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HomeCommunityThe Foundry Donates to Exceptional Minds School for Young Adults with Autism

The Foundry Donates to Exceptional Minds School for Young Adults with Autism


LR-IMG_2666The Foundry recently made a sizable software donation to the Exceptional Minds digital arts academy in Sherman Oaks, Calif., providing 12 annual licenses for its NUKEX compositing software suite at no charge. The school trains young adults with autism for careers in the film industry.

“We have been following the phenomenal achievements of Exceptional Minds and these very talented individuals and wanted to do our part to ensure their success. It didn’t take us long to realize how our compositing software suite could benefit them,” said Mike Ephraim, head of Americas sales at The Foundry. “We’re thrilled to be part of such a worthwhile cause and to support the special needs community.”

Exceptional Minds opened its doors in 2011 to prepare autistic students for careers in the digital arts. Known for its close working 
relationship with the visual effects industry, Exceptional Minds and its students have since worked on six productions, including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Oscar-nominated film American Hustle as well as the 2012 motion picture Lawless.

The three-year digital arts vocational program is taught by industry professionals and adapted for the special needs of individuals with autism. The program includes both professional certification and real-work experience is the field.

The Exceptional Minds Studio (EMS), which opened earlier this year, is co-located with the school to offer postproduction services by graduates and students on a contract basis. EMS operates independently of the vocational school to provide high quality stereo conversion (rotoscoping), visual effects, computer graphics, title work and animation. Both the Exceptional Minds school and studio have a range of compositing, rotoscoping and animation applications for use by students and contractors. With the addition of the NUKEX compositing application suite, students are now able to move into node-based compositing for larger scale, deep-compositing projects that require powerful camera and planar tracking, in-application model building and collaborative assist tools.

NUKE has been used extensively in recent CG-heavy films such as Gravity, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit, The Avengers and Pacific Rim.

“This is an important contribution for our students and for our working studio of young men and women on the spectrum who require the latest tools to be competitive in a very demanding industry,” said Susie Zwerman, who is in charge of job development for Exceptional Minds and is an accomplished visual effects producer with Crystal Rain Media Entertainment.

The Foundry joins Adobe Systems, StereoD, Method Studios, Annapurna Pictures, Stargate Studios, Film Roman, United Front, Pixel Magic, DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox, among others, in support of Exceptional Minds.

According to a study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, one in three young adults with autism lack paid job experience, college or technical school nearly seven years after high school graduation.

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