ACC students bringing new life into animated characters

Cassie Toader

Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody made cinematic history in 1995 when Toy Story opened in movie theaters across the nation. It was the first fully computer-animated movie. While it captured the hearts of children and adults nationwide, it also sparked a new passion among future motion graphic designers. 

“I grew up watching cartoons, anime, and animated movies. Now being able to be the one who brings these characters to life is a dream come true. It never gets boring,” says Cassie Toader, ACC graduate. 

Cassie enrolled in ACC’s Game Development, Animation, and Motion Graphics program in 2014.

“My dad was a big inspiration. I looked up to the work he did on video games and movies. Now I get to be the one thinking of what I can do to animate these characters.”

Students get the chance to create and animate 2D and 3D characters, design interactive video games, and create immersive worlds. During her coursework, Cassie had the opportunity to spend a year and a half interning for Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.

“I was on set for the post-production of ‘Machete Kills.’ It gave me the full picture of what I was getting into.”

After graduating in fall 2017, Cassie began her career at a local production company, Rooster Teeth.

“I had the opportunity to work on RWBY volumes 5 and 6 and Gen: Lock season 1. It’s a learning experience to see something that starts as a couple of drawings, scripts, and storyboards. It’s a great feeling to see it on the screen.”

Opportunities like this continue to pop-up as Austin becomes a destination city for motion graphics careers through film studios, educational publishers, game companies, and ad agencies. 

“This is the perfect place. Austin is a very art-oriented city, and there is so much inspiration and creativity here. With all the studios working here, it’s the best place to grow a career.”

Job growth is expected to increase by nearly 12 percent over the next four years. 

“The most important thing for anyone looking to get into this field is patience. Computers crash, animations break, but if you stay patient and ask questions, you can get something done right instead of guessing or going too far in the wrong direction.”

For more information, visit

Add new comment