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University of Colorado Denver

College of Arts & Media

Howard Cook

Visual Arts Department

​Howard Cook is an Assistant Professor (C/T) and Director for the Digital Animation Center. Trained as a studio artist (printmaking) with terminal degrees in painting and Digital Cinema, Cook is an artist who has been working with digital content creation since its inception in the early ‘80’s. He is a 1982 graduate of Auburn University with BFA in Printmaking, MFA work in Painting and holds a MFA Digital Cinema (magna cum laud, 2007) from National University, La Jolla, CA. 

Cook began his career 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.

Cook has worked as a production designer and Art Director for Paramount studios and Lucasfilms working on a broad range of products for film and television. He was the co-author, illustrator and designer for the Simon and Schuster’s publication, Designs on Space: Blueprints for 21st Century Space Technology.

Before becoming full-time faculty at CU Denver’s Digital Animation Center, Cook served as the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) as the Chief Technologist/Manager Digital Media where he led the creation of a wide range of innovative media and scientific visualization. He served a key leadership role in the development of the museum’s award winning Space Odyssey, leading the design and production of the interactive media and technology used in the content rich experience. He was chiefly responsible or the ideation, design, and implementation of the $12M Gates Planetarium at the DMNS. Cook led the team that developed the Real-time Cosmic Atlas visualization software used in the dome.

Since leaving DMNS in the fall of 2003, Cook has been consulting, focusing on development and design of marketing, Educational and Public Outreach Programs (E/PO), dynamic media, and experiences development. He joined the faculty of the University of Colorado College of Arts and Media in January of 2004 where he is currently the Area Head for the Digital Animation Center. Howard is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the National Space Science Technology Institute in Colorado Springs.​