Academy Graduate David Luong Makes a Career Out of Playing Video Games
David Luong has never regretted the amount of time he spent watching movies and playing
video games growing up. While some see these
activities as a waste of time, the Academy of Art University graduate has turned his interests into
an exciting career with Blizzard, one of the biggest video game companies in the world.
David knew Academy of Art University was the ideal school for him. The impressive career preparation,
the proximity to video game and movie studios and the faculty of working professionals drew him to
the Academy’s Visual Effects program within the
School of Animation. David concentrated in compositing
and matte painting.
“I had a great time there, from dorm life, to the smaller intensive classes for art
foundation, to the progression of computer classes that used software the professional industry was
using,” he said.
"Temple of Knowledge" - Winner of Best Matte Painting, AAU
Spring Show 2005
His instructors from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), a division of Lucasfilm, were
particularly influential. These professionals offered valuable insight into the inner workings of
the visual effects (VFX) industry. Much of the advice and tools they gave him still apply to his
“Come to think of it, all of my major influences were employees at ILM, and I hope they
continue to teach other students their great knowledge,” David said.
After graduating from the Academy in 2005, David did some background painting work for Disney
Toon Studios and then went on to work as a junior compositor at Luma Pictures. He then landed a job
at Rhythm & Hues where worked on films such as
Superman Returns, and
Night at the Museum.
He snagged his current job with the help of a former coworker who was working at Blizzard. He
brought David’s demo reel to the attention of the company and next thing he knew, he was working
for a studio he had always admired.
"Neverending Story Renewal" - Finalist Visual Effects category
David has gotten to work on a number of exciting projects with Blizzard, but the
Starcraft 2 teaser has been his favorite. The teaser is a
fully CG three and a half minute long reintroduction to Starcraft, which was originally released in
1997. They released it in Korea first and David got to attend this enthralling event.
“It was an unbelievable experience being at the event when they first premiered it in front
of thousands of fans in Seoul,” he recalled. “There were about 35 shots in the trailer and it took
us about six months to model, animate, light and finish.”
A still from "Starcraft 2"
Presently, David is working on Blizzard’s upcoming World of Warcraft: Wrath of Lich King
cinematics, which will be released soon.
“Playing too many video games isn’t always as bad as some may say, especially when it helps
you land a job working in a world class studio such as Blizzard!” he said. “Love what you do, and
be good at doing it. You just might get paid for having fun.”