ATLANTA—Candice Alger, a professor of practice in the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) at Georgia State University, has been honored as the Woman of the Year in Arts by the organization Women in Technology (WIT).
Alger has spent more than four decades as a leader in the entertainment industry, specializing in the growing and rapidly evolving specialties of virtual production.
“Receiving this award from WIT is truly an honor,” Alger said. “Their mission of empowering girls and women to excel in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math from the classroom to the boardroom is one that totally aligns with the work I have done in the past, as well as the work we are currently doing at CMII.”
WIT, a Georgia-based non-profit organization that encourages women of all ages to excel in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, recognized Alger and 10 others during a recent virtual gala.
Other WIT awards recipients were recognized in the categories of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The recipients are Georgia residents who were recognized for their accomplishments as visionaries, leaders in business and women who make a difference in their communities.
Alger has worked with some of the most recognized and successful talents in the entertainment industry, including James Cameron, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg.
She is the former chief executive officer and executive producer of Giant Studios, known for providing motion capture and other advanced technology for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including “Iron Man,” “Hulk,” “Avatar” “Polar Express,” “Tintin” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, to name a few.
Motion capture and game-engine technologies allow movie directors to view detailed virtual sets in real time in their virtual cameras’ viewfinders while also tracking actors’ performances. CMII offers students an advanced facility where they can learn skills related to these emerging technologies.
Brennen Dicker, executive director of CMII, said Alger was instrumental in helping design and equip the motion capture and volumetric studios CMII uses today. The systems can capture live performances that are used to drive animated characters or a live performance that can be captured to create a 3D digital double of a performer. Rapid prototyping of animation is also a valuable tool that can be useful for planning live-action shoots or animated productions.
“I think her award is very well deserved,” Dicker said “Her company took virtual production to a new height and she’s worked on so many blockbusters. To see her win this award is really special for me and for CMII.”
Alger said she’s excited her work at CMII allows her to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). CMII has about 1,000 students enrolled in its programs, and Alger said a large percentage are female.
“In our Media Entrepreneur program, 56 percent of students are female,” Alger said,” and 25 percent of our Game Design majors are female— two times the national average. We are just a few years in, and these numbers demonstrate that we are on the right path.”