As a physics professor, I am often asked “What can physics majors do after graduation?” I’ve tried to use the FPF web site to illustrate some of those options – law school, engineering, and information technology in addition to pursuing a Ph.D. in physics or a related field.
Here is something a little different: Mandy Morland, FSU Physics B.S. ’11, is a student in Clemson University’s Master’s program in Digital Production Arts. This week, she is heading to DreamWorks in California after being chosen in the DreamWorks Effects Challenge 2014 Competition.
I’ll let the Clemson public relations people tell the rest of the story below. The picture is from Clemson – Mandy is on the left.
You can see Mandy’s master’s thesis demo, “Particle System Interaction with Motion Captured Mesh,” here.
Three Clemson Digital Production Arts students, Mandy Morland, Zhaoxin Ye, and Anuradha Pinisetty, were selected this year by DreamWorks Animation SKG in their worldwide DreamWorks Effects Challenge 2014 competition. This is a highly competitive program, typically selecting only five or six students from around the world. This is a record for Clemson. The DPA program regularly has students admitted to the FX Challenge, but the previous high in one year was two. The FX Challenge is a six month paid training program that is the fast track to a career in Visual Effects within DreamWorks, one of the top animation companies in the world.
Amanda “Mandy” Morland, Zhaoxin Ye, and Anuradha Pinisetty will head to Redwood City, California to begin their training on July 14 at DreamWork’s PDI Division. After six months, assuming successful completion of the program, Mandy and Zhaoxin will be placed in positions in either the Redwood City or Glendale, California studios. Anuradha is slated to be located in DreamWorks’ newest studio in Bangalore, India. All three recently completed their thesis work in key areas of Effects. Mandy developed an approach to integrating real-time particle system simulation with motion captured human motion, Zhaoxin investigated techniques for volumetric rendering and animation of clouds, and Anuradha worked on digitally recreating, animating and simulating costumes from a stage production. Their outstanding thesis work provided key elements for their visual portfolios submitted to DreamWorks for the selection process.
The DreamWorks website states that the FX Challenge is an intensive six month training program, it is designed to give recent graduates a firm knowledge base in the concepts critical to the design and animation of Visual FX in CG feature animation. The program covers programming, drawing, rendering, compositing, animation, simulation, and the fine art of taking direction. Critical to success is not only the commitment to learning new and potentially foreign concepts, but also the ability to work within a production team environment and seek advice from experts. We are looking for recent graduates in the fields of computer science or the visual arts who can demonstrate significant work in both fields; essentially programmers who create works of art or artists who can write their own programs. We’re looking for people who can imagine cool new ideas by combining disparate forms and approaches and then build beautiful images from them.