“From Production Artist to Educator: Preparing for the Change” Moderated by

  • ©Ed Kramer, John Andrew Berton Jr., Vince de Quattro, Tad Leckman, Terrence Masson, and Tim McLaughlin



Entry Number: 04


    From Production Artist to Educator: Preparing for the Change




    There have been a number of paradigm shifts in the Computer Graphics industry over the last decade which have fundamentally changed the nature of employment and career stability. No longer can a CGI Artist expect a career path as a full-time employee for a single company for an extended period of time. Globalization, the proliferation of tax incentive programs in certain countries, lack of adequate CGI artist protections or organization, tightening of budgets by Studios with unrealistic production expectations, the ubiquitous nature of formerly-specialized high-end graphics software and the logarithmic rise in computational power and data storage capacity, at lower relative cost, have all contributed to a marketplace increasingly open primarily to a younger, more agile and mobile workforce. 

    For these, and a variety of other more personal reasons, many seasoned veterans of the Production world have begun considering a career shift into the scholarly realm of Higher Education. Whether for family stability, the desire to pass one’s personal torch of expertise to a new generation, the gratification of launching careers for the best and brightest students, the desire to do academic research on specialized topics, or the sheer joy of molding a student into the right kind of professional, this panel will share their personal experiences about why they moved from production to education, and enlighten us with anecdotes about life in the University and other educational environments. 

    The panel will feature the following speakers: Ed Kramer (Art Institute of Colorado), Moderator, and Panelists John A Berton, Jr. (Drexel University), Vince de Quattro (Independent Education Consultant), Terrence Masson (Northeastern University), Tim McLaughlin (Texas A&M University.) and Tad Leckman (formerly Academy of Art University, currently Senior Training Manager, Blizzard Entertainment) This renowned group of former Senior Artists all worked at Industrial Light + Magic for a significant period of their careers, and their names grace the credit lists of many of the most well-known Visual Effects movies in film history. At one time, each panelist had his own Senior-Level job function in ILM’s Production Pipeline, and each now has an equally unique position within an educational environment. Some teach an assortment of specific VFX and CGI courses, while others serve as Chairs of their programs. Others have expertise supervising training at large facilities, consulting about curriculum design, conducting and publishing scholarly research, and lecturing in the US and abroad. All have been active in SIGGRAPH and other professional organizations over the years, including a former SIGGRAPH Conference Chair. 

    Attendees will be able to ask questions about any aspect of the transition from Production to Education, discussed from the personal perspective of each panelist. The realities of these experiences may be mind-opening and unexpected. (For example, I personally had no idea how much time I would spend grading student work, so I’ll share a couple of strategies I’ve developed for making that process more efficient.) Based on this Panel, attendees will gain the insight needed to evaluate if they have the right stuff and are ready for a career move from the world of Production into the world of Education. 


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