Animation Faculty

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Our faculty have been employed in the animation and/or gaming industry and teach courses in their areas of expertise. Our instructors have worked for animation companies, entertainment industries, game development houses, military bases, and motion graphics industries. Since the industry changes at such a rapid pace, the importance of teaching the most recent animation and gaming industry techniques is the central focus of our curriculum. Our main objective is to prepare our students to go from the classroom directly into a variety of industries as seamlessly as possible.

Derek G. Larson, Associate Professoranimation faculty image for Derek

Director of Animation and Video Game Animation Programs

Derek G. Larson is an artist and animator who previously worked as an editor at PBS. His series “Très Mall” is an animated documentary featuring discussions on art and philosophy with recent guests Noam Chomsky, David Joselit, Carla Gannis, McKenzie Wark, Michael Hardt, Graham Harman, and Priyamvada Gopal. “Très Mall” has been screened at venues including the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, Tranen, Times Square in New York City, MoCA Atlanta, and the Yale School of Architecture.

Software: Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe (Animate, Premiere, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator), ZBrush, Houdini, Maya, Blender, Krita, Procreate, Clip


Vaniah Howell

3D Game Artist, Graphic Designer, Video Editor

Vaniah Howell is a passionate and creative 3D artist who possesses an MFA degree in Animation with a concentration in Video Games. She is experienced in 3D modeling, graphic design, video editing, and game creation. When working on projects or in a team situation, Vaniah is a creative multi-tasker with a high attention to detail.

Software: 3ds MAX, Maya, ZBrush, Unity, Unreal, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Media Encoder, Premier Pro, Substance Painter, Canva
Languages: HTML


Fatima Abboud

Illustrator, Animator, and 3D Artist

Fatima Abboud is a well-rounded artist practiced in many disciplines from Animation to 3Dasset building. Though she has a wide variety of experience throughout several mediums of art, her favorite is illustrating. She has a passion for teaching students the fundamentals of art and brings technical and creative mastery to the classroom.

Software: Photoshop, 3Ds Max, ZBrush, Substance Painter

Rudy Agresta

Full-Service 2D Animator, Designer, Pianist/Composer, Fine Artist

Rudy Agresta has been a professional animator and cartoonist for over 40 years. His passion for animation landed him freelance work in NYC where he did character/show concept design, show pilot animation,  animated on many TV commercials, and animated many of the iconic Disney and Hanna Barbera cartoon characters. Rudy enjoys animating the old-fashioned way, with pencil and paper and has incorporated hand-drawn techniques within the digital realm to produce studio-quality animation. Rudy was instrumental in creating the 2D Undergraduate Animation Program at FDU as well as incorporating elements of it into the Animation Masters program. Rudy devotes much of his time to creating assignments for the animation courses he created for FDU, making them course-specific for each of his classes. Rudy is currently writing a book on his approach to animation, has a comic strip in development, and is completing a graphic novel. He is also a pianist and composer, having underscored for several films and television projects.

Software: Adobe Suite, Digicel Flip Book, Toon Boom, Open Toonz, TV Paint, Storyboarder, Animation Paper, Rough Animator, Finale

Traditional Media: Pencil and Paper, Oils, Acrylic, Watercolor, Gouache, Mixed Media


Mandi Anido

2D Animator, Background/Asset Artist, Designer, Writer

Mandi Anido is a professional 2D artist and animator who is also experienced in graphic design and writing. Her past work has included projects using frame-by-frame animation and character rigs. As well as teaching 2D animation, she is also working part-time on a video game for a small indie studio and does occasional 3D design in her spare time. She has a passion for character design, storytelling, and teaching, especially in the animation field.

Software: Adobe Animate, Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Draft, Zbrush


Qais Bachir


After spending four years in the military, Qais Bachir returned to college to earn his MFA degree in 3D character animation. He now applies his animation skills and professional work ethic to his courses. He teaches 3D animation skills to help students expand their abilities in the digital arts to prepare them to become future professional animators. His most recent work included creating 3D models and textures for a game that helps children who have communication difficulties to be able to better express themselves.

Software: Maya, 3ds Max, ZBrush, Mudbox, After Effects, Photoshop, Premier Pro, Substance Painter, Clip Studio Paint


Stephen Haddock-WeilerStephen Haddock

3D Generalist

Stephen Haddock-Weiler is a 3D artist with over 10 years of work in the digital arts industry with experience ranging from indie games to major films and TV shows including Disney’s The Mandalorian and Ahsoka. Stephen is currently working as a freelance 3D Artist, spending his time on various projects. He is always keen to explore new forms of artistic expression that can be incorporated into his work leading him to develop skills in 3D Printing, Photogrammetry, and Model Painting.

Software: 3ds Max, Maya, Substance Suite, Photoshop, Zbrush, Unreal, Unity


Frank Ippolito

2D and 3D Animator, Illustrator, Musician, Fine Artist

Frank Ippolito is a multi-disciplinary artist who brings 30 years of professional experience into the computer lab. Moving between myriad traditional and digital media, Frank was among the earliest adopters of digital technology in the arts. He introduced Digital Illustration into FDU’s art curriculum in 1998 and After Effects for Motion Graphics two years later. Stepping into the digital realm, he never looked back. Frank’s digital artwork can be found in exhibit halls of the American Museum of Natural History and The National Zoo. Digital illustration clients include Scientific America and The New York Times. His motion graphics and visual effects work appear in music videos, indie films, and performance art installations. Frank continues to seek new and exciting interdisciplinary avenues to explore in the arts.

Software: 3D Studio Max, After Effects, Photoshop, Realflow


Alan Roth


Alan Roth graduated from FDU with degrees in History and English Literature, then attended graduate school at Emerson College in Boston. He began his professional career at Time Magazine in the editorial department and is now the managing partner at Chase Wilson, a media producer with offices in New York and LA. As a screenwriter, he consults with studios and producers on their works in progress and is a fellow of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Current productions based on his original screenplays (The Book of Leah starring Armand Assante) and Jersey City Story (produced by Michael Strahan) are due for the 2021 release.


Khasan Sakhobiyen


Khasan Sakhobiyen is a professional 3D artist and animator. He possesses a strong understanding of anatomy with the ability to create high-quality hard surface 3D models with detailed textures. His skills run the gamut through the rigging, cloth simulation, hair and fur creation, and character animation phases of a project.

Software: Maya, 3ds MAX, Blender, ZBrush, Gimp, 3D Coat, Marvelous Designer, Unity, Unreal, After Effects, Photoshop, Marmoset Toolbag, Substance Painter


Zachary Sherrer

Zachary Sherrer is a creative mind, always working on something. Be it a game concept, an art idea, or a writing project. Having creative writing experience, alongside independent development of tabletop games; Zachary is constantly active in his works. He is always encouraging critical thinking in any field of study…

“Knowledge can lead to art and art can inspire new ideas!”

Software: 3ds Max, ZBrush, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Game Designer, Writer, 3D Artist


John Vielee

Character Animator, Artist

John Vielee is a 3D animator who has worked in TV, commercials, games, and film on projects ranging from the Geico Gecko to the movie Salt. Previous to his current job as a character animator at Lost Boys Interactive, he was the Lead Animator for the U.S. military working with the Gaming Interactive Technologies and Multimedia division. He holds a master’s degree in Digital Imaging.

Software: Maya

Jon Young

3D Generalist

Jon Young is a professional 3D artist who has worked in studio and freelance settings bringing his expertise to a variety of industries including the medical device marketing industry, indie and established game studios, virtual reality technology entrepreneurs, and other software developers. Currently, he works remotely as a full-time Senior 3D Artist for Warner Brothers Games in Burbank, CA. His curiosity leads him to other interests that tie creativity and technology together as well, such as 3D printing, photogrammetry, visual effects, and editing for short films.

Software: 3ds Max, Maya, MotionBuilder, Photoshop, Quixel Suite, After Effects, ZBrush