Samford University School of the Arts Division of Art and Design announced a new degree program in game design and 3D animation this week. The expanding art and design area offers studio art, graphic design and interior architecture. This addition will allow students to explore a new technology application.
Last fall, Wink Winkler joined Samford as a digital designer. He brings industry knowledge to Samford’s growing program. His expertise enriches this technology-driven area to provide students with specialty skills in animation, 2D, 3D and game design. His resume includes working with Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, in previsualization for amusement rides and park experiences; creating motion graphics for an Amazon TV series; and working currently on a project with Steamroller Studios. Additionally, he has worked on projects for Viacom’s Nickelodeon Resort, Theory Studios and iHeart Radio.
Higher education is playing catch-up to this industry. Winkler said, “So many jobs were spawned in animation, 3D graphics and game design prior to the education system supporting it. We are in this very interesting time period where the industry is still rapidly changing.” He feels that this is an optimal time to jump into the education side as Samford can learn from first-wave programs and address needs quickly and with quality.
Winkler sees Samford students gaining the opportunity to define the future of these fields. He said, “We are going to provide the tools to allow them to pioneer their path. The key is to build a strong foundation in both art and technology.” With these skills, students will be prepared with professional skills upon graduation. The employment data projects an eight percent growth in the multimedia artist field between 2016–26.The School of the Arts recruiter Katie Overturf highlights the benefits to students. “Our world is more visual than ever. With the addition of Wink Winkler, Samford is investing in the future of these visually technical fields. Our students will explore the multiple layers of game design and 3D animation and be prepared to pursue the opportunities related to these skills,” she said. Courses for this degree will be offered starting in the fall 2020 semester. Winkler has been teaching a variety of related classes this year both in the School of the Arts and Howard College's Department of Math and Computer Science.