Chris “Topher” Maraffi Bio
Starting in Fall 2022 I will be teaching as a tenure-track Art+Design faculty at North Carolina State University. At NCSU I will be developing curriculum in visual effects and character animation for interactive media, including courses in virtual production and serious play design for extended reality (XR) experiences. For the past four years I have been an Assistant Professor in Multimedia Production at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), where I taught game design, 3D animation, and XR courses in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies’ BA and MFA programs.
I have an MFA in Digital Arts & New Media and MSc in Computer Science from the University of California Santa Cruz. Working as a broadcast designer and animator in New York City throughout the 1990s, I designed shows and motion graphics for NBC, as well as titles and special FX for independent films, such as The First Wives Club and Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. I started teaching animation at NYU and School of Visual Arts in 1995, and became a certified trainer in New York and San Francisco, authoring three technical books that were on Disney’s recommended reading list.
Before teaching at FAU, I developed the Media Arts concentration at University of South Carolina Beaufort, and I was the Course Director of the technical animation courses at Full Sail University in Orlando. My research interests are in virtual cinematic production using motion capture and games technology, and in XR design for interactive edutainment applications. An advocate of the STEAM (Art+STEM) approach to interdisciplinary learning, my research is at the intersection of art and science, where technical artists leverage emerging technologies like games and VR to create not only popular entertainment, but also serious play and learning at museums and heritage sites.
My wife and I teach social dances such as Carolina Shag, Lindy Hop, and Argentine Tango, and have some instructional videos that can be found on Youtube. Here we are dancing in a Carolina Shag competition in 2017: