Thursday, 17 October 2013

Meet our tutors - Dave Creighton

Dave Creighton  by Monika Dzikowicz
David Creighton is one of the two Course Leaders on the Animation & VFX Course, and has long been the mainstay of digital media at Bucks New University. A 20 year veteran of teaching in High Wycombe, Dave has done and seen it all.

He can help with pretty much anything to do with animation and visual effects at Bucks; with two decades of experience he knows how the University works (or sometimes doesn't). We asked him to tell us about his work, and what students on the new Animation & VFX course can look forward to.

Bucks: What do you teach and what are your areas of expertise?

Dave: Over the years I’ve become something of a generalist teaching most areas of the 3D pipeline through modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging and animation. I’ve also taught compositing and motion graphics. I never really consider myself an expert in any one field. I guess the more you learn, the more you realise how much these areas of technology are evolving.

I’m a competent modeler and I enjoy the process of lighting and developing an eye-catching image. In the past, I’ve taught on art and design courses, trying to find innovative ways to enhance the creative/design process. Both Nick (Brown) and I have developed an eye for design, detail and proportion and this is really useful when working on projects like architectural visualisation, games environments and animation sets.
Helena Bonham-Carter - a visitor to Bucks. Photo: Wikipedia

Bucks: What are the highlights of your career at Bucks?

Dave: A long time ago I made furniture and made some interesting chairs for Phil Collins, Jeremy Paxman and Helena Bonham Carter. Jeremy and Helena came to the University to see the pieces, which was a fascinating opportunity to see their off-screen personas. I worked on a moving image piece with a textile artist, Polly Binns.

The piece was based on a photographic journey through the Norfolk Broads. The images had a strong diagonal theme and the final piece was shown in a gallery in Poole which itself had the same diagonal theme and had been inspired by Polly’s work.

The real highlight though has to be seeing the students that you’ve taught and got to know over three years, graduate with a sense of passion and confidence, finding their their place in the industry.

Bucks: What about teaching do you particularly enjoy?

Dave: Two outstanding things I enjoy about teaching are the students and the colleagues I work with. The students have an energy that is infectious and this keeps you passionate about your subject. Perhaps it’s the nature of the job, but I find most of my colleagues are humble, helpful and outgoing. I noticed this as soon as I started working at Bucks.

I also love learning and sharing what I’ve learnt, so in a sense, I still feel like a student myself! This is particularly true in our subject area as the technology moves on so fast.  You never stop learning.

Bucks: Our course is going through some big changes – what can the students look forward to in future?

Dave: Animation at Bucks has moved through various schools and departments over the years and has finally ended up in the department of Media Production. This has been such a positive move and the support we’ve received has been amazing! The Animation & VFX course is the culmination of lots of input from professionals like Alex and is now really well focused.

The support we get from the University in terms of equipment, software, studio facilities, motion capture and industry involvement is looking really promising. Being in this department also allows us to work with film and audio students, the virtual studio we produced for the Watford football club being a good example.
Watford FC's virtual studio was produced by Bucks students
At the start of term we had an industry panel as part of the Fresher’s week, and the range of high profile industry speakers who shared our passion was really inspiring. We’re really excited to see what our first intake on this new course can do in such an exciting environment.

Bucks: What advice would you give to a student who is struggling for any reason?

Dave: This is an easy one! Come and talk to us! It is not uncommon for students to get out of step with a course. It may be because of financial pressure, family commitments, too much socialising, or just feeling out of their depth.
E402. Dave's very scruffy office. Come and help him tidy up
Quite often a student will feel embarrassed that they are falling behind and not want to be shown up in class, so they stay home - and this just compounds the problem. By talking to their subject or personal tutor, or any tutor on the team that they are comfortable talking to, we can find out what the underlying problem is and develop a plan to get things back on track.

Some students worry that we may get angry or shout at them, but on the contrary, we just want to help! If a problem is more serious or the student is feeling quite low, we have an excellent counseling service which are very supportive and work closely with the course team.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring my caricature of Dave, haha.
    It's a very nice interview - great to see the creative side of Dave; I didn't know he did all that cool stuff!

    Great advice at the end. Out tutors are absolutely supportive and try their hardest to help the students.