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09 November 2009 @ 01:27 pm
Research  
From San Francisco Examiner in 1998


For Anthony Shafer, who is an artist as well as a computer whiz, it took more than money to lure him to his first job. After earning his bachelor's degree in computer engineering at the University of the Pacific, Shafer has signed on at a firm where the salary is a bit lower than a Silicon Valley offer, but, for him, the fascination factor is much higher - George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic in San Rafael, which for two decades has created stunning visual effects for films such as "Twister" and "The Mask."

"This is the job I've wanted for five years," said Shafer. "In school, we were directed more toward the traditional engineering role. But all along I read all the (film industry) trade journals, newsgroups on the Internet, kept abreast of the latest technology in this industry; and all my friends thought I was a little nuts."

At graduation, he said, he turned down offers from computer and consulting firms: "When it came down to it, I had to follow my heart."

So did Masayori Oka, 23, who recently earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics at Brown University and joined Industrial Light & Magic, drawn by the firm's reputation for computer graphics, digital imaging and more. In college, he had squeezed in courses in acting, directing Shakespeare, stage design and musical theory.

"The idea was to combine the arts and science, the left side of the brain and the right, utilize both of them in harmony," said Oka.

"I would like to do feature films but also research and development," said Oka. "The rewards are immense."



I asked my advisor today if he knew Masi Oka. He said yes, but apparently did not know that he was an actor now. Note to self: invite Masi Oka to a robotics conference.