Steve KolbeAssociate Professor of Virtual Production, Interactive Media, & Cinematic Arts
Area of Focus: Emerging Media Arts, Film and New Media
Professor Kolbe's career in the television and film industry began when he interned on commercial shoots for an advertising agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Graduating from the University of Kansas in 1994 with a degree in Journalism (focusing on Advertising and Graphic Design), Kolbe found that he enjoyed the production and post-production processes of making commercials more than the advertising side of the projects. Steve learned 3D modeling, texturing, and animation on his own as a freelancer in the Omaha market and soon joined the Omaha production company, North Sea Films, where he evolved into an editor, compositor, and 3D artist.
Moving to Dallas, TX to hone his 3D talents, he found his way onto the Paramount Pictures film, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, where he quickly became Head of the Layout Department. The film garnered an Academy Award Nomination for best animated feature film in 2001. Following the success of the film, Kolbe stayed in Dallas and worked for several years as Technical Director and Layout Director on the subsequent Jimmy Neutron television series. He moved to Los Angeles to be the Layout Supervisor for the Paramount feature film, Barnyard. Moving back to Dallas, he advanced to be Assistant Director for the direct-to-DVD series, Boz. It was this move that allowed Kolbe to transform into a CG and Digital Supervisor on a wide range of movies, television shows and commercials. In 2010, Kolbe won an Emmy Award while serving as Technical Director for the Back at the Barnyard television series for Nickelodeon.
He has supervised the creation of a large number of 3D procedure animations for Dental Technologies, Inc., MedVisor, and Henry Schien / Dentrix. He has worked on multiple commercial projects for Dreamworks films and was a Digital Supervisor on Kung Fu Panda: the Secrets of the Furious Five. He was VFX Supervisor on an independent film project, 'Lawrence', shot in New York City and directed a pair of animated short films. In recent years, he has taken to developing in VR and established the first VR course at UNL in 2017. Through this course, his students worked with the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha to create interactive VR simulations to assist in the physical therapy of patients with cerebral palsy. In collaboration with NET, he has been creating a virtual history of UNL, beginning with a VR re-creation of the first building on campus, University Hall, as it stood in 1870. As a part of his interest in VR / AR, Kolbe has also been shooting in high resolution 360 video for National Parks and the athletics department at the university. His connections to the athletic department have also allowed him to co-develop new experimental ways VR can assist athletes in monitoring and correctly reacting to their own stressors, helping them both in game-day environments as well as their general well-being. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at UNL, he continues to work as a Director, Producer, Digital Supervisor, and consultant for 3D animated and VR / AR simulated projects.