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Postgraduate Diploma Character Animation

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  • Objectives
    The animation industry needs skilled animators in both 2D and 3D computer animation. This intensive course offers hands-on training in the core skills that this challenging field requires. We cover motion analysis and performance based animation, from the simplest bouncing ball techniques to movement in animals, acting in humans and the representation of speech. Located in central London, we can provide a unique industry-based mentoring programme that gives students continuous external input and ensures that they graduate fully-equipped for work and familiar with industry practices. There are also regular visits from practitioners in all aspects of production.
  • Entry requirements
    The course is suitable for graduates seeking to gain the skills to move into the animation industry as well as for practising artists, designers and creatives who want to retrain for a career in animation. Applications are also made by animation companies to place trainees who need to learn new skills.
  • Academic Title
    Postgraduate Diploma Character Animation
  • Course description
    Pathway details
    The course has two pathways: 2D Animation and 3D Animation.

    While students follow only one pathway, the course ensures that everyone learns the same core skills. Each student completes traditionally drawn animation exercises and follows the same curriculum. All students have access to a dedicated Windows workstation and a light box. The 2D students also use Flash, Animo, Photoshop and After Effects. The 3D students use Maya.

    Although we teach animation with computers, it should be noted that this is not a training course in software. Consequently we do not cover all aspects of the software, only the main animation tools. The focus is on the skills of character animation and creating personalities that can move convincingly and perform engagingly.

    Skillset Media Academy
    Central Saint Martins has been awarded Skillset Media Academy status, one of only 17 institutions across the UK, granted in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the college in relation to their Media Courses.  This course is part of the programme that contributed to the successful application.  Skillset is the industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses to ensure the UK audio visual and publishing industries maintain their world class position.

    Structure


    At the start of the week all students do paper and pencil exercises. For the rest of the week the 2D Animation students will elaborate this exercise through either digital or drawn techniques and the 3D Animation students will apply what they have learnt on the computer. The 2D students spend 100% of their time drawing, the 3D students at least 30%. Most weeks end with a communal critique of the current topic. Students are expected to attend for at least 40 hours a week.

    The curriculum includes:
    . An introduction to the crucial tools of the trade
    . Dope sheets, line testing, graticules, disc and pegs
    . Blue pencil, clean up of characters
    . Animating key frames
    . Weight, balance, squash and stretch
    . Principles of follow through
    . Human construction and anatomy
    . Walking without foot-slip
    . Technical detailing, lighting and shadows
    . Preparing work for trace and paint, or the digital equivalent
    . Facial construction and expressions
    . Complex actions, jumping, tripping, throwing and lifting
    . Lip-synching
    . Adding body language and acting
    . Exploration of water, explosions, smoke and steam
    . Life drawing
    . Production planning with storyboards and animatics.

    By the end of the course you will have a portfolio of work and a presentation showreel.

    Career Prospects


    While the industry has many illustrators (for backgrounds and character design) and computer operators (who can model, texturise, or animate camera moves) there is a shortage of skilled junior animators. The course builds these core skills and currently over eighty percent of our students find junior or first job positions within the industry.

    Former students have gone on to work at companies such as Hibbert Ralph (Frosties adverts), Mill Film (SFX for Gladiator),The Frame Store ('Walking with Dinosaurs’), The Moving Picture Company, and Richard Purdum Productions (Polo and Inland Revenue adverts). Two former students went on to be part of Oscar winning SFX teams and another two recently won Channel 4 Mesh awards.

    Industry links

    The course grew to meet top UK animation houses’ demand for skilled animators. Leading industry practitioners helped to design the curriculum. Student mentors from within the animation industry provide valuable professional insights and useful second opinions; they also advise on practice, introduce other working animators and production techniques, and help establish useful contacts. The course has two animators in residence.

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