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Lighting and surfacing.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Recently, I moved out to San Francisco to intern at a retail software company called Consensus doing presentation graphics and then came across Bespoke, my current employer, during SIGGRAPH at the DPA Alumni event.
Typical day at work: Each day we have a "daily standup" or a short meeting in which each team member discusses what they have done in the past day, what they are going to do today and what, if any, things are blocking them from getting work done. After this I will get started testing software for bugs and working on creating digital clothing. I work sometimes from our Oakland office and other days I am in the San Francisco location. I also have the flexibility to work remotely which is great.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Bespoke is working to create a website and application that allows users to try on digital clothing online to see if it fits. I am part of a team of five people responsible for figuring out how to digitize garments. My focus is on look development but I often do very different kinds of tasks in addition to this, which I really enjoy.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? The balance of technical and creative skills I developed during my coursework has been used to full advantage every day at Bespoke. I am often working on several very different tasks at once and need to be able to communicate with software developers about feature requests and to be able to troubleshoot bugs on my own.
Advice for DPA students? With the industry turmoil, it can be discouraging to see so many struggling to find work. I would recommend trying to keep an open mind about the type of work you may be doing, and push yourself out of your comfort zone while you are still in school to balance your technical and artistic skills. For example, I was intimidated at first by the technical nature of my thesis and discovered along the way that I was perfectly capable of doing the work. Not only did I learn so much more than I ever would have if I stayed in my comfort zone, but I graduated with the confidence to apply to many more kinds of jobs that I otherwise wouldn't have considered. In addition, there are a lot of really cool things going on in computer graphics outside of vfx and feature animation right now. It's actually a very exciting time because a lot of new applications for the technology are presenting themselves. Virtual reality and other tech companies often have a need for 3d work or digital artists. Places like Apple and Oculus are good ones to check out for these kinds of roles. Startups are popping up everywhere in SF that might need people with your skills!
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Unfortunately, until we have our product launch there won't be much to see online. We do have a signup webpage where you can add your email to our list and we will notify you when we launch at Bespoke.is!

Casey Johnson '11

Animation Technical Director, Reel FX

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I was interested in strengthening my technical skills.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I got a job as a pipeline technical director at Rhythm and Hues several months before I graduated. I was there till early 2013, at which point I went to Reel FX to work as an animation technical director.
Typical day at work: I troubleshoot technical issues for artists, work on the studio production pipeline, and build tools.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I am currently working on development projects for the studio.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA helped me get a better understanding of the technical side of the film industry.
Advice for DPA students? Pursue whatever interests you the most.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? IMDb

Chris Doehling '06

Multimedia Specialist, Design and Motion

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Modeling Texturing, Look Dev, Vis Dev. I did a little in other areas too.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? In 2006, I worked for Clemson in their multimedia services dept. In 2007, I worked for a small studio called Magnetic Dreams in Nashville, TN. In 2008, I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios in their talent development program in Look Development on the movie "Bolt". I returned to South Carolina and took up freelance illustration. Last year, I took a job at a small video production company, which makes some use of my animation skills.
Typical day at work:Video editing and motion graphics work for corporate video clients. Sometimes this involves 3d animation of industrial subjects. In my off hours, I do Illustration commissions.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Assorted illustration commissions, and editing a video demonstrating a new electronic method of doing daily improvement meetings at a local electronic components factory.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Pictured here: “A seamless tiling background pattern, featuring intertwining vines made of decaying anime-scifi-cyberpunk-techno junk.” See more at www.chrisdillustration.com.

Scott Johnson '13

Freelance Game Developer

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Game design.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Living in Charlotte, NC trying to develop a small indie game.
Typical day at work: Drawing, painting, coding games.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? A small roleplaying game focused on short games with high replay value.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA gave me confidence to dive into any coding project I want. I no longer feel intimidated by an unfamiliar coding language.
Advice for DPA students? Work hard: You get out of DPA what you put into it. Also, don't feel bad if you need to take your time; it's worth taking advantage of the experience of the teaching staff and the equipment while you have it.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.scottmjohnson.com | tumblr.

Jennifer Brola '02

Production Engineer, Blue Sky Studios

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Back then, I was pretty deep into modeling, lighting, and effects. Having jumped into Maya from AutoCAD, that makes sense to me now. However, I found all areas of the pipeline to be interesting, and that’s served me well within the industry.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? After doing a short stint as a multimedia developer with the IndependentMail, I jumped to New York as a represented consultant. I did small projects here and there, but my biggest clients were A&E Television Networks and Blue Sky Studios. I was bouncing back and forth, between Connecticut and New York City, until Blue Sky made me an offer. I’ve been working for them ever since. When I started working with Blue Sky, they were wrapping up on Robots. I’m credited on every project since then: Ice Age: The Meltdown, Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Epic, and Rio 2. The Peanuts Movie is due out later this year, and there are more projects in the pipeline.
Typical day at work: My title is Production Engineer, but what I do crosses a few different domains. I work with Systems/IT to maintain our web application servers, I customize our production tracking software, and I help to maintain our companywide intranet. Within those spaces, I support the needs of the floor and management across all active and indevelopment shows.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I’m always supporting all shows simultaneously, whether through production tracking system customizations or the creation of custom tools. One day, I might be making a system dashboard, and the next I’m pushing 100k+ changes through our database. Every day is different.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? A great university experience develops your ability to persevere, and it bestows a seed of knowledge from which you can continue to grow. That’s what DPA did for me. It provided a foundation, and from there I was able to find my way into feature animation.
Advice for DPA students? Make time for friendships. Be flexible in your career goals. Look for internship opportunities early. Be sure to go to Siggraph as you’re nearing your thesis defense. It’s a job fair for the industry, and you don’t want to miss it. And save as much as you can while your cost of living is relatively low. You’ll thank yourself later.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Linkedin

Ashley Troutman (Triplett) '09

Digital Arts Instructor, Thomas Jefferson School

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Animation.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? Immediately after graduation, I began the Animation Mentor program to develop more specialized animation skills. I also began working at International Game Technology (IGT) in Las Vegas, NV as a Technical Animator. I really enjoyed working at IGT; however, my then fiance received a job in St. Louis, MO so I moved there in January 2011 to join him. I began working off and on as a Contract Animator at Graphite Lab. At the same time, I began working as a bartender at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, a brewery that had just opened in January 2011. I completed Animation Mentor in January 2012. In the summer of 2013, I was approached by my husband's school to develop and teach a Digital Arts class. I began teaching this class (Digital Arts Teacher at Thomas Jefferson School) while maintaining my position at the brewery (Business and Marketing Operations Manager.)
Typical day at work: At Urban Chestnut, my primary employer, I work closely with the owners to ensure the business side of things is running smoothly. This involves a lot of administrative duties, such as accounts receivable and payable, internal communication, monthly tax reporting, managing our social media, retail area and donations, and organizing our various marketing opportunities. Often times, I create posters/flyers for our sales team to use in retail accounts. On Monday and Wednesday evenings, I teach the Digital Arts class at Thomas Jefferson School, a small private high school in St. Louis. I developed this class for the school and modeled it after DPA. Students spend the first semester learning how to use Maya. They then spend the second semester creating a short animated film.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I'm preparing the students' film for the school viewing next weekend and developing the syllabus for next year's class.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? I am so thankful I completed DPA. Not only was I able to pursue my passion for Digital Arts, I had the opportunity to develop my abilities to self-motivate, self-teach, and time manage. I use these latter skills everyday in my position at the brewery, and I believe they are the main reasons why I was able to move up from bartender to Business and Marketing Operations Manager. And as I mentioned earlier, I use DPA as a model for my own Digital Arts class at the school.
Advice for DPA students? My position at the brewery is definitely not what I pictured my self doing after DPA; however, it has been an extremely rewarding experience. I would advise current DPA students to always keep an open mind and consider all opportunities. You never know what might become available to you and where it will take you. Whether you realize it or not, you are not just learning how to become a Technical Director, Lighter, etc, you are learning how to self-teach and how to work closely with other people. These skills are not common to most people in the workplace, and they will set you apart.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
ashley-troutman.squarespace.com

Dan McCoy '14

Audio Engineer, USAF Band of Mid-America

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: My interests are photography and interactive digital art.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? After graduation I was House Audio Engineer for Clemson’s Brooks Center for the Performing Arts. During my time there, my wife and I welcomed our daughter Eleanor into the world.
Typical day at work: I’m the newest member of the band, and I’m not sure I’ve had a typical day yet. My work revolves around the band’s performance schedule, so I’m sometimes travelling to gigs and I spend other days doing prep work for those performances. I attend rehearsals, maintain and improve audio equipment, and ensure other band members have all the equipment they need for their jobs.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Recently, I’ve been going on small tours around the St. Louis, MO area with the Starlifter rock band and a group with more of a folk sound called Roots in Blue.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? In short, my DPA experience made my career possible. My job required that I first complete Basic Military Training. For most of my peers there it was the hardest thing they’d ever done, but I was prepared. Specifically, DPA taught me to accept criticism without taking it personally, to creatively redirect that criticism into improvement, and to use iterative problem solving. In any work environment, these are survival skills.
Advice for DPA students? My advice to current DPA students – because this was a significant challenge for me – is to seek balance and moderation in your life. Obviously, your classwork must be your priority, so make sure you’re sleeping enough and eating well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to coffee-powered coding sessions, but make sure you occasionally get out of the lab, too. Take your camera or your sketchbook with you while that shot renders. Upstate South Carolina is a beautiful place to learn to make beautiful images.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.facebook.com/BandOfMidAmerica

Gina Nearing '15

Assistant Technical Director, Double Negative

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Pipeline and surfacing.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? It's only been a few months, so most of my time has been spent moving to Vancouver and getting settled.
Typical day at work: Usually working through any tickets and requests that have been made of my by artists or my supervisor. Anything from creating a new tool, porting a tool over from another show, gathering data, and making sure files are where they should be. Generally ensuring that data is moving through the pipeline smoothly.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I finished work on Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and have started on a show called The Solutrean. Also, see a list of current projects on the DNeg webpage!
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? DPA helped me immensely. Between the visits and discussions with industry professionals, the production coursework, and the experience with a production pipeline DPA gave me a huge advantage.
Advice for DPA students? Try a little bit of everything the coursework has to offer - you never know when that programming class will help you down the road. Understand the pipeline, and understand that this is a chaotic and collaborative industry. Nothing is ever accomplished by a single person, and nothing goes as smoothly as you expect. But if you go into a situation knowing that, it becomes a lot easier to get past the frustration of something breaking and move onto the challenge of getting it to work.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
Linkedin

Kara Gundersen '15

PhD Student in Computer Eng., University of Florida

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: I enjoyed surfacing, lighting, and compositing the most.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I presented my thesis at SIGGRAPH and I am doing my PhD in Computer Engineering at University of Florida.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? I'm working on a video game that encourages girls to learn programming, user experience, as well as informal learning in theme parks.
Advice for DPA students? DPA is very self driven, and you will get out of it what you put into your work.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work?
www.karagundersen.com

Brianne Campbell '15

Media Graphics Manager, Clemson University Watt Center

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Texture/Surfacing, Project/Production Management.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I've stayed in the Clemson area, enjoying the summer weather before starting work.
What does your typical day involve? A typical day involves creating, gathering and editing content for the numerous displays, including a huge 24' x 209' media mesh on the side of the building. I'm often in meetings, discussing the direction of new technology, design/software needs and application.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Currently, I'm working on creating the display content that the collaboration rooms will default to that make use intuitive for visitors/students/faculty. I'm also creating test content for a 24' x 209' media mesh, 1 8k video wall and 3 4k video walls, as well as numerous 55", 70" and 98" displays.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? A strong understanding of creating a story using a variety of visual techniques, how to work within a strict deadline while achieving the highest quality work and knowledge of file formats I otherwise wouldn't have known about to achieve optimum quality. In addition, it gave me a lot of network opportunities within the University itself.
Advice for DPA students? Enjoy yourself while you are there, Clemson has a lot to offer, so embrace where you are right now, you will be in a big city eventually. Build relationships with your peers, go out together weekly (trivia, etc.), you'll be working as a team a lot. Not to mention, these are future industry professionals that you could network with, not your competition! Don't view school work as a task to complete, and don't let it consume you - life should be lived now, it doesn't start "when I get that big job," it's already begun. Every project is an opportunity to dive deeper and learn a new technique, use Digital Tutors - learn on your own and apply it! Don't give up: the first year is the longest, the second is the hardest, and the third year blinks by.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? Come on over to the Watt Family Innovation Center or view our website: clemson.edu/watt. I'll be managing all of the content there, but not all of it will be my work.

Zhaoxin Ye '14

Effects TD, Double Negative

Areas of interest when you graduated from DPA: Effects.
What have you been up to since you graduated from DPA? I've been at FX challenge at PDI from July 2014 to Feb 2015, then experienced the layoff and was looking for jobs. Now I'm at Double Negative at Vancouver.
What does your typical day involve? Working on shots and going to dailies.
What are you working on now if you're allowed to say? Fun projects.
How did DPA help prepare you for your current career? Practical experiences with production, pipeline and other group projects. Strong technical courses. Industry relations.
Where can we find more about you and/or your work? See my demo reel at zhaoxiny.com


CONTACT US

For all general inquiries, please email us at dpa@clemson.edu or call 864.656.5577

 

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