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Bloomfield College Alumna Taking the “MoCap” Industry by Storm

Jennifer Martinez Bloomfield College

By Alicia Cook 

Jennifer Martinez ’15 is working full-time in the Motion Capture (MoCap) Industry.

A natural born artist, Martinez has been creating since she was a child.

“I suppose you can say my passion to create comes from my emotions,” said Martinez. “I tend to be an emotional person; so drawing, painting, or creating on the computer was always my way to escape.”

Before even graduating from Eastside High School in Taylors, South Carolina, Martinez knew she wanted to study animation, but there were no four-year colleges in her state that offered such a program. She narrowed her college search down to Full Sail, Pratt University, and Bloomfield College, located just minutes from her father’s home in New Jersey.

Both the Florida and New York schools were expensive and offered little to no financial assistance.  It seemed that most schools offering animation were dominated by male students as well. Bloomfield College offered the best financial aid and scholarship package and housed updated animation equipment. After visiting the campus, she knew Bloomfield College was the best option.

Martinez enrolled at Bloomfield College as a commuter student and began college as a Creative Arts and Technology (CAT) major with a concentration in Animation.

As a CAT major, Martinez took classes in film, 2D/3D/stop-motion animation, music, performance art, video editing, graphic design, and motion capture.

“I chose a concentration in animation because I was creative in web design and was fascinated by the CGI (Computer Graphics Imagery) in movies,” expressed Martinez. “I still didn’t feel specialized enough in anything until I took Motion Capture in my third year at the College and it felt right.”

It was during her third year that Martinez, knowing the growing competitiveness of the field she dreamed of entering, immersed herself in every opportunity to beef up her resume. One internship she held pointed her in the direction of her future career.

“I interned for my motion capture professor, Keith Robinson. He is Co-Founder of Motus Global which uses Motion Capture for Sports Science,” said Martinez. “The company was working on the motion capture for the EA (Electronic Arts) Sports Baseball Games and needed some extra hands to track the data. It was during this internship I discovered I loved motion capture and wanted a career in it. I still keep in contact with him and he gives me advice with my MoCap job now.”

In 2015 she graduated Summa Cum Laude and began applying for jobs.

“After six months when I was about to give up, I saw a motion capture position for Human Condition, a start-up company in New York, and applied,” said Martinez. “The next week, they called me and brought me in for an interview.”

The diverse skillset Martinez had developed while at Bloomfield College as a Motion Capture tutor and peer-mentor had set her apart from the other applicants.

“Human Condition told me there were a couple of candidates from Full Sail but none of them actually had experience with setting up the cameras and calibrating like I did. So, they hired me.”

Martinez’s job at Human Condition keeps her on her toes. Her job duties vary depending on what project they are working on. For example, the first four months at Human Condition, Martinez was part of a pilot at Citi Field. There, they built a motion capture cage purchased from the company Organic Motion.

“I never used a motion capture cage before so I had to learn everything about it the first week,” admitted Martinez. “The rest of the time at Citi Field was spent capturing basic motions from people for research on a product we were developing.”

Martinez continues to grow in her field, and has learned new techniques while on-the-job. Skillsets that were introduced in CAT courses have helped other graduates, like Martinez, grow into their potential. Many of these can be seen in the MoCap Studio, for example, the use of creative and analytical skills to research a topic and problem solve, the use of technical skills to troubleshoot the source of a problem, and build a project plan and timeline, and, the use of research skills to stay current on appropriate software and equipment.   In keeping with the mission of the College, the experiential and innovative technology studios at the CAT Division aim to prepare students to attain academic, personal and professional excellence in a global world. 

“I had to learn another motion capture system that was sensor based in one week. They also trained me to be OSHA certified and somewhat HIPPA certified,” listed Martinez. “After that I was sent to Albany for a smaller one-week pilot working with SUNY. Now, currently at 61 Broadway, I rebuilt the MoCap cage and help run tests to develop our product further.  Eventually I’ll be recording motions again for research and also maybe be sent on another pilot a few months from now.”

Five years from now, Martinez sees herself still with Human Condition as the head of the Motion Capture department and traveling.  Ten years from now she hopes to be in the movie industry working in MoCap for a company like SONY.

“Bloomfield College prepared me for my future in a few substantial ways,” expressed Martinez. “The faculty there, like Keith Robinson, showed us how to set up the cameras, which was why I was able to land the job. The amount of writing I did in college made me a better writer which turned out to be useful when writing proposals and presentations at my job. The internship class helped me create the LinkedIn account that the human resource department at Human Condition discovered me through. And lastly, the Center for Career Development helped me fine tune my resume.”

Bloomfield College, the CAT Division, and the Animation Program work hard to prepare students with research skills, technical skills and creative ways to solve problems for success in the arts and help them build ways to navigate the technology as it changes in the future.

In fall 2016, the new Center for Technology + Creativity on campus will open its doors. This building will help the CAT division remain one of the most innovative programs in the country in fields such as animation, game design, digital video and music technology. The space will provide a new home for students to continue to shatter creative boundaries and develop game-changing work during their undergraduate careers. The new building will also house a green screen filming studio and a painting studio, among other features, bringing the latest in creative technology to young artists’ fingertips.

For questions, comments, or inquires please contact Professor Lynne Oddo, coordinator of the CAT Animation Program and the Motion Capture Studio at Bloomfield College.