COMPUTER ANIMATION TRAINING: AN ART OF THE FUTURE

Feature films, independent projects, video and computer games, engineering, and biomedical applications are all becoming increasingly dependent upon computer-generated imagery. 3D animation and special effects in movies, television, advertising, and in cyberspace are becoming increasingly crucial to the success of projects in the entertainment industry. With the advent of exciting new software and affordable hardware, what used to be a specialty for only a select few has now become a viable career venue for anyone interested in creating the kind of effects seen in The Titanic, Godzilla, Independence Day, Jurassic Park, and more.

As scores of individuals are preparing themselves for a rewarding career in this powerful medium of computer animation, many are looking to universities to provide the kind of training they need to succeed in this challenging field. As the award-winning multimedia and production unit within University College and Extension Services (UCES) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), the Advanced Media Production Center (AMP) offers top-of-the-line training in the leading computer animation software and hardware.

With high-end Silicon Graphics workstations as well as state-of-the-art Windows NT Pentium Pro computers, AMP has provided training for many of the biggest names in animation and visualization, including NBC, CBS, Hughes, NASA, Digital Equipment Corporation, Sega, Digital Domain, JPL, and Boeing.

AMP offers a wide variety of training options, from "getting started" courses in Kinetix 3D Studio Max and Microsoft SOFTIMAGE 3D, to intensive week-long certificate programs Media and customized training.

AMP is an Authorized Training Center for Alias/Wavefront products, an educational partner with SOFTIMAGE educational program facility, and one of only eight Kinetix Solution Centers nationwide.

One new software application being taught is NewTek LightWave 3D, which gives users an easy way to create the most sophisticated 3D animation imaginable. Its easy-to-use layout and modeling system delivers the ultimate in creative control, not to mention flexibility. NewTek worked with Hollywood studios (Will Vinton and Digital Domain) to improve LightWave 3D.

The Advanced Production Center's experienced staff provides superior videoconferencing development and production. The AMP Center uplinks to all domestic satellites via dedicated microwave, with a back-up system to insure that the programs reach their intended audience. The latest CODEC-based technology supports two-way videoconferencing and distance learning . . . across town or across the world.

For more information on the Advanced Media Production Center, University College and Extension Services, CSULB, check out the website at http://www.amp.csulb.edu.

Information for this article was provided by Cal State Long Beach.

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