Ken Cope


Ken Cope is a classically-trained 2D and 3D animator whose work has appeared in television, feature films, theme park attractions, and games. Apprenticing at Don Bluth Studios (on "NIMH") and Filmation (He-Man and She-Ra), Ken used CG techniques in traditional production, with 3D vehicles for "Bravestarr." Ken worked for CG pioneers Brad DeGraf and Michael Wahrman, building 3D environments for ride films, and developing facial animation techniques, showcased as the face of "Cain" in the film "Robocop II." After working at Walt Disney Feature Animation for Andreas Deja, on "Mickey's Prince and the Pauper" and "Beauty and the Beast," Ken moved to Imagineering Labs to create 3D versions of characters from "Aladdin" for their Virtual Reality Magic Carpet Ride. Ken has trained teams animating for everything from the N64 to the XBox. Ken has taught animation principles and digital tools to artists in Bay Area schools since 1999.

Teaching Experience:

2011-Present: California College of the Arts – Oakland, CA
Beginning Animation, Character Modeling, Time-Based Narrative

I teach principles of animation with punched paper and pencil tests, character modeling in Maya, and an introduction to digital cinema.

2012-Present: Cañada College – Redwood City, CA
Hard Surface Modeling, Character Rigging
In the Digital Art & Animation department I teach introduction to computer graphics using the Adobe Suite, 3D modeling for Maya, and character rigging for Maya.

2005-2007 The Art Institute of California – San Francisco
Game Art and Design
Taught Hard and Organic Modeling, Materials and Lighting, and Character Modeling for one of the first Degree programs for Game Art and Design.

1999-2002: Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA
Animation Instruction
Taught courses in traditional 2D assistant animation, game development, character set-up and animation, polygonal and subdivision surface modeling.

Curriculum Development
Worked with Patricia Johnson and Kevin Cain to create a course in character design, modeling and rigging. Taught polygonal and subdivision surface modeling techniques using Mirai and Maya.

Thesis Preparation
Prepared students for the proposal of their thesis projects and reviewed them; students wrote, designed, storyboarded and prepared an animatic for their short films.

Art Experience
Introduced polygonal and subdivision surface modeling techniques to high school students using freeware modeling tools and Maya.

Production Experience:

2003-2005: Backbone Entertainment, CA
Artist, Death Jr. for PSP

Contributed to design phase (in pencils and 3D) for various enemies I modelled and rigged; animated sophisticated particle effects in XML on proprietary FX engine for Death Jr. for PSP. For unpublished Mucha Lucha PS2 title, modeled, rigged, mapped and textured 3D characters.

1997- Present: Ozcot Studios, Sausalito/Novato/Vallejo, CA
Independent Contractor
Designed and created 2D and 3D animated characters for independent project development and freelance projects in Mirai, Softimage|XSI, and Maya:

• Character modeling for Mythica at Liquid Development
• Character and environment design for Ultima Online at Liquid Development
• Modeled characters from Zap Comix and L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz books
• Modeled for Xaos Inc. shot for Small Soldiers trailer
• Modeled and animated lethally-armed rubber-hose pig for Red Sky Interactive’s
1998 Demo CD (winner, Gold Pencil Award)
• Animated CG dream sequence for award-winning short film Modern Life
• Modeled Protozoa’s prototype of Doonesbury character Duke.
• Authored foreword and modeling/animation tutorials for Doug Kelly’s top-selling
book, Character Animation In Depth, published by Coriolis.
• Techical reviewer for Softimage|XSI Character Animation f/x & Design, for author
Chris Maraffi and Coriolis.
• Panelist at SIGGRAPH ’97 debating merits of performance capture

1996-1997: GameTek Inc., Sausalito, CA
Character Animator
• Created real-time, Anime-style talking heads with lip-synch and game-driven
emotions for Robotek 64 Crystal Dreams, unpublished N64 cartridge game
• Modeled and rigged weighted shape blended parameterized targets.
• Trained animators in procedures and workflow using Softimage.

1995-1996: Acclaim Coin-Op, Mountain View, CA
Character Animator
• Prototyped character development for Magic, The Gathering arcade game.
• Designed, modeled, lit, and animated player and non-player character sprites
using Alias 6.0 on SGI.

1992-1994: Walt Disney Imagineering, Glendale, CA
Character Animator
Modeled, textured and animated characters for prototype Virtual Reality attraction Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, premiering in EPCOT and at SIGGRAPH. Using Side Effects Prisms, in a joint development project with SGI, animated Iago the Parrot, the Magic Carpet, and Rasoul the palace guard.

1991-1992: Magic Seven Productions, Santa Monica, CA
Character Designer, Modeler
Designed and modeled characters for 3D animated children’s film.

1990-1991: Walt Disney Feature Animation, Glendale, CA
Key Assistant, Character Animation
Keyed animation supervised by Andreas Deja in Beauty and the Beast and The Prince and the Pauper. Supervised and trained assistants.

1989-1990: DeGraf/Wahrman, West Hollywood, CA
Lead Modeler
• Modeled environments for first 3D computer animated ride film, Universal Studios’
Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera
using Symbolics (the ancestor of today’s Mirai).
• Modeled blend shapes for various performance-captured talking heads based on
original “Mike the Talking Head” demo for SGI, including the face of Cain in
Robocop II.
• Modeled environments, faces and monsters for the ride film Journey to the Fourth
, including work that became the cover image for Beyond the Mind’s Eye.

1978-1989: Animation Screen Credits on Ken Cope's IMDB page.


2009-2011: San Francisco State University
Bachelor of Arts degree in Cinema

Fulfilled emphases in Critical Studies, Production, Screenwriting, and Animation.