Celebrating Achievement in Design

    Academy of Art University students named among the finalists and winners at the competitive Adobe Design Achievement Awards

    The annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards honor the most promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers and computer artists from around the world. Since its inception in 2001, over 38,000 students from 73 countries have participated in the competition.

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    The Academy Earns Accreditation as SideFX Certified Houdini School

    From feature films, to music videos, video games and live concerts, special effects artists use software called Houdini to make cinematic magic. This summer, Academy of Art University earned the distinction of becoming an official SideFX Certified Houdini School, joining an elite group of 15 international colleges and universities, which meet the software company’s high standards for certification.

    “Becoming a Certified Houdini School is quite significant for the Academy because it lets students know that the Houdini courses meet the standards set by SideFX and teach the skills and techniques that are important in landing a job as a Houdini artist,” said School of Animation and Visual Effects instructor Jonathan Gilbert, who teaches two online Houdini courses (ANM242 and ANM344). “Also, the publicity SideFX provides on their website helps connect people from around the world who are interested in learning Houdini at the Academy.”

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    Touch & Learn: Academy Re-Imagines the Library


    An assemblage of opportunities provides new “ConneXions.’’ Photo by Graham Friedman for Material ConneXion.

    “Look, but don’t touch!” This attitude may fit galleries or showrooms, but for professional creatives, tactile information is a critical part of the design process. To learn about the potential of any material, you must interact with it. Academy of Art University has long recognized this important element in quality education and once again renews its commitment for innovation by hosting the Material ConneXion Library as part of its onsite resources.

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    Strength Through Diversity

    Academy of Art University has always valued diversity. It’s a quality that’s evident in the work of School of Photography international students, whether they’re pursuing their education in San Francisco or online. Many of them use their art to tackle social issues affecting their countries or document traditions and lifestyles that are in danger of disappearing.

    “In my first semester teaching on campus, I had students from Russia, Turkey, China and other countries in my class,” said School of Photography Associate Director Adrienne Pao. “It was an amazing group of people who brought different sets of inspirations and resources based on their backgrounds. We always encourage students to highlight what is unique and individual about the places they’re from—the diversity of our international students’ work is simply stunning.”

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    From Parking To Parks

    LAN students take part in PARK(ing) Day, a global event that uses art and social interaction to encourage discussion


    Visitors learn to fold origami cranes during PARK(ing) Day. Photo courtesy of the School of Landscape Architecture.

    Since 2005, cities all over the world have celebrated PARK(ing) Day annually on every third Thursday of September. PARK(ing) Day is a public event celebrated globally by a variety of people including artists, activists, and landscape architects. 

    The primary objective of PARK(ing) Day is to occupy public parking spaces and transform them into small, temporary parks. By transforming parking spaces into “parklets,” the general public is encouraged to participate and experience their city in an entirely new light. Overall, the purpose of PARK(ing) Day is to make a statement and create discussion among citizens on the value of open spaces in urban settings through art and social interaction.

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    Photography Instructors Team Up On Winning Muni Art Project


    City Walks, the winning Muni Art proposal by School of Photography instructors Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsen. Photo courtesy of Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsen.

    Two Academy of Art University photography instructors were recently named one of five winners of the 2017 Muni Art contest. Working together, Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsen came up with the concept for City Walks, their winning proposal. The pair is now busy creating a series of eight bold, colorful images that will highlight San Francisco’s landscapes and distinctive neighborhoods. From January through April 2017, their final pieces—along with work from the other winning artists—will grace the interiors of 100 Muni buses.

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