Texas A&M graduate visualization majors Laura Murphy and Wei Wang have been awarded $15,000 each in scholarships as two of the nation’s most promising students pursuing careers in animation or digital visual effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks, one of the digital animation industry’s leading studios.
Murphy and Wang were selected for the studio’s Sande Scoredos Memorial Scholarships by a committee of visual effects and animation supervisors, producers, executives and recruiters who identified students demonstrating the best use of digital technology and displaying a passion for and understanding of visual effects and animation by reviewing applicants’ time-based work and essays.
Murphy, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Visualization degree from Texas A&M and minored in math and computer science, is from Keller, Texas.
She aims to create visual effects in feature animation projects or construct digital surroundings that change as characters move through videogame environments. “I like the idea of making awesome art while feeding my need to solve a technical challenge,” she said.
Wang earned an undergraduate information systems degree at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China.
He hopes to become a technical director in animated film projects.
“I’m interested in brainstorming, facilitating a project’s workflow, troubleshooting technical issues and other things that technical directors do,” he said.
The scholarships are part of the Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence program, which nurtures future generations of digital talent through internships, scholarships, open source training materials and campus visits by recruiters, managers, and artists.
Imageworks’ achievements in digital effects have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars for Outstanding Visual Effects in “Spiderman 2” and Best Animated Short, “The Chubbchubbs!” The studio’s work was also nominated for an Outstanding Visual Effects Oscar in Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Best Animated Feature for “Surf’s Up.”