Computer Games and Visual Effects
Interactive entertainment and computer-animated visual effects
are now part of our main stream culture. Sixty percent of all
Americans older than the age of 6, or about 145 million people
currently play video games, making the game industry larger the
film industry in terms of gross revenues. In addition, many of
the most popular films in theatres today (e.g. Lord of the Rings,
Master and Commander, Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo,
etc.) owe a large part of their success to the quality and believability
of the digital special effects. Creating such computer-generated
imagery, however, is no trivial task. It requires a delicate blending
of art with science by teams of highly skilled professionals,
including artists, animators, writers, designers, engineers and
software developers working long hours with cutting-edge technology
and tools. Currently there are very few academic programs at four-year
universities adequately preparing students for such positions.
As a result, companies are now finding it increasingly difficult
to hire students straight out of school with degrees in Computer
Science, Engineering or Fine Arts who can hit the ground running.
Penn’s Master’s program in Computer Graphics and Game
Technology was created specifically to address this need.
in the Fall of 2004, The University of Pennsylvania's Department
of Computer and Information Science will admit its first class
to the newly created Master's Degree program in Computer Graphics
and Game Technology (CGGT). The goal of the program is to expose
recent graduates, as well as students returning from industry,
to state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies, as well
as interactive media design principles, product development methodologies
and engineering entrepreneurship. This degree program will prepare
students for positions requiring multi-disciplinary skills such
as designers, technical animators and directors and game programmers.
Opportunities for specialization will be provided in such core
areas as art and animation, creative design, animation and simulation
technology, human/computer interfaces and production management.
The application deadline
for the CGGT program is July 15, 2004.
Since 1975, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center
for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS) has been a leader
in the fields of 3D computer graphics, human simulation and the
behavioral animation of embodied intelligent agents. The lab has
achieved international recognition for its research and is well
known for the "Jack" software, a procedural character
animation system used in both private sector and government applications.
HMS alumni have been influential in computer graphics applications
around the world, and include industry leaders such as Nick Foster
of PDI/DreamWorks ("Shrek"), winner of an Academy Award
for Technical Achievement.
The HMS Center provides a collegial and open atmosphere in which
faculty, staff, and students interact and collaborate. Ph.D. students
are often teamed with students from the affiliated undergraduate
Digital Media Design (DMD) program to conduct cutting-edge research
and produce animated demonstrations highlighting their results.
The success of recent graduates from both these programs, coupled
with the industry need for well-rounded designers, programmers
and technical directors who understand both the art and science
of producing visual media and interactive content, has led to
the creation of the Master's program in Computer Graphics and