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Blog . Alumni Stories: Ashli Hudson ’20


Alumni Stories: Ashli Hudson ’20

02/09/24  |  Posted by Anthony Scalmato  |  Posted in Animation

Animation alum Ashli Hudson, class of 2020, discusses their career and time at CIA.

Where do you live and what are you doing to stay creative these days?

I’m currently living in Willoughby, Ohio. Nowadays, I usually try to doodle and draw whenever I have the time available. Often seeing art online from artists I’m interested in, and from my colleagues inspires me to draw or animate something, even if it’s just a small few frame loop!

I work as a 2D artist for WhiteThorn Games.

What’s been your most satisfying professional accomplishment since attending CIA?

Honestly just being able to see my name in the credits of a few video games is awesome! Video games have been a large part of my life since I was old enough to hold a controller, and being able to contribute artwork to something that means so much to me, and a lot of people that had childhoods (and maybe even adulthood) similar to mine is a great feeling.

What are your creative/professional goals for the future?

One day I’d love to work on a full game made entirely in pixel art from start to finish. At the moment, I’ve been brought on when games have already had an established style, or pixel art wasn’t the primary art style of a game. A full game from the ideation/concepting stage all the way to a finished shipped product is the dream!

I also think working as an Art Director down line would be an interesting path to explore in my career as an animator and artist. I don’t really have a specific project in mind I could direct for, but perhaps it’s something that’ll come to me as time goes on.

How did CIA help prepare you for your current role?

I took some game design courses along with my animation courses, and they were a good introduction to working with not only artists, but also with engineers, programmers, and project leads, and how my job as an artist interacts with their jobs and tasks.

Also with animation courses covering not only fundamentals to 2D animation, we were also taught general knowledge of navigating illustration, compositing, and 3D modeling and animation. In my day-to-day at work, I usually end up doing a lot of 2D character illustration and creating static assets relating to those characters rather than full-on animation work, I do however have an upcoming explainer animation for an educational game that I am looking forward to starting soon!

Was there a specific piece of instruction or advice you received from a faculty member that's proven especially helpful? If so, please share what it was and who provided it.

To this day I still have to give a lot of credit to Jeff Simonetta. In our Animation specialization course, I was stuck on what I wanted to specialize in for the semester. Jeff suggested working with pixel art animation, something I had been interested in when I was younger but had forgotten about, and I immediately fell in love with the style. I also have to give a lot of credit to Anthony Scalmato, because a few months down the line towards the end of the semester after working on pixel art as my specialization, Anthony forwarded me a summer internship opportunity that involved working on pixel art that I ended up getting! Today, while I really only do pixel art for freelance work, I’m still with the company that I interned at while I was still a student.

What's your fondest memory of being a part of the CIA community?

One of my fondest memories is that sometimes I’ll think about how Lincoln Adams once asked me if I knew any good jokes during a 1 on 1 critique, and I said the corniest joke that came to my mind: “Wanna hear a joke about ghosts?” Lincoln says, “Sure.” I respond with, “That’s the spirit!” Lincoln says “That’s 5 seconds of my life I’m never going to get back,” and we both just laughed at how bad the joke was. That little interaction still makes me laugh to this day whenever I think about it.

What advice might you offer to current or prospective CIA students interested in charting a career path similar to yours?

Take Game Design courses if your Animation schedule allows it! As an animation artist, having even just a little bit of understanding as to what goes on in the technical game design/development side of things, as well as game design pipelines and how they differ from animation pipelines is very helpful in understanding how to make art and animation for games. Also try to get an internship at a game studio while you’re still a student! It can be a good way to get familiar with working in an actual studio environment, and can open you up to some industry connections by the time you graduate.

Also, listen to your instructors when they emphasize using clear, easily understood naming conventions for your files. They really do make your life, and anyone else who works with your files much easier. Trust me.

IG: vexxcellent

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