Nikki Dunsire is an industry professional and longtime educator in the fields of Media, Animation and Game Arts. Being involved in the creation of media, exploring new practices and techniques, collaborating, sharing and finding ways to tell stories and entertain others have always been passions of Nikki’s.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Studies with an Art and Design minor from the University of Denver, a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Animation from The Art Institute of Portland, and a Master’s of Science in Computer Science with an emphasis in Technical Direction and Development from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.
In 2006, Nikki began working as a Production Coordinator and then a year later was promoted to Technical Director at Animation Dynamics Inc. (ADi). She became an expert in 3D modeling, lighting, texturing, effects, render setup, object and camera animation, compositing and editing. In 2008 she began teaching at The Art Institute of Portland in the evenings, while still managing her workload at ADi. Since that first term, she has developed and taught more than twenty different courses over the course of nine years and has transitioned into teaching as her full-time occupation, taking on personal projects as time allows.
While also teaching as an adjunct faculty at Clackamas Community College she was a part of the grant team that was awarded the Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research Grant for developing Augmented Reality applications for trade based education environments. Currently, she teaches full-time at AiPD in the Media Arts & Animation, Game Art & Design and Visual Effects & Motion Graphics programs and also teaches 3D and motion graphics courses as an adjunct instructor at Portland State University.
Heather began her career as a Java developer in a cube-farm while working her way through a Fine Arts degree at a private art school, Kendall College of Art & Design. Over time, her artistic side and developer side began to merge into UX Design. She organized company-wide meetings to share UX principles and teach developers and executives alike how to view products from the eyes of their users.
Still following her dream of working as a professional artist, she earned an MFA in digital media from Washington State University. Here she learned about teaching and how people experienced art on the wall, or in digital spaces. She also headed up the design department at Green River Community College, where she updated the design program to include UX principles.
Heather's broadened prospective led her to Intel, where she led research in new device categories such as VR and added skills in UX & research in Human Factors & Market Research. She now owns an art gallery in Portland – Gallery 114 and work as Research Director for Cognito, inc. Owning a gallery allowed her to collaborate with other artists, share her work with strangers, and provide education opportunities for artists through juried shows and workshops.