Courses in the Department of Interactive Media and Design emphasize project-based learning and lead students to design and produce professional-quality projects.
Department faculty teach what it is like to be on a development team in the real world, as well as the ins and outs of product development, programming, design, user experience, testing and iteration, project management, and more. Students can also partner with companies developing projects in the real world through specific partnerships.
The decades of industry experience that the faculty bring give students invaluable insight into the complexities of project development processes. Students can then bring the value to the industry they would like to work in, such as the video game, industrial, aeronautical, automotive, and other technical industries.
Department Chair - Digital Arts and Film Production
Sergio Martinez has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Basque Country specializing in audio-visuals and multimedia. He completed his animation studies at the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK. While living in Bristol, he collaborated with Aardman Studios contributing to Gulp, a film recognized by Guinness World Records for having the largest ever stop-motion animation set. On his return to Bilbao, he joined the Motion Graphics Department at Euskal Irrati Telebista (EITB), where he contributed with his experience in puppet animation. Several years ago, Martinez became a regular member of the animation collective Hauazkena Animazio Taldea, a group formed by Basque animators that combine conventional animation techniques with the most experimental techniques. The Ditch, or Areka, was a short he helped create within the collective.
Thanks to his skills in composition, drawing, and painting, his personal work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and festivals. With more than 13 years of experience as a teacher, he trains students in traditional painting and digital art disciplines. Due to his experience as a software developer, he is also a tutor for 2D video game projects.
Fernando Velasco (Piru)
Senior Associate Lecturer
Piru Velasco is a professional art director, animation director, illustrator, concept and character designer, storyboarder, and layout man who has worked for countless national and international audio-visual production companies for more than 25 years.
Velasco has contributed to the creation of two animation studios and has dealt with the supervision of several animated feature films, TV series, and TV Spots in the pre-production, production, and post-production phases.
He has collaborated with the likes of Don Bluth (Anastasia), Joanna Quinn (Famous Fred), Charles Grosvenor (The Land Before Time V and VI), and others and has garnered several national and international nominations and awards, including two Goyas for Best Animated Film for Goomer and ¡Qué vecinos tan animales!
Currently he combines his professional work in the media with teaching at DigiPen, instructing students about the importance of storyboarding in audio-visual projects and narratives in video games. He also provides a broad experienced vision on all disciplines involved in the industry.
Senior Associate Professor
Iker Silvano received a BS in Computer Science and Engineering with an emphasis on real-time software programming from the University of Deusto in 2007. His professional experience as a software engineer includes developing real-time 3D software for experimental networked display systems, as well as participating in the development of non-published video games. Before joining DigiPen, Silvano also worked as a computer science instructor.
Silvano’s main area of focus is programming and general software engineering, with an emphasis on advanced programming techniques, optimization, software architecture and game engine internals. He currently teaches Advanced C/C++ Programming, Low-Level Programming and Optimization, and Artificial Intelligence for Games. He also supervises and conducts the junior level video game projects, where he guides students in designing and building a 3D video game from scratch.
“One of the main reasons I enjoy working at DigiPen is because it demands pushing the limits of my skills, knowledge, and understanding of the subjects I’m in charge of, in order to enable the students to create beautiful, complex systems that combine smart engineering with imaginative art,” Silvano says.
Dean of Academic Affairs
Thomas Komair graduated with a BS in Real-Time Interactive Simulation from DigiPen Institute of Technology’s Redmond, Washington, campus in 2010. Prior to teaching, Komair worked for DigiPen (USA) Corp., developing in-house tools, applications, and internal technologies.
In 2014, Komair co-founded AHeartfulOfGames, where he was in charge of production and marketing for its first game Heart&Slash, as well as on co-productions such as Dynasty Feud, developed by Kaia Studios.
Although his primary interests lie in the technical knowledge required to develop high-quality video games, Komair’s experience in independent game development has had him tackle new kinds of challenges not directly related to development, such as marketing, community management, and public relations. It is these insights and more that Komair strives to bring to the classroom, helping prepare future generations of game developers for an evolving industry.
At DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao, Komair has taught a variety of courses, ranging from computer graphics, animation, and engine architecture. Additionally, he also supervises the sophomore game projects.
“My favorite part about teaching at DigiPen is the end of the semester, after a year of hard work,” Komair says. “I get to see the confidence in the students’ eyes when they say, ‘We made this game from scratch!’”
Department Chair - Interactive Media and Design
Senior Associate Professor
Dani Andia graduated with a BA in Computer Science from the University of Deusto in 2005. During his college years he developed several projects focusing on video games and real-time simulation. After that he joined the Xerox Corporation team (Dublin based), where he worked as a software developer before moving to Barcelona. His eagerness to expand his knowledge led him to pursue a master’s degree in video game design and programming at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he started to create his first professional video games with developers from Sony, Ubisoft, and Nintendo.
His experience includes working on game projects for the PC, PS3, Xbox, Wii U, and 3DS platforms for companies like Mercury Steam Entertainment, Delirium Studios, and Pixel Cream. Some of the games he has been involved in — including the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow trilogy, The Rivers of Alice, and others — have won awards at important game events like E3, IGF, and GameLab.
At DigiPen, Andia teaches game project development courses across different cohorts, guiding students in game design and programming. He also teaches the game design and mobile development classes. He enjoys sharing his expertise and love for games, as well as helping students find their place in the video game industry.
Ignacio Santalla started in the world of 3D in 2009 when he collaborated in the Goya-winning short films La Bruxa and Cuerdas. He went on to supervise the rigging department in Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones and its sequel, as well as in Atrapa la bandera, all which were awarded with a Goya. His expertise in rigging led him to start his own company offering services in diverse areas such as animation, movies, and TV shows. Some of the projects he has been a part of include the movie Dolittle, the Netflix series Oni: Thunder God’s Tale and Altered Carbon (anime), the Talking Tom & Friends children’s show, and video games such as Blacksad and Legend of Solgard.
He also has an ample experience in production, team management, and task organization. He offers a mixed type of profile as he is highly qualified in the technical area as well as the artistic one, which helps understand the requirements needed in both areas. The combination of these two worlds is easily and efficiently blended in his daily work.
As a DigiPen Europe-Bilbao faculty member, he is responsible for the areas of rigging and video game project supervision in senior year. He shares his knowledge and expertise with students to best prepare them for the challenges they might have to face in the near future.
Lead Project Coordinator
Josu Garai graduated with a BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation and a minor in mathematics from DigiPen Institute of Technology’s Redmond, Washington campus. He is also recognized as the winner of the “Student of the Year” award. Currently, he is working towards a Masters in European Project Management at the University of Basque Country.
As an industry professional he has worked multiple roles as a programmer, producer, and project manager across various game projects, virtual reality, real estate, technological, and nuclear industries. He specializes in project management, aiding companies to gather the big picture of their development processes while looking at the improvements of specific processes fostered by best practices.
At DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, Garai teaches foundational computer science courses such as Operating Systems, C/C++ Programming, and Software Engineering. He also guides students as the instructor for first-year game project classes, where he aims to translate processes and practices from the outside world to the classroom. Furthermore, he works as the lead project coordinator overseeing the development of internal, external, and international projects.
Jon Lopez de Dicastillo
Jon Lopez de Dicastillo graduated in computer engineering from the University of Deusto in 2003. After graduating, he returned to the university to work on research projects in the field of multimedia and real-time 3D software. Later, he expanded his studies when he obtained a degree in sociology in 2011.
He has developed his professional career in the field of software engineering, working on various information management projects and performing tasks as a software engineer and software architect.
At DigiPen, Lopez instructs courses in computer science and currently teaches Computer Environment and High-Level Programming II: The C++ Programming Language. As a video game lover, he tries to get involved in student projects when possible.
“What I like most about teaching at DigiPen is helping students achieve their goals. Seeing how they go down the road and seeing how they grow personally and professionally.”