The University of Newcastle, Australia

New is an art—and a science. And no one better represents the combination of both than engineering graduate Yasser Hamed. Yasser is currently a Crowds Animation Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios. His work is visible in global box office hits like Moana, Zootopia, and Big Hero 6, and will be seen in the upcoming sequel to Frozen. But he started his journey as a Mechanical Engineering student, right here at the University of Newcastle.

Mr Yasser Hamed

In his engineering courses, Yasser learned about structural analysis and design. He was always fascinated by the possibilities of using what he was learning to create digitally animated magic.

I thought about using the same methods to create hyper-realistic looking digital effects and animation. If you are trying to create a realistic artificial world, then what better way to do so than to use real life physics to simulate it?” says Yasser.

After graduating, he brought his ideas to a Sydney animation studio who hired him immediately to work on Happy Feet, one of the first ever Australian computer-animated feature films. During production, he was able to bring many of his ideas to life.

I would have never thought my background in Mechanical Engineering would have large relevance in the field of animation.”

Sixteen years later, he’s surprised to find himself a pioneer in animation.

There is more demand now for procedural simulation and science in animation than ever before. This is due to the fact animated worlds are becoming more and more complex.”

He cites the example of Moana, where he had to design highly-realistic water behavior, but still infuse it with a personality and almost-human characteristics.

Ironically, the biggest challenge these days for me in animation is to maintain an element of stylization while still having the underlying foundations driven by real physics.”

This year, Yasser’s pioneering contributions were recognized with one of the film industry’s highest honors—being one of the 928 individuals invited to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As a member of the Academy, Yasser will help to set the standards for excellence in filmmaking and guide the future of the medium.

He’s proud of the impact his work has had on millions of people.

The joy and inspiration that our films bring to these children and their families will be felt for years to come. The most rewarding part of my job is to know I had a small part in this impact.”

Yasser combined two well-established disciplines—engineering and animation—to create something ground-breaking and new.

Mr Yasser Hamed

Mechanical engineering graduate, and Crowds Animation Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios

If you are trying to create a realistic artificial world, then what better way to do so than to use real life physics to simulate it?

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