Media_Arts_Animation

Media Arts& Animation

I want to create my own future.

All kinds of industries—beyond just entertainment and media—need creative minds to bring ideas to life. Animators. 3D animators. Multimedia artists. Special Effects artists. Along with others, they put their skills and imaginations to work everywhere from film and TV to medicine and law. If you have the talent, passion, and tenacity to follow that career path, Media Arts & Animation degree programs can prepare you for a life of doing what you love. In our creative and supportive environment, you’ll use industry-specific hardware and software in an environment that’s as challenging and competitive as the real world. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It won't be easy. But nothing truly worthwhile ever is.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation

Outcomes

Program Objectives

  • Graduates demonstrate application of learned concepts from foundation level art courses. These would include: drawing, color, form, design, composition and foundation level digital art skills.
  • Graduates demonstrate an applied technical knowledge of animation tools and software according to current industry standards.
  • Graduates demonstrate a practical understanding and application in the principles of animation, acting and movement and cinematic storytelling as it relates to 2D and 3D animation (as applicable).
  • Graduates demonstrate professionalism, through the creation and presentation of a demo-reel and self-promotion package, according to current industry standards.
  • Graduates demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, plan, execute, and deliver quality animation projects.
  • Graduates demonstrate the ability to work on team-based projects.

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/50 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

It's sink or swim. And I'm ready to dive in.

As a digital storyteller, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of a highly competitive, fast-paced and constantly evolving profession. That’s why it’s critical that you immerse yourself in learning every creative and production phase—from concept through delivery. In our program you’ll start with fundamentals in drawing, composition, color, and design. From there, you can learn to express your ideas in pictures and words. You can create the characters and their stories, then bring them to life in the worlds they inhabit. You can compose the shots and sequences of action, then edit it into a presentation ready for any screen. You’ll work with the same kinds of technology professionals use. You’ll be challenged with assignments drawn from the real world, and you’ll collaborate with your peers, just as you would in a production studio. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • Cody Shuckhart

    Cody Shuckhart

    Digital Filmmaking & Video Production , 2015

    "The relationships with my teachers and [my fellow] students really helped to prepare me for the real world."

    Read More
    Cody Shuckhart

    Cody Shuckhart is a video production assistant for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s responsible for videography and editing. Cody’s work focuses on the team’s behind-the-scenes show, In the Room, for which he recently won an Emmy Award in the category of “Best Sports Programming - Cinematography.”

    Cody also earned an Emmy for “Best One-Time Special – Photography” for There’s No Place Like Home with Sidney Crosby. Both Emmys were awarded by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

    He admits that the long hours of his job were difficult to adjust to. But over time, he’s gotten used to the demanding schedule and is proud of the effort he’s put into building his career. “No company is going to want to hire someone who is only going to put half of the effort in. If you truly want something, you have to go all in,” he says.

    In his current position, Cody works to bring his own style to the videos that he creates. And he’s excited that he was able to transition from an internship position into a full time position with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “Getting hired by the Penguins was huge for me. I could not have planned it any better.” Now, he’s working to promote the new season for the defending Stanley Cup Champions. “I recently completed the Penguins’ newest ticket sale commercial. It was the biggest role I've ever had on any job.”

    Cody, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that his education prepared him for his career—especially the dedication of his instructors. “The relationships with my teachers and [my fellow] students really helped to prepare me for the real world.” Cody recommends that current students stay focused on their goals. “Work hard and always keep going.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/55 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Devin Hipp

    Game Art & Design , 2014

    "My education helped to introduce me to the game art creation workflow. It helped to moderate the steep learning curve and daunting work load [of this industry]."

    Read More
    Devin Hipp

    Devin Hipp is a project manager and 3D artist at Red Leonard Associates in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company is one of the largest manufacturer's representative agencies in North America. He’s responsible for 3D asset creation, architectural modeling and design, and team task delegation. “I am always trying to introduce my team to new techniques and skills I have learned while performing my duties at work, or while practicing on my own time at home. We are constantly sharing new ideas and workflows with each other to try and become more proficient with our projects,” he says.

    After being promoted to a production manager position, Devin was given many responsibilities and tasks that he wasn’t familiar with—creating challenges that he learned to overcome with time and practice. “I felt overwhelmed and wasn't confident in my ability to perform my job adequately. I spent a lot of time asking questions, and even more time studying up on my new responsibilities. I now am much more comfortable and confident.” Devin adds that when opportunities arise, they should be embraced—even if they’re difficult. “There isn't much that can't be overcome with good old fashioned hard work.”

    Devin says that the industry is extremely competitive. “There are countless people wanting the same job you do. If you aren't fully committed to learning the craft and becoming better every day, it's going to be insanely tough to find a job.” To keep himself ahead of the curve, he spends hours of his own time each day learning and practicing game creation. “I came to the school hours early almost every day, sat in a lab, and worked on personal projects. I uninstalled every game I had on my computer to reduce distractions, and just kept my nose to the grindstone.”

    Devin, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, credits his strong portfolio, created in school, for helping him to find a position in the game design industry. He recommends that current students actively seek the help of instructors and peers. “A big advantage you gain by going to school is being surrounded by people with similar goals and skill sets. Use your time wisely and absorb as much knowledge as possible.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/41 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Cheryl_Casey

    Cheryl Casey

    Fashion Marketing & Management , 1986

    "My education at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh steered me to take school seriously; I graduated with a 3.9. I am very proud of that!"

    Read More
    Cheryl Casey

    Business Manager for Neiman Marcus

    Cheryl Casey is a business manager for Neiman Marcus, responsible for managing sales, events, budgets, training and education, and working as a product specialist. She says that a typical work day involves checking in with her team to find out who needs assistance or tools, completing monthly budgets reports, checking in on international distributors regarding their marketing and sales needs, meeting with the design team on product and packaging development, and completing presentations for the board of directors quarterly update. She also spends time catching up on her emails from vendors, buyers, manufacturers, and sales teams.

    In her career, she’s worked for The Walt Disney Company, Fossil Inc., and Seiko Inc. She’s also worked in partnership with Warner Bros., Mattel, Pixar, Sega, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan—and helped to build the brands at Nordstrom's, Macy's, Costco, Walmart, and Target.

    Cheryl, who in 1986 earned an Associate of Science in Fashion Marketing from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that her education forced her to take school seriously. “I graduated with a 3.9 GPA [after not being] the best student in high school. Leaving my small town to live in Pittsburgh and attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh was my opportunity to excel so I could be something in life and have a successful career.” She explains that she didn’t have much money growing up and her parents could not afford to pay for her higher education. “I took out student loans to pay for classes so I learned very quickly that when it is your own money, you better spend it right and make it count!”

    She adds that she was motivated to study hard and stay focused on her goals. “I received an internship with Brooks Fashions, a small boutique chain back in the day, [while in school]. After graduation, I was accepted into the buyer-training program with Hess's Department Store corporate headquarters in Allentown, PA. Only a few of us were selected after an extensive interview process.”

    Cheryl describes herself as a visual learner who likes charts, graphs, pictures, slide shows, and videos. “When you interject learning with creativity and even a bit of humor, it can really impact your message. No two people learn the same way or retain information the same way, so finding ways to reach your audience is a lot of the battle.” She says that she once called the president of a company that she hoped to work for many times over the course of three months, just to get in the door. “Perseverance pays off. I’ve had to get creative in finding ways to network, get jobs completed, and drive sales. If you want it bad enough, it will happen.”

    She admits that it can be difficult starting a new job, but she recommends that new employees look, listen, and learn. “Listen for a long time. You'll know who is there to support you and help you out [and who is not]. Don't be too quick to judge others, as everyone has a story to tell. Don't be too quick to give up on anyone.”

    Her focus enabled her to earn a position with the Michael Kors brand in licensed watches. “Working with him and his design team was a great learning experience. Taking the product line to the largest watch show in the world on Basel, Switzerland for global distributor's presentations was scary and exhilarating at the same time. No one there knew me yet—therefore they didn't yet trust me.” She says that her confident presentation and communication skills helped her to win over her audience. “We put out a very unique, distinctive, nobody-has-this-look-yet collection. It was a success and distributed into more than 30 countries. I was proud to bring that good news to Mr. Kors, regarding his first venture outside of the USA.”

    See http://aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Christina_Tracey

    Christina Tracey

    Graphic & Web Design , 2010

    "The Art Institute of Pittsburgh helped me to develop the necessary skills, with the tools I needed, to enhance my creativity as a graphic designer."

    Read More
    Christina Tracey

    Graphic Designer at Wiley's Finest

    Christina Tracey is a graphic designer at Wiley’s Finest, a fish oil supplement company based in Coshocton, Ohio. She creates package designs, logo designs, and works on print and digital content projects. A typical day includes meeting with the company’s marketing coordinator, project manager, and CEO to discuss projects that promote the brand and support the company’s sales team. “As the [only] designer, I am making the greatest impact on the company's brand. I bring my ideas to the team [and they believe that] they’re impactful and beneficial to the company.”

    Prior to joining Wiley’s Finest, Christina worked as a marketing coordinator at Organic Technologies. She says that there will always be rough patches in a career path, but encourages others to stay positive and keep moving forward. “The best way to get through is to problem-solve, in your own creative way, and never give up.”

    She adds that she’s constantly being asked to make changes to her work and to meet tight deadlines. “Instead of panicking, I do what needs to be done in a short period of time—whether it’s getting help from others, or putting all other projects aside to get the one thing done that will take the most time and needs to be completed the earliest.” In addition to her full time job, Christina also freelances on nights and weekends. She says that freelancing allows her to excel in different creative outlets.

    Christina states that seeing her packaging design on store shelves is very gratifying.

    “It's also nice to hear from customers and the sales department that my designs are attractive and inspiring.” She continues to learn more about web graphics and integration, to keep up with current trends, and says that she’s also started to manage social media accounts that engage customers in a more interactive way.

    Christina, who in 2010 earned a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that her education prepared her for a creative career.

    “The [school] helped me to develop the necessary skills, with the tools I needed, to enhance my creativity as a graphic designer.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/938 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Dylon Mellott

    Game Art & Design , 2015

    "The art field is entirely self-motivated. You have got to want it more than anything else."

    Read More
    Dylon Mellott

    Dylon H. Mellott is a 3D artist at Marxent Labs, a company that creates 3D virtual products platform for retail and manufacturers, in Dayton, Ohio. “Marxent is a really unique place. I work with people my own age on some really cutting edge [projects]. It’s the kind of place where you get to work with your friends—but you’ve got to be humble and a team player. It’s about not putting up any barriers,” he says.

    Dylon works to create immersive 3D reality for clients. Because this is a ground-breaking field, it is challenging. “After getting my position at Marxent, I was quickly thrust into a lot of unknowns. I reached out to a [friend] and asked for professional advice. I solved the issue by doing research and getting advice from a more senior artist.”

    The demands of his career are high, and he cautions current students to be prepared for long hours and continuing education. “The 3D game art field it not for everyone. You truly have to commit your life to it. You have to put the time in during work hours and then go home and put in more hours. If you only do the bare minimum, you will simply not stand a chance of being employable.”

    Dylon, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that his education provided the environment he needed to grow as an individual and an artist. “I was able to engage with faculty and my peers, which was incredibly helpful to me.” He mentions the value of a strong portfolio, created during his years in school. “I put a lot of time and effort [into it]. My last year of school, I went to the Game Developers Conference. It’s one of the highlights of my life. I got to meet some of my art idols and my work paid off when a few of them recognized me from my online portfolio.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/41 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Jane Hallinan

    Interior Design , 2012

    "I play an active role in design kick-off meetings with each new client. I then collaborate with my architect co-workers on the solution from schematic design, through design development and construction drawings into final construction. I am involved in the entire process from A to Z."

    Read More
    Jane Hallinan

    Jane Hallinan is working as an interior designer at Fukui Architects in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She says that a typical day includes detailing construction drawings, sketching floor plans, participating in-house design meetings, selecting finishes, reviewing handicapped accessibility, field measuring, or drafting floor plans. “Each day, I could potentially be doing work for multiple projects including an outpatient facility lobby renovation, a restaurant, a corporate office building, or a local university.”

    In May 2015, Jane was given the honor of being named the International Interior Design Association (IIDA)'s 2015 Member of the Year. “This award was created to recognize and honor an IIDA member who has demonstrated outstanding volunteer service through his/her commitment, passion, professionalism and dedication assisting IIDA as it advances the interior design profession and advocates for interior design excellence,” she says. Jane was an IIDA campus center leader as a student and accepted the position of IIDA Pittsburgh city center director within six months of earning her degree. “I have helped to organize meaningful, relevant, and fun interior design industry events in our area for the last three years.” She’s currently the IIDA Pennsylvania/New Jersey/Delaware chapter president.

    Jane, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that she benefitted from the faculty’s extensive understanding of the value of participating and engaging in our ever-evolving industry. “They not only encourage, but also lead by example and promote professional events that students may attend. Instructors like Suzanne Sekula hold an impressive combination of current, real-work experience and the ability to educate the next generation of interior designers. [She] is a lead participant in extracurricular design events and networking opportunities.” Jane adds that her instructors inspired her to succeed in an increasingly competitive market with advanced certifications such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Associate. She says that interior design students need to make the most of opportunities—and seek them out on their own. “Become involved in the industry early and consistently throughout you school career and professional career. Join professional associations like IIDA and know that you can help individuals elevate their careers into those of industry leaders.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/49 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Kyle Roberts

    Graphic & Web Design , 2013

    "I've been illustrating since I was really young, so learning how to take those [drawings] and bring them into three dimensions was mind blowing."

    Read More
    Kyle Roberts

    Kyle Roberts is a special effects technician for Tolin FX and Squib FX in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kyle says that while his responsibilities vary from project to project, he typically is working as a make-up artist, fabricator, sculptor, illustrator, puppeteer, and in on-set special effects. He explains that his job is very demanding, typically taking over 10 hours per day.

    Kyle is proud to have worked on two special effects make-up jobs for commercials, as well as two feature films and a music video parody of “The Walking Dead” for “The Hillywood Show.” “I also got to be a part of distressing a costume for the film ‘The Last Witch Hunter.’ That was a dream come true.”

    His interest in film began when he saw “Pitch Black” starring Vin Diesel. “The characters, the world, the idea of the film and creatures especially sparked this interest in monster making. So I started to pay more attention to the monsters in film and started designing my own.” Kyle also finds inspiration in music and looks to the imagery used by Marilyn Manson. “His imagery in videos and even on stage is fantastic.”

    Kyle says that the best part of his career is that no project is ever the same. “The creative freedom is amazing. I love the teamwork aspect of it, too. More minds working on a single goal generally [leads] to a better outcome.”

    Kyle, who in 2013 earned a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that his education taught him to bring the monsters he drew on paper to life in the real world. “I’ve been illustrating since I was really young, so learning how to take those [drawings] and bring them into three dimensions was mind blowing—and proved that this career choice was attainable.” He adds that in school, he learned to fabricate and use machinery properly—including table saws, band saws, and a drill press.

    Kyle suggests that current students work hard and practice their craft. “That class that you think you probably don’t need may turn into something you’ll use a lot one day. Listen, pay attention, and soak up what the teacher is telling you.”

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/39 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Roberta Tabb

    Roberta Tabb

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2001

    "[In school], I learned the basics of graphic and web design and was introduced to working in teams. The most valuable part of my experience was having free time in labs, available any time I wanted."

    Read More
    Roberta Tabb

    Ecommerce Web Designer for Adrianna Papell Group

    Roberta Tabb is an ecommerce web designer for Adrianna Papell Group, a company that designs evening gowns, wedding dresses, shoes, and clothes, in New York City. She says that a typical workday includes brainstorming weekly email campaigns and creating new assets for the company’s website homepage. As the only in-house designer, Roberts meets with many company managers to plan out future creative projects.

    Roberta successfully launched the Adrianna Papell ecommerce initiative and is also responsible for creative assets across the brands Adrianna Papell, Aidan Mattox, and Aidan by Adian Mattox. She also oversees mobile design as well as landing page design and coding. Roberta assists with art direction, email, and special project marketing—and print design including retail look books, hang tags, and store signage.

    Prior to starting her current job, Roberta worked for New York and Company, Barnes and Noble.com, and Sales Graphics. She says that current students need to be diligent and determined. “While I was in school, I was convinced that I was only a mediocre student. Once I graduated, with much practice, I became a [strong] designer and developed from the basics that I learned in school.”

    Roberta, who in 2001 earned an Associate of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that her education introduced her to multimedia. “I learned the basics of graphic and web design and was introduced to working in teams. The most valuable part of my experience was having free time in labs, available any time I wanted.” She adds that her fellow students were always eager to help and share knowledge.

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/48 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • Pittsburgh Alumni Ryan Allen

    Ryan Allen

    Visual Effects & Motion Graphics , 2014

    "[My education] did help prepare me [for my career] by teaching me what I need to know."

    Read More
    Ryan Allen

    Ryan Allen is a paint and composite artist at Toronto’s Stereo D, a company that works with major motion picture studios, directors, cinematographers, and VFX supervisors to bring their vision of 3D storytelling to life. “In short, I make up information that isn't there when a 2D film is brought in 3D," he says. Ryan’s career is extremely fast paced, with shots coming in one right after another. "Be prepared in this industry for long hours."

    He’s proud to have started in the industry at Stereo D and finds creative inspiration by looking at things with “a different eye.” Despite the long hours, he describes his workplace as a somewhat relaxing environment. “Yes, there are long hours, but there are still fun times like Nerf wars, team contests, and decorating your desk along with the office for holidays.”

    Ryan, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, says that his education provided the foundation needed for his career. He encourages current students to always be open to new technology. “Each company has their own proprietary software so the learning never stops." Ryan also recommends that people new to the industry be persistent. “To get a job, you have to send out resumes every other day. Also network—find people in the industry and talk to them. Make a new friend [at work] because in-company references go a long way.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/56 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Media_Arts_Animation

I'm ready to start telling stories.

Our Media Arts & Animation curriculum will truly put you to the test. Because it was designed by industry experts to help put you in a position to succeed in field where the only limit is your imagination. You'll study:

  • Digital Imaging
  • Life Drawing for Animation
  • Character and Object Design for Animation
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Digital Editing
  • Computer 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Principles of Animation
  • Acting / Movement
  • 2D Animation
  • Storyboard Rendering for Animation
  • Camera and Lighting Techniques
  • Creative and Collaborative Project Management
  • 3D Modeling
  • 3D Character Animation
  • 3D Textures
  • Web Animation

I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Media Arts & Animation degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet Our Faculty

  • Mick Opalko

    Mick Opalko

    Graphic & Web Design

    "You need an insatiable desire to design the best possible solution for every product."

    Read More
    Mick Opalko
    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    It was when I realized that I saw people, buildings, and landscapes differently; I saw them as shapes, texture, lights and darks, colors, and subjects.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I remind my students that, in addition to creativity, it’s important to verbally and visually communicate a clear message. And doing that takes hard work, research, and always staying current.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


    I have students create a 3D point-of-purchase display. They start by choosing and researching a product and determining a message. They present thumbnail sketches for classroom critique, then revise their sketches for another round of critique. We go over materials, processes, cost, and feasibility. And finally they present their final display for final critique covering design, concept, typography, communication and craftsmanship.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Teamwork is all about sharing knowledge among students from different disciplines, and learning to communicate in a positive, effective way.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?


    The main thing I want students to remember is that people are important.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?


    You need an insatiable desire to design the best possible solution for every product.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I started my career teaching here 39 years ago. It’s made me a much better person, artist and, hopefully, mentor. Read More...
  • Andrew Briskar

    Andrew Briskar

    Digital Filmmaking & Video Production

    "Be ready to tackle the day's challenge."

    Read More
    Andrew Briskar

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I was young, my grandfather gave me some of his old stereo equipment, tape recorders, and microphones. I loved to connect and disconnect the components, listen to music and record songs from the radio. I realized my future was as a creative professional when I started to merge these skills and record my own music.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I started teaching after I’d worked a number of years for several production and recording companies. That experience taught me what it takes to succeed in the industry. I use it to teach students about industry expectations. My class assignments come as close as possible to the challenges they’ll face in the real world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In one of my audio production classes, students work on a challenging assignment in which they collaborate in a group, just as they would as part of a real-world production team. First, they replace all the sound in a given video clip. Next, they demonstrate their technical skills in the audio studio. They develop their creativity as they learn to listen critically and explore possibilities. They have to overcome many challenges simultaneously as they build the skills they’ll need in a career in digital production.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Students who collaborate with others, especially from other programs, are often able to produce their best work. If you can work as part of a team, recognize others’ talent, and be open to creative dialogue, you have a solid foundation for career success.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Be on time, prepared, and alert. Be ready to tackle the day’s challenge.

    Read More...
  • Angela Love

    Media Arts & Animation

    "Embrace the time it takes to master something."

    Read More
    Angela Love
    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a child, I was chosen to attend the Tam O'Shanter Saturday morning art classes at the Carnegie Museum—the same program Andy Warhol and Philip Pearlstein attended. I believe that set me on a creative path that led me here.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    The many professional contacts I’ve made in the local creative community help me seamlessly connect the classroom to the real world. I’ve been able to put my students together with external clients, and that exposure has provided valuable insight.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

    My Character and Object Design for Animation class not only teaches students to create a variety of characters, it helps them strengthen their own character. I start by challenging students to choose the grade they want; they then have to earn it through the work they put in. The tenacity it takes to reach their goal shows how much creative fuel they have in their artistic tanks. It’s proven to be a pivotal project—both for those who tackle it and for the ones who shy away from it.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Nothing prepares a student better for the real world of teamwork than collaborative projects. They get a chance to work on their soft skills along with their technical skills. They learn to work through their differences, understand the importance of being reliable, support each other, and share knowledge.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Tenacity. You have to embrace the time it takes to master something.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Accept that it's likely going to take longer than you think to get where you want to go.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s a privilege to help students progress through their chosen programs and find their creative paths. Read More...
  • Ed_Petrosky

    Ed Petrosky

    Digital Photography

    "Never stop learning. And never be satisfied."

    Read More
    Ed Petrosky
    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I always loved drawing and giving visual expression to my thoughts and ideas. When I took my first formal photography class at a local community college, I was hooked. I discovered that I could express my ideas and earn a living at the same time.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    There’s nothing more satisfying for me than seeing my students graduate and begin a career doing what they love most—taking pictures. As both a professional photographer and a teacher, I stress the importance of becoming a creative problem solver...and an artist who understands the tools of your craft. I emphasize the development of both skills and concepts; the first is superficial without the second, and the second is unintelligible without the first.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In Color Management/Printing, my students develop a series of photographs based on a project of their own choice. The only requirement is that they create a unified visual document for each component that adds to the overall message, while demonstrating mastery of color and printing techniques.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Considering the complexity of the skills it takes to work on a large-scale project, the ability to interact with others is critical. Teamwork encourages students to seek out others with specialized skills to solve problems. It not only builds interpersonal skills, but contributes to deeper learning.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Work hard, don't give up, and be persistent.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Never stop learning. And never be satisfied. Read More...
  • GamingTech

    Jeff Zehner

    Game Art & Design

    "Embrace change, because it often brings new opportunities."

    Read More
    Jeff Zehner

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I realized I had art skills when I won first place in a first-grade art contest.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I use the skills I’ve learned making four internationally-released games, as well as running my own company, to make the classroom experience as real and relevant as possible. And I’m able to offer insights into how the industry has changed over the last 25 years.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I usually fashion class assignments to reflect the kind of deliverables that’ll be expected of students once they’re working in the industry.

    In what way do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    I make it clear that I expect the quality of their work to be up to the industry standard. Students generally respond by striving to do their best—and they often surprise themselves.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Most jobs in the industry require working with others. Students should practice working together in teams to help prepare themselves for the real world.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    In this industry, change is constant. To keep up with all the advances in gaming, you need to keep learning.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Embrace change, because it often brings new opportunities.

    Read More...
  • VisualDesign

    Mark Bender

    A talented craftsman can find a job, but the creative thinker will have a lasting career.

    Read More
    Mark Bender

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    From the start, I’ve had an all-consuming drive to create imagery. You sometimes hear athletes say that it's not the winning that drives them as much as an unwillingness to lose. This is what I wanted to do since I was a kid—even if I didn't really know what an illustrator was. This was my passion. Nothing was going to stop me.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    The best way to motivate my students is to set an example, to continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing environment, and continue to work as a professional, bringing every aspect of those experiences into the classroom. My goal has always been to not only create memorable, striking visual images, but to put that same energy into communicating to the audience. An illustration that relies solely on stylish execution is just eye-candy, not true communication. I try to teach my students that same appreciation for the process of crafting an illustration: thumbnails, research, drawing, and technique. My mentoring has only strengthened my beliefs by showing me how that process succeeds time and again.

    How would you describe your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    For me, nothing prepares students for success more than the opportunity to create artwork for real-world applications. That bridge from the classroom to working with actual clients can be huge for their professional development. With the right guidance and preparation, students have shown that they can thrive in the industry. The exposure, time management requirements, and excitement of creating professional work can give them life-long confidence.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    With so many creative students from various disciplines in the same space, you can't help but be inspired by one another. The more you’re exposed to different skill sets, the more appreciation you have for the depth of their efforts. The networking process for their future careers starts right here. That designer who helped you with your logo and identity package may hire you one day for your photography skills.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    A designer or illustrator needs to be more than just a pair of hands; they need to be the conceptual driver of the project. A talented craftsman can find a job, but the creative thinker will have a lasting career. My goal is to build a student’s sense of personal responsibility and visual vocabulary while nurturing their confidence and expressive abilities so they can become effective communication professionals.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    My passion and respect for the art form drives me to help create the next generation of life-long learners and visual communicators.

    Read More...
  • Fashion

    Rikki Hommel

    Fashion Design

    "Learn how to take constructive criticism—and how to give it."

    Read More
    Rikki Hommel

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As soon as I stepped into the classroom.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My experience allows me to hold students to industry standards, and it means I can share relevant examples that ground the learning in the real-world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I try my best to get the students involved with their projects by building assignments around ideas that inspire each of them. I don’t put any major restrictions on them, and that frees students to take more ownership of their work.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Learn how to take constructive criticism—and how to give it.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Meet deadlines. And work not just as an individual, but as part of a team.

    Read More...
  • Shawn O

    Shawn O'Mara

    Graphic & Web Design

    "You need to be in love with graphic design and this industry."

    Read More
    Shawn O'Mara

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    That was when I first started here at Ai Pittsburgh, and I found out that people actually get paid to do what they love.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I own a design studio on the South Side. So my classroom lectures are based on the real world, drawing from my professional work and my interactions with my clients. I make sure that my coursework reflects the changes in the industry.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    All my assignments focus on brainstorming and coming up with concepts. I think pushing students to deliver solid concepts and tight thumbnails can help them achieve personal success.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Several of my classes, like Design Studio (a simulated ad agency) and PGHYOU magazine (a publication- building class), bring students from different majors together. They get hands-on practice working with other professionals, which they’ll need when they enter the workforce.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    You need to be in love with graphic design and this industry. But don’t fall in love with any of your designs, because it all comes down to what the client loves.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I’ve taught here for over 25 years. I’m so proud of all the amazing designers that I’ve helped to enter their dream career field.

    Read More...
Miami International University of Art & Design alumni Marlon Munoz I'm challenged by the opportunity to take my ideas and bring them to life. Marlon Munoz
Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Miami International University of Art & Design, 2008