Sony Pictures begins partnership
with Department of Visualization


Sony Pictures recently selected the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University to be part of its Imageworks’ Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) program, which helps groom visual effects artists, software engineers and animators for movies and related endeavors.
Tim McLaughlin, visualization department head, calls the program “a good partnership” that will benefit students, faculty, and the Sony program. About 60 students are currently enrolled in the Viz program at Texas A&M.
“Using the IPAX program finalizes a relationship we already had between Imageworks and Texas A&M,” he says. ”Their mission is to be connected with the schools and stay in communication about things like curriculum issues, faculty fellowships and student internships. Our mission is to make sure our students have good opportunities.”
Other educational institutions newly accepted into the IPAX program after a rigorous review process include Brigham Young University, California State University Northridge, New York University, School of Visual Arts in New York City and the program’s first international institutions, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany and Linköpings Universitet in Sweden.
Sony president Tim Sarnoff lauds the program’s growth to 18 participating institutions in three years.
"With the addition of seven new schools, we are excited that the IPAX program continues to follow its original goal of helping educate the educators, which in turn helps students excel,” notes Sarnoff. “These new schools have proven themselves through their educational programs to consistently produce some of the most respected artists in our field. We are looking forward to continuing to add schools to the IPAX program and to expand its offerings.”
Spearheading the IPAX initiatives is Imageworks’ executive director of training and artist development and IPAX chair, Sande Scoredos.
“Interest in IPAX has been extraordinary from both the domestic and international academic communities and we were honored to receive a record number of submissions this year from the best institutions in the world,” says Scoredos. “With so many exceptional schools eager to participate in the IPAX program, you can imagine how difficult it was to select a limited number of schools for membership this year when they all have excellent programs, brilliant faculty and talented students.”
The Visualization Laboratory was established at Texas A&M in 1988 and the graduate program started one year later. The Master of Science in Visualization Sciences program and Visualization Laboratory are now part of the newly formed Department of Visualization at Texas A&M.
Barry Weiss, senior vice president of animation and artist development and chair of the IPAX Collaboration Initiative, says he continues to explore how the IPAX schools can work to develop cooperative and collaborative programs. IPAX continues to evolve as a key component of Imageworks’ global production, artist development and artist retention strategy, he said.
“The idea of encouraging our IPAX schools to connect and network with each other is something that we feel very passionately about as a major strategic advantage for Imageworks,” Weiss says. “IPAX benefits Imageworks and our educators as we all prepare the next generation of visual effects artists, software engineers and animators.”
Imageworks created the IPAX program in 2004 to connect teaching faculty with industry professionals and guide curricula at the country’s leading academic institutions in an effort to further develop future talent who will contribute to the overall growth of the visual effects and animation industry.

The program provides fellowships to teaching faculty of IPAX member schools, in-house training programs and a working production environment on-site at Imageworks. IPAX fellows return to the classroom with real-world production experience and the ability to identify, inspire and recommend future talent for the industry

- August 27, 2008 -

- the end -


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