Jeffrey Ventrella
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Jeffrey@Ventrella.com


Innovator, artist, and software programmer, Jeffrey Ventrella is the creator of many interactive software gems. He co-founded the virtual world company There.com, worked on Second Life, and wrote a book called Virtual Body Language, about avatars and the future of human visual expression on the internet.

Jeffrey recently founded a company to develop technology for self-animated characters. His team is designing mobile experiences using augmented reality to help young people learn about local ecology.

Jeffrey has lectured in Europe and North America on artificial life, virtual worlds, and computational art. His work in realtime computer animation includes gesture-based interactive visual music, data visualization, and education-oriented software tools.

Jeffrey lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, a dog, and two chickens.





Learning
1960 Jeffrey was born at age 0 in Richmond Virginia

1984 Jeffrey got his first degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, in Art Education with a minor in Art History.

In his mid-20's, he was shown a short fractal program in BASIC. Not knowing anything about programming, he only knew that changing a few letters in what looked like alphabet soup made the picture change in interesting ways. He had an epiphany. He discovered a new visual language.

1987 This new journey in algorithmic art led him to Syracuse University, where he earned an MFA in Computer Graphics, under Ed Zajec.

After graduating, he worked at SU for four years as Computer Graphics Specialist, working with researchers and faculty on Data Visualization, and teaching programming to Art students and CAD to Industrial Design students.

1992 Jeffrey moved on to UC San Diego, where he served as Visiting Professor for one semester, under Harold Cohen, teaching artificial life, software programming, and CAD to Art students.

1994 Jeffrey then moved back to Cambridge, where he got his third degree: a Masters from the MIT Media Lab's Visible Language Workshop. There he met Nuala Creed, who later became his wife.

Developing
1996 They moved to San Francisco, and Jeffrey began working at Rocket Science Games, prototyping simulation-type games. After that he became Principle Inventor and second co-founder of There.com. He wrote the first line of code in 1997, and went on to invent a virtual dog, vehicle physics, and many other aspects of the virtual world. He co-designed 'Avatar-Centric Communication'.

While working at There.com, he adapted the artificial life simulation Darwin Pond to become GenePool. This work resulted in a handful of papers and presentations at artificial life conferences in the US and Europe.

2005 After briefly working at Adobe on the Acrobat3D platform, Jeffrey joined Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, where he invented Flexies, FollowCam, and Puppeteering.

2008 He then joined Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive, and developed the home page for NASA Images.org, and also consulted on user interaction.

Jeffrey worked in Vancouver, BC as a visiting professor at the Centre for Digital Media. The following year he worked as a researcher at the School of Interactive Art and Technology, of simon Fraser University, where he also taught a class in Advanced Game Design.

While in Vancouver, Jeffrey finished his first book, Virtual Body Language, which is published by ETC Press.

Innovating
2010 Jeffrey worked closely with internet visionary Ted Nelson on an experimental project to implement the ZigZag Database/Visualization scheme as a front-end to the Open Library.

2011 Jeffrey gave the first keynote at Laval Virtual in France. He also gave a keynote at the Computational Aesthetics Conference, in Vancouver.

In June of 2011, Jeffrey joined a new startup company, Visual Music Systems, founded by Bill Sebastian. He worked for a little over a year, creating particle systems, fractal algorithms, and strongly-procedural, highly-parameterized, control structures, for realtime visual performance.

2012 Jeffrey completed a book called Brainfilling Curves, a visual math exploration of fractal images, which includes a new way to find and categorize all plane-filling curves.

2013 Jeffrey helped build-out some core avatar systems, camera behaviors, and particle systems for High Fidelity.

Making it Real
At age 52, Jeffrey decided it was time to put his best foot forward. He founded Wiggle Planet with the help of Ken Pearce.

Jeffrey gave a keynote presentation at VISIGRAPP in Barcelona about his recent work.

Jeffrey was awarded a residency at Work Petaluma, where he directed a project using augmented reality to help young people learn about local ecology. This morphed into a Kickstarter campaign.

2014 Jeffrey, Barry Stump, and the Wiggle Planet team launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of an innovative augmented reality book-game.



Contact: Jeffrey@Ventrella.com