By Brent Steinberg
CSU Fullerton Alumnus
Brent Steinberg received an Emmy for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special” in 2011. Credited as CGI (computer-generated image) Artist, Steinberg received the award as a member of a nine-person team that completed special effects for the History Channel’s “Gettysburg.”
None of it would have been possible without CSU Fullerton – particularly professors Grieb, Kennan, Hill and Lamb.
Here is the story. After coming from a community college, I transferred to Cal State, still lost and searching for “what I wanted to do when I grew up.” One semester into failed attempt at an economics major, and after one accounting class, the reality set in that it was not the field for me. Only when I started looking to jump to an art program — originally illustration — did I find out that CSUF offered animation. Fate has an interesting way I suppose, since not many universities had that program, and animation had been a lifelong passion I never expected to take with me into adulthood. Following my passion, I made the jump and never looked back.
My professors were nothing short of amazing — fun, accessible, knowledgeable, demanding, and most importantly, honest. They knew the industry’s high standards and did not let students get away with striving for anything less. The faculty never forgot the competition students would face in the real world and made sure we prepared for criticism. Having been in the industry for a few years now, I can vouch for the fact that there are no kid gloves.
The projects I worked on in Professor Grieb’s animation class and Professor Kennan’s life drawing classes are still part of my portfolio. In fact, the demo reel that landed me the 3D artist job at Stargate Studio was composed primarily of projects completed while at CSUF.
I never expected to be part of an Emmy-winning team — especially less than four years into my career. However, working at Stargate allows me to be part of a ton of great shows.
“Gettysburg” in particular required the team to develop an extraordinary level of fine detail that made a computer-generated Civil War era town and battlefield look indistinguishable from reality. This project in particular was entirely recreated in 3D, from the debris on the ground to the dilapidated buildings and trees to the mountains and clouds. This is the type of project that pushes the limits of what we are capable of today, and hints at what’s next.
High-detail 3D graphics are great, but sometimes I do miss the beauty of putting pencil to paper (or stylus to tablet) and seeing your drawings come alive. Regardless of whether I keep going on to bigger 3D graphics in movies, or do something that is more of a passion project in 2D, it was CSUF that paved the roads for my dreams.