It has been March madness in the classroom for 12 graduate students enrolled in New York Institute of Technology's (NYIT) Master of Arts computer graphics program. Students worked long days and late nights even giving up much of their spring break to complete a new, full-screen animation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Centennial logo.
On the first day of spring classes, these students learned they would have the opportunity to design and develop the logo. Unveiled this month on an NCAA Productions telecast, their animations will be seen by television viewers nationwide. In addition, the NCAA utilized the animations on video boards at various NCAA championships.
Each semester students enrolled in NYIT assistant professor Paul Lipsky's Computer Graphics Animation class are challenged with a hands-on project. "The field of computer graphics and animation has grown exponentially with the advent of many new creative technologies," said Lipsky, an award-winning animator whose work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, The Disney Channel and HBO. "It's imperative that students get as much real-world experience as they can before entering the job market."
Doug Towey, creative director at CBS Sports and an NYIT alumnus (B.F.A. '72), is responsible for bringing the college and the NCAA together. He played an integral and influential role throughout the production process by working one-on-one with students as well as critiquing and evaluating their animation designs from conception to completion.
"This has been an exciting and special experience for our class," said Komal Crasto, of Kew Gardens, N.Y., a communication arts major specializing in computer graphics at NYIT. "Working on a project of this magnitude for a nationally recognized organization like the NCAA has enabled us to take a significant step into the field of computer animation."
The biggest hurdle students faced was transforming the NCAA's original 2D Centennial logo into 3D. In addition, the class was challenged to incorporate all of their creative ideas, highlighting 100 years of the NCAA and student-athlete history, into a 10-second promotion. Students learned to identify client objectives and now understand the importance of teamwork, time management and meeting deadlines.
"This is a great opportunity for the NCAA to collaborate with students whose work symbolizes the cutting edge of technology," said Dennis Cryder, svp of branding and communications at NCAA. "This joint effort between NYIT and NCAA is an example of how academics and athletics interconnect and ultimately challenge the creative minds of students, as well as provide the association with an innovative graphics application. Additionally, the students can add the experience of working with the NCAA to their career portfolios, so this is certainly a 'win-win' for NYIT and the NCAA."
The students' animation designs will be showcased at NCAA Centennial events throughout the year. The animated designs could also be used in other NCAA initiatives.
"Getting to work with a national client was incredible," said Bryan Thompson, of Glen Cove, N.Y., a communication arts major specializing in computer graphics at NYIT. "I know the knowledge and skills I gained from this experience will be the foundation of a long and successful career."
To view the students' animation work, visit iris.nyit.edu/~plipsky/mgl/pages/sw_anim3.html.
NYIT is the college of choice for more than 14,000 students enrolled in more than 100 courses of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees from eight schools, including engineering, architecture, business, communication arts and medicine. A private, independent college, NYIT embraces an educational philosophy of career-oriented, professional education for all qualified students, and supports applications-oriented research to benefit the greater global community. Students attend classes at NYIT's Manhattan and Long Island campuses, as well as online and in a number of programs throughout the world. To date, more than 66,000 alumni have earned degrees at NYIT. For additional information, visit www.nyit.edu.
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 360,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 49,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA Championships in Division I, II and III sports. For more information, go to www.ncaa.org.