Meet the Technical Artist Behind the Coolest Animatronics

Spotlight on Animation Alum Corey Drake

Corey Drake is a modern-day puppet master. Spend 10 minutes with Corey and you’ll witness him transform computer animations into tangible 3D models with a few clicks of his mouse. As a technical artist, Corey programs everything from the NBA 2K video game to life-size animatronics for Disney’s theme parks. He builds both digital and physical elements utilizing 3D printing, mechanical engineering and augmented reality.

Although some of his bigger projects remain under lock and key, Corey shares his personal work on YouTube. Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at how Corey programs robotics and uses a 3D printer out of his home workshop. From D&D-themed parties to building an animatronic Togepi, the “Steakosaurus” YouTube playlist is a gamer’s paradise.

One of Corey’s most viewed YouTube videos is of him making a Ninja Storm Sword. The video documents Corey’s process as he meticulously builds a Ninja sword from scratch using his 3D printer, wood and other craft materials. The finished product is so impressive that any cosplayer would be delighted to have their own handmade sword from Corey’s collection.

Discovering Disney Magic Trough Technical Art

Corey’s passion for computer animation and programming animatronics began after taking family trips to Disneyland as a teenager. The Haunted Mansion ride piqued Corey’s curiosity, and he wanted to find out how the ride’s robotics and special effects worked. Discovering the magic behind the Disney theme parks led Corey to pursue a career in animation and technical art.

While enrolled in the computer animation program at The Los Angeles Film School, Corey trained on programs like Python and Maya. He worked on his drawing skills and practiced in the animation labs on campus. Equipped with a can-do attitude and the skills to back up it, Corey quickly found work in his field after college. Corey has worked as a tool developer, character rigger, compositor and programmer throughout his young career. He even fulfilled his dream of working at Disney as an Imagineer. While at Disney, Corey contributed his talents to many projects for theme parks around the world. Today, he is a technical artist at Visual Concepts working on video game apps.

Welcoming Corey Drake to The Spotlight Academy

Want to follow along Corey Drake’s journey? Watch the Spotlight Awards on Thursday, September 2, 2021, to see Corey Drake get inducted into The Los Angeles Film School Spotlight Academy!