Through the Department of Fine Arts and Animation, artists will develop skills in the field of artistic drawing using color and traditional compositions to later use in the digital field. Starting with 2D drawing as its own language, students will learn the necessary basic concepts to transition to 3D in the fields of animation and video games. Artists will learn to draw human and animal anatomy to understand how the musculoskeletal apparatus works. They will develop creations, creatures or characters, within scenarios where physical logic is present. Students will also learn the use of color, lighting, shading, and more through practical exercises.
From the Department of Fine Arts and Animation, students will learn production processes in the field of animated film and video game production using the latest standards and prominent digital programs in the industry. At first, the 12 basic principles of animation will be taught as an essential in the training of future professionals, with multiple exercises in 2D while using traditional tools that will gradually be applied to 3D. Faculty members employ time-tested practices designed to prepare students for work in professional film and game development environments.
Department Chair - Fine Arts and Animation
Asier Azkarraga is the current head of the Department of Arts and has more than 30 years of experience in the 2D and 3D animation field. He has worked on more than 30 national and international productions, including well-known works such as Disney’s Brother Bear, The Simpsons, Batman: The Animated Series, and Warner Bros.’ Space Jam. He has also worked on television advertisements for the NBA, Kellogg’s, and Cola Cao.
He currently teaches 2D animation along with design and creation of sets and scenery. He also coordinates 2D student animation projects and student concept art, mirroring the production process of the animation sector.
Azakarraga is earning a Ph.D. in Anthropology, and his doctoral thesis deals with the origin of art in the human race, representations and symbolic figures, and the beginnings of recreating animation.
Javier Martin is a professor teaching both artistic and figure drawing and has more than 20 years of experience in the creative industry. His training as an architect, together with his career in the animation world — which has included high-quality programs such as Asterix and the Vikings, The Illusionist, and animation direction for El Cid: The Legend — combined with his passion for artistic drawing, makes his classes a true learning experience for his students.
After interviewing dozens of former animation colleagues, he wrote reports about the making of several feature films, as well as a report about the 2D animation industry in the 1990s and 2000s, trying to find causes for its decadence and substitution by 3D audiovisual products.
He is also an investigator of the history of his native industrial town, specializing in manufacturing processes and urban development. To that end, he interviews elders in the hopes of capturing their knowledge to store before they pass away. While collaborating with others, he enters field work by visiting industrial, archaeological, and architectural remains to create plans of these sites. He has published articles in the local magazine about these investigations.
For many years he has collected pre-cinema gadgets and toys and cooperated in investigations and documentations focused on that world. He has organized several workshops with some of these devices.
Iñaki Amurrio is a senior animation director with more than 30 years of experience. With initial academic training as a computer programmer and self-taught animator, he has directed animation for many international productions.
Amurrio has worked and partnered with studios all over the world, including the USA, Canada, France, the Philippines, South Korea, India, China, and more. His long career provided opportunities to work in nearly all phases of animation production, ranging from areas like directing , editing, storyboarding , and post-production. Together with his international experience, Amurrio uses his broad technical-artistic background to be a great connoisseur of the international animation ecosystem and of the internal functions of different studios and their work processes. During these years, well-known characters from franchises such as SpongeBob, Ninja Turtles or Tiny Toons have passed through his hands, and he has worked on various productions at Netflix, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Paramount, RAI, TVE, and others.
Laura Choueri is an illustrator and 2D animator who studied at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts in Beirut, Lebanon, as well as at the Georges Méliès School in Paris, France.
From Dubai, Jordan, all the way to South Korea and many more, she has collaborated with different animation studios, advertising firms, television stations, and publishing companies such as LBC Television, Stabilization Network, SABIS, and more.
All her experience contributed to her knowledge in the fields of illustration, conceptual animation, books, e-books, and television advertisements. Her passion for animals led her to join DigiPen’s family as an animal anatomy teacher. In addition, Laura also teaches art history and drawing fundamentals.
Choueri’s enthusiasm for board games allows her to inject innovative new approaches for her students and their projects to make learning fun and accessible. This helps her see the most rewarding part of being a teacher, to see her students discover their passion and grow as artists.