ICEA entrance

Computer and drawing workstationsMore than 400 guests attended the grand opening of the Daemen College International Center for Excellence in Animation (ICEA), held in January 2012. Located in Buffalo’s Tri-Main Center and occupying 17,000 square feet, the ICEA is comprised of Daemen’s five academic studios; three editing rooms; a library and video library; and a screening room, with seating for 80.

A follow-up event in January for prospective students interested in a degree in animation from Daemen was well-attended. The Center is also the site of the local 3-D animation studio, IBC Digital.

The opening introduced Scott Holmes, new Daemen Academic Director of Animation, who began his position in February.

Graduates of the Daemen Visual & Performing Arts Department created original still and animated works, which were exhibited at the event. Operated through the ICEA, Daemen’s academic partnerships extend from Toronto to the Mongolia International University in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia.

“The animation program is unique in its response to industry feedback, responding to professionals who seek animators with a high level of artistic training,” said Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen.

“To enable students in the program to gain career experience, we have entered into a partnership with Buffalo animation studio IBC Digital. IBC has been a strong creative force in the industry, producing national commercials, animated television series, and interstitial projects for clients such as MTV, Disney, PBS, and many national brands.

“Through this collaboration, we seek to support the growth of the animation industry here in Western New York, providing career opportunities for graduates right in Buffalo.”

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Through the Center, Daemen offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation; the College began accepting students into the program for the Fall, 2011 semester. The Daemen program provides students with specialized technical training in 2D and 3D Animation within a Fine Arts context. The curriculum also fosters the development of well-rounded learning experiences, better enabling students to actively participate on multiple levels of visual communication.

ICEA entrance

Located on the 5th floor of the Tri-Main Center, around the corner from Buffalo Arts Studios, the Center encourages students to place themselves within an artistic context, and inspires them to look beyond Western New York to a global artistic community. Its studio spaces, converted from the Tri-Main Center’s industrial past, provide the International Center with a look more like a warehouse in New York’s fashionable Meat Packing District than a college academic setting.

“Studios desire students with strong creative problem solving techniques and a powerful authorial voice,” said Dr. Laura Watts Sommer, Director of the Visual and Performing Arts at Daemen College. “Combined with a focus on fundamentals both in art and academia, the creative focus trains students to act as professionals in a variety of capacities well after graduation.”

The Daemen Animation Program, as part of the International Center, is built around multiple strengths recognized by animation professionals and business leaders. These include the combination of the flexibility and breadth of a Liberal Arts program; the strong visual skills of a Fine Arts program; and the technological opportunities presented by upper level, specialized animation instruction.

IBC Digital as an Integral Partner

Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen and IBC Digital President Ben Porcari
(L-R) Daemen President Dr. Edwin Clausen and IBC Digital President Ben Porcari

“Daemen’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation degree is world class,” said IBC Digital President Ben Porcari. “Students have all of the advantages of an accredited degree program, a strong arts foundation, and integrated international partnerships and industry programs.”

As an integral partner, IBC Digital shares facilities, creative projects, and international collaborations with the ICEA. The partnership allows students to benefit from the professional experiences and training garnered through available internships and post-graduate employment opportunities. The co-location of an industry partner with the academic program will enable greater success in these programs for all qualified students. Additionally, it allows the curriculum to develop alongside evolving industry needs. The partnership provides a necessary experiential component to strengthen technical training, and directs students to the areas of study to which they are best suited.

Scott Holmes Named Director of Animation

Headshot of Scott Holmes
Scott Holmes – Director of Animation

Scott Holmes, an accomplished professional animator and artist, has been named Academic Director of Animation for the new Daemen College International Center for Excellence in Animation. Holmes, who began his position in February, was most recently assistant animation supervisor for Nickelodeon Animation in Los Angeles on the upcoming animated series Robot and Monster.

Prior to his work with Nickelodeon, Holmes was a senior animator with Rhythm & Hues, Los Angeles on the film Hop. During three years with Double Negative FX, London, UK, Holmes worked as a supervising animator and character animator on the films Hellboy 2 and Paul. Holmes also developed concept animation for Iron Man 2 and John Carter of Mars, resulting in both shows being awarded to Double Negative. During two years as a character animator with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Culver City, California, Holmes worked on films which included, among others, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe; Monster House; Beowulf; Open Season; and I am Legend.

Holmes’ career also includes work with Weta Digital, Wellington, New Zealand, on the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He has performed character animation work on additional films, some of which include Garfield; X-Men 2; Freddy VS. Jason; Scooby Doo; and Stuart Little. In addition to his work in films, Holmes has also done extensive work in commercials for  clients such as Mucinex, Pepperidge Farms, and Campbell’s Soups.

Holmes holds a B.F.A. in Communication Design/Illustration from Otis/Parsons School of Art and Design. His education also includes Associates in Art – advanced animation; American Animation Institute – assistant animation; and Richard Williams’ Master Class, Portrait Painting – Florence Academy of Art, Florence, Italy.