Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
CUU Information Office
It’s almost the end of the day, and Sheila schumacher, director of digital design at Grand Canyon University, reflects with a group of students at the GCU Film Festival.
âThey asked us to go into the animated film category,â Schumacher said of the annual spring event. âLet’s see how we can get into that. “
A wave of ideas sprang from the leaders of GCU’s digital design student group, described as “a community of fun, creativity and growth.”
Sitting in the hallway outside Schumacher’s office in Building 43 on Colter Avenue, students enthusiastically throw out suggestions, such as animating a bible verse or linking several 11-second short films together. .
âLet’s do something to show our different stylesâ, student Maggie Burt said with enthusiasm.
They display the kind of enthusiasm that is contagious, the kind that has caught on and helped expand a program from just four students in 2011 to 383 students this year.
Schumacher is quick to note that the increase in digital design enrollment reflects the tremendous overall growth of the university. âMy progress follows the progress of school,â says Schumacher.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that the College of Fine Arts and Production’s digital design program is growing at a rapid pace.
âIt’s an indication that these careers are very viable and very interesting for high school graduates,â she says. âBeing able to go to work and create imaginative and intriguing works of art every day is a fun way to spend your life. “
Many students in the class of 2016 have secured excellent jobs that further reflect the quality of the GCU program, said Schumacher.
âThey work and they’ve created a really wonderful reputation for GCU with their portfolios and their enthusiasm,â she says.
Graduates find jobs as web designers, in biotech and forensic companies, and as animators who not only make children’s films but also visualize substances. scientists too small to be seen by the human eye, says Schumacher.
They take the messages customers want to convey to customers – and design them with typography, colors, and imagery in a way that connects.
âGCU has a mark,â says Schumacher, as an example. âHe’s purple. It’s funny. Everything you see – the logo, the signs, the magazines, the typeface, it’s all put together by a graphic designer.
Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in advertising design or digital design with a focus on web design or web animation.
To help cope with growing student numbers, Schumacher hired an assistant professor this year Christophe murphy, a web design expert from a New York advertising agency.
Schumacher enjoys bringing in speakers to inspire students and recently hosted the Phoenix businessman. Eric Torres – an âowner, creator, designer, illustrator, writer, kidultâ who describes himself – to talk about how he created Iconica, a board game set in the world of Rynaga, a fictional universe filled with colorful characters with unique stories and skills.
Torres, accompanied by his son, Gavin (it’s a family affair; Torres’s wife is also part of the company), described how he used eight shapes to create all of the designs that make up the set.
âThe artwork is what makes people choose characters,â he said.
Student Viridiana Cortes Torres said motivated her to learn something different.
âI saw a new perspective, something that I hadn’t considered – using the art of games to make movies and animation,â she said.
The idea of ââcreating such arts digitally leads students to the GCU FDigital Design program. As Schumacher says, âThis is a place where magic happens. “
Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or [emailÂ protected].