Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountain Range lies Vancouver, a bustling city known for its spectacular natural beauty and thriving entertainment industry. Amidst the towering skyscrapers and lush greenery, an invisible force drives the city’s creative pulse: the 3D animation industry. As Vancouver continues to establish itself as a global center for digital artistry and storytelling, our journey into the world of 3D animation becomes a fascinating exploration of boundless possibilities, creativity, and pixels.
The animation industry in Vancouver is a popular career choice for many students and professionals due to the abundance of animation studios and job opportunities. There is a wide selection of schools that offer curriculum in entertainment and arts and studios that focus on the animation field and it can be quite confusing for anyone starting in animation. So, in this article, we will take a closer look at what makes this industry in Vancouver so special and how to get started with your animation career.
What is 3D Animation?
3D animation is a process of creating a film frame-by-frame, using computer-generated assets in the form of three-dimensional images. This is achieved by rigging the character with bones and joints and then animating it with desired movements, ranging from simple arm or leg movements to much more intricate facial expressions and lip movements. All of this is done with industry-standard software and by industry professionals who have honed their skills over a long period.
Why are 3D animations so important?
Animation is an important medium for storytelling as it allows us to express our emotions and imagination in a captivating way that appeals to viewers of all ages. Moreover, with the advancement of technology, creating 3D animations has become easier and somewhat time-saving, as it provides a greater sense of depth and scale, making it ideal for depicting intricate settings such as large landscapes, crowds, or altered realities that would be impossible or extremely difficult to recreate with traditional animation techniques. This leads to the creation of immersive cinematic experiences and video games with elevated quality with movies such as Frozen and Puss In Boots and games such as Fallout 4 and Genshin Impact that have utilized the full capabilities of 3D animation.
What do we need to start animating
3D animation covers just about everything from movies, TV series, online content (YouTube and Ads), and video games, and thus the way we create the animation is based on what we want it to do and other factors such as the capabilities of our hardware and how much time we have on making it.
There are several software that are capable of producing high-quality 3D assets and animation, Blender being open source and free is a popular choice among many as it is by far the most complete software for you to create detailed 3D models, sculpt characters, and objects, add visual effects, and much more. Blender also has an extensive library of add-ons that can extend its functionality even further, though it can create animation it’s mostly used in creating 3D assets such as models more often than not.
Autodesk Maya is another popular choice among artists and industry professionals as it is versatile and feature-rich and unlike Blender, it was designed from the ground up to produce 3D animation thus the workflow is much smoother and many local studios in Vancouver use this software in particular, however, it is quite expensive.
Game engines such as Unity are also essential in the production of character animation and animation for games as these engines were designed to optimize and simplify video game development across a variety of programming languages though they are not designed to create the assets themselves.
Though there are software that can help your work flow when producing, it is practically useless in the hands of amateurs, which is why it is important to start from the basic such as life-drawing where you advance in body construction awareness and dynamic posing, a way you understand how something or someone moves before jumping in into 3D animation.
Vancouver And Animation: Where The Magic Begins
Vancouver is one of the best places on earth to have a career in animation. There are many opportunities for professionals in this field. The Vancouver Film School, located in British Columbia, is recognized as a world leader in entertainment arts education. They offer a wide range of courses to local and international students. The courses offered to students aim to enhance their technical skills in their chosen department. If the students are interested in learning animation, there are several ways for the school to help students prepare.
Students will learn on how to prepare and set up character rigs to be able to create the desired movement, the body language on how living things move naturally and they will learn more from reference material, the model sheets of the character to know how the character will look and much more where these techniques learned from their time in school will translate over when they start working. Another example of a great course is in character animation where students are given insight into how to animate characters for an upcoming project properly. VFS alumni have been credited as high-rated alumni to work in the animation industry, at least 5 of the top 10 highest-grossing animated films worldwide had VFS alumni accredited in them according to VFS themselves.
Of course, Vancouver Film School isn’t the only school to hone your skills in animation. Since Vancouver is the capital of animation in Canada, there are many schools dedicated to the crafts of entertainment and arts in general. Here are 3 universities in Vancouver that you might want to consider when starting your animation journey.
- Lasalle CollegeLassalle College Vancouver is a top-tier university that specializes in arts education, offering comprehensive programs that are led by award-winning educators and researchers. Their animation programs are particularly noteworthy, providing students with the opportunity to deepen their skills in this field. In addition to their exceptional programs, Lassalle College Vancouver also provides industry connections for their students both in Canada and internationally. These connections can be incredibly beneficial for students, as they allow them to learn from the very best and to further develop their skills.
- Vancouver Institute of Media ArtsThe Vancouver Institute of Media Arts is another highly coveted university when it comes to arts and animation. VanArts (shortened for Vancouver Institute of Media Arts) has been ranked #6 of the world’s top 100 International Animation Schools by Animation Career Review, this cements the reputation that VanArts has over their adversaries. As any institute, they provide students with exceptional programs in animation and other disciplines such as acting techniques for film and television, art foundation, game art and design, and many more. However, we should mention that both VanArts and LaSalle College are prestigious universities and thus may require you to spend quite a large sum of money to enroll.
- Capilano UniversityThough not ranked the highest, we must give credit where credit is due because Capilano University is a good choice for many. Capilano is a public university, which means that, unlike the previous schools, the fee to enroll in this university isn’t as expensive, thus it is a great choice for those wanting to study animation yet having somewhat of a budget.
These universities are a gateway for anyone to start their career in animation, creating connections and networks with other professionals and amateurs alike in the industry. Usually, universities or events outside of campus will hold some networking events for the students to participate. These networking events are also beneficial for students who want to acquire these connections and improve upon their skills by learning from much more experienced animators.
If for some reason, there are people who are still unsure of which college or university to attend, they can check in “Animation Career Review” to see which college or university is the best and which one fits their agenda or purpose in their life choice.
An Opportunity for Students
After graduating from their respective universities, finding a job that aligns with their degree is the next step for most students. Fortunately, Vancouver is a city that houses some of the best animation studios that you can find here in Canada. Since Vancouver alone houses more than 70 studios alone, it was given the nickname “Hollywood North” by some and this is not a surprise considering the quality and production size some of the studios have.
These studios are involved in various aspects of film production and game development, specializing in 3D animation and other types of animation such as character animation. Of course, students must complete their university education successfully before taking the big leap and starting their career paths in animation.
With so many animation studios located in Vancouver, animation students can gain experience by involving themselves in animation projects or on a feature film that can develop their niche skills such as graphic design, character design, concept art, visual effects, and more which can eventually help the students to master even more advanced techniques in the long run.
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3D animation can be quite tricky to handle as it requires a long time and experience to successfully produce a decent animation, which is why many companies opt to outsource their animation to be produced by outside studios. SuperPixel is a small animation studio in Canada that creates unique 3D animations tailored to your company’s needs. Our small yet dedicated team consists of animators with incredible talents and years of experience in creating only the highest-quality product
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