With the start of a new semester, Clemson University is not only welcoming new students, but an Oscar award winner to its faculty as well. Dr. Jerry Tessendorf is Clemson’s newly appointed director of the Digital Production Arts program and professor of visual computing.
The 2008 Academy Award recipient for Technical Achievement says he’s bringing his expertise from Hollywood to help an already successful program grow with an ever-changing industry.
It’s an existing program that has been very successful, but the visual effects industry that it feeds its graduates into is growing quite a bit and also evolving very rapidly. It’s becoming much more complex and sophisticated in the tools it’s using, in the techniques it’s using, and in the clients it’s serving.
Tessendorf says he was attracted to the program because of the quality Clemson graduates he worked with in his Los Angeles area-based studio, Rhythm and Hues.
Rhythm and Hues employs a number of graduates from the Digital Production Arts program, and so I know first hand from experience the graduates are very good.
While his primary focus will be on teaching, Tessendorf–who has worked on major films such as Titanic; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Superman Returns; Happy Feet; and the Golden Compass–says he will try to keep up with some visual effects projects.
That’s how we stay aware of what it is we need to teach students here. My main emphasis is on teaching students and running this program. And then, there will also be grant-driven research.
Tessendorf will teach his first Clemson course next semester, but says there is plenty to do in the department in the meantime.