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Blizzard Entertainment Student Art Winners Get an Up Close Tour of the Company's Headquarters

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(L–R) Director of the School of Game Development David Goodwine, Minkyung Yu, Jie Gao and Duy Nguyen. Photo by Bob Toy.

Four Academy of Art University students were recently named runners-up in the 2015 Blizzard Entertainment Student Art Contest. Blizzard Entertainment is one of the most popular computer game development companies and responsible for creating World of Warcraft among other games.

This is the fourth year that Blizzard Entertainment’s university relations and World of Warcraft development teams called on college and university students to submit original artwork that would be a great fit for the game.

As runners-up in the contest, students Minkyung Yu and Duy Nguyen from the School of Game Development, Jie Gao from the School of Visual Development and Pil Chang from the School of Animation & Visual Effects, were awarded with a trip to Blizzard headquarters in Irvine, CA.

“We spent a day in the Blizzard studio,” shared Nguyen, who also participated in the tour last year. “This year was also a super surprise because of so many new things, new games and new events happening around.”

A highlight was visiting the Blizzard museum where original artworks, statues and props from the games are exhibited.

“We also had an opportunity to talk and have lunch with art leads then visit artists in their working place,” said Nguyen. “At the end of the day, Blizzard gave us a lot of gifts. I would say the tour [was] fantastic.”

Gao loved learning about the culture of Blizzard. “We took an awesome lunch with some famous main artists from World of Warcraft,” said Gao, who is from China but would love to work in gaming in the United States. He was thrilled to talk art skills with the World of Warcraft team all afternoon.

“Blizzard Entertainment is one of the great companies in our world,” said Gao. “There are some awesome environments and wonderful resources in Blizzard. I thought the spirit of Blizzard influences every game developer in the past.”

One of the reasons Gao participated in the Blizzard Entertainment Student Art Contest is because he loves 3-D design and he was able to hone his skills with his contest project which took him about two weeks to finish.

“I spent one of the weeks on concept design and another week on 3-D model and texture,” he said. “I was using the tools including [3DS MAX] and Photoshop.”

The contest called for two types of entries, an environment or a character, that you could imagine in the World of Warcraft world and using the game’s art style.

Nguyen won first place in 2014 for his environment submission as well as an internship offer at Blizzard. This year he submitted art for the character contest.

“That is a fun idea, different from what I usually do,” said Nguyen. “I made a Peon who is a worker in Warcraft and turned him to an expert of camouflage.”

The process started from sketches, then modeling in 3-D and then texture. “The process was very enjoyable,” he said.