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Topher Maraffi

Assistant Professor of Media Arts, Design and Technology


Christopher “Topher” Maraffi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Arts, Design and Technology in the College of Design at NC State University. He has a BA in Creative Arts from University of North Carolina Charlotte and earned a Master of Computer Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and New Media from the University of California Santa Cruz. His research is focused on the ethical design of storytelling experiences for extended reality, and adapts design principles from games, cinema and theatre arts to serious play in game engines. Topher received a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Projects for the Public grant and an Epic Games Megagrant for visualizing an augmented reality tour of Historic Mitchelville, a Reconstruction-era Gullah Geechee heritage site in Coastal South Carolina. Before joining the faculty at NC State, Topher taught preproduction, 3D animation, and game design courses at Florida Atlantic University, and founded the Media Arts concentration in Studio Arts at University of South Carolina Beaufort. He has taught master classes as a certified 3D trainer at SIGGRAPH and other international conferences and directed the technical animation courses at Full Sail University. He is the author of three popular character design books that were on Disney Animation’s suggested reading list. Recent research publications include Cinergie international journal special issue on VR storytelling article Stage Magic as a Performative Design Principle for VR Storytelling, Digital Games Research Association conference proceedings on game analysis titled Multimodal Framework for Enhancing RPG Playfulness through Avatar Acting Affordances, and the chapter VR Storytelling for Social Justice and the Ethics of Playing Black Bodies in a new interdisciplinary VR book by Vernon Press.