Animation Alum Jae Cheol Hong Shares Wisdom and Experience
School of Animation alum Jae Cheol Hong wanted to take his education to a higher level and he came
to the right place: Academy of Art University. The Korean native is now working for Industrial
Light and Magic (ILM), a division of Lucas Films, as a creature technical director.
Before coming to Academy of Art University, Jae had worked in Seoul, Korea in commercial
production. He was drawn to Academy of Art University due to its proximity to companies such as
ILM, Pixar, PDI/DreamWorks, EA and others.
“Honestly, location was a big factor – being surrounded by big companies means a good chance
of getting a job out here,” he said.
Jae was impressed with how the Academy’s curriculum prepares students for the real
professional working world. Jae advises current students, however, not to simply expect to
find a job right after graduation. He says students must have two qualities: confidence and
He remembers Kevin Cain, who was the School of Animation Director at the time, as one of his
most influential instructors.
“He treats everyone in a unique way,” he said. “He is a good recommendation writer and many
students got jobs with his letters.”
In addition to working at ILM, Jae has returned to his alma mater to teach Character Rigging
classes. And despite his successful career, Jae is always working hard and continuing to
“There are so many new technologies coming out and you always have to keep up with that!