Ever wondered what the next generation of 3D talent looks like? We investigate how the youths of today are getting to grips with 3D in our interview with Henry Santos and John Bavaresco - instructors of the 'Modonauts'!
It's actually surprising that 3D art isn't a bigger part of modern kids' lives. They're completely surrounded by 3D animation from a young age, be it in TV series, Pixar movies or video games. But the subject remains firmly off-syllabus, and it's generally something budding artists get into when they're in their late teens.
Henry Santos wants to fix this. This summer he and CG legend John Bavaresco launched a series of classes aimed at sixth-to-ninth grade students (aged 11 to 15), in order to teach them the basics of character animation and game development. Teaching a class of kids is tricky at the best of times, but the addition of complex software and ideas makes it even harder.
A university setting gave the kids a taste of further education
A meeting of minds
The idea for the classes came about from Academic Talent Search, a summer program for children at California State University, Sacramento. Instructor Henry suggested a number of classes using Luxology's MODO 701 3D modeling and rendering software. He was offered a teaching position on a course titled "3D Computer Animation: Character Animation & Game Development". With 30 spaces available on the course, Henry was surprised when he received around 100 applications.
"John is brilliant and was a perfect candidate as a teacher"
"We quickly realized we'd need to find another instructor for more sections," Henry says. He posted a thread on the Luxology forums, and among the well-wishers a knight in shining armor came to the rescue. "To my shock and utter amazement, John Bavaresco - a CGI rock star - emailed me and we set the ball rolling. John is brilliant and was a perfect candidate as a teacher, so we were glad that he decided to join our team."
The space animation segment of the course let the kids' imaginations run wild
"had a gap in my schedule and I thought it might be fun to teach a program that I personally really liked,"says John. "I knew going into the class that these kids were smart. However, I didn't know that they were really, really smart. I instantly realized that my class was going to get bored very quickly with the course that we had set up for them, and I had to come up with lessons that were going to be exciting and would add a broader dimension to their experience."
"I had one student setting up particle emitters without any guidance from me," says John. "Did I mention these kids were smart?"
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