The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Brazos County officials are distributing free backpacks, school supplies and gift cards for K-12 students on July 12 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bryan High Silver Campus Cafeteria.
Brazos County to distribute free school supplies
‘Back to School Bash’ invites K-12 families on July 12
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 11, 2024
Graduate G Tyrece Radford (23) drives to the basket during Texas A&Ms game against Nebraska in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, on Friday, March 22, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
How Tyrece Radford can catch the attention of NBA scouts
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • July 10, 2024

After 5 years of college basketball at Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, Tyrece Radford is furthering his athletic career with the San Antonio...

Craig Reagans 1973 brown Mach 1 Mustang features custom stickers of Craig and his wife, and is completely rebuilt from the ground up. The interior was completely torn out and replaced with new dashboard and radio.
Compassion in the car community
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • July 9, 2024

This past Sunday, Cars and Coffee welcomed exactly one car: a sleek, brown Mustang that stood alone like a lone ranger in the Wild West. This...

Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
Analysis: Chancellor Sharp’s retirement comes with new dilemmas
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • July 2, 2024

Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp announced Monday he will be retiring on June 30, 2025.  A figure notorious in state politics,...

Former student part of Oscar-winning team

Pitted against animated films such as Wreck-It Ralph and Frankenweenie Pixars Brave won the Academy Award for best animated feature film in February, thanks in part to the help of a graduate from Texas A&M.
Chris Griffin, Class of 2007 and former graphics editor at The Battalion, was a simulation artist on the team that was awarded the Oscar.
I got to hold the Oscar, Griffin said. It was nice; it was heavy. This is the first film that I worked on thats gotten an Oscar.
Griffins involvement with Brave in designing digital costumes and hair movement for the animated characters.
We would take the characters that had already been animated and were responsible for animating the cloth and the hair using all kinds of simulation tools, Griffin said.
Among the animation tools Griffin used were high-powered simulators that calculate the motion of hair and cloth.
If its made out of silk, we have to figure out how silk moves and try to replicate it, Griffin said. Any kind of cloth material we try to get as close to reality as possible.
Griffin said the complexity of the character or garment determines the amount of time it takes to animate. A t-shirt, he said, is easier to animate than a kilt.
I like the challenge of trying to make something that moves right and looks great and maintains its aesthetic appeal, Griffin said. Its quite a lot of math a lot of geometry and trigonometry and calculus.
As the Oscar and reactions from moviegoers have shown, Griffins hard work paid off in the end.
The animation was perfect, said Austin Adams, junior business major.
Adams said he was amazed by the true-to-life movement of the character Meridas hair.
It really greyed the boundary between animation and reality, Adams said. It seems like a lot of physics work for the graphic artists involved.
Although Griffin himself dealt with the more technical aspects of animating the costumes in Brave, he collaborated with an eclectic group of people with various areas of expertise.
We have some people who are very highly technical and on the other side we have some people who are very adept at actually tailoring, Griffin said. The community [in the office] is fantastic. Everyone has a very open, cooperative attitude about everything.
For Griffin, the transition from college to the real world was a smooth one. A typical workday for him includes hacking away at a list of tasks, trading ideas with coworkers, and attending meetings.
You have your projects and assignments and you work on them and then you show them to your supervisors, and they give you notes, Griffin said. Its not all that different from the architecture program at A&M.
He said the architecture program well prepared him for the critiquing process at his job as a simulation artist at Pixar, but Griffin didnt always know he wanted to work at Pixar. In fact, he said he didnt decide to pursue a career as a simulation artist until early in his undergraduate education.
I was originally going to be an architect, Griffin said. But when I got into the architecture program, they had all these different options of where to go. They had the visualization lab, and I decided to change my direction and go for the Viz Lab instead.
The visualization lab supports the research efforts of the Department of Visualization.
We focus on the use of art, design, technology and science to create visual experiences, said Tim McLaughlin, Griffins thesis advisor and the head of the Department of Visualization.
McLaughlin said Griffins focus in graduate school was to combine procedural methods for generating complex motion with realism.
I believe much of his visual inspiration was derived from gritty comic books like the Dark Knight series, McLaughlin said.
The visualization lab emphasizes simultaneous right-brain and left-brain thinking in students, which prepares them to work at places that integrate technical and aesthetic requirements places like Pixar.
[The visualization lab] makes [students] very good at tackling computer graphics, problems like simulated cloth, character articulation, digital lighting and effects animation like fire, smoke and water, McLaughlin said.

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