Student Spotlight: Nick Atchison

Nick Atchison

Nick Atchison
Major: Motion Picture/TV

Nick Atchison's mother is a talented artist, and as a boy she let him color in her drawings.

"I became determined to figure out how cartoons were made, and I've been on a mission to do that ever since," he said. "With each production, I get a little closer to understanding how the pros do it."

When he first moved to DuPage County, Atchison was willing to drive as far as possible to learn animation. Then he discovered that College of DuPage had an Animation program, which was exactly what he wanted.

"All of the instructors in the program have been incredibly helpful and supportive," he said. "Many of the students have experience in production, so the opportunity to network has created possibilities that otherwise would not have been available." 

Atchison is pursuing both a certificate and an Associate in Applied Science degree. In 2014, he also participated in the program's annual Animation Portfolio Night, which presented student work in all formats and styles. His short, “Greg the Gray,” was a 60-second piece about an alien who must deal with an abductee onboard his ship. Atchison spent an entire semester on his frame-by-frame animation in Flash. 

“Each piece you see during Portfolio Night has been created solely by the student. This includes writing the story, character development, design, storyboarding, coloring, sound effects and voiceovers,” he said. “Normally, any one of these projects would be tackled by an entire class. So it’s been a lot of work but also exciting.” 

His goal is to open a production studio, and he's already begun recruiting. While Atchison realizes this may take several years to do, he has received positive feedback and other students are already willing to join him. He especially wants students to have an opportunity to make money in the field that they are studying. Anyone with production or business experience is more than welcome to contact him.

Becoming a professional animator is his ideal goal, and Atchison feels College of DuPage is giving him the tools that he can use well into the future.

"Animation is something you have to put your heart into. If you really want to make a cartoon or do special effects for the movies, it's a great place to start," he said. "But you have to be patient. There is a lot to learn and it won't happen overnight. Commitment and networking are your two best friends. Get that down and the sky's the limit.

"The staff at COD is amazing and always supportive. I say if you're into animation, then look no further."

More about the Motion Picture/TV program