First-Year Animation Students Receive Industry-Leading Critiques

In her own words, first-year animation student Maliyah Hewins is busy “chasing the big dreams.”

Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon – they’re all on her list of top companies to hopefully work for after graduation.

Luckily for Maliyah, Academy of Art is here to help her every step of the way. Not only does the Academy pride itself on hiring industry-leading professionals as instructors, it also is well-known for bringing in experts as guest lecturers.

Ray Gilberti is one of them.

The Deciding Factor

After spending two full days (and nights) of work in the animation lab, Maliyah uploaded her final video animation project to the server.

“This project can either make it or break it grade-wise,” she said nervously.

But here’s the catch: It isn’t just her instructor that’s going to have a final say in her grade.

Gilberti, who has worked as a as a visual effects director and animator for blockbuster movies such as the Hulk, Planet of the Apes, Pearl Harbor, and the Star Trek series also got to critique each student’s final project.

“It can be a bit intimidating because most of us here are first-year students. Having industry professionals critique our work at such a young stage in school is not something most students at other schools get to experience,” Maliyah said.

Final Viewing Party

Maliyah, her classmates, and a few guests all sat down in a dark cinematography classroom on the afternoon of December 12.

Gilberti was there, too.

Maliyah described the experience as both nerve-racking and exciting.

“When it was my turn to present my project, I just kept thinking that there’s a real-world professional that’s going to be giving me feedback,” she said.

She kept her cool, though; as did all of the 20-something students in the class.

“He was really nice,” Maliyah said. “He gave compliments, but also gave us ideas for improvement moving forward. That’s what’s going to help me as I move into my upper level classes.”

The Academy Difference

Before coming to the Academy, Maliyah had no idea that she’d be working alongside industry leaders so early in her collegiate career.

“I like it. It’s definitely harder than I thought it would be,” she laughed.

Looking towards spring semester, she can’t wait to take Gilberti’s critiques and incorporate them into her future animations.

“It’s definitely not as easy as you think it is,” Maliyah said. “But in the end, I know it’ll be worth it.”

Do you have dreams of being the next big animator for big-time movies and television shows?Let the Academy help you reach your goals.