This is the transcript for the video Animation

Welcome everyone. Let’s, we’re just looking at the first slide, just to let you know that we will be recording these sessions. And the first thing I’d like to do is an acknowledgement of country. So I’d like to acknowledge, as we always do here at UTS because the building and our location sits on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eroa nation, whose ancestral lands, our city campus, it does stand and probably hopefully will for the future. So I would like to pay respect to the elders, both past and present, and acknowledge them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land.

Here’s some information about how we’ll be handling questions. You should see a Q&A panel at the bottom of this session. And some other information about how that is generally offered up through a Zoom interface. So we’ll be fielding questions through that panel. And I believe there’s also a chat room where you might be able to chat amongst yourselves. Or perhaps the marketing people will be fielding questions from that.

So what I’m going to do now is launch into a presentation which will run for approximately 35 minutes. And it should cover pretty thoroughly all aspects of the animation program that we offer here. And what it’s like to be a part of that. After that, there’ll be a short amount of time where we’ll be taking the questions. But feel free to put your questions into the Q&A panel at any time.

Hello. And welcome to the University of Technology Design School. My name is Matt Gidney and I’m the Course Director for the Animation Undergraduate Degree program. We currently have four degrees on offer, the Bachelor of Design and Animation, which is three years. The Bachelor of Design Honors in Animation, which is a further year. And two double degrees, the Bachelor of Design and Animation with the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation, and the Bachelor of Design and Animation, along with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. You can find the details about these courses in the UTS handbook, which is available online.

Now I’d like to talk a little bit about what we offer in the animation program. Let me give you a little context for how we approach teaching in our program. And what we hope to see in our graduates. In the Design School, we use graduate attributes. We use five of them to guide us in shaping our degrees and curriculum. We assess the structure of our program and the tasks that we ask students to undertake against these categories. Kind of like a compass to guide us towards teaching excellence.

Your experience in the Design School will be much more than simply learning software. A university education is a much richer and challenging endeavor. So we use the acronym CAPRI for these five graduate attributes. The C is for communication and group work. You will develop confidence and robust communication skills, learning how to articulate subtle and complex ideas with precision as an individual and as a member of a team.

The A is for attitudes and values. Here, you’ll be challenged to think deeply about your own values and how to respect, engage, and empathize. And then work with others who might see the world differently from yourself.

P is for practical. You’ll be shown how to make work, whether it be complex or elegantly simple. You will learn what professionalism means in animation, the skills involved and how animation making has evolved and where it is likely to go in the future. You will learn the language of professional engagement and understand the technologies and the terminologies used in the workplace. You will confidently know what you are talking about, becoming job ready and equipped to find your own path beyond graduation.

R is for research and critique. Here, you will develop skills for finding the information you seek. You will learn research methodologies, and how to assemble your discoveries so that they are useful to your work and to others. You will learn how to analyze what you find and what you were challenged with. And know when you have what you need, or whether you need to seek further. You will learn how to give and receive critical feedback with a high degree of candor, accuracy and sensitivity.

And lastly, the I denotes innovation and creativity. You will develop your own original style, your own voice through observation, reflection and iteration. With tenacity and hard work you will achieve excellence as creators and challenge the conventions in your discipline.

All of these attributes together are at the heart of the creative programs in the Design School. All of these attributes are what we hope to see reflected in our graduating students. It is our challenge to help you get there.

The animation industry in Australia is not vast, but it’s important. And we see our graduates finding professional opportunities when they leave us. Industry seeks out our graduates because they know that our students are talented and that they are high achievers. Our students are in demand and known for their talent, their originality and vision. Our students are creating impact as original content makers and in so doing find recognition with audiences and festivals throughout Australia and internationally. Our graduates are working at such a high level of craft that we see our student work finding success in spaces that are normally the domain of commercial and professional practitioners.

Our graduate student films have been winners at all the major film festivals in Australia ever since we first had graduates in 2015. The Sydney Film Festival, the AACTA Awards, and numerous other smaller and international festivals are where you’ll see our work. This year, two of our graduates, Sarah and Rosemarie, won the Dendy Award for Animation at the Sydney International Film Festival with their film G & T. This has opened up doors as they step from university and into careers.

And in past years, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, or AACTA, has also recognized the quality and talent of our students choosing multiple student films as finalists for the 2016, and later the 2018, AFI awards. A really important achievement for our program. And it demonstrates again that our student work is competing at the same level as professional and commercial work.

The full time animation staff consists of myself, Matt Gidney, Deborah Cameron, Deborah Szapiro, Damian Gascoigne and Pat Grant. We work closely with a solid group of excellent casual professionals who are invested with us to deliver the course since its humble beginnings in 2012.

I think it fair to say that we’ve made an important impact upon the landscape of the animation industry in Sydney. And we will continue to do so through our graduates.

Students learn how to observe the world around them, drawing directly from life, to gain inspiration for characters and stories. They discover how to think creatively and develop ideas through multiple stages, focusing upon character development, narrative, and performance. And it’s the core philosophy that we subscribe to. And it makes our approach to teaching uniquely valuable.

We have strong relationships with local industry, such as Flying Bark Productions, the ABC, Animal Logic, Sticky Pictures, Cheeky little Entertainment and many more. All of whom will occasionally work with us on assignments and projects.

In second year, we have groups regularly making content for Vivid or creating animated live performances along with the Australian Piano Quartet, who we’ve been lucky enough to have in residence at UTS over the years. And more recently, we’ve been reaching out and connecting with key creatives from companies like Pixar and Dreamworks and engaging in live video sessions within our classroom studios.

The core structure of the course is quite simple. In each semester, students will engage with two core subjects. Studio is the main 12 credit point subject. In this space, a wide variety of challenging ideas and tasks around animation are introduced for our students to work upon. We use a problem based learning approach in the classroom. Valuable learning comes from the journey each student makes meeting the challenges set before them, sometimes as individuals, and sometimes as members of a team. As animation remains a highly collaborative activity and practice, group work is very important for us.

Our context classes are six credit point core subjects. They are normally delivered in our animation labs and focus upon developing craft skills and techniques. Animation computer labs are maintained to have a high degree of parity with many modern animation studios. We are supported by vendors such as Apple, Autodesk, Adobe, Pixar, The Foundry, Shotgun, Solid Angle and Tin Boom.

All of the facilities across the entire university are available for students to use from traditional physical workshops to 3D printers, photo studios, and even robots.

In first year, students participate in fundamental and introductory classes that are fun, engaging. And they’re are a good place to start the process to develop strong skills in observing, drawing, and thinking, which will underpin the subsequent years.

Observational drawing or drawing from life and journaling are important habits for us to develop. We practice these skills a lot. And expect students to continue this fundamental artistic practice outside of university.

We encourage a very active participation for students. Here, you see an example of one of our first year disguises projects. Where students research and design an original character, and then discover who they have designed by quite literally becoming that character for a short while. We introduce what are known as the 12 fundamental principles in animation. And practice them extensively through hand drawn 2D techniques. And then again, using 3D animation techniques.

Life drawing complements are observational drawing. Drawing the human figure from life is a classical and valuable introduction to understanding human anatomy. And equally so, the forms of all characters, whether they be human or not. Everything that is done in class is discussed and reflected upon. Each session normally involves feedback which facilitates progressive and full engagement. Subjects require a considerable commitment from students as each week will be challenging and very busy.

Moving onto second and third year. I’d like to share some work from our current second year students.

You were the one who told me what that word meant. A cabinet of curiosities, a wonder room of natural and unnatural history. Inside, I met a loris with a toothache. Who helped me unpin the butterflies from their display. They flooded between the tree trunk ghosts of a rain forest and dragged their feet across the frozen nectar of ash and floristry. I told him of your crooked lateral incisors. And of the way my chest feels when I think of you too much. I do not know who they are. The scientists. The ethnographers. The mapmakers. But here, we tip out a landscape of their spoils. The butterflies flutter against water. Against glass.

I like to capture their essence to see the real person. But it’s all about the line. You know.

Where’s the scar?

Oh, I didn’t like the line, so I left it off.

There’s some really lovely work there. In second and third year, students will work on more ambitious, external facing projects that might have deadlines and even public performances. Each year we’ll often bring different projects and different opportunities to work with new partners, making for a truly unique experience across the whole course. In many ways, this perfectly reflects how the industry functions, constantly adapting to new up and coming projects.

Research and iteration become important pillars to the way that we approach developing work and our process in design, in animation. Challenging and reworking ideas until they take form. We make field trips to discover things for ourselves, to find resources, to find inspiration, stories, to find expertise and find and learn about histories first hand.

Students will frequent galleries. They’ll meet artists and creators and report upon exhibitions and become experts using many of the libraries at their disposal as part of our formal approach to investigation.

Work is then shared and presented and ideas pitched through pin-ups, sometimes digitally, and sometimes physically.

Critique and feedback sessions constitute key moments throughout the development of our work. To see things from another point of view. And to take part in a conversation that is both constructive, supportive, and learned. The conversation around work is very important and it’s often quite lively.

Students will have opportunity to partake in electives. Some of these electives are global studios, which are an opportunity for students to have experiences outside of Australia. We take students to the very important Annecy Animation Festival in France, where the best work each year is premiered and sold into the market. Students get to see the business side of the animation industry first hand. We also go to the annual SIGGRAPH Asia Conference to engage with emerging technologies, research emerging and new industry practice.

In third year, students will form in to teams and also develop a pitch for their own animated TV series. They will then pitch these projects to leading animation studios in Sydney. It’s an immensely valuable project for our students, fostering creative teamwork and real life engagement with our local industry. Students will present directly to studio owners and managers who might one day be hiring them or commissioning their work for production.

Here’s a short selection of some recent third year work. I hope you enjoy.

Excuse me. Is anyone there? I really need to use the bathroom please.

Isadore from Demone here. I’m here for the show.

Ned? Hello. I totally ran out of apples.

Yes. Yes. I’m on my way. What? For fuck’s sake. All right, I’ll be right there.

You’re going to walk into that court room tomorrow, you’re going to give that judge nothing but peace and love. And when he asks you how that LSD got into your possession, you’re going to say, I don’t know.

All right, now you go out there, you tell them, you killed their cat. Just be honest. All right. The cat jumped out of nowhere and you were scared and you punched him. He’s gone.

Where’s the scar?

Oh, I didn’t like the line, so I left it off.

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Animation is truly an interdisciplinary activity. In many ways, each project is a research project unto its own. Striving to be unique and different from anything that you might’ve seen before. It’s important to continue embracing the latest technologies and thread them into the program alongside traditions that have stood the test of time. We’re always adapting, expanding, and consolidating our classroom practice. And here you can see robots, 3D printed characters and of course, our trusty skeleton who we use in life drawing. The old and the new.

After completing three years in a bachelor’s degree, up to 25 students can then choose to take a further year of study, which is our honors year. Let me share a small sample of some of our recent honors work.

If you want to be my best friend.

I’ve been waiting so long for you to grow, Sunny. You’re going to be my best friend.

Alone at last.

Look, I know I sound harsh, but it’s for your own good. You’ll eventually have to face the real world, Olga. You can’t keep [inaudible]

Olga. World. Olga. World. O-L-G-A.

Are you seeing what I’m saying?

That’s so wild. How do you think he got there?

I don’t know, let’s just pretend he’s not there.

But Des, are those his clothes. So fucking neat.

Probably just some drunk loony.

No. I bet it was aliens. Lizard people. No, some government hypnosis. No, no, no, no, no. It’s definitely aliens. And then-

It’s too early for your alien bullshit. He probably just had too much to drink last night and vom’ed in his clothes.

Yes. Not his clothes. Someone else’s clothes. But that guy was a super huge buff man that stripped off his clothing in anger and challenged him to a fight. And in defense, Johnny over here.


He looks like a Johnny.

You gave him a name?

Could be a Kev.

We don’t even know him.

Nah, definitely looks like a Johnny.

Today, I have a special guest with me. She’s a survivor. She’s a woman of color and an advocate for all minorities and our health community. Please welcome, Glenn.

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, doctor. Like I’m so glad to be here.

So, Glenn, I hear you have a special product to show us today.

Roll the clip.

Honors is a year in which to show what you can do. It’s less formally structured and yet much more anticipated. It’s a chance for students to express their ability and their skills through their own original ideas and work and practice. It is a unique once in a lifetime chance to spend a whole year creating their own original projects and consolidating everything that they’ve learned already.

Honors year students will complete a major project, very often a short film, substantially more complex and ambitious than anything they might’ve done in the first three years. They will work with external creatives, actors, sound designers, musicians, and others as needed to make a first class animated outcome.

That’s about all I have time to share for now. A lot of the animated works that you’ve seen here are just snippets of the full work. And you can find them on our YouTube channel in their full length. I hope that’s made you excited about our program. Please stick around, spend the rest of the time that we have for questions and answers. Thanks.