PLATTSBURGH — The New York State SkillsUSA Championships attracted 2,500 Career & Technical Education students to Syracuse from around the state.
CV-TECH sent 47 students accompanied by the SkillsUSA Advisory Team.
Three of them — Damien Zuckerberg and the team of Donald Seymour and Ian Bova left as Gold Medal and New York State champions in architectural drafting and 3-D visualization and animation, respectively.
WHAT HE KNEW
Zuckerberg received the top medal in architectural drafting for a floor plan of a two-story house.
“You just get there and they give you a sheet of paper and tell you to do it,” said the Peru Central School senior.
The competition started at 8 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. with an hour lunch break.
He started his draft at 8:30 a.m. and completed it five hours later.
His strategy was going with what he knew.
“Taking it one step of a time, making sure I’m really looking at everything and not overthinking it,” Zuckerberg said.
He was very surprised to be Top Drafter.
“The judge told me that I probably wouldn’t place first but I would definitely place and then I place first,” he said.
“It was pleasant surprise I can say that.”
This fall, he plans to study engineering for two years at Clinton Community College and then transfer and go from there.
Seymour thought his and Bova’s assignment pretty boring.
“We were given a character,” said Seymour who is a senior Northeastern Clinton Central School.
“I think it was Scarlet Witch. We were told to model the environment or set they would be in if they were to appear in a sequel to some big name movie.”
The dynamic duo took a page straight from Marvel.
“Marvel always just always has things in cities, so if we’re going to debut a superhero you can’t go wrong with a city,” Seymour said.
“We had some cars flipped over. A tower fell and that’s pretty much it.”
They got down to it on Autodesk Maya, professional 3-D modeling and animation software.
Given six hours to produce on demand, they clocked out after an hour an a half of actual modeling.
“But most of time was trying to render the animation and composite it,” Seymour said.
The rendering was one of the most challenging aspects of the competition for him.
“I was afraid with rendering, we wouldn’t be able to finish it,” he said.
“It was pretty stressful because I was like I don’t know if I should add more here. There’s a lot, that if I look back at what I did for the project, I know I should have touched up and moved some things around. I was just so afraid at the time.”
For Bova, it was finding textures for some of the models.
DIVIDE & CONQUER
Their strategy was to sit down couple of minutes to consider what they were going to do.
The went back and forth and locked on Seymour’s cityscape idea.
Then, they storyboarded what they wanted the animation to depict.
“At that point, we were like, ‘Hey, you take this part, I’ll take this part,’” Seymour said.
“We were both pretty confident that we are going to be able to pull it off,” Bova said.
Seymour was aiming for second place as was Bova.
“When we were finishing up, we could see that everyone else was still working,” Bova said.
They both were very surprised that they walked away with the gold.
“We won, but I still think it was a fluke,” Seymour said.
They are only the second team ever in eight years to go to nationals for 3-D animation and visualization.
With Zuckerberg, they will be heading to the national SkillsUSA in Louisville, Kentucky the last week of June.
In the fall, they both will attend college on the opposite shores of Lake Champlain.
Bova, a senior at Plattsburgh High School, plans to attend Clinton Community College for liberal arts then transfer to SUNY Plattsburgh for a bachelor’s degree in multimedia artistry and animation.
Seymour crosses Lake Champlain to attend his dream choice: Champlain College in Burlington, Vt.
“I wear their hat almost everyday,” he said.
“I am majoring in game art and animation. I’m hoping to then also like focus more on character design in that major because that’s got to be the most fun I have is drawing of characters and modeling them.”
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WIN THIS WAY
This is Part 2 of a two-part story on CV-TEC’s recent big wins at state-level SkillsUSA competition in Syracuse, which clinched slots at June nationals in Louisville, Kentucky for three gold medalists.