Faculty Biographies

David R. Anderson

David AndersonDave has been described as a pioneer in the production, marketing and distribution of film and video with values themes into a variety of markets.

Beginning with consulting work for Pyramid Films, and the Oxford Film division of Paramount Pictures in the late 1970's, Dave created and incorporated many techniques for film marketing during the development days for video.

While serving as vice president at a major film studio in the Midwest, and as president of Anderson & Associates, he produced and licensed dramatic and documentary film titles into major venues in the film and video marketplaces worldwide.

Most recently he was story consultant for THE ULTIMATE GIFT, starring Abigail Breslin, James Garner, and Brian Dennehy.

He created a major force in feature film distribution in the early 1980's by creating a network of 13 independent filmmakers who produced more than 90 long form film productions that creatively presented values themes inside their storylines.

His filmography includes more than 380 titles. He is the author of Visualize – a filmmaking course published by Pflaum Press.

Today he continues his passion for teaching film at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is associate professor in film and story structure while still actively producing and marketing film productions. (more)

He has also worked with four major film festivals, and is currently co-producing 24 short dramatic narrative films for world-wide distribution, shooting in Austin TX, Culver City, New York City, Traverse City MI, and Orlando FL.

He was an expert witness to the Michigan legislature for creating major new filming incentives for that state; over a two year process that successfully brought five bills to the Governor's desk for signature – those bills have now moved Michigan into one of the top slots for providing the best incentives to filmmakers who bring their titles to MI for production.

David Baker, Program Coordinator

David BakerDavid is an award winning media producer, animator and educator. His extensive background in media production and animation has led him to produce projects ranging from instructional videos to children's CD-ROM games. Working in a variety of styles designed to both entertain and help people learn, his enthusiasm for art and animation create unique and unforgettable productions.

He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where he earned a BA in Art and Psychology. His first 'entry level' job at Industrial Media in Grand Rapids Michigan included painting animation cells and sweeping floors. At IMI, he learned how to be a successful art director and producer working with corporate, government and advertising clients producing educational and training films that extensively incorporated animation.

The turn in the economy in the early eighties drove him to the oil fields of Saudi Arabia where he developed media and training projects. Life in Arabia gave him an appreciation for freedom and he returned to the United States in 1984.

To pursue animation further, he opened Classic Animation in 1985 and worked with clients such as Herman Miller, Children's Television Workshop, MTV and Amway. He merged his business with Lawrence Productions in 1994 to produce and direct animated videos and children's CD-Rom games.

He created and directed the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International from 2001 – 2005 and was a tenured instructor and co-founder of KVCC's Center for New Media. In fall of 2005 he was brought on board as faculty at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids MI to help further develop the Digital Animation and Game Design program. David Baker's skills include writing, producing films and videos, traditional animation production and 3D animation. He currently is program coordinator and looks to help Ferris develop one of the top ten animation programs in the country.

He holds a BA in Art from Hope College and a MSCTE (Masters of Science in Career and Technical Education) from Ferris State University. He is winner of over 20 Addy awards, Silver Medals at the New York Film Festivals for the Herman Miller Short films 'Who Knew' and 'Don't Look Now', a 1995 Codie for animation in LampChop Loves Music and the 1980 Cine Golden Eagle for the short energy conservation film 'Pigopolis'.

Mel Danes

Mel DanesMel is a digital media producer with a life long interest in entertaining storytelling experiences.  His love of movies , animation,  and games both video and tabletop inspire his 3d creations.

Mel was  an outsource manager and producer for Yeti CGI ( a mobile game developer based in Grand Rapids Michigan) for 3 years. He ensured that art assets integrated seamlessly with the clients pipeline and production systems. Working alongside the art team he also contributed concept design work, modeling, texturing and animation as well as sound design. His team shipped 8 games for companies ranging from Disney Online Interactive and Nickelodeon to Zynga and Kixeye.

While working toward his degree Mel also contributed to several successful  video game mods.. He collaborated with  a multinational  team to create 2 full race mods (“Inquisition Daemonhunt” and “Steel Legion” ) for Relic Entertainments  “Dawn of War” franchise.  He is a graduate of the Digital Animation and Game Design program. 

Combining a passion for new and engaging experiences with an understanding of market realities he guides his students toward exciting and rewarding careers in the digital arts.

Mel continues to work in the game industry as a freelance artist and consultant.

H. Martin Lier

Marty LierMarty has been teaching Animation and Design classes for over 14 years at the University level. He developed the Digital Animation and Game Design program for Ferris State University. He has taught at both Ferris State University and Grand Rapids Community College. He specializes in 3D Design and 3D visualization. He also has a passion to advise students and help them gain internships.

Marty received his Bachelors Degree from Calvin College and his Masters degree from Ferris State University. He plans on pursuing his Doctorate Degree in Education in the near future. He is also an Autodesk Certified Trainer and trains professionals during his summers throughout the United States and Asia.

Marty has owned and operated several animation/design companies. Most recently he has started an international company specializing in 3D visualization, special effects, cartoons, and commercials.

Nicholas Pattison

Nicholas PattisonNick Pattison is passionate about creativity, gameplay, and programming. Since 2006, he's been working in advertising. For 5 years he worked with local design agency Grey Matter Group as lead developer. While there, he programmed dozens of award-winning websites, web applications, and iOS apps. He's also created many award-winning motion graphics videos for Grey Matter Group's clients. His work has been recognized with over a dozen Addy awards (including Best of Show and Regional Addy awards), a Webby Honoree, and 2 Telly awards.

As a life-long lover of games (video games, board games, card games, etc), he has been designing and programming games as a hobbyist for over 15 years. As an instructor, his goal is to guide students to plan, design, program, and publish gameplay experiences and interactive media. Also, as a graduate of Ferris's DAGD program, Nick has a unique perspective of the needs of developing students.

Andrew Smith

Andrew SmithAndrew spent two years as a lead character artist at the Institute for Creative Technologies where his efforts contributed to the success of many different Virtual Human projects. With a multi-year contract from the US Army, his team worked with leading technologists in artificial intelligence, graphics, and immersion. By joining forces with the creative talents of Hollywood and the game industry, his experiences gained him entrance to speak at many of the industry's leading conferences like the Game Education Summit 2010 in Los Angeles and SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver regarding his work with Virtual humans and his advanced studies in digital art.

Andrew also worked in the University of Michigan’s 3D Lab where he served as lead artist on a mobile game titled SciHard that is aimed to help those with spinal cord injuries.  Andrew was also invited to Burbank, CA to serve as an official film jurist for the 2011 International Family Film Festival. Since graduating in 2009 from Ferris State University in Grand Rapids with a BAS in Digital Animation and Game Design, Andrew has decided to bring his diverse array of talents and zealous desire to help educate students on cutting edge digital art techniques for movies and games.

Andrew is an active digital freelance artist and is currently planning to pursue a master’s degree in Career & Technical Education at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids.