Since 2002, Industry Giants has been the premiere Texas animation, game development, and computer graphics conference bringing together the leading talent in the industry. From concept artists for games and films, to visual effect developers, there is a professional from every field within the gaming industry sharing their story and work at this event. The conference gives attendees the opportunity to hear directly from talented artists that are using their skills to successfully produce all the components of award-winning films and games of the year. ACU has been a sponsor of the Industry Giants event for years, which is a win-win for faculty and students as they hope to continue the partnership and inspire students for years to come. Additionally, SITC believes that developing students and faculty is important in keeping up with cutting edge technology and practices. Professor Rich Tanner took a group of nine students to experience everything this gathering had to offer.
During the conference, students had the opportunity to hear presentations from industry leaders, talk to a number of professionals about job opportunities, and have their portfolios reviewed by those professionals. Tanner said, “Students were able to hear from some talented presenters who shared their own stories on how they got into the competitive industries, what inspired them, what challenges they faced, and advice on how to build skills, get noticed, and get their foot in the door.” These stories definitely encouraged one of ACU’s DET majors, Jael Morel, who thought that it was very inspiring to see women in technology who encountered obstacles in the industry and learned how to overcome them. As an international student, Jael said that listening to professionals who have walked the same journey that she is currently navigating gave her hope and motivated her to pursue her passions. Grace Liu, a concept artist that came to the US as a student and is now the principal artist at Airship Syndicate, provided Jael with insight of how far she could go with her degree. She advises students to, “Be bold. Take advantage of the opportunities that are provided by ACU, and work hard outside the classroom to be better at what you do.”
Camila Rodrigues, DET major and art minor, found several speakers to be uplifting and received beneficial information from their presentations. She said that opportunities like these, “Help me network with organizations that offer internships and allow me to get a foot in the door of companies where I might like to work.” The presentations for the conference were both informational and inspirational because they were given by leaders in the industry who have worked their way up the ranks of their profession, just like current students hope to do. Professor Tanner commented on how valuable the speakers were, “We heard from game designers, PIXAR animators, special effects wizards, and a classic Disney animator and director. The body of work represented in the presenters covered sentimental favorites from everyone’s childhood. Every one of the SITC students (and professors) who attended were both inspired and challenged to dream bigger and try harder.” From the insight and feedback that SITC students gained from this conference, Tanner hopes that more technology students will be encouraged to join the group for the Industry Giants conference next year. Learn more about Industry Giants by clicking here.