September 2015, Volume 19, Number 4

Academics

 

Making MAGIC

A dream for would-be animators and employers alike, MDC’s new state-of-the-art Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex (MAGIC) has just become a reality.

During its Aug. 21 grand opening, industry movers, local leaders and the College community gathered at Wolfson Campus to get acquainted with MAGIC, which has received substantial funding from the industry, including Pixar Animation Studios, which donated $100,000 in software and designed the MAGIC production pipeline to mimic its own, enabling students to work in an environment of the highest caliber. Part of Miami Dade College’s Emerging Technologies Center of the Americas (ETCOTA), MAGIC also is made possible through the generous support of the Mitchell Wolfson Senior Foundation.

At the inaugural event, visitors got a glimpse of the complex’s remarkable facilities, including an open lab, motion-capture studio, state-of-the-art classrooms and an audio booth boasting the latest in recording technology. Through MAGIC, MDC now offers an Associate in Science degree in Computer Programming and Analysis, with two tracks: one in Animation and Game Art, and the other in Game Development and Design – areas of expertise all too often outsourced due to the scarcity of skilled workers in the region.

“This is the first facility of its kind at a public education institution in Florida,” said Dr. José A. Vicente, president of Wolfson Campus, where MAGIC is based. “Students will receive unparalleled mentorship from top industry professionals and a foundation that will propel them forward in the industry.”

The state-of-the-art complex features courses and technology for 3-D computer animation, pre- and post-production, audio engineering, motion capture, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, video game design and more. These unrivaled educational facilities will help create a talent pool in South Florida that will inevitably drive job creation and business growth.

“The important thing to the industry is to find passionate, well-trained, talented people,” said Leah Hoyer, a former director at both The Walt Disney Company and Microsoft Studios who spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “If you create a talent pool, the companies are absolutely going to come.”

“MAGIC students will receive hands-on instruction in a high-tech environment that prepares them for working in the industry,” said MAGIC Chair Mauricio Ferrazza, who also runs the MIAanimation Festival & Conference. MIAanimation has been named one of the Top 10 3D-focused events in the world by Creative Bloq and brings the industry to Wolfson Campus each year for a vibrant weekend of lectures, competitions and networking. MIAanimation runs Oct. 16-17 this year. Visit miaanimation.com for details. For more on MAGIC, see mdc.edu/magic.

— MR


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