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Dream opportunity for creative and technical talent

Cathy Anderson

If being an animation artist on a Hollywood blockbuster is your life goal, this inaugural UTS Masters course could get you there.
Dream opportunity for creative and technical talent

Students in the new Animal Logic Academy Masters will learn from the team that helped create Hollywood blockbusters such as Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. Pic courtesy Warner Bros, Village Roadshow Pictures, Animal Logic 

The UTS Animal Logic Academy, a collaboration between the University of Technology Sydney and Animal Logic, the production studio behind films such as The Lego Movie and the Academy Award-winning Happy Feet, is launching a Master of Animation and Visualisation degree which offers animators and visualisation specialists the chance to build on their existing skills and learn new ones as they are guided by industry in an immersive production studio environment.

Head of the UTS Animal Logic Academy Shilo McClean said the inaugural course is unlike other Masters offerings.

‘The face-to-face commitment for a Masters in a lot of other programs is often quite light – it can be very flexible and you can continue to hold down a full time job as well,’ she told ArtsHub.

A UTS Animal Logic Academy Masters is more like being in the workforce.

‘To commit to this program you are essentially taking a year where this is what you do because it is 9 to 5, Monday to Friday for 44 weeks from 16 January 2017,’ said McClean.

The course is a fully-immersive program that allows students the opportunity to learn on the job, as it were, in a real-life production studio environment. A brand new studio has been constructed on the UTS city campus in Sydney complete with all the digital tools used in professional CGI studios across industry.

The course costs $45,735 for the year – and the good news is that there’s a full scholarship up for grabs. Applicants for the scholarship need to write a 1000-word application letter and there’s also an interview process.

McClean says the chance to learn from Animal Logic animators as well as UTS professors is unique. Animal Logic has worked on films such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Insurgent, The Great Gatsby, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, 300 and Happy Feet and are currently working on LEGO Batman Movie (2017) and The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Although students won’t actually participate in current productions, they will have briefs for non-commercial projects and operate as though they are working on industry-standard projects.

‘The work you do is presented each morning at dailies and you get notes on your shots. You have your work set for the shot you are working on and you work together as a team to deliver the shots on projects that have realistic delivery dates,’ she said. The course is designed to offer practical production skills to help students transition into the industry.

‘We find people finish their Bachelor course with a range of skills and they are well-educated but making the transition to a full time work environment can come as a shock,’ she said. ‘The value of being embedded in a workplace makes a huge difference in terms of the intensity of what you learn and the capacity to translate that into industry standards very quickly.’

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. Pic courtesy Warner Bros, Village Roadshow Pictures, Animal Logic 

McClean said the Academy will act like a start-up of sorts to help fill demand for highly skilled animators.

‘We have a situation with animation and visualisation where the demand for talented people is quite voracious. We are entering into a new growth stage for this industry so felt we needed to establish an approach that would let us provide that real production experience, at industry speed and make it scaleable.’

The future of the industry is in emerging technologies, says McClean, and this course has been designed to push the boundaries of virtual reality and augmented reality – and give students the chance to be pioneers in the animation and visualisation field.

‘New jobs are emerging every day and there will be whole new studios and enterprises arising,’ she said. ‘VR is so hot right now it’s like the sun. One of the things is that graduates of this course will be doing is inventing the next stage of what CGI does in the world.’

The Masters is the first course offering from the Academy, and can take up to 100 students. Course applicants can come from any discipline – graphic design, industrial design, coding or animation – and each will be assessed for their suitability as though they were being interviewed for a job.

‘It’s kind of like crewing for a production,’ McClean said. ‘I have to make sure I have enough coders, I have enough creative people who are mixed and interesting and bringing some cool stuff to the party.’

The course is open both to recent Bachelor Degree graduates and to professionals in the field who need the experience of working in a large creative production studio to take the next step in their career.

 Applications for the course close 11 November 2016. Visit the Animal Logic Academy website for more information 

About the author

Cathy Anderson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist and the co-founder of digital content startup, Ginger Brown.

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