David Baker, Program CoordinatorDavid Baker

David is an award winning media producer, animator and educator. His extensive background in media production and animation has led him to produce projects ranging from instructional videos to children's CD-ROM games. Working in a variety of styles designed to both entertain and help people learn, his enthusiasm for art and animation create unique and unforgettable productions.

He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where he earned a BA in Art and Psychology. His first 'entry level' job at Industrial Media in Grand Rapids Michigan included painting animation cells and sweeping floors. At IMI, he learned how to be a successful art director and producer working with corporate, government and advertising clients producing educational and training films that extensively incorporated animation.

The turn in the economy in the early eighties drove him to the oil fields of Saudi Arabia where he developed media and training projects. Life in Arabia gave him an appreciation for freedom and he returned to the United States in 1984.

To pursue animation further, he opened Classic Animation in 1985 and worked with clients such as Herman Miller, Children's Television Workshop, MTV and Amway. He merged his business with Lawrence Productions in 1994 to produce and direct animated videos and children's CD-Rom games.

He created and directed the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International from 2001 – 2005 and was a tenured instructor and co-founder of KVCC's Center for New Media. In fall of 2005 he was brought on board as faculty at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids MI to help further develop the Digital Animation and Game Design program. David Baker's skills include writing, producing films and videos, traditional animation production and 3D animation. He currently is program coordinator and looks to help Ferris develop one of the top ten animation programs in the country.

He holds a BA in Art from Hope College and a MSCTE (Masters of Science in Career and Technical Education) from Ferris State University. He is winner of over 20 Addy awards, Silver Medals at the New York Film Festivals for the Herman Miller Short films 'Who Knew' and 'Don't Look Now', a 1995 Codie for animation in LampChop Loves Music and the 1980 Cine Golden Eagle for the short energy conservation film 'Pigopolis'.

Mel DanesMel Danes

Mel is a digital media producer with a life long interest in entertaining storytelling experiences.  His love of movies , animation,  and games both video and tabletop inspire his 3d creations.

Mel was  an outsource manager and producer for Yeti CGI ( a mobile game developer based in Grand Rapids Michigan) for 3 years. He ensured that art assets integrated seamlessly with the clients pipeline and production systems. Working alongside the art team he also contributed concept design work, modeling, texturing and animation as well as sound design. His team shipped 8 games for companies ranging from Disney Online Interactive and Nickelodeon to Zynga and Kixeye.

While working toward his degree Mel also contributed to several successful  video game mods.. He collaborated with  a multinational  team to create 2 full race mods (“Inquisition Daemonhunt” and “Steel Legion” ) for Relic Entertainments  “Dawn of War” franchise.  He is a graduate of the Digital Animation and Game Design program. 

Combining a passion for new and engaging experiences with an understanding of market realities he guides his students toward exciting and rewarding careers in the digital arts.

Mel continues to work in the game industry as a freelance artist and consultant.

H. Martin LierMarty Lier

Marty has been teaching Animation and Design classes for over 14 years at the University level. He developed the Digital Animation and Game Design program for Ferris State University. He has taught at both Ferris State University and Grand Rapids Community College. He specializes in 3D Design and 3D visualization. He also has a passion to advise students and help them gain internships.

Marty received his Bachelors Degree from Calvin College and his Masters degree from Ferris State University. He plans on pursuing his Doctorate Degree in Education in the near future. He is also an Autodesk Certified Trainer and trains professionals during his summers throughout the United States and Asia.

Marty has owned and operated several animation/design companies. Most recently he has started an international company specializing in 3D visualization, special effects, cartoons, and commercials.

Nicholas PattisonNicholas Pattison

Nick Pattison is passionate about creativity, gameplay, and programming. Since 2006, he's been working in advertising. For 5 years he worked with local design agency Grey Matter Group as lead developer. While there, he programmed dozens of award-winning websites, web applications, and iOS apps. He's also created many award-winning motion graphics videos for Grey Matter Group's clients. His work has been recognized with over a dozen Addy awards (including Best of Show and Regional Addy awards), a Webby Honoree, and 2 Telly awards.

As a life-long lover of games (video games, board games, card games, etc), he has been designing and programming games as a hobbyist for over 15 years. As an instructor, his goal is to guide students to plan, design, program, and publish gameplay experiences and interactive media. Also, as a graduate of Ferris's DAGD program, Nick has a unique perspective of the needs of developing students.

Jacob PollakJacob Pollak

Jacob Pollak dreams of a world that has fallen in love with learning and innovating. Following this dream, Jake left his twenty year career of producing convergent media and web applications for both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses to pursue the life of an educator. In this new role, he teaches programming, interaction design, and project management courses.

When he's not reading every games and learning blog that he can find, giving every bit of his energy to his students, or innovating new ways to help students learn, you can find Jake cooking spicy foods from around world, traveling to destinations near and far, and playing video and board games (which often means crossword puzzles). He's also been known to fix a car or two and in a pinch has fixed thumb drives for students using chewing gum.

Jake is currently participating on multiple initiatives in both games and learning, including participating in the creation of an institute for Game Based Learning, developing the curriculum for a Master's Degree with a focus in Game Based Learning, and helping with IGDA's Curriculum Framework project. He's an active member of ACM SIGGRAPH's Education Committee, InteraktGR, and IGDA's Learning and Education Games special interest group. Jake is a past board member of the West Michigan Film Video Alliance, AIGA West Michigan, the Detroit Professional Chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH, and SEMAFX.

Jake holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Animation and Game Design from Ferris State University.