BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


BGSU students win international animation contest

A trio of BGSU students has won the top prize in the world's first international FJORG! “Viking Animator” Competition.

The “iron animator” event gave 16 teams from around the world just 32 hours to create a character-driven animation of at least 15 seconds in length. The competitors also had to adhere to at least one of two themes and use at least one of 16 sound bites.

Based on storytelling, animation talent, use of resources, creativity and technical skills, the judges declared BGSU's Team Mocap the first-place winner for their animation, “Switch.”

As the top-prize winners, BGSU seniors Jim Levasseur of Libertyville, Ill., and Tomas Jech of Pittsburgh, Pa., along with recent graduate W. Jacob Gardner of Western Springs, Ill., get to have lunch with top Sony executives and animators, as well as receive other prizes. One of those prizes is an all-expenses-paid trip to DreamWorks Animation headquarters for a sneak preview of the new film “Bee Movie,” a tour of the facility and dinner with DreamWorks executives.

All three members of the winning team have studied digital arts in BGSU's School of Art. Gardner finished his bachelor of fine arts degree there in May. To see their FJORG! entry and those of their competitors, visit: www.siggraph.org/s2007/attendees/fjorg/ and click on Team Mocap animation.

“The response from the animation community surpassed all expectations,” said Patricia Beckmann-Wells, FJORG! chair. “All the teams did a fantastic job throughout the competition, and it was clear early on that it was going to be very difficult for the judges to select one winner. The winners ended up having just a slight edge from a humor, technical and creative perspective.”

Picture This, a team from Miami International University of Art and Design, placed second, and Impulse, a team from the Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, won third place in the competition.

FJORG! was held in conjunction with SIGGRAPH 2007, the 34th International Conference and Exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques at the San Diego Convention Center.

Judges for the competition were: Simon Allen, an animator with Pixar Animation Studios; Scott Benza, animation director, “Transformers,” Industrial Light & Magic; Spencer Cook, animation director, “Spider-Man 3,” Sony Pictures Imageworks; Raman Hui, co-director, “Shrek the Third,” DreamWorks Animation SKG; Gregorz Jonkajtys, directing artist, and Marcin Kobylecki, executive producer, “The Ark” (SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival Best of Show), and David Smith, DreamWorks Animation SKG.

August 20, 2007