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cookHoward Cook

Area Head

A filmmaker, designer and experiences developer, Howard Cook has worked in a variety of creative industries since 1982. He holds an MFA in Digital Cinema from National University, an MFA (abt) in Painting from Auburn University and a BFA in Printmaking also from Auburn. His professional history in the industry has given him a breadth of experience that he passes onto his students, preparing them to take on leadership positions in visualization, animation and visual effects industry. He currently serves as the Director of the University of Colorado Denver’s Digital Animation Center.

After receiving his BFA Howard put to use his technical skill as a photorealist painter and became one of the country’s leading space/aerospace artist. Working directly with the crews of 12 shuttle missions, Howard helped to develop some of the first Educational/Public outreach programs for the NASA Shuttle program. His graphics have flown over 16 million miles in Earth orbit, and has visited other worlds; Mars, Venus, Jupiter and is currently in orbit around Saturn. 

Before joining the CU Denver DAC faculty, Mr. Cook served in many leadership roles in a wide array of content creation positions. In 1983 he formed Airworks and Associates, a design firm aimed at creating content for broadcast and interactive media, photography, brand development, publishing and exhibits for the space/aerospace and entertainment industries which he finally closed in 1996 to refresh his career. During this period, Mr. Cook served as a freelance Art Director at LucasFilms LTD., product development and licensing, Paramount Studios, where he worked on the Star Trek T.V series and movies, and on production design, story development and animation for film and television, including Universal Studios’ Apollo 13. Howard also Art Directed numerous nationally distributed magazines, was involved in exhibit/experience development, product development and branding and was the coauthor, illustrator and designer for the Simon and Schuster’s publication, Designs on Space: Blueprints for 21st Century Space Technology.

In 1997, joined the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as the Chief Technologist and Manager of Digital Media Development. As essentially the museums “Creative Director” Howard managed the design and production of all print and broadcast media, photography, signage/wayfinding, exhibit graphics, multimedia/interactive media, web, and scientific visualization. In 1999, Howard began work on the Museum’s $54,000,000 Space Odyssey experience.  In his role as Chief Technologist and Manager of Digital Media Development, he led the design and production of   interactive content, media and technology used in the content rich experience.

Howard was also the most responsible person at DMNS for the ideation, design and implementation of the new $12,000,000 Gates Planetarium. This sophisticated, fully immersive dome theater uses the worlds largest visualization computer to project a contiguous, seamless image of over 33,000,000 pixels onto the 57’ dome. Projected onto the dome, in real-time, is the Cosmic Atlas, a scientifically accurate, aesthetic simulation of the known universe, using real data, in real-time, at 60 frames per seconded. Howard led the team that developed the Cosmic Atlas software.

Since leaving DMNS in the fall of 2003, Howard has been consulting, focusing on development and design of marketing, Educational and Public Outreach Programs (E/PO), dynamic media and experiences development. Howard is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Space Science Technology Institute in Colorado Springs.

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