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Korean Alums Find Success in Film, Gaming Industries

Jung Min Chang
Jung Min ChangJung graduated from Academy of Art University in the summer of 2002, earning his BFA in Computer Arts/3D Modeling. Since then, he has worked on major motion pictures such as Constantine, Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Jung first came to Academy of Art University for the networking opportunities.

"There are lots of computer animation companies around the Academy, and most of instructors in this major both worked and taught at the school," he says. "That's the big merit because the pipeline of film industries is very important to this kind of job."

It was these connections that allowed him to work on the films he has, including his current project, James Cameron's upcoming movie Avatar, in theaters December 2009.

Afro SamuraiHyung Kyu Kim
Also a graduate of the Computer Arts/3D Modeling school, Hyung earned his MFA degree in 1999.  He wasn't always set on his future major, however.

"In order to continue studying my major, Product Design, I chose the computer as a presentation tool and started a Product Design MFA course at AAU," he says. "However, I realized that there was a new world in the computer graphics field right after I had started to take computer art classes. There was no room for doubt, I changed my major and graduated as a Computer Arts major."

"I still enjoy working in the same field that I chose when I was a student at Academy of Art University."

Since he graduated, Hyung has helped found a job placement group for game artists and students, GMS, which is co-founded by Blizzard Entertainment president Jeff Kang.

Hyung is currently working as a Special Effects Lead at Namco Bandai Games America where he just finished up work on the Afro Samurai game for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Byunggugn JungByunggugn Jung
Another MFA graduate from the Computer Arts school, Byunggugn studied computer animation at Academy of Art University until graduation in 2000.  There, he put in many long hours to fulfill his dream of working in the film industry.

"Every day, I stayed in either the classroom or computer lab for an average of 16 hours," he says. "I have never worked or studied harder than this in my whole life."

It certainly paid off for Byunggugn, who now works for Weta Digital in New Zealand on James Cameron's Avatar.  He has also worked on Disney's Bolt and Meet the Robinsons.

He has some advice for current students, too.

"You have to work hard and smart," he says. "You need to develop not only skills like your talents and your portfolio, but also social skills with people who are already here. The computer graphics industry, in either film or animation, is a very competitive environment. It is very difficult to get in and even more difficult to stay in."

Academy of Art University congratulates its graduates on their successes.

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