It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 3December! Wait, what? If you are interested in Visual Effects, Animation, Game Design, and more using 3D as a medium, 3December is the holiday for you! 3December is a worldwide celebration during the month of December dedicated to the 3D computer graphics industry. Events are held around the world with guest speakers, networking opportunities, and demonstrations. Most of these events are streamed online for the world to see.
RIT took part in 3December by inviting two guest speakers to share their stories and give some advice to students.
Lee Amarakoon is an RIT School of Film and Animation Alumnus (’02) now working in the game industry. Now working as a Visual Effects Artist on Offensive Combat by U4IA Games in Austin, Texas, he has worked on titles such as Hour of Victory, ALIENS: Colonial Marines, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Faxion Online and Pirate101. With a major in Film and Animation, Lee explained how his skill set from RIT made him successful in the gaming industry. He focused on using particle effects while at school, which proved helpful later on when searching for jobs.
Lee shared his story of traveling around the country, jumping from one project to another. He also explained how gaming companies use tests to decide whether or not they will hire you. A test is a assignment given to a possible hire to see if they fully understand the software and the style of the studio. For example, Lee had to do a test of an exploding car where the windows shatter and the tires pop.
Our second guest speaker, Angela M. Eliasz, has had over 20 years of experience in the film industry as a lighting and compositing artist. Born in Rochester, Angela started animation in Animatus Studios right in Rochester, NY. After falling in love with 3D animation after Toy Story was released, Angela decided what she wanted to do as a career. Angela has worked at DreamWorks Animation, and Sony Image Works. Her film credits include Harry Potter: Sorcerer’s Stone, Men in Black III, Spiderman 2 & 3, Open Season, Mega Mind, Hotel Transylvania, and The Croods!
Angela told her story of her breaking into Hollywood. She started at a studio in Hawaii for 3 years, but moved to Los Angeles after that. She explained that the film industry is moving from LA to Vancouver because of tax breaks for film companies there. Angela also told about her struggles of being a woman in the film industry early on, and how she kept focused and worked harder.
One thing both presenters made clear was how they picked where they wanted to work. Both admitted that early on they judged a company based on the games or movies they were producing. However, after being in the industry for years, both agree that it is the people that make working at a certain studio worthwhile, not the products. The presentations were a great insight in 2 very large industries that are similar in some ways but very different in others.