Kankakee Community College graduate Andy Senesac could draw ever since he could hold a pencil.
From sketching landscapes by the Kankakee River to his favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters, Senesac always wanted to be an artist. In addition to drawing, he fondly remembers watching his grandma, a fine artist, paint, draw, and make ceramics.
“I remember watching my grandma draw with a steady hand and being mesmerized by the beautiful things she could create,” said Senesac. “One could say that I wanted to be an artist just like her when I grew up.”
Fast-forward 30 years, and Senesac is living his childhood dream. Instead of using a pencil, he is behind a computer designing video games as senior technical artist/lead facial artist at Netherrealm Studios in Chicago.
“I have a dream job where I get to have fun every day,” said Senesac. “It’s rewarding to design something that begins as concept on paper, logging all the hours individually and with the team to create a full production, and holding the final disk. The feeling is indescribable.”
Senesac loves his career, but game design wasn’t on his radar when he began classes at KCC after high school.
While he was in high school, Senesac took Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) classes. CAD intrigued him and gave him another outlet to design and create. He decided to pursue it in college—and the Bourbonnais resident didn’t have to look far.
“I found what I was looking for at KCC,” said Senesac. “It was close to home and affordable, and I was able to take CAD and studio art classes, two areas that interested me.”
Senesac describes KCC as the perfect place to start a college career because the college allows students to discover themselves and how to turn their passions into careers.
“Attending KCC allowed me marry two of my passions and discover the kind of careers available based on my interests,” said Senesac. “Attending KCC ultimately helped me mold my future by showing me how to follow my dreams to have gainful employment.”
Even though KCC didn’t offer game design when Senesac attended, today the college offers a Computer Graphic Technology program to prepare students for employment as graphic technicians. It offers three specializations—graphic design, computer graphics and design technology—for students to develop skills in an area of interest. Game design and animation are part of all three specializations.
After Senesac earned his degree from KCC, he transferred to the School of the Art Institute to pursue a bachelor’s degree in media arts and animation.
“KCC helped me establish a good foundation before transferring to complete my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “ Courses at KCC were challenging, and I felt prepared to concentrate on my specialty classes at the Art Institute.”
When it came time to look for a career after college, Senesac learned of an opportunity at a small graphics studio, where he got to work on all aspects of game design. From design to editing, he polished his skills and found his specialty.
“The video game industry can be cutthroat and it’s milestone based, but I have been lucky to grow my career,” said Senesac.
After spending two and a half years being a generalist, he had developed a strong demo reel. Senesac was able to get his foot in the door at a larger company, Midway Games. Midway was eventually acquired by Warner Brothers and reborn as Netherrealm Studios
“I work on the Cinematics team alongside some extremely talented artists,” said Senesac. “I'm in charge of the entire facial pipeline and also do cinematic layout and staging. We juggle a lot of different facets on our team, including story mode and in-game cinematic moments.”
Senesac enjoys the challenges of being a visual artist, and watching how two to three years of work culminate into a final product. Even though he’s moving forward, and growing his career, he doesn’t forget his roots—from starting his college career at KCC to picking up a pencil as a child.
“It might sound cliché, but KCC encouraged me to follow my dreams,” said Senesac. “The path I took, helped me wind up where I am today.”
And while he got his training from KCC, his family’s encouragement is how he got started.
“My parents always encouraged me to pursue the arts,” said Senesac, who also plays guitar. “It’s gratifying to make my family proud.”
"Computer graphics inundate our daily lives on television, movies, internet, print, video games and consumer products," said John Bordeau, who coordinates the Computer Graphic Technology program at KCC. "If you have a passion for computers, graphics, animation, designing or gaming, jump start your career at KCC by enrolling in the Computer Graphic Technology program."
To learn more, contact Bordeau, at email@example.com or phone 815-802-8863.
Kankakee Community College is an accredited two-year college which awards
associate degrees and certificates of completion. KCC prepares students both to
transfer to four-year colleges and to enter the workforce. The college also
offers continuing education courses and certification training, literacy
programs, English as a Second Language and GED preparation. The KCC mission is
“Enhancing quality of life through learning.” The college has a Riverfront
Campus in Kankakee, South Extension Center in Watseka, North Extension Center in
Bradley and Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center in Kankakee.