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Creating an industry

He’s a seasoned visual-effects artist with two decades of industry experience. He’s worked on roughly 20 feature films—including “Batman Forever,” “Hook,” and the special edition of “Star Wars”—directed several shorts, contributed to myriad commercials, and has been inducted into the Producers Guild of America.

A resume like this makes computer-graphics expert Terrence Masson a natural leader for Northeastern University’s creative industries program, which prepares students to integrate creative content and technology in a wide variety of projects.

Recently, Masson, a senior academic specialist at Northeastern, completed three years of volunteer work as chair of the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques) Conference.

The annual conference, now in its 37th year, draws 25,000 top practitioners from five continents to explore the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques.

“It’s ‘the’ destination and the gold tenure-sensitive publishing standard for computer graphics and interactive techniques,” explains Masson. “I’ve been attending for 22 years and started volunteering in 1995, then stepped up as chair of the 2006 Computer Animation Festival, here in Boston. Not long after that, I was asked to be the 2010 conference chair, leading a team of more than 750 international volunteers and contractors.”

Having such a high-profile position—not to mention traveling the world as a popular lecturer and sought-after collaborator—gives Masson a chance to get the word out about Northeastern’s comprehensive program. “Spending more than three years as an invited lecturer at universities and conferences around the globe makes it incredibly easy to share information about our creative industries program,” he says.

Students majoring in creative industries at Northeastern may choose between game-design and interactive-media programs. Each year, a group-based senior-year capstone project is tailored to fit the skills and interests of that particular graduating class. Past capstone projects have included games, interactive stories, short animated films, educational Web sites and Web 2.0 social-networking sites.

On Wednesday, Sept. 8, during the university’s Welcome Week, Masson will host a presentation titled “Creative Industries: Worldwide Collaboration in Game Design and Interactive Media” from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Curry Student Center Ballroom. The discussion will focus on collaborations his students have enjoyed with programs around the world.

To stay up-to-date on game-design and interactive-media events at Northeastern throughout the year, visit the creative industries program website at or check out the Creative Industries at Northeastern University page on Facebook.

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