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Nikki Dunsire
Career Faculty Nikki Dunsire

Office(s): NE Campus Library third Floor Suite 311 - OR Lab (temporary),

Downtown Campus 366-B, White Stage Bldg. SOJC Portland

City: Portland


Production Interests: Immersive media development (VR, AR, MR), game design, 3D & VFX for film and commercial advertising, motion graphics... all things creative.


Curriculum Vitae


Faculty Directory


Career Faculty - Media & Game Arts

Oregon Reality (OR) Lab - Manager




Oregon Reality Lab Manager and Faculty member Nikki Dunsire joined the University of Oregon in Portland in 2018, bringing a wealth of experience in the fields of 3D production, motion graphics and game art.


Dunsire has a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Studies and a Minor in Art & Design from The University of Denver, a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Animation from The Art Institute of Portland, and a Master of Science in Computer Graphics and Animation with an emphasis in 3D technical direction and development from DePaul University. Her career started as a web developer and production coordinator. She later stepped into the role of 3D Technical Director at Animation Dynamics Inc. (ADi), where she worked with tech firms, game and application producers, independent filmmakers, and Fortune 500 companies to become an expert in all things 3D production and VFX.

In 2008, she began teaching an advanced 3D lighting and texturing course at The Art Institute of Portland while working at ADi. The class, which she taught at night, sparked a love for teaching that turned into full-time work and brought her to the University of Oregon and The Oregon Reality Lab after 11 years and 26 different classes taught across The Art Institute of Portland, Washington State University, Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Clackamas Community College. She’s been an educator for almost 16 years, having spent some of that time as a Career advisor and Academic Department Director.
“Teaching was not something I intended to jump into,” Dunsire said. “But I absolutely love it! I feel a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment when I start to see the successes of the students that I’ve had, and hope that maybe I had a little part in helping them reach their goals.”
Students from Dunsire’s classes have gone on to work for companies like Blizzard EntertainmentSuperGenius StudioSony EntertainmentBungieEA Games343 IndustriesLiquid DevelopmentHinge DigitalLAIKA and more—but she says out of all of the classes that she instructs, the introduction classes are the toughest and most rewarding.
“Getting students over the hurdles of the software and to a place where they can focus on the concepts and storytelling elements and be inspired by the tools that they have at their fingertips can be very, very challenging sometimes,” Dunsire said. “After all the years I’ve been teaching, I’m still refining my approach and I’m never really satisfied.”
Dunsire manages the Oregon Reality Lab because she believes in the power of immersive technology to build bridges and break barriers— “Especially now, these are important tools that we can use to communicate and connect with each other on a different level…my hope is that in divided times, there are ways that this technology can help us hear and see one another.”
In 2016, she was a part of a grant team that was awarded the Microsoft Hololens Academic Research Grant in collaboration with Clackamas Community College and Oregon Storyboard for developing augmented reality applications for trade-based education. 


When outside the lab, Dunsire enjoys playing the guitar and piano, drawing, sculpting with clay, taking photographs, remodeling her house, and tackling freelance projects as time permits. She’s a life-long athlete having been an avid basketball player in high school, played soccer for Oregon State University, and full-contact football in the WFA post-collegiate career. 

“This technology is moving toward us like a bullet train whether we want it to or not. It's up to us to decide if we want a seat at the table, providing a voice on how it's used. I think we're at an inflection point where diverse ideas and groups of people can and should steer its trajectory. If done correctly, we have a real opportunity to build bridges, inform and make a difference."

–Nikki Dunsire, Faculty, Oregon Reality Lab Manager



  • MS - Computer Graphics & Animation with an emphasis in 3D Technical Direction and Development, DePaul University, Chicago IL

  • BA - Digital Media Studies with an Art and Design minor, University of Denver, Denver CO

  • BS - Media Arts and Animation, The Art Institute of Portland, Portland OR




  • 2017-2018, The Art Institute of Portland, Westgate Resorts VR Training Simulation Grant recipient, $20,000 received for academic years 2017-2018

  • 2015-2016, Clackamas Community College & Oregon Storyboard, Microsoft Hololens Academic Research Grant recipient, $100,000 received for academic years 2015-2016.


In the Media


WAP Project: Interviews

WAP: N. Dunsire Interview (Full)
WAP: N. Dunsire Interview (Full)

WAP: N. Dunsire Interview (Full)

Play Video
WAP: J. Savelich Interview (Full)

WAP: J. Savelich Interview (Full)

Play Video
WAP: M. Arthur Interview (Full)

WAP: M. Arthur Interview (Full)

Play Video
WAP: Q. Connell Interview(Full)

WAP: Q. Connell Interview(Full)

Play Video

For more information on the project click here.

Invited Talks



  • Dunsire, N. (2023), Character Design, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Dunsire, N. (2023), Hololens Academic Research Grant, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

  • Dunsire, N. , Heider D. , Ramirez, E. , Bye, K. (2023), Ethics and the Metaverse32nd APPE International Conference. Portland, Oregon.

  • Dunsire, N. (2021), XR in Marketing. RAINmaker Accelerator Program. Portland, Oregon/Eugene, Oregon.

  • Dunsire, N. (2018), Immersive Media Applications. East Metro Community Media. Portland, Oregon.

  • Dunsire, N. (2017), The Oculus Rift and VR Development. Betacon. Portland, Oregon.

  • Dunsire, N. (2017), Building for the Technology of the Future. Betacon. Portland, Oregon.

Areas of Expertise



  • 3D modeling (high and low)

  • Photogrammetry

  • Digital Sculpting

  • Texturing & Lighting

  • Rigging

  • Advanced Render Setup (Maya/3ds Max)

  • Compositing & Motion Graphics

  • 2D Design

  • Production Management

  • Industries:

    • Immersive media development (AR, VR, MR)

    • Game Production

    • Film & Advertising

  • Immersive Tech:

    • Meta: Quest, Rift S, Rift, Go

    • HTC Vive

    • Magic Leap

    • Hololens

    • Zapbox

    • Mobile AR (iOS)

  • 3D & 3D Support Applications:

    • Maya

    • 3ds Max

    • Reality Capture

    • Agisoft Metashape

    • Renderman, Vray, Arnold, Mental Ray

    • Headus UVLayout

    • Zbrush

    • Quixel Suite

    • Substance Painter | Designer

    • Marmoset Toolbag | SketchFab

    • Keyshot

    • 3D-Coat

    • xNormal

  • Game Engines:

    • Unity

    • Unreal Engine

    • Zapworks Studio

  • Motion Graphics:

    • After Effects

    • NUKE

  • Design Applications:

    • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator)

  • Scripting | Coding Languages:

    • Maya’s MEL (limited knowledge)

    • Unreal Engine Blueprints

    • C# and C++ (limited knowledge)​​

Associated Groups and Memberships


  • ACM SIGGRAPH Pioneer Member

  • Cascade SIGGRAPH PDX

  • Women in Animation

  • International Animated Film Association (ASIFA)

  • Portland Indie Game Squad (PigSquad)​

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