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Alumnus Samar Shool Snags Emmy Nomination for Work on National Geographic Documentary

Samar Shool transformed a background in architecture into an award-winning career in animation. The Academy School of Animation MFA graduate has just received his first Emmy nomination for his work on National Geographic Television’s The Incredible Human Body.

“I’m inspired by how things can move in space,” he explained, regarding why he decided to pursue higher learning in 3D animation.

He was aware of Academy of Art University’s international reputation as a cutting-edge animation school. The artistic environment, paired with the school’s proximity to leading animation studios, intrigued Samar.

“It was very important to me to have instructors from the industry,” he recalls.

In the Academy’s Graduate School of Animation, he found an intensive, challenging and dynamic environment. Samar was able to get a comprehensive education, with training in both 3D and 2D animation.


In the summer of 2005, Samar landed an internship with National Geographic magazine. Through the internship, he was introduced to Ricardo Andrade, the Director of Animation at National Geographic Television. Andrade has won 11 Emmy Awards and has 26 Emmy nominations under his belt.

After he graduated in 2006, Andrade got in touch with him and offered him a job in Washington, DC at National Geographic Television. After a few months of work, Andrade recruited Samar to work as an animator at his studio, Pixeldust Studios. Samar is now the Technical Director of Pixeldust Studios.


Pixeldust Studios mainly does animation work for National Geographic Television. He was recently nominated for an Emmy for his work on The Incredible Human Machine, a program that takes viewers on a two-hour journey through the day in the life of a human body. Samar plans on attending the awards ceremony.

“I was totally not expecting it,” Samar said regarding his nomination. “It is definitely one of the greatest moments of my life.”

In addition to The Incredible Human Machine, Samar has worked on a multitude of fascinating television shows and museum exhibitions. Some television shows include Six Degrees: Could Change the World, a study on the effects of global warming across the world and Space Mysteries, which looks at how scientists are studying the evolution of the universe.


Samar created animations for “The Real Pirates” exhibit that are displayed in the Franklin Museum as well as digital reconstructions of an ancient throne for the “Begram Throne” exhibition. This exhibit is currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and will travel to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum as well as other U.S. museums.

“Focus” is the most important piece of advice Samar learned at the Academy and believes other Animation students can benefit from this wisdom.

“Animation is very broad, but if you have a specific interest it is very helpful in honing those skills. Realize your focus and strengths as soon as possible.”

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