Thursday, September 2, 2010

Utilize Your Art Skills to Digital Animation

From the most mind-bending parts of the Matrix series to animated heroes such as Batman, professionals in digital animation are behind some of the most eye-catching aspects seen on the big screen, online and on TV. Digital animation has come a long way and it is actually so popular it is being used to propel movies, video games and even ads into the mainstream. Now is a great time to enter this field because the industry is growing and presenting many unique job opportunities in Canada and abroad.

With the ever-changing digital animation market, competition is fierce. You’ll have to bring your most artistic creativity, which means understanding composition and having the ability to draw. Whether you’re creating computer-generated images or a storyboard, you’ll need a grasp on basic art skills. Digital animators should also know the technical side of the industry because computer generated imagery careers are becoming more technological. Various software programs must be mastered. Another important skill for today’s digital animators is the ability to tell a story. This includes having a good sense of timing and pacing and knowing how to get your characters to express themselves in a way that is credible. Lastly, digital animation is not a field in which you work by yourself. Therefore, teamwork is essential. You may have to follow or give direction, communicate clearly and make the product come together to appear as if one person created it.

Jobs in the field of digital animation vary, and include 3D character animators, lighters, modelers, riggers, level designers for games, texture artists, technical directors, compositors and visual effects supervisors. Most animators, however, complete some common tasks in a normal day’s work. For example, digital animators are involved in drawing the storyboard and creating models. They then design an animated environment that includes background, sets and objects as well as characters. The next step is to create each frame, work out the timing of movements and make sure it all meets the script and soundtrack requirements. Throughout the process, the use of computer software is incorporated.

Centennial College’s Digital Animation program has been launching the careers of digital animators since 1996. In a 14-month span you will prepare for work film, TV, broadcast and game design. The program offers a project-based learning approach that gives students 24-hour, 7-day-a-week access to labs and workstations. Small sized-classrooms and one-on-one instruction also provide students with detailed learning and the opportunity to have all their questions answered. They are also well trained in life drawing, acting for animation and storyboard training. Aside from courses such as Broadcast Design, Character Animation, and Drawing for 3D Modeling and Animation, the school provides an opportunity for a field placement so that training can be applied to the real workforce. As a result, one important outcome of the Digital Animation program is that students produce a demo reel to showcase their abilities.

In order to apply for Digital Animation at Centennial College, students must present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. They are also required to possess compulsory English 12C or U credit or skills assessment, or equivalent. Lastly, English proficiency, a program admission session and a portfolio review are required. Your portfolio may include 10 to 15 pieces such as illustration, photography, video animation, computer generated artwork, music, performance art or publishing.

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