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Meet Our Faculty

Ruth Daly

Faculty – Animation

As a veteran of both traditional and CG animation, Ruth has a wealth of experience and knowledge to share with students and professionals.

In 1996 her career started as a traditional animator at Warner Bros Feature Animation most notably working on Brad Bird’s critically acclaimed “The Iron Giant’ in 1998. She transitioned to CG in 2001 at Rhythm and Hues studios where she worked her way up to a supervisory role over a period spanning twelve years. She was involved in an array of different feature films in varied styles and her credits included “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, “Night at the Museum” and “The Golden Compass” which received an Academy Award for VFX in 2008.

Over the past few years she has been helping productions develop their animation talent by mentoring junior animators to prepare them for the rigors of production work. She played a central role in growing the animation teams in Rhythm and Hues India and Malaysia facilities by training animators for production on many projects, including Ang Lee’s Award winning “Life of Pi” and Academy Award nominated “Snow White and the Huntsman” in 2013. Rhythm and Hues has been an industry pioneer in producing feature quality animation in Asia and Ruth has played a pivotal role in this effort. More recently she worked with Marza in Tokyo mentoring their animation team to prepare them for work on an English Language International release to be announced in 2014.

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“ Working in Feature Film and as an animator over the past 15 years has been an amazing, collaborative and innovative experience within a rapidly changing and revolutionary field. I could not imagine a more rewarding path to follow as an artist. ”

CJ Sarachene

Faculty – Animation

CJ Sarachene brings with her over 20 years of film, tv and game production experience as an

animator and has used that experience to help train many animation artists.  She began her career as a traditional animator working for various studios including Disney, MTV, Lifetime, and Nickelodeon. In 2001 she moved into digital animation and in 2003 joined the team at Rhythm & Hues Studios, working on projects including The Chronicles of Narnia, Night at the Museum, Evan Almighty and Alvin & the Chipmunks. In addition to being a lead animator, CJ Sarachene has served as an animation supervisor on Land of the Lost and Hop.

Across her animation career CJ has had the great fortune of working with many high profile Award winning Directors and artists including Ralph Bakshi, Emily Hubley, Bill Kroyer and Bill Westenhofer.

“Learning from and working alongside the cream of the crop in the animation industry has been a priceless and fulfilling experience. I feel compelled to continue the tradition by being a part of the education community and teaching what I’ve learned to the next generation.”

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Bradley Sick

Faculty – Modeling

Bradley Sick is a veteran modeler with over 17 years of experience in the visual effects industry, having worked as a modeling supervisor on television commercials and many feature films while at Rhythm &  Hues Studios. He was most recently the modeling supervisor on the Oscar-winning film, Life of Pi.

Brad is a graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas and has a Master’s degree in Architecture from UCLA.

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Seth Peterson

Faculty – Lighting

With over a decade of experience in both practical and digital visual effects, Seth has had the privilege to work with many talented people whom have had a positive impact on his growth.

Seth’s career in visual effects began in 2001 during his last year at Cal State Long Beach, where he majored in Film & Electronic Arts. After completing an internship working on commercials and music videos at Strange Engine, a boutique digital effects house, he began a second internship at New Deal Studios, a miniature effects studio specializing in fabricating and filming miniatures for feature films, music videos and commercials. For the next 4 years Seth worked as a miniature effects technician on blockbuster films such as ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and ‘National Treasure’.

In 2005, Seth transitioned again to digital effects and eventually landed a position in the 3D Tracking & Matchmove Dept. at Rhythm & Hues Studios. Soon after, Seth found a place in their Lighting Dept. where he spent the next 8 years working as a Lighting Artist and eventually Lead Lighting Artist on projects such as the Academy Award winning ‘The Golden Compass’ and the Academy Award nominated ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. In 2013, Seth segued from live action visual effects to feature animation while working as a Lighting & Compositing Artist at Reel FX on their first animated feature length movie ‘Free Birds’.

As a Lead Lighting Artist, Seth was involved in working internationally with Lighting and Compositing Artists in Malaysia and India as well as training and mentoring Jr. Artists in Los Angeles, many of whom were preparing to work on their first feature film project.

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“The world of Animation & Visual Effects moves and changes so quickly, one must keep a malleable mind, open to inspiration, in order to remain successful. However, throughout my career as both student and Digital Artist, the concepts of learning have always remained a constant.  I enjoy the aesthetic and technical challenges new software and projects pose, and especially enjoy being surrounded by so many talented artists. I try to project my own appetite for learning onto those I am instructing.”

Senthil Velan

Faculty – Animation

Senthil Velan is currently is an Animation TD at JHI sister studio, Tau Films, formerly known as Rhythm & Hues Malaysia. He was also a Senior Animator at the Oscar-winning studio, Rhythm &Hues, where he worked on several award-winning projects, including Life of Pi (2012). His recent animation credits also include his work in prominent Hollywood projects, such as, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) and The Golden Compass (2007).

Senthil was one of the pioneering animation instructors at Rhythm & Hues University (RHU) where he trained animation apprentices at Rhythm & Hues Studios facilities in Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Kuala Lumpur for projects, such as, Yogi Bear (2010) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009).

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Shish Aikat

Faculty – TechAnimation/CFX

Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Shish received his M.F.A. from the Division of Animation and Digital Arts, School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), University of Southern California (USC) in 2002. He was a Nickelodeon Fellow from 2001-2002 at SCA. He also earned an M.A. in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Communication, USC, in 1990.

For a decade stretching from 2003-2013, Shish ran the Education and Global Learning department at Rhythm & Hues Studios (R&H) worldwide to train creative and technical artists in the art and science of VFX for over 50 Hollywood feature-film projects. He was also on the TechAnimation/CFX team for Night at the Museum and the Character TD group at South Park Studios.

Shish has also taught as a Lecturer with the School of Film and Television (SFTV), Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, and with the Master of Professional Writing Program (MPW), University of Southern California (USC).

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Keith Goldfarb

Faculty – Image Media, Color Theory and Design

Keith Goldfarb is one of the three owners of Rhythm & Hues Studios as well as the chief architect for its proprietary software. While working at Robert Abel &Associates in production, and writing special software for custom applications, Keith and several co-workers decided to form Rhythm & Hues Studios in 1987.
Keith grew up during the computer revolution and his intuitive knowledge has been exceptionally helpful in the foundation of the studio’s general purpose software.
Keith has a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Sue Lewak, Ph.D.

Chair of Literature and Media Studies/Faculty

Dr. Sue Lewak holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from UCLA, where, as both a Lecturer and an Instructor/Doctoral Candidate, she taught courses in 20th and 21st century American literature, film, critical writing, and literary/cinematic analysis. She also holds an M.A. in Visual Anthropology (film and anthropology) from the University of Southern California (USC), and a B.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College.

Sue is a specialist in cinematic adaptation (adapting works of literature to film), with a particular interest in the relationship between visual effects and narrative. Some works of interest include: Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent film Metropolis; the experimental 2010 film Howl (based on Allen Ginsberg’s 1955/56 poem, “Howl”); Arthur C. Clarke’s 1968 novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey; Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Ridley Scott’s 1982/1987 film Blade Runner; Sherman Alexie’s 1993 short story, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” and the 1998 film based on both this story and his adapted screenplay, Smoke Signals; Bernie Su’s 2012 transmedial YouTube/Twitter/Facebook/YA novel, Jane Austen adaptation, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries; Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, Life of Pi and Ang Lee’s 2012 film, Life of Pi; and Suzanne Collins’  novel, The Hunger Games (2008) and Gary Ross’ 2012 film, The Hunger Games.

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Aditya Kolli

Faculty-BgPrep/Compositing

Aditya Kolli is a Production TD at ARTLORD STUDIO, Taiwan. He was formerly employed with Rhythm & Hues (R&H) Studios, where he worked on creating visual effects (VFX) for many tent-pole Hollywood projects. Working at R&H gave him the privilege of interacting and learning from multiple Oscar-wining supervisors. He has worked on Ang Lee’s multiple-award winning “Life of Pi  (2012)”, VFX Academy-award nominated, “Snow White and the Huntsmen (2012)”, “R.I.P.D. (2013)”, and most recently, the prime-time action TV series “The Last Ship (2014)”.

He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science Engineering from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences at Dubai, UAE (BITS, Pilani). Now with several years of experience in VFX, he brings a lot to the table. Compositing and Photography form his core-skills and he now regards that teaching them through various media enriches the whole experience of working in this industry.

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Walt Jones

Faculty- Creative Direction/Supervision and Global Production Management

Walt Jones is the overall creative lead for the computer graphics work at Tau Films. He has over 20 years of experience in production and design and has contributed to over a dozen feature films in the past decade alone, as well as numerous music videos and commercial projects. Walt has worked extensively with international teams throughout Asia, North America and Europe. He was nominated for Visual Effects Society awards for Life of Pi and Movie Park Germany’s The Lost Temple. Walt was part of the teams that won Academy Awards for their work on The Golden Compass in 2008 and Life of Pi in 2013.

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Eriks Vitolins

Faculty- Rigging and Animation Set Up

Eriks Vitolins is an animator, developer and the Founder of RGB Notes (rgbnotes.com), a cloud-based application for artists to communicate globally with professional media annotation tools. Erikshas a decade of professional visual effects experience as a former Lead Animator for Rhythm & Hues Studios (R&H) Animation Department.  His work has contributed to many films including two OSCAR-winning features, Life of Pi (2013) and The Golden Compass (2007).

While at R&H, Eriks helped establish the ground-breaking ‘Animation Development Group’ (AnimDev) to assist the collaboration between the animation and other involved departments. As a key member of the AnimDev group, Eriks designed and developed tools, rigs, workflows and education in an effort improve artists’ efficiency for tent-pole Hollywood projects such as Snow White and the Huntsman (2013), Hunger Games (2012), The A-Team (2010), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009), and The Incredible Hulk (2008), among many others.

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Sam Clark

Faculty- Production Management

Sam Clark has been involved with several global, post-production houses in a range of capacities and roles — Production Coordinator, CG Production Manager, On-Set Motion Capture Production Manager, and Visual Effects Data Manager. He has worked on a variety of Hollywood studio pipelines featuring proprietary and off-the-shelf tools for motion-picture and episodic-television projects. Sam was a member of the VFX post-production crew for the OSCAR®-winning motion picture, Life of Pi (2012).

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