Alumnus: Jonathan (J) Eisenmann
Current Position / Employer: Sr Manager, Substance 3D Tech Transfer, Adobe
Degree with Department Affiliation and Graduation Date: Phd, Computer Science and Engineering, 2014
Thesis Title: Interactive Evolutionary Design with Region-of-Interest Selection for Spatiotemporal Ideation & Generation
1. Tell us what you are doing professionally at the current time.
My team works at the intersection of academic research and product engineering at Adobe. Our role is to bring new innovations from the Adobe Research labs into the Substance 3D products. The great thing about this role is that you get to wear a lot of different hats and work with collaborators from a wide variety of disciplines: research, product management, UX design, software engineers, and artists. Each project brings something new to learn and a new collaborator to partner with. The Match Image features that drive automatic 3D compositing in Substance Stager and the Machine Learning Denoiser that speeds up ray-tracing in Substance Stager are two good examples of projects that have really stretched me. More recent projects have taken me into 3D materials and neural graphics representations.
2. What inspires your creativity today?
My collaborators inspire me every day. I remember starting at Adobe and quickly realizing that I’d have to hustle to keep up with the intellectual pace of everyone in the room, and all in different directions. It’s never boring, and there’s always more to learn. It makes me happy to get to learn from the intelligent, curious, and supportive people at Adobe.
3. Tell us one “Aha” moment from your experience of studying, researching, or working at ACCAD.
There was an animation production class that Maria Palazzi and Rick Parent co-taught that gave Design and CSE students the chance to work together on a short animation all the way from story to video editing. It was an eye-opening experience in so many ways. The thing that has stuck with me over the years was realizing just how much I like working with people who have different skills and intellectual backgrounds. It’s so much more fun to create something with people who think differently but who also put in the effort to understand each other. The creative space between us is richer than the sum of our own creative agendas.
4. What would you say to your “Undergraduate” or “Graduate” self about studying at Ohio State now that you have graduated? Or what advice would you give to current students taking classes at ACCAD?
Take the time to really get to know your collaborators. Try to understand why they are making specific creative choices. Work with people who think differently and get to know their vocabulary, their thought patterns, and the ways they approach new problems. Have fun with class projects. It can feel overwhelming but take enough time to enjoy the process. Most of us only get to do grad school once.
5. How could Ohio State better prepare people for a career that combines art, design, computer science, digital media and new technologies?
More opportunities for project-based transdisciplinary work, supported by professors from each department. Ensuring those professors are aligned on the course/project goals and work well together is super important.
6. What most helps you to balance life and career expectations? How do you relax or de-stress?
Get outside. Ride a bike. Climb some rocks or a tall tree. Spend time on the beach. Sleep in the woods. Travel somewhere new. Share a beverage and a conversation face-to-face with someone often.
7. Tell us a fun thing (or something) most people don’t know about you?
I hate cucumbers but love pickles.
8. What would an alternate career choice be, if you could go back and choose a different path?
I wouldn’t change a thing. But I hope I get to carve out some time for teaching again sometime soon.