Whereas the Capilano University digital-visual-effects program accepts applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, 2-D and 3-D animation are more suited to those who know how to draw.
The coordinator of the animation programs, Craig Simmons, told the Straight by phone that in his area, the education is “very much artistically focused”.
“It’s the art of animation design,” he said. “So they study everything from the beginnings of life drawings and what a figure looks like to character design and modelling through to fully rigged animated characters and environments.”
Animation and visual-effects students often end up working in the same companies, Simmons added, and on occasion they will shift from one program to the other.
“Students who like to draw all day usually go into 2-D animation because that’s what they’re going to be doing [after graduating],” Simmons said. “Students who are more interested in games and television—creating full CG stuff—they go into 3-D. And the students who want to work in live-action film go into the visual-effects program.”
Students in all three programs spend much of their time at Capilano University’s Nat and Flora Bosa Centre for Film and Animation. According to Simmons, having them under one roof creates synergies, and many end up collaborating on projects.
“We get really great artists and we get really great technical people,” he said. “We put them together and they feed off each other. They care about creating characters and environments that come to life. Our students end up in the entertainment industry, creating the next generation of video games, television shows, and feature films.”
One former student, Ben Anderson, was the animation director on Life of Pi, which won the 2013 Oscar for best achievement in visual effects. Anderson, now the animation supervisor at Method Studios, is one of several industry experts on the faculty.
Simmons said that Capilano University instructors in animation and digital visual effects collectively have more than 200 years of experience in these fields.
He noted that Capilano University only accepts a maximum of 25 students into each of the three programs every September, which guarantees small class sizes. At the end of the second year, they put on a grad show in downtown Vancouver.
“It acts as a trade show,” Simmons said. “They get their own booths. They get to produce and promote their wares to all the industry people who come out to see it. It’s a lot of fun.”More