Digital Media World: ‘iAnimate at Cinesite’ to Support Promising Feature Animation Talent

Visual Effects and Animation studio Cinesite has joined forces with online training company iAnimate to offer a new animation apprenticeship. iAnimate at Cinesite will foster new talent entering into the Canadian visual effects and animation industry.

The apprenticeship gives up to two successful applicants the opportunity of online training, a two year contract as a trainee animator with Cinesite and valuable animated feature production experience. Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada.

The iAnimate online training course puts students directly in contact with experienced animators from the major studios. Run by Animation Director Jason Ryan, the program’s set of workshops has a history of producing talented and production-ready recruits.

Cinesite announced in September 2014 that they have moved into animated feature film production at their 35,000 sq. ft Montréal studios. Through a multi-picture deal with 3QU Studios they are currently working on a series of animated films, the first of which is ‘Charming’, set for release in 2016. Jason Ryan is currently working with Cinesite as Animation Director on Charming.

Cinesite Head of Animation Eamonn Butler said, “Cinesite has been investigating ways to invest in new talent for some time. Jason and I share similar backgrounds in animation, both originating from Dublin and working together at Disney at a formative time in our careers. We share an understanding of the skills necessary for students to master in order to become professional animators.”

Digital Media World asked Eamonn and Jason about the skill and quality of work they will be looking for in the applicants’ demo reels. “The work doesn’t have to be fully polished because we will give you that training, but the first thing I look for is a spark of feature quality animation and originality,” Jason said.

Eamonn feels that good staging, a sense of entertainment and a general understanding of the principles of animation are also important. “Essentially, we’re looking for entry level people who we can groom into animators,” he said. “The idea of an apprenticeship is new to us, but it makes perfect sense when you think about what animation is. The animators will get actual shot experience on a day to day basis at the studio, and training from a team of very talented instructors online after hours. This complements what we will be looking to cover with them in the studio. The quality of the training will be high enough to be of great benefit to both Cinesite and the artist.”

Join the Team

The animators will become part of the team from their first day and take on roles according to their existing skillset and experience. “If they are junior animators, that means they will work on fairly easy shots to start with and develop the level over the course of the show. They will take their brief from Jason and the director of ‘Charming’ Ross Venokur, submit their work for feedback like every other animator and will be expected to deliver on a budget and schedule. We’re looking to develop professional artists, supported by the iAnimate training,” Eamonn said.

The iAnimate course will start off with foundation skills and then move into body mechanics. They will then be able to use that training on ‘Charming’, working on simple mechanics and possibly background crowd animation. The coursework and production work will be directly related, by including their current iAnimate topic within their training at Cinesite.

Jason feels that this kind of apprenticeship is a way to hit the ground running and an opportunity to see what professional animators are doing on a day to day basis, rather than just talking about the theory. He said, “They’re sitting next to animators and supervising animators doing the work, seeing how it’s done and can actually do the work themselves.

“They will also have to produce their coursework and assignments every week to receive feedback online from the instructor They need to complete the shot and have it approved before they can move on to the next assignments, so delivery of coursework is in many respects the same as working at Cinesite.

The deadline for applying to iAnimate at Cinesite is Friday 15 May. Applications are available via the iAnimate website giving detailed information on how to apply.