Katherine Mahon

As a 3D artist at Amazon, Katherine Mahon applies all that she had learnt at MICA to modeling and material creation at the internet giant. She said her time at MICA had set her up for professional success

A fan of Disney and Pixar, Katherine Mahon ’14 (Animation B.F.A.) always wanted to create art through the computer. Soon after gaining her B.F.A. in Animation at MICA, she landed a 3D animator role at High Rock Studios, which paved the way for her current job at Amazon.

"What I learned at MICA, from painting and sculpting to animation hardware and software, laid a solid foundation for my job at High Rock Studios and now Amazon,"

said Mahon, who works in Amazon's 3D modeling and material creation team. She likened modeling to sculpting on a computer, where she applies principles of form, proportion, scale, and composition. For material creation, her training in painting has been critical in helping her to decide on aesthetic qualities, such as color and texture, for the characters she creates.

Mahon was all praise for MICA's cutting-edge animation program, where students receive comprehensive training in production technology and a thorough study of character and narrative. But, more than that, she said it was the community and opportunities that she was given which truly made her ready for the real world.

"The MICA community was, and continues to be, a great source of information, support, and connections," Mahon shared. Even as an undergraduate, she had the chance to collaborate on such prestigious projects as the Maryland Film Festival, for which she produced a trailer. "And the critiques model really prepared me for work in a team setting," she added. Working with Amazon's team of 3D artists who rely heavily on one another for constant feedback about their work, Mahon found herself at ease with giving and receiving constructive criticism and cooperating with colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

Asked what advice she would give art students looking to enter the animation industry, Mahon offered, "Don't be discouraged by the naysayers. Be confident that your knowledge, experience, and network can carry over into working life and set you up for success."