Do you know what to look for in an animation school?

In my capacity as Director of Animation Portfolio Workshop, the question I get asked the most by students and parents is, “How do I know if an animation school is good?”

When checking out animation schools, treat the experience as if you are shopping for a very expensive item. Make a list of the qualities you are looking for, do research and ask questions. Expensive items are also known as “investment pieces” – and animation school is an investment in your future.

I give my students a basic checklist with questions to ask when they meet with representatives of schools they are interested in.

 

Here are a few:

 

What is the quality of the work produced by recent grads of the animation program?

Most schools post examples of their recent grads’ animation portfolios online. If you feel unqualified to judge the quality of the work, find someone with experience and ask their opinion.

 

What kind of tech is being used by the school?

Animation is basically about two things: excellent drawing skills and current technology. Since production in the animation industry is so intimately tied to the use of specially-formatted software and hardware, all good schools should train their students using the most current technology so that their grads can compete and perform effectively in any studio job or environment that they choose to enter. Any good animation school will be more than happy to supply you with a list of the technology they are using in their programs. Try contacting an animator at a reputable studio about the types of basic tech required in the current hiring market.

 

Is there enough tech to go around?

If students are fighting over hardware, animation stations, or feeling rushed to finish assignments because their “time is up” on a particular device, then something is definitely wrong. Good animation schools are expensive, and it follows that the equipment they are offering should not only be current but also plentiful.

The answers to these questions can help you make informed choices when it comes to choosing an animation school.

Do you know what to look for in an animation school? 1
Choose your future animation school wisely!

We’ll focus next on whether the animation school you choose makes a difference to studios when they are hiring.

Sheridan Art Fundamentals and Animation Portfolio Workshop – What’s the Difference?

Guest post by Bernadette Peets AOCA

 

I am in the unique position of having taught in the Sheridan College Art Fundamental’s Program for over 10 years, worked on the original committee that developed the Sheridan College VCA Program, taught Life Drawing For Animation in the APW program and am currently the acting Administrative Director of the Animation Portfolio Workshop.

I would like to share my thoughts (based on my first hand experience) on what I understand to be the major differences between the Sheridan Art Fundamentals Program and the Animation Portfolio Workshop Program with respect to preparing an animation portfolio to get into the Sheridan Animation Program.

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APW Celebrates 20 years with a Scholarship!

On Friday, September 27th at Hashtag Gallery in Toronto the Animation Portfolio Workshop community was out in full force to celebrate 20 years with a bash and an art show.  Drawings and artwork by past and present instructors and TA’s who have taught at APW over the years were on display.  APW grads who have moved on to animation and art related careers, APW instructors and TA’s, friends and fellow animation educators all reconnected and caught up.  An absolutely fantastic event.

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Drawing is Back.

Actually, it never really went anywhere. We know because at Animation Portfolio Workshop drawing is all we do. Artists and animators have never stopped learning and using the immense heft and power of visual language that is revealed in drawing.  Ask any animator.  Drawing has been the chosen method for developing ideas, building worlds, telling stories, designing and animating characters and creating/investigating visual styles for a long, long long time.

#SpiderVerse – Animating Miles

#SpiderVerse is now available on Blu-ray, DVD & 4K Ultra HD!

Posted by Sony Pictures Imageworks on Tuesday, March 19, 2019

In recent times drawing has takena back-seat to computers. The wide-spread popularity of the 3D look in movies has meant

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APW grad – stop-motion storyteller – Dani Elizondo

Originally from Monterey Mexico, Dani Elizondo is pursuing her animation dream.  At the time of this post, Dani is working toward getting her BAA in animation at Sheridan College. Adding a thorough knowlege of traditional animation to her own love of stop-motion animation, puppet building, characters, stories and comic writing/illustration.  Dani’s refreshing and personal sense of design and story stand out against the pervading styles that seem to reappear over and over again in mainstream animation.

 

“I came to Canada to learn how to draw so I could pursue my dream to get into animation school and become part of the animation industry.”

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APW grad Patrick O’Keefe – Academy Award winner

APW grad Patrick O'Keefe - Academy Award winner 2

The entire Animation Portfolio Workshop team is over-the-moon excited for the 2019 Best Animated Feature film Oscar success of APW grad Patrick O’Keefe and his wonderful Art Direction on Sony Pictures Animation’s ground-breaking Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.  Sony’s take on the Marvel Spider-Man story is creative twist signalling a very clear break from the current 3-d obsession in animation feature film fare.  O’Keefe and fellow art director Dean Gordon creatively brought together

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Avoid Stylistic Appropriation at the Expense of Learning How to Draw

Avoid Stylistic Appropriation at the Expense of Learning How to Draw 4
APW Grad Irmak Karasinir / Sketchbook Page 2019

In Bertrand Tavenier’s iconic film Round Midnight, (1986) the films main character Dale Turner, played by the great Saxophonist Dexter Gordon, says these very wise words at one point in the film while speaking about the development of a musician:

 

”You just don’t go out and pick a style off a tree one day -the tree is inside you, growing naturally”.

 

The same applies to visual artists as well. For now we’re going to let these wise words about style, where it comes from and how it grows, just linger on the page here.

Food for thought that we’ll address in upcoming posts.

Suffice it to say, there’s an awful lot of ‘picking a style off of someone else’s tree’ that goes on when it comes to the making of animation school portfolios these days…and we’ll revisit why we think this is, and what we do at APW to foster the opposite approach to senseless ‘stylistic appropriation’.

 

Animation Portfolio Workshop featured grad Chang Dai

Chang Dai’s extensive animation experience covers character design, storyboards, art direction, hand drawn animation, game design and production design in Toronto (Yowza Animation, Arc Animation, Industrial Brothers, Jam Filled Entertainment, House of Cool), , Minneapolis, and in San Francisco (Play Studios).  Chang’s professional animation experience shows a highly developed ability to draw well. 

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Is It Possible To Really Learn How To Draw Online?

Is It Possible To Really Learn How To Draw Online? 5
Jessica Lu – Figure Drawing / Sheridan Animation Portfolio 2018

 

Yes and No.

 

With the advent of the Internet and new technologies, (hardware and software) the platforms existing for teaching the language of observational drawing seem to be expanding…. for better or for worse, one can’t quite tell – yet.

By that we mean that the jury is still out on whether the online offerings are doing more to diminish and eclipse the authentic experience of what is really involved in earning (yes we said earning) what it takes to become fluent in the language of observational drawing as we know it. You have to earn fluency in observational drawing language through a great exertion of energy and time…thousands of hours of sweat basically. The suitability of a term like ‘earning’ makes a lot of sense in context of the advice Gerard is often overheard giving during critiques in APW classes. When a weary APW drawing student comes to cry on his shoulder about how long it takes to learn how to draw, or how hard a particular drawing exercise is, Gerard is heard to say; “Drawing is like digging a hole. You get a shovel and dig.

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