Art of Animation and Story Telling – The Rhode Show

WPRI’s The Rhode Show had a fantastic segment about animation and gaming aired on Thursday, February 26, 2015.

“Story and Animation Masterclass” completely sold out last time so early registration is recommended. For the workshop curriculum and registration information, visit www.neit.edu/animation or contact Cheryl Booker, Training Coordinator at New England Tech, at 401-780-4345 or cbooker@neit.edu.

Animation Masterclass – Register Early

Steven H. Kitchin, Vice President for Corporate Education and Training at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), announced that the college has once again been selected as an exclusive host site for an exceptional two-day workshop, “Story and Animation Masterclass.” This workshop is scheduled for April 10-11, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at New England Tech’s East Greenwich, Rhode Island campus located at One New England Tech Blvd. Two top professionals from Pixar Animation Studios, Matthew Luhn and Andrew Gordon, will share their creativity and expertise. 

Luhn and Gordon will enlighten participants with the tools needed to help create original stories and feature-quality animation. Individuals will also have a unique opportunity to meet and network with others in the animation industry.

Matthew Luhn began his career at Pixar Animation Studios in 1992 as an animator on the first Toy Story film. Since that time, Luhn has developed stories and characters for four Academy Award® and four Golden Globe-winning movies. His credits include all three Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, UP, Monsters University, Toy Story of Terror! and The Simpsons.  With more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Luhn has been inspiring and teaching directors, writers, storyboard artists, animators, and business professionals all over the world on how to create successful stories with memorable characters through these workshops.

Andrew Gordon has been animating characters professionally for more than 20 years.  He joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1997 where he has been an animator for feature films such as, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 & 3, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. 

He was the supervising animator for the Academy Award® nominated short film Presto. Since 2000, Gordon has been teaching animation workshops throughout the world including the Far East, Europe, Australia, and Canada.

“Story and Animation Masterclass” will appeal to a wide audience at all levels of skill and experience including 2D/3D animators; character designers and artists; writers, script and story writers, and storytellers; filmmaker and developers of feature films, short films, on-line works and websites; developers and designers of video games, on-line games and mobile apps; authors and publishers; storyboard artists, cartoonists, illustrators and graphic designers; software developers especially for 2D/3D animation, modeling, composing, motion,  VFX, simulation and rendering; students and educators; and animation/story enthusiasts.

Kitchin stated, “In 2012, Matthew and Andrew presented a workshop at New England Tech and captivated the participants with their knowledge and creativity.  We are thrilled to have them back for an encore as part of our 75th Anniversary series of workshops and events. This truly is a rare and exciting opportunity to learn from the industry’s top talent.”

“Story and Animation Masterclass” completely sold out last time so early registration is recommended. For the workshop curriculum and registration information, visit www.neit.edu/animation or contact Cheryl Booker, Training Coordinator at New England Tech, at 401-780-4345 or cbooker@neit.edu.

Gaming Graduate Success Story!

Chris Lopes shares his road toward success, including his stop at New England Tech.

Chris Lopes, New England Tech Graduate

From 2000 to 2008. I was a Cryptologist in the U.S. Navy, specializing in Direction Finding. After nearly 8 years of honorable service, I opted to get out and go to school. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from New England Institute of Technology with a 3.2 GPA. My major was Game Development and Simulation Programming technology.

After graduation, I worked to stay afloat while I pursued my dream. After a handful of turn downs from various game companies in the vicinity of my hometown and over a year of working jobs I hated, I decided to take the leap and vastly expand my job search radius.

I applied to a number of places in Northern California and Washington State, and got the call from Bungie thanks in large part to some networking and luck, and eventually got my first gig in gaming.

I started out as a Progression Tester, ensuring the flow of the game was working as intended. Only recently, I seized an opportunity working in the Visual Development department. Now I have the pleasure of helping to capture some of Bungie’s greatest moments for the world to see.

TL; DR – Life is good here at Bungie making video content.

Power Game Day a huge success

The Video Game Design Technology program held its 5th Annual NEIT Power Game Day on October 24th with a record audience in attendance. Students were treated to industry insights from speakers from Sonalysts Studios, Defective Studios, WGBH Digital, Dassault Systemes SIMULA, Muzzy Lane Studios, Fablevision, Disco Pixel, VT MAK DiGuy, and animator and NEIT adjunct instructor Pete Paquette.

During the mini-trade fair, students interacted with the speakers to gain additional information and to network. Several student teams exhibited games they had created and developed in their coursework, getting valuable feedback from the crowd of game testers.

Evening video game tournaments were sponsored by NEIT’s Game Developer’s Network Student Club. The event was a fundraiser with all proceeds going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the national “Extra Life” gaming marathon fundraisers. Winners were crowned in three tournament games, Guitar Hero, Super Mario Brother’s Smash Mouth, and Injustice.

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Global Game Jam is set to return in 2015

For the Fourth year in a row, New England Institute of Technology is set to host Global Game Jam from January 23 to January 25, 2015!

Rhode Island Global Game Jam at New England Tech

For 48 hours teams from across the country and around the world will collaborate to fully conceptualize and develop a video game, from start to finish.

2014 Global Game Jam - Rhode Island - New England Tech

If you’re interested in participating in Game Jam at the New England Tech campus, you’re in luck. We’re currently accepting registrations. You do not need to be a New England Tech student, however you must be at least 18 years old. If you decide to participate at New England Tech you’ll have access to our cutting edge computer labs (11 PC labs and 3 Mac labs!) and facilities, as well as refreshments throughout the duration of the Game Jam.

Click here to register to participate at New England Tech!

Chris Arsenault named Assistant Professor

Chris Arsenault has been an adjunct instructor in Information Technology, teaching programming for game development since 2009, including game persistence and game architecture at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art with a Computer Science minor from Rhode Island College and has put both his artistic and technical talents to use in a variety of occupations. As a self-employed producer/photographer/artist, he has produced high quality bridal, family, and event photography as well as media production, slide shows, presentations, videos and websites. In addition, he has been a software engineer and the architect of an extendable screensaver framework, which served as the primary product foundation of a software development/new media company.

As an independent author/developer, he worked on improving multimedia authoring tools, 2D animation systems, and plug-ins to provide end users with very rapid multimedia design software. Chris has also done instructional design at GTECH, creating and teaching a course for lottery systems operation that was modular and adaptable to customized instruction. At Rhode Island College, he was Development Manager for Project Clio, producing a computer-based introductory Western Civilization course, used at over ten colleges and universities nationwide.

Virtual reality entrepreneur sees opportunity for jobs – Warwick Beacon

Here is another great story about a virtual reality start up Nexperience, which New England Tech Game Development and Video Game Design students have been working with at interns. Todays startup is tomorrows Google so it is a fantastic opportunity for our students get involved at the ground level.

From the Warwick Beacon:

VIRTUAL REALITY: Nexperience, which just opened in the Warwick Mall, allows people to try and buy their new virtual reality software. Pictured from left to right is Sean Couepel, Aaron James, Tayla Manson, Jack Kayrouz and Alan Caprio.

Roller coasters, space travel, ping-pong toss, and Rhode Island have a lot in common. The connection? Nexperience’s virtual reality programs.

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated experience that can visually transport an individual to another real or imagined world.

Nexperience, which opened in the Warwick Mall Aug. 1, allows individuals to try their virtual reality systems using the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head set. By placing the Oculus Rift over the eyes with headphones, individuals are exposed to a separate reality from the one around them. The software costs only $7 and can be bought at the Nexperience Kiosk closer to the Target side in the mall.

The programs Nexperience has created are a roller coaster, a drive through space, a walk through Providence and Waterfire. Nexperience also, with the help of motion sensors, has allowed for gaming capabilities with their software; thus, the experience goes beyond a visual experience; a computerized reality that can be interacted with.

Tayla Manson tried out the roller coaster ride software. Her head moved from side to side and at one point her hands even flew up into the air.

She said, “This is absolutely amazing. Everything you see and hear, it’s exactly like really being on a real roller coaster; it even feels like it.”

Aaron James, Kevin Murphy and Eric Hall partnered together to begin Nexperience. They reached out to game development and simulation programming majors at New England Institute of Technology (NETECH).

Fifteen students participated in a four-week “hackathon” where they worked ceaselessly to design and produce virtual reality software.

This is the software you can try and buy at their kiosk.

James explained that many of the NETECH students have become part-time employees for Nexperience. The mall kiosk is to help the students have a job where they can put into practice all of their education while also helping fund the next step in their lives.

James said, “We wanted entrepreneurial students. They have basically employed themselves. They took it upon themselves to test and showcase their hard work. We have really talented students in this state.”

After the 38 Studios debacle, James said it will be a long time before any gaming or tech company wants to come to Rhode Island.

James said, “We want to restore hope and faith in Rhode Island and its tech community.”

Virtual reality is still a relatively new technology, but in the past few years it has begun to grow rapidly.

James said, “We all wanted to jump on the rising tide of virtual reality before it explodes.”

Nexperience is working with different companies sharing its technology. They have had discussions with NASA, whose virtual reality program has only two developers compared to Nexperience’s eight.

Virtual reality has many real uses beyond fun experiences and gaming. The software can help train first responders for natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other instances without any danger. They can visually see, hear and assess a scene without the cost of hiring people and renting places to do the training.

There is hope that virtual reality will also be able to better assist scientists handling robots in space.

There is also opportunity for virtual reality to soar in tourism. Travelers could explore their destinations and hotels before booking or leaving for their trip.

Virtual reality is just beginning to reach a consumer level and both James and his team believe virtual reality is about to take off.

James said, “We wanted to get into this business before it explodes hitting the consumer market. We could be the leading programmers.”

Nexperience is on the cusp of virtual reality technology and is sharing it with Rhode Island. They are looking to expand their business as well as their technology.

Nexperience is looking for help in expanding, the main reason they began selling their software, but they are also looking for donations.

For more information on Nexperience or to donate to their cause, visit their kiosk in the Warwick Mall or their Kickstarter fundraiser page on their website at www.Nexperience.technology. They also have a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.

via Virtual reality entrepreneur sees opportunity for jobs – Warwick Beacon.

 

R.I. company’s product line close to becoming reality

VIRTUAL REALITY: Nexperience, which just opened in the Warwick Mall, allows people to try and buy their new virtual reality software. Pictured from left to right is Sean Couepel, Aaron James, Tayla Manson, Jack Kayrouz and Alan Caprio. Photo from The Warwick Beacon – Kelcy Dolan

New England Tech is Game Development and Video Game Design students have enjoyed their time interning for Nexperience and have found it to be a very rewarding experience.  Today’s start up could be the next Apple and these students are getting an opportunity to contribute at the ground level.

From The Providence Journal:

Shoppers at Warwick Mall get to test virtual reality software produced by Nexperience

By BARBARA POLICHETTI JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

WARWICK — The Warwick Mall carousel, tried and true with its poised steeds, had its fair share of riders Sunday as a gray day drew people indoors.

But some bypassed the merry-go-round and found a very different kind of ride when they stopped at a new kiosk in the mall that showcases the virtual reality software of a new Rhode Island-based company that hopes to make a name for itself.

Nexperience opened its kiosk — or “tech pod” — a couple of days ago to give people a chance to try out the virtual reality experiences it is creating.

People were invited to have a seat, pop on a special mask and headphones and then hop on a stomach-lurching roller-coaster ride through prehistoric terrain or take a more relaxing option and glide past the planets.

“Whoa!,” was the most frequently uttered exclamation as people grabbed the edge of their seats as they gazed into the electronic goggles that had them believing that they were being hurled about on a wild roller-coaster ride.

“Oh my goodness, it was so life-like,” said Staci Kolb, of East Greenwich, after she had watched her 11-year-old son, Christopher, laugh his way through the ride.”

“I felt like I had to hold onto the chair,” said Kolb, who also tried out the virtual ride.

“It was really like being on a roller coaster,” said Christopher, who then asked his mom if they could buy one.

Soon, but not yet.

Aaron James, one of three Rhode Islanders who recently launched Nexperience, said that the company hopes to have its virtual reality products for sale soon and predicts that they will be “hot items” come Christmas.

The company creates the visuals and the software that is teamed up with a special headset created by another company, Oculus.

James said that although Nexperience is new, its goals are big and potential product line limitless.

Virtual reality games are a first option because fun is a great way to introduce people to the technology, said Kevin Murphy of East Greenwich, who along with James and Eric Hall is a founding member of the company.

He was at the mall Sunday watching his 7-year-old daughter, Mary Grace, giggle as she “rode” the volcanic roller coaster over and over.

“It’s just like watching her play with blocks or a ball for the first time,” he said. “There is that sense of awe.”

James and Murphy said that beyond games, they have other plans for the technology. The virtual reality experience has many uses in education, they said, and also in job training.

Sensors put on participants can track how they respond to different scenarios, James said, noting that he thinks that Nexperience is capable of developing effective training software for firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other “first responders.”

The company currently has work space at the Hatch Entrepreneurial Center in Providence and is staffed by five employees, who are augmented by more than a dozen interns from the New England Institute of Technology.

James said that the company is seeking corporate sponsors and plans to launch an Internet fundraising drive shortly.

“From education to entertainment, there really are an infinite number of possibilities,” Murphy said.

 

RI gaming-industry dream alive

Great story in the Providence Business News highlighting the Gaming Industry in Rhode Island. It isn’t all about Curt Shilling and the failed 38 Studios. Hopefully these independent game developers will successfully blossom into a major players in the gaming world.  Effectively changing the local conversations surrounding the gaming business away from 38 Studios.

PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO A NEW GAME: Jacob Brennan created his real-time, multiplayer cooperative role-playing game “Casual Quest” in two weeks with little more than a hobbyist’s knowledge of game design and self-taught programming skills. Brennan counts himself among the small group of independent video game developers in Rhode Island.

From PBN story by Kaylen Auer:

“When 38 Studios joined the mix, it was incredibly exciting for everyone,” said David “DJ” Johnson, assistant professor in the New England Institute of Technology video game design program. “Wherever there’s a large studio, within a couple of years there are more studios. We wanted to make that possible. We wanted to facilitate the expansion of the craft in Providence.”

Johnson was among the earliest members of the Rhode Island chapter of the International Game Developers Association. Founded in 2011 by Geraldo Perez, the Ocean State group looked to advance the games industry in the state and create a social-gathering place where 38 Studios employees who relocated to Providence from out-of-state could meet with other gaming enthusiasts – and recruit people like Perez to work for the company.

“None of us believe that another company would [relocate to the city], nor do we believe the citizens of Rhode Island would be able to have the stomach for that,” he said. “The game industry really took a black eye, so every game company is [perceived as] some kind of flim-flam artist. … I’m reserved about mentioning that I’m in the game-development industry because it will lead to a conversation about 38 Studios.”

Despite the fallout, Johnson does expect to see a “serious game company” emerge from within the state in the next year.

Kevin Murphy, Eric Hall and Aaron James have set out to build that company in downtown Providence. Their joint business venture, Nexperience, bills itself as a cutting-edge, game-development company focused on designing virtual-reality experiences for the Oculus Rift headset.

Hall studied the evolution of the Oculus technology – and the market potential for a company in the virtual-reality arena – for two years before bringing his business idea to Murphy, a fellow Rhode Island attorney and one of the co-founders of Hatch Entrepreneurial Center in Providence. James, a serial entrepreneur who came together with Murphy and Hall to launch the venture a few months ago, said Nexperience plans to piggyback on the momentum that Facebook’s recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus will drive for virtual-reality development.

To read the entire article visit: R.I. gaming-industry dream alive – Providence Business News.

Girl Code: How Teens Are Breaking Barriers in the Tech World | TeenVogue.com

What can we do to help increase the number of girls that enter career paths that involve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers? Being a ‘techie’ doesn’t have to be for boys only.

From Teenvogue.com:

Photo: Getty Images; Art: Ashley Minette

These days, most everyone is tech-savvy—from being up to date on the coolest gadgets to hopping around on social media, it’s hard not to be. But as much as these things are an integral part of daily life, women are still woefully underrepresented in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—fields.

Only one-quarter of all computer science jobs are held by women, and the statistics aren’t improving: According to research, only 14 percent of all comp sci graduates last year were female. While the numbers can be discouraging, there’s a new crop of girl coders making themselves known in the tech world.

Jackie, 22, is one of them. She believes there’s a cultural stigma about girls in tech and admits to being a “secret coder” for years because she didn’t see herself in a profession dominated by “greasy dudes in old hoodies, crowded around a computer screen in a dark room.” Casey, a high school junior, says it’s a hard-to-break cycle. “Girls aren’t brought up to aspire to be in STEM, and we don’t have many role models,” she explains. “It’s hard to spark widespread interest: Not a lot of girls are in coding because not a lot of girls are in coding.”

Jackie’s desire to code began when she wanted to start a blog but was unsatisfied by the template designs available. She decided to customize her own by following tutorials online, and though she found the step-by-step instructions tedious at first, she learned to write her own code—and love it. “It’s like creating high-concept art,” she says.

LaTorria, an engineer at Microsoft, agrees that creativity is key. “Coding is similar to learning a new language,” she explains. In fact, when you code, you’re often writing in what are called programming languages. “Once you learn the language, you can speak it, or in this case, tell the code what task you would like the computer to perform. The interesting part about coding is discovering how truly creative you can be when you get over the initial challenges.”

Sixteen-year-old Ming taught herself to code in first grade using the MIT program Scratch, going on to learn languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. “For me, the most interesting part is the logic,” she says. “I love solving puzzles. That’s pretty much all coding is, detangling the different elements, getting them to line up, and then having them all work together.”

via Girl Code: How Teens Are Breaking Barriers in the Tech World | TeenVogue.com.