North grad scores 2 Oscars for animation

A Columbus North graduate was among the Disney animators honored with Oscars for best animated feature film and best short animated film.

Tyler Kupferer was watching Sunday night’s Academy Awards while hanging out with other animators, texting back his reaction to his family in Columbus, said his brother, Elgin Kupferer.

The Oscars went to Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, California, for the short animated film “Feast,” which had been paired in theaters with the animated feature “Big Hero 6.”

The celebration continued Monday at the Disney Animation Studios, where Tyler Kupferer described the atmosphere in an email as “a whirlwind morning with all the speeches and celebration going on.”

He began Oscar night by live-tweeting about the opening of the Oscars, then telling followers that the animation Oscars were coming up, followed by “We did it!!!!” as the “Feast” Oscar was awarded.

Then came the Oscar for “Big Hero 6,” with Tyler Kupferer tweeting, “I’m speechless and honored and so proud of the whole crew.”

“I think he was a little more excited about ‘Feast’ winning, because more of his work was represented in that one,” Elgin Kupferer said.

Tyler Kupferer is a layout artist for Disney, whose work is somewhat similar to a cinematographer. After receiving story sketches, he sets up cameras and characters for various scenes in the animated film. His responsibility is deciding how each shot looks, which characters are visible in the shot and what their general actions are through an animation sequence.

He graduated from Columbus North in 2004 and attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in computer graphics technology. He earned a master’s of fine art in animation at Savannah (Georgia) College of Art and Design in 2011.

The layout artist said he is already working on his next project for Disney, a 3-D animated feature expected in early 2016 called “Zootopia.” It will be Disney’s 55th animated feature, according to preview information from Disney.

After the Oscar broadcast, Tyler Kupferer tweeted a photo of the Disney animation honors wall, writing: “Final thought of the night: We’re gonna need a bigger trophy case.”

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.