Changing How We View Our World
Much of the innovation at USC stems from the incredibly rich and broad emphasis on media and the arts. Meet the alumni and learn about the companies that have changed the way we play. Below is a small sampling of exciting spinouts, labs, and projects in arts, media, and gaming at USC:
|In 1983, moviegoers worldwide experienced a new way to watch film with the premiere of Return of the Jedi and the introduction of THX. Envisioned by renowned film director and USC alumnus George Lucas, and developed through the research of USC faculty member Tomlinson Holman and engineers from LucasFilm Ltd, THX opened a new chapter in film by creating a standard for theater audio systems that hadn't been updated since World War II. Today, THX has certified more than 4,000 theaters worldwide.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - George Lucas, Anthony Daniels
© and TM 2002 Lucasfilm Lt.
Another proud alumni innovator, Academy-award winner Robert Zemeckis funded the creation of a 35,000-square-foot facility – the country’s first and only fully digital training center -- which includes the Electronic Arts Game Design Lab. Almost all cinema-television students take classes in the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, which incorporates the most innovative technical advancements for storytelling to help train the filmmakers and television creators of the future, ensuring them hands-on experience with a variety of high-tech production techniques.
thatgamecompany is a video game design company that strives to develop games which will evoke different emotional experiences for players. They explore different possibilities for what games could be, and what they could communicate as a medium. They encourage innovation and experimentation and believe that their creative games will appeal to new, untapped and "dormant” audiences. Founded in 2006 by two USC almuns, Kellee Santiago and Jenova Chen, thatgamecompany is a team comprised solely of past and present USC Students. Created from diverse backgrounds of theater, film, computer science and design the tea, comes together to create one of today’s top-emerging game design companies, poised to show the world possibilities for video games that have not yet been conceived. thatgamecompany has been experiencing great success with their work. They have a 3-game deal with SONY, their debut title ‚'flOw’ is the #1 downloaded game on the SONY Playstation 3 Network, this title and thatgamecompany have been nominated for many awards including being named a finalist in the Eighth Annual Game Developers Conference. thatgamecompany was also featured in a BusinessWeek article, A New Front in the Console Wars.”
Big Stage is a media company whose breakthrough technology allows users to easily create and integrate a life-like 3D avatar of themselves into everything from famous movie scenes, TV shows and video games, to music videos, short video clips, virtual worlds, still images, user-generated content, instant messages, emails, social networks and more - instantly. Big Stage will launch to consumers in the second quarter of 2008.
USC Game Innovation Lab is a research space where new concepts in game design, play, and usability are developed, prototyped and play tested. It is an environment separate from the timelines and constraints of commercial game development. The lab nurtures concepts that push games beyond their currently defined genres, markets and play patterns to make breakthroughs in areas that will be valuable to the field. The game industry continues to grow at a steady rate and the medium is enjoying increased cultural influence. Our students have started companies and are being placed all over the game and tech industries.
The Interactive Media Division presents a broad and deep curriculum, exploring the methods and technologies that are shaping art and entertainment today. Located within America's first film school, the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, the Interactive Media Division (or "IMD") provides leading edge research and a hotbed of ideas for future professional storytellers. It is the only program of its kind tied to a cinema-television school and, as such, offers unprecedented opportunities for students to explore media convergence in an environment that leverages the natural advantages of its Hollywood setting. Unlike technical or vocational institutions, the School's interactive media program draws from a rich storytelling tradition, and from a collaborative atmosphere that encourages interaction among students and instructors from a wide range of disciplines. Interactive media students learn from and network with artists, writers, directors, producers, sound designers and cinematographers, many of whom are—or soon will be—entertainment industry leaders.
Aguru Images offers the first and only complete solution to capture and process all possible lighting conditions of real world textured surfaces for use in 3D computer generated imagery. The technology was used by Sony Pictures Imageworks to create photoreal digital actors as part of the Academy Award-winning visual effects in Spider Man 2, the Academy Award-nominated visual effects in Superman Returns, and most recently Spider Man 3.
Making virtual characters appear more human has long been a hurdle for many special effects artists. At USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, faculty members have created a device, called a lightstage, to scan a person's face in order to create a computer graphic model. The lightstage photographs a human face, lit from different directions, and recovers a 3-D shape of the face. The result is a more realistic digital character capable of expressing a wide range of emotions and expressions. Sony Pictures leveraged the lightstage for its remake of the classic film King Kong.
ConvoCast - The robust ConvoCast application is unique because it gives the power of voice expression to the broadcast audience’s conversation as well as to your online community connection. The digital audio posting feature lets listeners speak their minds by using the most natural means of human expression: VOICE. From online to telephony, from anywhere and at any time, your audience can use their own voices to express opinions, debate, collaborate, share and create around your real-time content. This ability makes for a more personal and interactive experience and a deeper relationship both within your audience community and with your network’s, station’s or show’s brand, content, personalities, and advertisers.
Flixya.com started as a video sharing site in July of 2006, Flixya has grown from a dedicated and loyal member base (all through word of mouth) and has quickly evolved into a thriving social media community. A Social Networking community that Pays Members 100% ad revenue. Flixya makes it fun and easy to share videos, photos and blogs. Setting out to offer a platform that changes the way people think about social networking and reaching beyond video sharing, Flixya offers similar elements of popular social networking sites and combines a monetization method for content producers in one solution. Flixya.com enables any individual who qualifies for Google AdSense a rapid and powerful method to publish and monetize their online content and keep all the revenue. Unlike any other website on the Internet, Flixya combines a social media networking platform that leverages a long feature set for sharing digital media content.
Vosotros is a music collective and label modeled for the 21st century, embracing the power of community and digital distribution to bring music to everyone. Each month they form a new band with different musicians in Los Angeles. Together they record a song and perform at a monthly concert series in Little Tokyo. The music is distributed for free via podcast as a chronicle of their work and as a promotional tool to drive concert attendance. Embracing the Creative Commons license, Vosotros allows anyone to download, copy, file-share, trade, distribute, and publicly perform their music.
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, part of the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, maintains the largest publicly available database in the world (more than 10 petabytes in uncompressed form) and preserves the largest archive of digital video testimonies from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. The Institute developed a licensable search engine technology that enables users to search the nearly 52,000 testimonies contained in the archive using a controlled vocabulary of 50,000 index terms. In addition, the names of 1.2 million people mentioned in the testimonies are indexed and searchable as well. Index terms are matched with one-minute segments of testimony; this enables users not only to search for entire testimonies relevant to their areas of interest, but also to identify specific segments within those testimonies. The Institute's technology delivers search results instantaneously in an intuitive interface that runs in a web browser. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute works with partners worldwide to use the testimonies for educational and scholarly purposes. In addition, the Institute provides access to the testimonies to universities, museums, archives, libraries, and other institutions. The Institute soon expects to begin collecting and indexing testimony on other genocides.