Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Disney, DC, Marvel and every other planet in the pop culture universe collided in a stunning show of cosplay, celebrity appearances and geeky eye candy at Denver Comic Con. Fans dressed as favorite characters like Darth Vader, Deadpool and Danerys Targaryen perused tables overflowing with comics, art, and other pop merchandise while hob-nobbing with fan-favorite celebrities. Standing out amongst the crowds and chaos was a booth staffed by College of Arts and Media’s Digital Animation Center students who impressed crowds with their original digital shorts and animation tools of the trade.
Sparking interest in digital animation
The 3-day convention, which was held June 17–19, gave CAM students the chance to raise awareness for the Digital Animation program. According to Sara Louviere, a recent CAM graduate who helped organize the program’s booth, Comic Con has been a key event to drawing students to CU Denver.
“We have had so many people come into the Digital Animation Center as freshmen and tell us the reason they know about the program is because they saw us at Comic Con,” said Louviere, who served as president of the Student Animation Society for the past two years.
Comic Con provides a great opportunity for students to show off their digital animation work. During the last three semesters of the Digital Animation Program, students form a studio and produce an animated short as their senior thesis. This year’s short, “Too Much Glue,” played at CAM’s booth and let the students who worked on it see the reactions of the crowd. The student volunteers were thrilled with the feedback.
“We had a little guy whose parents had to drag him away from the TV,” Louviere said. “As his parents were taking him away, he was walking backwards so he could keep watching. It’s awesome to see those kind of reactions and how our work appeals to the kids.”
The booth was also an opportunity for Comic Con attendees to try some of the software programs like Zbrush that students use to produce the shorts.
“A lot of the audience that comes to Comic Con loves animation and is drawn to characters,” said Jordan Sibayan, a 2014 graduate of the Digital Animation Program who volunteered at the CAM booth. “Seeing the programs that animators use to create characters like Gollum from Lord of the Rings really intrigues them.”
Sibayan also has a lot of praise for CU Denver and has been sharing his experiences with everyone he speaks with at Comic Con.
“I love this program, and I love seeing the new films and new talent coming out,” Sibayan said. “It’s designed to give students real-world experience on top of traditional education so you have the skills you need to enter the animation field.”