Beginning with four years at Uni High and continuing through grad school — plus a few years on staff at the Division of Campus Recreation —Paul Zinnes spent 14 years in C-U all told.
"That makes it a bit hard to pinpoint one area in particular that I remember from my times in the area," says the digital asset supervisor for George Lucas' California production company.
"However, I suppose the most relevant to where I am now would be the countless hours I spent in the computer labs at the Beckman Institute taking classes in animation from Professor Donna Cox after I realized that I didn’t have much of a future in either chemistry or industrial design, the focus of my undergraduate and graduate studies.
“It was all very new back then but with groundbreaking films like 'Terminator 2,' 'Jurassic Park' and 'Toy Story' disrupting the industry, it made for a very exciting time to be a student in the field.
“At one point back in 1994, I submitted a few frames of an animation I had been working on to the juried computer animation festival at the big industry conference, SIGGRAPH. I really didn’t expect to be selected but after a few months had passed, and long after I had suspended work on the project, I received a letter from the organizers saying that I had been selected to present at the festival.
"I spent the next few month working day and night to complete the animation. I would often leave the lab in the early morning hours to sub-zero temperatures hoping my car would start. There were several times late at night when I would grab all the computers in the lab to render frames of animation. I even had my friend run frames on the supercomputer during off hours to help out.
"Everyone at the lab — including Donna, Erik Wesselak, Jeff Carpenter, Camille Goudeseune and many others — were incredibly supportive.
“In the end, the project was shown at the festival and it opened up many recruiter doors for me. I secured two offers at the conference and in the end selected LucasArts as the first stop of my career. Besides working on various videogame titles at LucasArts, I went on to work at Tippett Studio doing visual effects for motion pictures and for the past 11 years I have been a supervisor on the Star Wars-based shows produced by Lucasfilm Animation.”