The craft of computer animation has gained some aspiring young animators this summer. As part of the Carlsbad Museum and Art Center's "Art Academy 2013" Summer Program, students from grades 5-12 explored Maya, the 3D animation software used by professionals in Hollywood and the video game industry. Sam Christensen, an Instructor of Digital Media at NMSU Carlsbad, led the class at the community college from July 15-19.

Students, like Miguel Najera, 17, and Danika Gallagher, 11, enjoyed learning the fundamentals of compositing, modeling, and rendering, but also found it challenging.

"I'm just fascinated by how objects and polygons can become animation," Miguel, who has an interest in pursuing computer animation as a career, said. "It's all part of any video game or movie you see, like Halo or anything by Dreamworks."

Danika said her favorite part was building a racecar and person in Maya and making a short movie with it.

A showcase at the Carlsbad Museum (418 West Fox St.) will display the students' short movies on Friday, July 19, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to come and support the students' animated artwork. For more information, contact the museum at 887-0276.