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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Patrick Crandley: Do 3D modeling or do not. There is no try.


By: Shelby Tolly | Guest Writer |

In a college campus far, far away… there is a 3D modeling professor who wants to share with the world that Sacramento City College provides 3D modeling and computer animation classes. This Jedi master is Patrick Crandley.

His career in teaching and 3D modeling began with a deep admiration for “Star Wars,” which began when he was a child. In fact, he said, “Star Wars” is  “really the genesis moment for a lot of this.” 

When he was a child, Crandley’s family moved frequently, which made making friends difficult for Patrick and his brother Timothy. 

“I was in a military family, and when you’re in a military (family), it’s life on the road. Every couple of years we’re moving around from Air Force base to Air Force base,” Crandley said. “So my brother and I forged a pretty close relationship because we were our own common denominator within our social groups. We were the two consistent forces that went everywhere. When everything is changing, you tend to hold onto the things that are the same.” 

Patrick Crandley affirms that the strong relationship he has with his brother is still very much a consistent force in his life, as is their father, who has always been supportive and interested in technological advances. 

His father knew that technology would be “a big, big tenet for future generations,” Crandley said. His mother, he jokingly says, “is the exact opposite, right? She wants nothing to do with technology.“ Crandley chuckles and continues, “But I think she did understand (technology’s) role and the possibilities with these tools it provided us, and she is incredibly supportive to this day.”

Both Crandley brothers now work in the tech industry: Patrick as a teacher as well as in 3D modeling and computer animation, and Timothy for Adobe as a project manager.

Crandley worked on many projects before he began his career as a professor in 2008. He was a part of a 3D modeling community in San Francisco before he moved to Sacramento.

Crandley recalled that he would drive a few times a week to San Francisco for an unpaid internship at a 3D modeling company, which really gave him a start in the business. 

The unpaid internship started his 3D modeling career, he said, since he and the company he interned for said yes to any project that came to them. 

Before he began teaching at Sacramento City College in 2008, Crandley worked at a Sacramento film studio, Peppers TV, focusing on local communication projects from corporate to legal. There he was the senior editor and 3D designer from 2005 to 2008. While there, he applied his 3D modeling experience on local projects for businesses or government to a TV project with Sacramento police and another with MTV. 

“I was the motion graphic designer, innovator and post production supervisor for a really big television series called ‘City Beat,’” he recalled of the series they developed for the Sacramento Police Department. It still runs on the department’s youtube channel. 

He also worked on an MTV project in 2004 for a show called “Video Mods,” which focused on turning video game characters into musicians on a music video. The show didn’t pan well and was canceled after six episodes. 

“(“Video Mods”) was a monumental flop. It bombed so bad. If we had aired the show six months later, it would have been a huge, raging success. We missed the bubble pretty closely when video games became cool,” Crandley said. 

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“It’s hard to imagine an era when video games aren’t like this mega-industry and loved by everyone. But right around the turn of the millenium, video games were totally not-cool at all. You were panned as a social outcast as a gamer.” 

During his final year at Peppers TV, Crandley got an opportunity that lead him to where he is now. 

“I was participating with a couple local organizations referred to as user groups, where professionals in the meeting industry would meet every month and give workshops and seminars and what have you,” Crandley said. 

It was then when he “got caught with the teaching bug,” doing these seminars. 

“Sacramento City College was looking for a full-time professor, and I was getting ready

to transition over to the full-time education world and apply for the job,” Crandley recalled.

Crandley still works in the field as a professional 3D modeler. Last summer, for example, he worked on a project doing a series of legal-related animations. 

“I can’t say much because the case in still ongoing, but I can mention that I was hired by the federal public defender’s office to produce a series of animations that were used in court to visualize specifics aspects of (a) case,” Crandley said. 

Crandley also has his own Youtube Channel called “Pat Crandley.” There he shares videos of his Sacramento City classes with people who want to learn but are unable to take his classes. 

Crandley believes that what he teaches in 3D modeling and video game design is unique at the community college level. But, he added, his department isn’t getting the funding it needs, and it isn’t widely advertised that City College offers 3D modeling classes. 

“One of the reasons I was drawn to teaching was that it allowed for the conversation with 3D modeling and animation to take place. One of the missions for the California community college system is to provide access and access to this information is pretty limited, especially in Northern California. So I am pretty dedicated to continue my role and providing access in regards to 3D modeling and animation to anyone,” Crandley said, adding that he hopes to bring that access to students who want to learn about the video game industry.

But Crandley thoroughly enjoys teaching, especially at City College. 

“I’m happy with what I’m doing right now,” he said. “I’m not looking to leave the greater Sacramento area.”

Crandley hopes that word about his classes, among other video game design-related classes, will reach more people. 

“I think outreach and awareness is the biggest challenge that we have,” Crandley said, noting that he and his colleagues don’t have extra time to reach out to the community. “A lot of our students discover us through the course catalog,” Crandley said.

“(City College) is the best kept secret in Sacramento,” Crandley let out a brief chuckle. “(City College) is my home. Yeah, I can’t imagine ever leaving here.”

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    MattMay 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Nice article. I’m checking out Pat’s YouTube channel now!