Media Studies alumnus Mike Altman (CCAD 2000) has made us proud. In addition to working as a technical director in modeling and articulation on Pixar’s Academy Award winning Toy Story 3, he was also responsible for modeling and articulating all the 3D characters for Day & Night, the short at the beginning of the film, which was also nominated for an Academy Award. For these accomplishments, Altman was asked to come back to Columbus to deliver the commencement speech to the Class of 2011—a task he says he’s honored to do.
“It is hard to describe what an honor it is to be called back to speak with the students on their own commencement day,” Altman said. “My career achievements have been very hard-won, and I think the faculty at CCAD had a big hand in preparing me for the battle. It's neat to have them still following up with me, seeing how my career is progressing, still involved and engaged after all these years. It is a testament to how close-knit a community we are at CCAD.”
“I remember graduation day very vividly—my name being called, walking onto the stage to shake President Griffith's hand,” he continued. “I remember faculty literally cheering me on as my name was called to receive my diploma. I was so excited to graduate, yet a little anxious about what would come next.”
“Now that the tables are turned, and I am on the commencement speaker side, all of those questions I had about my future have been answered. I achieved what my goals were. I've found out ‘what happened’ in my story, and, in a way, I'm coming back to CCAD to reassure the students to continue to work hard, so they will get to achieve their goals too.”
Day & Night is an animated short film shown in theaters before the feature film Toy Story 3. Starring the keepers of daylight and darkness, it was described by the New York Times as “…a charming little movie about two characters, opposites in temperament and outlook, hostile at the start, who gradually learn not only to find delight in each other, but also to appreciate how much they have in common. This film is whimsical, inventive, crammed with visual virtuosity, and six minutes long.”
Altman works at Pixar Animation Studios, where he is currently doing character concept modeling for a feature film to be released the summer of 2013. He recently finished sets modeling work on Cars 2, which will open this June.
In addition to his BFA from CCAD, Altman holds an MFA from The Ohio State University. He previously worked as a 3D concept artist at LAIKA Entertainment in Portland, Oregon, and on the animated feature film The Ant Bully at DNA Productions in Dallas, Texas.
And if you’re a graduating senior—or just want to cheer them on as they take their last steps as students and their first steps as alumni—check out our events page for more information.