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Initially, Robert Mariazeta says he wanted to become an engineer. Then, while sitting in class at a community college, his “rocket scientist” teacher mentioned that everything he was learning, he would never actually use because there were computers to do that now. This experience in class made him think deeply about his future. “I kind of sat back in that moment and asked well, what do I like doing?” From this point on, Robert opened the door to versatility.

The answers to Robert’s question were that he liked to draw, he liked cartoons, and why not give that a shot? To this day he keeps a video of his first hand-drawn animation. “It was this simple profile of a faceless head, moving across the screen”, he says. A single ponytail attached to the head followed along behind and then settled at the base of the head at the end of the move. “It felt so good and felt so right that I burst into tears.” He speaks of his experience in this video:

After transferring to Cogswell, Robert got involved in a short animation project with members of his club and he fell in love with the process of working with a small team. “It was a story about a little girl and a big biker guy. And, well, he steals a cookie from her and finds out she is full of spunk,” he says. “Although the entire animation was about 30 seconds in length, it took about a year for us to produce it.” Like so many students at Cogswell who immerse themselves with the talent around them, he and his team did this project outside of class. “Each and every one of us carried a full class load at the same time.”

Robert served as President of the Animation Club for two years and he also tutored drawing and animation students. Juggling the demands of classwork, projects, clubs, and tutoring, Robert developed his proficiency as well as versatility. In the video below, he applies the talent he developed in all these activities as he demonstrates the ToonBoom Studio tool at a club meeting.

The responses by his fellow students illustrate the value they place on their own involvement in the club. Says one, “It’s very different doing fine art and paintings as opposed to working in a pipeline with a team and collaborating on something you know you will be working for in the industry”.

Speaking about versatility, Robert said, “I’m an early adopter of 3D animation. I went to the Disney Inspire event at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank with other Cogswell students. I met with many other animators that day and I was surprised to learn that a lot of them were only 2D animators. While I love 2D animation, it’s hard to transition from 2D to 3D, and here at Cogswell I have spent years animating in Maya- so much so that it’s almost second nature to me, as natural at drawing.” He says, “Being able to know you can do one thing very well, yet be flexible to learn and be good at other things is an important skill.”

After graduation with a DAA degree, Robert was hired by Copernicus Studios, which specializes in 2D animations for film, TV and commercial clients.