“DMA’s teachers encouraged us to work hard and help each other. Now I’m in college and I think working hard and helping each other are the most important things. I’m glad that my DMA experience taught me that.”

Name: Tianyi (“Tony”) Y.
Age: 19
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA (originally from Nanjing, China)
Future Occupation: Animator, Video-Game Designer
Course: 3D Game Creation: Level Design with the Unreal Engine™, 3D Creature/Character Creation for Game Design with Maya®
Campus: Game Design Camp at Stanford

Recently you got some exciting news. What was that?
“I was recently offered an internship at a studio as a game designer!”

What’s the game studio and when will you start work?
“The studio is called Ember Lab. I’ve already accepted the internship and have been working there since mid-January.”

Did DMA help you land the opportunity?
“Definitely. The position they were offering was game designer. They were hoping to find someone who had experience with game engines to help build their game. I told them that I had worked with Unity® and UDK at DMA, and showed them my work from DMA. They were very happy to find out that I was already familiar with game development.”

Give us an overview of your DMA experience. What types of skills did you learn?
“I worked on two video games using two different game engines. I also made a character using Maya. I learned the basics of game designing and programming, as well as how to make a character from scratch.”

You attended DMA during Summer 2011. What happened when you returned to school that fall?
“My high school had an Animation team that competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition Excellence in Design Award 3D Animation, sponsored by Autodesk®. At DMA I learned how to make a character from scratch. Because I had that knowledge, we were able to create our own character for our animation.”

How did the competition turn out?
“In 2012, our Limitless animation won the 2012 Autodesk Award. In addition, because I had learned how to make characters from scratch at DMA, I was able to include an original 3D character for an animation I made for my college applications.”

Tony turned his DMA training and his love of creating cool characters into a national prize-winning animation…and an internship at a game studio.

Tell us about your teachers at DMA and the learning experience you had.
“I absolutely loved my teachers. My teachers for the 3D Game Creation: Level Design with the Unreal Engine™ camp were super-patient whenever I had questions for them. They were extremely nice and helpful.

Another thing I loved about the teachers at DMA was that they were very flexible. I was already experienced with Maya® when I attended the 3D Creature/Character Creation for Game Design with Maya® camp. The teacher didn’t make me go through all the intro tutorials. Instead, the teacher spent a lot of time explaining techniques and concepts that were of a higher level, just for me. I felt special. So no matter how much skill you already have, you can always learn from the teachers at DMA.”

What was your favorite part of the DMA experience?
“I got to talk to teachers with strong knowledge of the software and experience in the industry. They answered a lot of industry questions I had when I went to DMA.”

What do you see yourself doing eventually as a career?
“In ten years, I will be working in either the video game or animation industry. I love both industries, so hopefully I will get to do both. My dream job for the video-game industry would be as part of a team that works on taking video gaming to the next level. My dream job in animation would be as an art director and hopefully also get my own stories on the big screen. I would eventually like to work on projects like the “Resident Evil” series and animated features such as Wreck-it Ralph.”

Were your parents pleased with your DMA experience and how do they feel about your continued progress in animation?
“My parents are glad that I had such a great time at DMA. They believe that I should always follow my dream, so they are very supportive of my decision of pursuing a career in film and animation.”

Thanks to his natural talent and DMA training, Tony is now studying the art he loves at the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and also working an exciting internship at a game-design studio. Aspiring animators/game designers like Tony know they don’t have to wait for film school in order to master basic principles of animation; they can jump-start their careers at tech camp through hands-on training and expert instruction, using today’s hottest software and technological tools. Digital Media Academy’s animation camps give youngsters the chance to sit at the animator’s computer, call the creative shots and feel the thrill of crafting their own professional-quality animation.

Here’s a recent sculpt that Tony made using Zbrush, which he studied at DMA.