Press Release from Madison Media Institute
This fall, Madison Media Institute will launch its long anticipated Game Art and Animation (GAM) program. Madison Media Institute (MMI) is a media arts specialty school located in Madison, Wisconsin and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The program has been developed by industry veteran Eric Weiss, with over 20 years experience in computer animation production. Eric has worked on several best-selling game titles including: Electronic Arts' JAMES BOND, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE THIRD AGE, and Prey, developed by Madison's Human head Studios. Eric also has extensive experience in film animation and visual effects and his credits include SUPERMAN RETURNS, THE POLAR EXPRESS, FINAL FANTASY, THE SPIRITS WITHIN and GODZILLA. Eric recently completed work as the Digital Supervisor on Nickelodeon's hit show BACK AT THE BARNYARD.
Leaders from local gaming companies in Madison were also instrumental in the development for course make up, content, software and textbook choices. Having gaming companies participate in the creation of the program is just the beginning of their involvement, as they will also have continued presence in the advisory committee, student portfolio reviews and guest lectures.
The GAM program will concentrate on the artistic side of the game production process and graduates of the program will be prepared for entry-level jobs as modelers, animators and technical animators. Students will have courses in all of these areas but also have the opportunity to focus their skills in a chosen discipline in both team-based and individual projects. Maya has been chosen as the 3D animation software program as it has become the industry standard animation package. By the end of the 75 credit hour program, graduates will be highly proficient with this comprehensive tool. For modeling, students will learn to create 3D models using Maya, Mudbox and ZBrush as well as Body Paint and Painter. They will work on human and non-human characters, environments and backgrounds as well as props. Animation courses will include Maya, Motion Builder and hands on experience with Motion Capture performances. Students will also learn the technical animation skills of character rigging, programming with Maya's Embedded Programming Language (MEL), python scripting and advanced lighting, rendering and compositing techniques.
Throughout the program, students will learn how to integrate their animation and models into a working game using the Unreal Game Engine by Epic Games. This is a cornerstone of their training, as it will allow them to hit the ground running on their first jobs when they begin their careers. Learning how game art is integrated into a game engine is essential in the optimization of game art in a production environment. Students will graduate with a complete portfolio including a demo reel, DVD, website and working game level created with their own art. Graduates from the Game Art and Animation Program at the Madison Media Institute will stand out above the rest.