The award is called “Rookie of the Year,” and this year, Ringling College of Art + Design Motion Design senior Doug Alberts took home the top prize in his category. Two other Ringling College students, Zac Miller and James Gardner, were finalists in the competition.
Rookie of the Year is an international contest for creative work/projects. The categories are 3D animation, visual effects, concept art and illustration, game design and development, immersive media, architectural visualization, product design, and, in Doug’s case, 3D motion graphics.
To give you some idea about the scope of these awards, sponsored annually by Autodesk (a multinational software company), consider that this year there were 3,548 entrants from 499 schools in 89 different countries – more than 38,000 pieces of media in all.
On its website, the Rookies is described as “a platform to help digital artists get discovered without having to compete with professionals for attention. You’ll be on the front page of those sites one day, but for now, we’ve got your back and want to help you turn your passion for creative media into a successful career.”
Doug is originally from Chicago and is currently in Detroit working on a summer internship with Gunner.
“I’ve been in the motion design industry for about three years and have had the amazing opportunity to work alongside my friends at Gunner and Giant Ant. Some of the clients I’ve worked with include Lucky Charms, Lyft, Lululemon, Ted-Ed, and Disney,” he said. “Each project has played a major role in improving my curiosity for new techniques. I really love what I get to do every day.”
His department head, Ed Cheetham, calls Doug “quite a talented designer, animator and a nice person, too. Doug is not only talented, but he is also supportive of other students. He works as a tutor, helping other students learn the software. He brings energy and positivity to everything he does.” Cheetham says with a smile.
Asked about The Rookies award, Doug said, “I had the opportunity to share my little slice of creativity, with a few of my projects packed neatly into a portfolio. The process starts with judges from the industry grading work from all around the world, and hopefully you move on to the next stage as time goes on. The award is given to the top portfolio every year, and I am so lucky to have received it this time around.”
Doug entered a handful of personal projects for his entry. They ranged from incredibly personal emotional stories to funny easy-going narratives. Together, he said, “it was a good way to show my growth as an artist.”
Though he knew the results were due out soon, he admitted he wasn’t thinking too much about it. “I had known of the incredible portfolios from my peers that were alongside me in the judging process. Selection day came for Rookie of the Year and I opened my inbox that morning to find a very pleasant email from my department head, Ed Cheetham. His excitement poured into me and I was incredibly surprised at the news,” he said. “It made me grateful that my portfolio communicated a body of work that didn’t need me to be there to speak for it. It stands by itself and I think, personally, that’s something I have never achieved before.”
“All of Doug’s work communicates an idea very clearly and while he does that, he uses movement and design to really bring that idea to life,” Cheetham said. “He has an excellent sense of timing and animation, which I think separates his work from so many because he pays such careful attention to all of the details. Plus, his work is just appealing and fun to watch.”
Doug is grateful for his decision to come to Ringling College of Art + Design and remembers traveling to Sarasota for the first time for a precollege event. “It was the best month of my high school career and solidified my decision to study at Ringling College for the next four years. The faculty, facilities, and people are some of the best you’ll find anywhere,” he said. Cheetham, too, recalls those precollege days. “I remember when I first saw him, I watched him go out and talk to other students, make friends, and start organizing things. Before he left, I said that we need to make sure he comes to Ringling, because he is going to transform our department, and he has. He has raised the bar for everybody.”
Asked what’s next after finishing his senior year, Doug calls it “an unknown sort of excitement. With graduation coming I feel blessed to have so many doors open from studios in New York to Los Angeles to the Midwest. But, being a family man, it’s important for me to be surrounded by my family. I really feel drawn to the idea of freelancing and hopefully growing into my own studio one day. I’d love to wake up, make a cup of coffee, and start making more fun projects.”
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Ringling College of Art + Design