A survey of schools from the perspective of teachers.
In the Foreword to the Symposium Handbook, the co-curator of the event, Caterina d'Amico of Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografica, wrote of "...the precise need, shared by many people to consider the varying ways and philosophies of teaching that very particular form of art that is animated cinema..."
Thus, the Symposium began with a series of presentations by delegated who each reflected their personal views of the philosophy and teaching methods of their individual schools.
One interesting element of many of these surveys was the addition of a condensed history of animation - country by country, region by region.
Later, in one of the discussion groups, students and graduates inevitably spoke of their experience and personal observations during their education and training as animators. A summary of that discussion follows this chapter.
In editing the transcripts of the Symposium, it must be remembered that these are personal statements, reflecting the impressions and aspirations - and, sometimes, critical evaluations - of the contributors.
Note to CILECT members:
In this draft manuscript, contributions by some delegates have not yet been included. They are being translated or revised to provide up-to-date information. They will be added in the final publication.
The Queensland College of Art
John Eyley is an author and teacher of animation at Queensland College of art, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
The Queensland College of Art is located on the east coast of Australia in the city of Brisbane which is around 1000 kilometres north of Sydney. At present the college offers studies across areas of visual art specialisation in Fine Art, Design, and Film and Photography; specially offering 8 Bachelor degrees, 2 associate diplomas, honours year, post graduate, and masters level studies. Studies in the animation area offer a three year degree, an extra year for honour level, and also a one-year post graduate diploma.
As a state-supported centre for art studies spanning around 100 years the QCA has the longest tradition in Australia for the practical study of fine art. Operating as a virtual technical college until 1991 the higher level study programmes were constituted as University studies when the QCA amalgamated with Griffith University. Animation was offered for the first time in 1976 as a minor area of study within a broad scope of a Diploma of Art In Visual Communication.
Then it was a shared room situation with four primitive light boxes and one of the staffs own super 8 camera and projectors for the students use. A three year diploma in animation was then begun in 1981 with the acquisition of more light boxes and a 16mm Oxberry Studio Pro rostrum and basic 16mm film editing equipment. The conversion to a Bachelor degree was implemented 1985 and the administration of the colleges higher level programmes changing to a university structure, federally funded, in 1991. At present the QCA offers the only three year teaching programme in animation in Australia. The Victorian College of the Arts offers a one year full time post graduate diploma. Other studies in animation in Australia are offered as minor subjects within broader media studies.
This year the college's full time population is 609 with federal funding amounting to around US$6,500 per student of which the student must pay a "contribution" of US$1,500. The total QCA operation budget is around US$4,200,000. The effective budget for equipment, materials, and consumables in animation is US$18,000. Full time staff number two with a small pool of part time staff available from the industry.
Each year the student intake for the degree programme is 15 students who are selected at interview from applicants made up mostly of high school leavers, minimum age 18 years , and a small percentage of older applicants. The average age of the class is around 20 years old. Post Graduate numbers are no more than two in any one year. Unlike northern hemisphere institutions the academic calendar begins in February and has thirty-four weeks of formal attendance at the college finishing in late November.
Students apply to our course for mixed reasons. Firstly, some wish to study the industry process with a view to obtaining work in studios; secondly, a few see animation as a side study to their main aim of entering the comic illustration industry; and thirdly, some wish to study animation as an art for personal expression.
PROGRAMME PHILOSOPHY & STRUCTURE
The purpose of the programme is to produce accomplished and knowledgeable independent animators. Emphasis is placed on studio-based studies in animation as well as on theoretical studies in traditional and contemporary visual art practices. The range of studies provides the graduate with the knowledge and abilities to become a practising professional in animation or associated visual arts fields.
The underlying emphasis of the course is on classic animation although the other areas catered for are in three-dimensional, computer, and experimental animation. The 16mm film format is the gauge for all levels of study.
The first year, or foundation year, provided studies in various techniques in animation and is designed to emphasise an awareness of the many possibilities in the art. The broad base of enquiry focuses on animation practice, scriptwriting and storyboarding, drawing, design, sound and music, and history.
Animation at this level provided workshops in pixilation, cut outs, cel animation, 3-D object, under-the-camera techniques, and basic studies in computers,, Drawing classes provide the vehicle for studying drawing for expression, principles of animated movement, life drawing, etc. Scriptwriting examines the development of narrative an descriptive structures in animation.
Previous studies in art is not an essential requirement in entering this course and for this reason it is necessary to provide basic studies in design principles and elements. Aspects of animation history, large and small studio production, and the development of the animator as a visual communicator are also studies.
Theoretical studies involve the extension of the theoretical and intellectual aspects of the main study programme by examining visual culture through; cultural studies, critical histories, applied semiotics, professional studies, and vocational studies.
The second year of study allows the student to focus on the practice of a particular technique in animation in producing a one minute narrative animation. Continues studies in drawing, scriptwriting, design, history are also provided. By the end of the second year the student has written the script and prepared pre-production work for the major film in the third year. The end of the second year also sees the completion of the main study in studio production processes. By now the student has the requisite skills and knowledge to be able to produce a film from script through all studio processes to the answer print. Theoretical studies examine authorship, animation in Australia, visual metaphor, socio-cultural influences, propaganda, and modes of exhibition and distribution.
The third and final year the student is required to complete the three minute film. Theoretical studies encompass vocational aspects of setting up a business, corporate law, business practices, and copyright and contract law. The students are also provided avenues for studies into the programmes under elective studies for the three hours per week of the academic calendar.
The standard gauge for all film work at the QCA is 16mm. The animation department has two 16mm junior rostrum camera, two Steenbeck editing benches, three Amiga computers, one Lyon Lamb VAS IV single-frame video controller driving a low band U-matic system, two studios with thirty light boxes, and a small sound recording room. The QCA uses the film laboratories in Melbourne 1600 kilometres away.
WHERE THE GRADUATES HAVE GONE
The past graduate students have had diverse success in gaining employment. A rather small percentage has found work in animation studios -around thirty percent. These graduates have had to move out of the state mainly to Sydney where work is more abundant in animation studios. Very few have found work in commercial studios, however some of the most talented of students have been able to gain work in larger production studios, e.g. Hanna Barbera, and Walt Disney Television Australia. Most students have found freelance work by doing illustration and graphic work for the local industry. With the depressed industry , recession and a small economy that exists in Australia at the moment all related visual arts work is quite competitive and difficult to find work in.
Independent film making is almost impossible to make a living from due to the small population and limited distribution outlets. Reliance on government funding for the creative outlet in producing short films is also very competitive and provided no living allowance for the independent animator.
Looking to the future the CA has as one of its aims to create an Australian resource centre of the theoretical and practical study of animation, as one does not really exist at the moment. Funding will be sought for this activity and we are open to suggestions, advice, and study material from any institution that wish to help. Also, to strengthen the international profile of the programme and its students that, historically speaking, have been limited in their aims.
Hochschule Fur Angewandte Kunst
Experimental Animated Film Studio
Hubert Sielecki is the creator and managing director of the Experimental Animated Studio at Hochshcule Fur Angewandte Kunst di Vienna and General Secretary of ASIFA-Austria.
In Vienna at the University of Applied Arts, there is a Department of Fine Arts, and in this department there is a master-class for painting , which is directed by the artist Christian Ludwig Attersee. In this class for art the only Austrian studio for artistic animation film was founded in 1982. Its conception is: the development of animation film as an artistic medium.
Before a student can start his studies he has to take an entrance exam for the Art class. He has to show an outstanding talent for drawing and painting and furthermore a gift for music, technical understanding and organisation for his entrance into the studio for animation film. His education lasts for 4 up to 6 years maximum. We have about 10 students, who are engaged in making animation films. There is no obligation for them to produce films. Some of them however start making the films immediately in their first semester, the others in their second or third year. There are no formal study programmes, no exams, no given subjects. We do not offer a general and commercial film education as at the normal Film University. The student however can complete his studies by producing an animation film for his diploma. The student can choose his own forms of education, he can learn what he wants to know, and his goal should be to find his own way, his own self in his work and to develop his own personal style without restrictions and with no industrial impositions.
This is why every film is completely different from the other and one can hardly detect a general direction forced onto them in our school regarding the ideas, the techniques or the contents of these films.
The cost of production is financed completely by the university, so that a student does not have to worry about the financial aspects. He can turn all his energy, his talent and his fantasy to making a film. He finds an unlimited playground for individual experimental and artistic work.
We have a very simple self-made animation stand and basic camera equipment. The sound and music studio is on a digital basis, and quite professional. The soundtrack is given priority importance but we do not use complicated camera or trick techniques. We place great value on a clear subject matter and a clear message. This is probably the most difficult part of student can achieve this goal during his years at the university. We have a video library with the best animation films from all over the world, as well as international films from other animation schools.
The animation film studio at our university has its own film distribution system, so that the films made at our studio can be shown in cinemas, art galleries, museums and on television. The participation of the young students at international film festivals as well as the communal trips to these festivals are a very important part of their curriculum. It is vital for the students to see their films run in competition as well as having the satisfaction of winning an award, as they need the feeling of success to improve their efforts, as well as to keep up their enthusiasm while learning the quite tedious and laborious steps needed to make an animation film.
Stedelijk Hoger Instituut Voor Visuele Kommunikatie
Producer, scriptwriter, a restless publicist for animated cinema in her position as art director of the Genk Festival. Veronique Steeno also teaches at Stedelijk Hoger Institut Voor Visuelle Kummunikatie in Genk.
The Department of Visual Communication at the Institute offers a higher level of education in the applied arts. The main objectives of the department are focused on the future.
The expanding era of information makes it clear that future patterns of society will be different from the present mode. There is no formula that can be depended upon to predict the future trends, but there are alternatives searching for a new image of nature and human identity. The experimental and inventive intelligence of mankind has set out marks for generations to come. The Department wants to fulfil a vital function in the unfolding of imaginative vitality, technical ability, social sense of responsibility and human potentiality.... Anticipating the transformation in audiovisual technology and its "landscape", matching the aims and limitations of new technologies, provide a real market for visual designers and professionals in the whole field of communications. These are the philosophical concerns of the Institute.
At a significant level, the number of candidates in the first year of studies emphasises the increasing interest in this field.
Candidates come from several types of secondary schools and have frequently already passed a first degree course.
The interplay of perceptual intuition with scientific and technical knowledge is fundamental to the curriculum.
Starting from the first year, there is a specific "playground" reserved for the actualisation and refinement of the creative component. Attention is paid to the development of imagination and visual thinking skills; to the symbols and their shapes; to the control of perceptual and conceptual languages and to the optimum use of materials.
The creative activities and the research of image and visual design are seen as an indispensable source for education. Visual communication is a form of applied communication.
The Department of Visual Communication includes four possibilities of specialisation : Animation film, video, graphic design and photography.
All four specialisations embody creativity and professionalism. They offer careful training of skills, a mastery of design methodology and visualisation strategies, as well as the constant exercise of judgement and initiative in problem solving.
Apart from the training of technical competence, the student becomes acquainted with the other media and with several design methods. From the interdisciplinary interchanges fascinating synergistic projects result.
The organisation of the courses and their studios provide for small scale units. These small units work best for studying and self-realisation. Individual projects and teamwork take turns.
In the programmes, the Department strives for a balanced integration of theory, methodology and practice. The theoretical insights of perception, sociology, semiotics, psychology, economics and technology receive broad attention. The motivation to explore phenomena of visual communication is substructed by subject matters such as philosophy of art and the history of visual communications.
The main purpose is the personal growth of the student. The exam projects of the fourth year form the closing piece of an education and building process: the finalists prove their mastery of visual design and communications. The candidates choose autonomously the idiom to articulate their professionalism and their creativity. The degree is the starting point for the graduate.
THE OPTION: ANIMATION
Animation film visualises the invisible. The creative imagination gives life to the abstract and the amorphous. In order to reach this goal, several techniques are applied in a creative way: drawn animation, cell animation, cut-out techniques, three-dimensional animation and computer animation.
A personal idea or a placing order is elaborated in a scenario, visualised in storyboard drawing, animated, filmed on video or film, assembled and syncoped.
Step-by-step, picture by picture the student learns to produce independently an animation film.
In the first two years, the education is concentrated on the free unfoldment of creativity. The candidate discovers his talents and his limitations in each aspect of the medium.
The third year is more directed to real placing orders.
The fourth year is spent on final projects: an intro-spot, a commercial, a pilot film and a free animation film in different techniques.
Animation film is undergoing a real renaissance. The expanding television and commercial market ask for producers of animation films. The animation film option at the Institute seeks to form creative people who can fulfil a leading function in the audio-visual sector.
National Film and Television School
ANDERSON David Alexander
David Anderson was born in London in 1952. After studying at the Bath Academy of Art and running various puppet theatre projects in Scotland, he trained as a cameraman at the National Film School.
His first film, "Dreamland Express," won many awards, such as a Special Prize at Zagreb 1982. His following film, "Dreamless Sleep," won the best category prize at Zagreb 1986, and the Hiroshima Peace Prize.
Anderson became one of the founding partner of the Redwing company, where, besides commercials, he realised two other personal short films: "Deadsy," 1990, nominated for a BAFTA award, and a prize winner at Zagreb, Melbourne, Edinburgh and San Francisco; and "Door," 1991, awarded prizes at Annecy, Melbourne, Dresden and Chicago.
At present Anderson is working at several projects, both in animated and in live- action cinema. He holds animation workshops at NFTS.
The animation course at the National Film and Television School started around 1974. It takes in two to three people every year. The number depends on the quality of the applications as well as the space available. It is a three- year course at post graduate level. It is expected that candidates would have done film work before, or proven themselves in some area.
You don't need rigid academic qualifications to get into the school...and you don't get any when you leave (other than a film to show).
The school covers both 2D and 3D animation, although it started primarily with two dimensional work . There's no real computer animation other than the use of computers to aid motion control and things of that nature.
The first year course is dedicated to general training. The students go through all the disciplines of film making. The students in the animation department are no exception. Everyone does a bit of camera, a bit of sound, a bit of editing.
In the second year, the students are required to make an intermediate film. Hopefully, in the third year, they'll make a final film. But because of the loose structure at the school, the third year often rolls into a fourth year and sometimes a fifth year. It can be quite open-ended. I understand currently that the administration is trying to formalise that.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The concept of open-ending training at NFTS has now ceased. The courses are set at a maximum of three years, with no exceptions.]
Students have individual budgets with which to make their films. They can also boost their budgets by persuading other students to contribute. There may be production students or designers who will put some of their own budget into any given project.
What's important at the moment, or what seems to have changed certainly since I was there, is the role of producer students. They take much more active part in projects, including animation. I think it is very important because animation students at the National Film School in England are very similar to those at any other school. Animators tend to form a clique. There is not a lot of communication between the two disciplines. Animators tend to want to do everything on their own. It's in the nature of the game. The students have their own tutorial budgets so they can actually hire in professionals whom they admire or feel would be in sympathy with their work.
The students seem to do amazingly well. They tend to be very self motivated. On the whole they know what they want to do and they get on and do it. There is no formal teaching of animation in the school. People are brought in to do workshops, but really the students "learn on the job" which is very much what I did.
Since David Anderson's presentation at Urbino, the curriculum for Animation at the National Film and Television has been revised. Student animators now work within the specialist area, but also share a number of cross-specialisation courses.
A new Head of Department and full time tutor have been appointed.
Royal College of Art
Richard TaylorRichard Taylor was born in London in 1929. His father, Horace Taylor, was a poster artist. So, though Richard was educated in Classical Greek, Latin and Philosophy at Oxford University, it was no surprise to find out that he had always been determined on a life in the visual arts. He began as a stone carver, but after a while he changed to animation, joining the Larkins Studio in 1953 ( where he met Bob Godfrey, starting a collaboration and friendship` still continuing today).From 1957 he worked at Larkins as a director of production, producing commercials and information films ( many of them prized at advertising film festivals.) He became an independent producer in 1966, continuing to make information films.In 1972, he made a number of series for BBC Television, and from 1975 to 1985 he made animated films, principally for education. In 1986 he became head of the animation department of the Royal College of Art, London, with Bob Godfrey as Visiting Professor. He continues as an animation producer, while he now teaches as Professor of Animation at the RCA.My experience as a teacher dated from 1986. Up until that time I was an ordinary animated-film maker. At that time, the animation course at the Royal College of Art, which had been part of the film course before, was made a separate entity. They asked Bob Godfrey to be the professor, and he asked me to become his colleague. In 1989 he retired and I have been struggling to keep the torch up since then.The College itself was founded as a college of applied design which grew into a college of fine art. There is always a certain tension in the College. Sometimes they find the applied arts are stronger and sometimes the fine arts are more dominant. However, I feel very strongly that animation is well placed because it is a fine art that is also an applied art. We make films as a product for the people, but we can also achieve a higher aim because it also involves painting, drawing, music and so on.The course itself is a two year course. The length of time , and the fact that the students are all post graduates with different experiences, is important. They have all made some animation work before coming and some have achieved a high level of technical skill. Other students are people we have picked because they appear to be good at communicating, although they have come from colleges where there is no proper teaching or good equipment.I think that professional animators who are free to teach, or prepared to teach, are quite hard to come by. Colleges in England do not usually spend money on employing them.It is a two year course, with students from varying background and varying ages. At the end of the two years, they have to produce a solo film. That is the key difference in teaching animation from the experience of animation production, where it is always a many-handed business. In college, every student is required to produce something for themselves.Because so many of the students come from having done a little bit of animation in a first degree illustration or graphic design course or even a fine art course, they are primarily concerned with image. We have to remind them, or even explain to them as a new wonderful idea, that when they put one picture after another, they are making a sentence. When they put three pictures, they are making a story, therefore they need to think about structure and time. That is what we concentrate most upon. That, and also to become communicators -- to constantly enhance their powers of communication. That is the shape of the curriculum.The first year is devoted to making sure that every student has the same level of expertise; that there is no area where weakness will prevent them from achieving full expression. To test that, we expect that by the end of the second term, they have made a one-minute film from start to finish, involving editing, sound and even sound mixing. That film is usually based on a set idea.After achieving those skills, the students begin to think about their final film, which is going to occupy the whole of the second year. We lay great emphasis on careful and sufficient planning.I have great difficulty with the idea of storyboard planning. The difficulty is this: I believe that it is absolutely essential to have a good storyboard before an animator begins to make his/her film. However, I also find, from experience, that until a student has made a film, he/she does not know how to make a storyboard. This is often a problem: that the final film changes its shape during the work in progress, because the initial idea is altered by the experience of the student as the film is being made.As far as equipment goes, we are probably in the middle range of schools. I believe that the video line tester is the piece of equipment that has revolutionised the teaching of animated film. It is an essential tool, enabling students to review instantly the results of their attempts. This is important, because until a work has been seen on a screen (as when a film is complete and seen by an audience) only then does the film maker begin to know whether it works or not.I've come to the conclusion that it is only when the students are leaving us that they are ready to learn how to make films because they have made their first film, have tried it out on an audience, and have seen its effect. Now they know what works and what does not. Inevitably, we want to work with them, to take this experience further. But they are on their way out to try their luck in the industry. By and large, our graduated students have done fairly well.I would like to think that we concentrate on making films that make sense. It is certainly important to realise that there will be a vastly increased output of visual communication produced in the next twenty or thirty years. It is up to us to make sure that it is something of value, and not just empty clichés -- the recycling of conventional ideas.
National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1955, Alexandre Yanaiev was awarded his degree in 1979 at National Academy of Theatre and Film Art.
From 1978 to 1984 has worked at Bulgarian National Film Archives, In 1988 he graduated with a thesis on the subject "Space and Time in Cinema and TV". He has written many articles and essays.
At the present he acts as scientific researcher at Institute of Art Theory at Bulgarian Academy of Science, and as a visiting lecturer at National Academy for Theatre and Fine Arts, Sofia.
Before turning to the specific topic of teaching animation at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts, I would like to take a more general overview of its background.
The first attempts to make animated cartoons in Bulgaria came rather late - only in the 1930's. The real development of this kind of cinema happened after World War Two. These productions were very enthusiastic, but lacked much professionalism.
The first successes came during the late 50's. In the 60's one could already speak of a "Bulgarian School of Animation," and our animated films have kept winning international prizes up until the present time.
The first cinema schools in Bulgaria appeared in the early 20's but the very small national production output during the first half of the century impeded their development.
During the 1950s, a semi-higher film school existed for a couple of years but without animation as its subject. Cinema disciplines were introduced at the Theatre Academy in 1973, which marked the beginning of higher cinema education in Bulgaria. Before that moment, all higher education on the matter was received abroad.
There were three disciplines originally - film direction, camera art and cinema theory. The first students of animation were enrolled in 1980. Editing specialists have been trained for several years now.
Bulgaria's major, and for many years sole producer of animated output, was the SOFIA Animated Film Studio.
In the mid 1980s, the more commercial Cadence Studio was set up, and the last two or three years have seen a number of other producers such as Pilion Film, a Bulgarian-German studio; Alexander & Co., Ltd., UVT, and so on. These last two studios specialise in computer-generated advertising.
Recently Assistant Professor Krassimire Gercheva left the National Academy and the post of Deputy Rector to become president of the Alexandre & Co. Studio. This company intends to found a computer animation college in the near future.
These newly-born studios create an impression of a start in the field of Bulgarian animation, But in reality this is not exactly the case. Production is still extremely low. Inevitably quite a number of professionals trained in Sofia have sought work abroad. Now less than ten projects are in production. Five of these have received substantial subsidies from the state through the National Film Centre.
As mentioned previously, the first students in animation began their education in 1980 and graduated in 1985. The total number of graduates from our school is 14. At the moment there are five students preparing their diploma projects and twenty five others studying animation. The courses are conducted by the prominent animation artists Todor Dinov and Donyo Donev.
Academic education in animation, as well as the other cinema disciplines lasts five years. The last year of the course is devoted to creating diploma work. The students are trained to be animators and animation directors, but they can also express themselves as supervising animators.
During the complete period of education at the Academy, the students have theoretical and practical courses of animation and animation direction (from the third year on). This means they participate in making several films.
Priority in the curriculum is given to drawing and painting (7 half-annual semesters each) as well as to such disciplines as art, anatomy, and perspective. In the cinema sphere, the students study and do practical work in such things as music and sound in film, editing, camera, acting and animation dramaturgy.
The theoretical training includes knowledge of the history of a broad spectrum of arts. The history of the fine arts is studied across six semesters, while the general history of the cinema only four. On the other hand, the theory and history of the animated cinema are studied separately.
Other courses include history of literature, of costume, and music. And among the more theoretical subjects are philosophy, aesthetics and psychology of artistic perception.
The programme's ambition is to train not only skilful performers, but even more importantly, intelligent and creative personalities. This implies the specific character of the Bulgarian educational model - it is addressed to the individual, the auteur principle. This has been the trend in the previous development of Bulgarian animation. This is why, for instance, we do not have any big children's serials, presupposing the work of a big, semi-anonymous team. The present reduced national production output may probably cool the desire of the majority of the graduates to become directors and total authors of their films.
Recent years have shown that the Sofia graduates are capable of working not only following their inventions and individuals wishes, but also as a big team. A year and a half was spent by five of our first graduates - people with several films each and winners of international awards - working as executors and assistant animators in London with Richard Williams' team on "The Thief and Cobbler". This is a serious recognition of the professional qualities of the animators who received their education is Sofia.
The graduates of the Sofia National Academy have good reason to feel self-confident. More than half of them are prize winners at international festivals. To mention but a few names - Velislav Kazakkov (winner at Varan, Bilbao, Munich, Mexico City etc.), Vladimir Shomov (Moscow, Leipzig etc.), Ivan Tankoushev (Varna, Cracow) - and, in the last few year the "super hit" - Zlatin Radev's "Konservfilm" awarded with more than ten international prizes.
Wayne Gilbert is an animator and Co-ordinator of the Classic Animation programme at Sheridan College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Sheridan College's Animation Programme was originally started in 1968 to teach job skills. Since then it has evolved, and I would have to say that an effort is made to offer the student not only job skills, but solid creative and life skills as well.
The curriculum itself begins with teaching the physical properties of 16mm film, including its projection.
Next comes the overwhelming task of trying to break the fundamentals into step-by-step assignments. This begins with the explanation and application of the persistence of vision by creating a series of drawings and filming them in a certain order as well as for the specific number of frames. Animation begins with motion in the form of a simple pendulum. From here, secondary action or leading and trailing action are added, then squash and stretch. Eventually the element of "emotion is added to motion.
That is, the thought process or characterisation that makes up Life.
Sheridan has its own method of filling out exposure sheets that allows the student to understand fully the importance of this planning with artwork. They are aware of the fact that each studio has developed a system that is most effective for them and our fundamental use of the sheets will make it easy for them to adapt one hired.
We emphasise a comprehension of motion first, drawing second in the animation classes. First year has only two and one half hours a week of animation classes. First year has only two and one half hours a week of animation while the rest of their time is spent on the improvement of their drawing and perception skills. This is done with classes in:
Visual Language - conceptual work done with shapes, forms, composition, the implication of motion in static artwork, tone and colour all for the creation of feeling, mood atmosphere for background painting.
Life Drawing - covers not only structure but also aesthetics and emotion in drawing the human form both nude and clothed which adds an understanding of drapery for secondary action in animation.
Layout and Design - one two and three point perspective drawing for the creation of the environments in which our animated characters will live. Camera mechanics and artwork planning for production are also covered in detail.
Drawing for Animation - object drawing, cubes and the division of cubes into halves, quarters, eighths and so on. From the cube comes circles, ellipses, cones and spheres.
These assignments lead to the simplified structure of the human body as is found in the teaching of Burne Hogarth and then directly applied to the construction and control of animated characters.
Film structure is lightly touched on in first year but the emphasis is on drawing and the fundamentals of motion.
Second year is a series of advanced assignments in animation during which scene cutting becomes very important as does character interaction.
Film Structures - story boarding assignments directly relate to the animation assignments. Animated and live action film analysis and critique is ongoing throughout the year. This course is to get the student ready for production their own film during third year.
Life drawing and Visual language are advanced in information and difficulty in year two, again in preparation for the third year project.
Third year - students and faculty decided what work is required for preparing the desired portfolio. The options are to produce an original film, make a film based on a prepared storyboard from existing files or create series of assignments to develop weaker skills and show off the stronger skills.
In the first semester all student are required to complete a series given assignments with specific deadlines while they are advancing on one of the above chosen plans for the year.
A third year film need not be a `Classical` in design. The students may decide to make an experimental or interpretative film. We discuss with them the end result and the impact it will have on their portfolio in regard to looking for a job.
The Sheridan diploma is a Classical Animation Diploma as such, classical animation skills must be displayed in order to receive the diploma.
The National Film School
Vinca Wiedemann is Educational Consultant at National Film School of Denmark, Copenhagen. Her special responsibility is for curriculum development.
At the National Film School of Denmark we educate editors, directors, photographer, sound technicians, or as we like to call them, sound designers, production managers, script writers, and recently we started courses for TV directors and TV producers.
In February of this year we began a course for animation directors. We have six students and one teacher. Our ambition is to educate animation directors. We know the difference between animators and animation directors, but we're not quite sure about the differences in educating them.
We think the difference is that they should learn all the things that animators learn and then should learn some more.
We think that they should learn more -- primarily to tell a good story, that animators often tend to be too concentrated on the four seconds per day, or however much it is that they can draw if they're very fast. That tends to take their concentration, or focus, away from the structure of the whole story.
This focus on the structure of the story is a focus we try to maintain in all the educational courses at our school, not only in direction but, for example, sound design or film editing.
Whenever we teach a subject, we try to maintain the perspective of the structure of the story, investigating the film language used to tell the story.
The course for the animation directors lasts, for this first group of students, only two years. We plan it to be four years eventually. We started as an experiment by taking some candidates who already worked with animation. That is why their course lasts only two years. We want to see how it works.
We have made quite a concentrated daily schedule for them. They have classes in the morning and work with practical exercises in the afternoon. They have some classes in common with other students at the film school, mainly film history and dramaturgy, to which we gave top priority at the school. Of course we also teach them animation drawing, analysis, idea development. We think it is an advantage that animation directors study along with students that are involved in other kinds of film.
But it's not that easy. Because, of course the animation directors should learn a lot about sound, but maybe the lessons that are provided for sound designers are not quite right. They have different perspective and a different focus, so in the end we very often wind up saying "No, we should have two different courses for them."
We try with the script writers and the animation directors to have film seminars where they focus on comedy, or encyclopaedia films, or a single subject.
They think its quite interesting, but we can see that the two groups of students try to pull the lessons in their own direction because they each have their own focus. That's one of the frustrations both for the school and for the students.
I think the animation students at our school feel very isolated. They had dreamed that they should work together primarily with the script writers and the sound people, but in the end especially the sound people are too hung up with a lot of other productions, both with film and TV directors. Furthermore, we try to protect the sound people a little but because if not, they will have no time for lessons; they'll be working for other film makers all the time at school.
We are trying to investigate what practical exercises will be of the most benefit.
As we are trying to educate animation directors and not animators, we hypothesise that it is unnecessary for them to be animators. I don't know if that will prove to be correct. What that means is not that they will not be taught animation, but that in their exercises they will not concentrate on animation, but on story boards. So they make a lot of film story boards.
We try to give them exercises that are very well defined in the method. For example, we say, "Today the next exercise is going to be about a chase...And there should four characters chasing each other and they should each have their own goal as to why they're chasing each other. "
The story that they will use to tell about the exercise will be their own.
We're trying to give them some of the classical structures in story telling and say: "try to exercise this but use you own imagination, your own fantasies, your own story."
The discussion at the school is to give them these kinds of exercises instead of telling them, for example, to try to make a music video, or an information animation about health in schools. So, they can choose a topic for themselves, but we have a specific methodology that we want them to exercise.
The University of Industrial Arts
Born in Tallin, Estonia, on August 26 1946. In 1970 he graduated in biology at TARTU University. He started working as an ecologist, but since 1964 he has been collaborating to Estonia newspapers as a caricaturist. This led him to win several international prizes, and eventually led him to join Tallinn Film Studio as an animator in 1976.
Since then he has realised 8 films, winning 20 international prizes. Among his award-winning films are: "Time out" (Grand Prix, Varian 1985), "Breakfast on the Grass" (9 international prizes, among them Grand Prix, Zagreb, Tampere and Espinho 1987) , "Hotel E" (Main Prize, Stuttgart 1992).
He presents lectures and lessons on animation all over the world and is currently teaching at UIAH in Finland.
There is a Film and Television department at Industrial Arts University, but there is no special animation department. Animation can be studied for only one semester, therefore the results are not impressive. During the last fifteen years there has been only one student who has remained in the animation field.
The main reason for this is that those who are interested in animation do not have drawing skills. These talents are not required to obtain a place in the school. There are courses for cameramen, directors, and so on. Drawing is not necessary. Now, I think the situation is changing.
This year there is a new computer animation department with very good 3D computers. There are now ten students who have studied graphic design or photography for three years at the University. Some of them have some experience with animation. They will study for two more years.
We are also preparing an animation workshop with two-week sessions in the autumn and spring. In 1993 I hope this will be a permanent course.
I try to work with brains, not technique. There is another teacher dealing with animation technique. I think the basic thing is the idea, and the skills needed to work with the idea. I draw from the idea. I work with the script and image using my own method of working. But that is another matter.
Konrad Wolf College for Film and Television
Blumel PeterPeter Blumel is head of the Animation Department at the Hochschule fur Fernsehen "Konrad Wolf" di Potsdam, Germany. Born in 1934 he studied graphic design at the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Berlin Weissense and at the Master School for Arts and Crafts, Berlin Charlottenburg. He worked as assistant set designer and graphic artist at the Hans Otto Theatre, Potsdam. Later, he worked as a freelance artist/animated film designer, writer, cartoon animator and director for advertising, entertainment, children's films and television.In 1986 he became a teacher at the Konrad Wolf College for Film and Television, heading the course of studies for cartoon artists/animation. Later he also studied film direction as an external student at the College. He completed that course in 1992.The description of work in his department at the College for Film and Television is extracted from a Symposium paper he presented: "Looking for a European Consensus in Teaching Animation." In it he refers to the influence and support of the Moscow director, Fydor Khitruk. Blumel calls him " a prophet of animation."Tracing the evolution of animation training, Blumel writes: "Emerging from the situation of animated film-making in the state studios of the old GDR, sustained, subject-specific instruction for animators was finally introduced at the beginning of the eighties in that part of Germany as well. After years of fruitless demands, the alarming lack of young people in the profession finally prompted the establishment of a course of study for film cartoonists in the technical school branch of the Konrad Wolf College for Film and Television in Potsdam Babelsberg. The college itself was founded as early as in 1954 as the German College of Film Art. It served as a training institution primarily for cameraman, and to some extent for animated film directors as well, but subject-specific training in animation existed neither at a school of art nor at the College for Film and Television. There were advocates and opponents of the integration of animation art into a traditional media college, and the arguments put forward in this dispute reflected the controversy that was still very lively at that time concerning the aesthetic character of the art of animation and its proper generic character of the art of animation and its proper generic affiliation.Animation teaching takes place at the College for Film and Television from the outset with explicit reference to conveying knowledge in the sphere of media art, while the subject-specific instruction is given largely in the form of practical studio work.The three-year course of study ends with a certificate of completed technical education as a film cartoonist.The post of director of this course of study was offered to me as early as in 1986. I considered the fact that the visual arts instruction was limited to a course in cartoon drawing to be a grave defect, so I tried to compensate for it by integrating the teaching of the rudiments of image structure into the teaching programme and expanded the training profile to include all spheres of animation.During the period of restructuring of the educational system in the GDR, animation teaching acquired the status of a four-year course of study at a technical college ending with a diploma as an animator. In the next two or three years this will be transformed into a university-level course.The programme of study now consists of the provision of rudimentary knowledge in all artistic fields that are of relevance for creative work on an animated film. These are the major fields of visual arts production, the art of movement, media-specific production including dramaturgy and music, and animation techniques and methods. The subject area of the aesthetics and analysis of the cartoon film has a special place in the training scheme.It is thanks to the many years of experience and the craftsman-like work of the highly esteemed film director, the doyen of the art of animation, Kurt Weiler that the ASIFA entrusted our college with the maintenance and utilisation of its incomparably valuable archives. With this concession, the College for Film and Television assumed the commitment to make the archives accessible to all animation teaching establishments for teaching and study purposes, above and beyond its own requirements. Because of its structure, the College for Film and Television offers the best preconditions imaginable for the systematic reappraisal of the content of the archives and its evaluation from the point of view of the media sciences.The core of animation teaching in Potsdam Babelsberg is classical American cartoon animation. We already have close co-operation with Fydor Khitruk in this sphere. It finds its practical expression in a jointly prepared practice programme and in Fydor Khitruk's regular guest seminars at the College of Film and Television.Our course teaches the animation students the technology and methods for making cartoon films so that they will be able to earn a living in the field of animation, independent of their individual artistic ambitions.In the final analysis, however, the development of the subjectivity and originality of the individual talent is the main purpose and has priority over imparting the basic skills of the trade.In the diploma project, each student is given the opportunity to formulate his artistic position within the context of the manifold creative possibilities. Thanks to traditions that have been handed down, it is still possible for every student to be provided with a personal production fund for his or her practice work and for the diploma assignment. We very much hope that this possibility will be retained.We see the seminar course in "special effects" that is being offered as an enrichment of our teaching programme. A guest contract with the Berlin film historian and special effects specialist, Dr Giesen provided the animation students with an informed insight into the history and technology of this special of animation.The structure of the College of Film and Television gives the animation students the opportunity to acquire knowledge in almost all areas of film and TV media production - sound, editing, camera, directing, acting and dramaturgy - thereby providing unlimited opportunities for semi-professional team work.For our course of study, great hopes are being placed in the instalment of an efficient, technically sophisticated computer studio on the pattern of the Computer and Image Processing Division that has been set up at the Media College in Cologne. The existing Amiga-based computer graphics and computer animation practice stretch will be retained and will operate separately from the planned high-tech computer centre. It will be accessible to lower-level students for practice and experimentation purposes.The enumeration of the technical and structural conditions would be incomplete if we left out the area of conventional film technology. Having begun with totally inadequate practice conditions, our course of study is now equipped with animated film technology that meets high standards from the quantitative and qualitative points of view, so that the professional character of our practice and production facilities leave little to be desired.
National Film and television Institute
Department of Animation
David Ababio is a tutor at the Department of Animation of National Film and Television Institute in Accra, Ghana.
The National Film and Television Institute was founded in 1978 and became a regional institute in 1985. This means that it caters to all countries south of the Sahara. It has the status to award a diploma. The other film schools provide only on-the-job training for people in broadcasting and television.
The number of students selected is small. Intakes vary. Students will be accepted for two consecutive years, then for the next year or two, none will be accepted. The total number accepted into the school each year is twenty, three of which go into the animation course.
The reason for this small number is that the country has no animation industry. Also, we have not got sufficient equipment for a large student intake. In general the only people who are aware that animation exists in Ghana are broadcasters or university level graphics students. Therefore most of our students are those with a degree in graphics who wish to do something more interesting with film.
The entry requirement for animation students include experience in fine arts, drawing ability, and creative graphic ability.
In the beginning, it was not like that. Drawing was not really required. But in order to teach a student who will be able to work later, he should be able to draw. You do not have time to teach students how to draw in just three years. It takes three years to gain a diploma; and that includes the presentation of a thesis.
The first year is broadly based and included photography, sound editing, directing, art direction, animation. This gives students a broad view of the industry and helps them to know each other's problems while they work as a team.
During the second year of studies, they branch out into various departments. Before a student specialises, he must pass a written examination and an oral interview. I question the effectiveness of the oral interview because most of us put our best efforts, not into what we say, but in what we do. So, what a student does is much more important.
When the student passes the exam, he/she faces a very intense second year curriculum. The second year is when teachers impart the artistic knowledge of animation.
The student does a lot of drawing and is given assignments in painting and quick sketching. Much of the time the student is left to experiment, and to find out his personal creative inclinations.
In the final year, he will make a film and have to choose a particular technique.
We use the second year to help him master that technique so that when he starts his film, he will be more confident with his chosen medium.
In the third year, the student is expected to make a film which should be about five minutes in length. It happens often that a student thinks of something big and realises after it's started that it's more than he can do. It then takes two years to complete. That is not helpful for the student. We try to give a time limit but we do not enforce that restriction rigidly.
The student must also write a thesis in the third year, not necessarily on an animation subject. It can be on a general subject, but is a requirement for the student to receive a diploma.
There is equipment at the school, but the quantity is a problem. We have a 16mm rostrum camera and video animation set-up. Then, we have a small 16mm system using a Bolex camera which we use for the first year students. We also have problems with 16mm film production. Our processing laboratory is in disrepair, so our attention has been geared towards video animation. Of course the difference is in the shooting, not in the drawing or the manipulation. Video animation has also eliminated the problem of getting enough cells for each student to work with. Video animation helps bring down the number of cells needed.
We work according to what we get, and not what we should do, because conditions keep changing. Sometimes, the film laboratory is working, so we shift to film. The students have to be able to adapt to these changes.
Occasionally experts come from abroad to
teach in workshops. Often we realise that these classes are not much different
from our own. This gives students the confidence that what they've been
doing is right and that their guidance has been good.
At the end of the course, we hold a small film festival for all the students. This gives the public a chance to see these animators' work. Many still believe that animation doesn't exist in the country. The animation they see on television is always from abroad, so this festival makes them realise that people in Ghana do make animation of quality capable of being broadcast on television.
National Institute of Design
Nina Sabnani is co-ordinator and tutor at Animation Department at National Institute of Design, Faculty of Visual Communication, Ahemedabad, India.
The National Institute of design (NID) was founded in 1961 in response to a genuine need for trained professional designer. The years after India's independence, were a period when rapid changes "in kind, not in degree" were taking place in the country in tools of production, in objectives, environment and function. The very nature of the problem demanded a re-investigation of the postulates and resources. Hence in the late 50's, the Government of India invited Charles Eames, an American designer of repute, and his wife Ray, to India to explore the problem of design and make recommendations to train personnel for the new social needs likely to arise out of the revolution in environment and technology. The report recommended the setting up of an All India Institute of Design, which would contain within it, "all the disciplines that had developed in our time".
A new multi-disciplinary approach was evidently required to satisfy the complex problems that had to be tackled in modern India's rapidly changing environment. Against this background, the Institute came into being. The first few years were spent in developing faculty in all the design disciplines. A conscious decision was made that the Institute would not adopt as existing design education programme from any one European or American institution. Rather, individuals and design consultants, with an established reputation in specialised fields of design, were located and their assistance was sought to train faculty members and to work together towards evolving a suitable programme for India's special needs.
The five-year Professional Education Programme was developed for school leavers (18 years +) to provide them with a thorough grounding in NID's two main design disciplines: Communication Design and Industrial Design. Animation Design formed an integral part of Communication Design.
Much of the learning process at NID is through a process of internship. It was this philosophy and Ford Foundation funding that brought experts like Leo Leonni and Giulio Gianini to NID in 1967. Hence, it was the Italian connection that started the Animation activities at NID. Under their guidance the first animated films `Swimmy` was made at the Institute. This was based on a book written and illustrated by Leo Leonni. As there were not full-time teachers to teach animation at that time, this activity continued sporadically. However, this period produced Ishu Patel who moved to the National Film Board of Canada after studying and teaching at NID for many years.
It was not until 1980 that concerted efforts were made again to develop faculty for teaching animation. It was under the aegis of the Indo-US Sub-Commission and the United Nations Development Programme that experts like Claire Weeks (USA) and Roger Noale (West Surrey College of Art and Design, Great Britain) came to NID for extended period to train specially recruited faculty. It took all this nurturing to devise the present formalised programme in animation.
The National Institute of Design now offers an intensive course in Animation with two entry levels. One is the School-leavers Professional Education Programme where Animation is integrated with Graphic Design and the other is a two and a half year course called the Advanced Entry Professional Education Programme (AEP) which is offered every year to graduates with a background in Fine Arts and other related fields. The basic structure for both is the same. The total strength of the Animation students at any given moment is about 20.
As most young graduates begin to earn their keep by the time they are twenty two years old, a monthly stipend becomes an attractive proposition to enrol for the programme. In addition, they are also provided with studio material and film stock. There are now three full-time teachers for Animation.
The programme is geared towards providing inputs to find creative solutions to complex problems in communication. Our endeavour is not only to impart skills and knowledge, but also to see that students finish their training in the Institute as professionals who understand the social implications of their work. The essential characteristic of a profession is that its practice is required by society. Professional education therefore, involved not only teaching of theory but of practice under the guidance.
For the first three semesters in the discipline, the student is given basic skills and introduced to knowledge area pertaining to animation. These include Storyboarding, Basic Animation, aspects of Sound and fundamental to all design disciplines, Design Process, which is an initiation into an understanding of design as a problem solving process. An unique feature of NID's Communication Design Programme (as also the Industrial Design Programme), is the open classroom system, were students from Graphic Design, video and Audio-visual Design work side by side. The benefits of learning within such an atmosphere is immeasurable. Compulsory studies in Science & Liberal Arts widen the horizon of the students to understand and relate to current situations in the historical context.
One of the major concerns of the course is to ensure that students acquire professional attitudes and abilities. In these effort they are exposed to professional situations and abilities. In this effort they are exposed to professional situations at NID where the realise the importance of teamwork. In addition to this, field experience in industry and on-job training are mandatory. Every final year student is required to produce a film under faculty guidance, - from conceptualisation to final execution - to demonstrate their understanding of all aspects of animation film making.
Evaluation is continuous throughout a student's education programme and is qualitative rather than being quantitative in terms of marks or grades. Therefore, evaluation becomes an assessment of each student's progress judged against his/her abilities.
At the end of two years each student is required to make a presentation of the work done during this period to qualify for a Diploma Project. The Diploma Project is the student's final major project at NID which must demonstrate the student's competence to render service to clients as a practitioner of design. It should have relevance to community need and reflect national priorities. It should be in an area which give adequate opportunity for experimentation.
NID's placement effort have been generating favourable responses from industry. While some of our graduates remain employed, a majority prefer to set up independent consultantcies. This enables the application of their expertise in such diverse areas as advertising and education (through India's national television network Doordarshan and education television set-ups throughout the country -Educational Media Research Centres). With the television media on the brink of privatisation, further opportunities are bound to open up.
NID's effort so far have been like a drop in an ocean. Presently, it is only the Institute in India that offers a fully fledged professional training programme in animation. For a country like India, animation as a medium of mass communication can cut across regional an linguistic barriers. But to make animation visible and of relevance to national priorities, we need to multiply at least tenfold.
Efforts towards this direction are being made by holding awareness workshops for schools, colleges, government and non-government agencies. Currently we are assisting the Film and Television Institute of India to formulate a three year programme in Animation. Apart from teaching and practising animation, the Institute has also taken upon itself the onus of spreading awareness of animation. This we hope will enhance the future of animation and animation training in India.
Bezalel Academy of Art and Design
Born in 1937 in Israel, Yoresh is a designer and a director, who graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem where he is now teaching.
After some non-professional experiences in the mid-sixties, he was among the first people to create an animation studio in Jerusalem. He directed or produced, together with his wife Abigail, about 80 short films and sequences in animation, mainly of an informative and educational nature.
In 1972, he founded the Animation unit at the Bezalel Academy where, through his teaching, he fostered the possibilities offered by animated film as regards visual communication and art creation.
He is an animation consultant for the Israeli Film Archives and for the Jerusalem Film Festival, and a member of the Executive Committee of Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA).
Although Israel should be considered as a rather advanced nation, we still have in some corners of our life, things which are very much behind. Unfortunately animation is among them. Israel has top people in music, in art and other cultural area but animation is still regarded as a kind of kid's stuff, something funny and entertaining.
Even in our Academy, it's treated as a kind of stepchild. We are not a department. We do not teach animation as a separate discipline. It's not a major.
Students take my courses only in addition to their major discipline. That means they come for four hours a week, and although it is a time- consuming medium, I have to manage with the remains of their energy and their time. Only if there is a very gifted student who is willing to take the risk that he will have a failure in his discipline, or that he will possibility not get his diploma, will he take my courses. When he takes it, he stays after school, and even comes on weekend and holidays. If there is some project that he considers serious, he will have to come on holidays or do it on his own time to finish it.
The philosophy of the school is really that we would like to teach a language, rather than train students in techniques. We do not train them. As a school of higher education, we feel that we have a commitment to encourage creativity even if reality outside school is not like that. We think that industrial and commercial entities are naturally preoccupied with business success, and that we do not have to encourage these commercially based trends in education.
Yoresh spoke at length on a number of conceptual and practical problems of the teaching process for animation. These are quoted in another section of this book.
More og Romsdal College
Gunnar Strom is Head of the Animation Department at More and Romsdal College, Volda, Norway, and General Secretary of Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA.)
The animation teaching at More and Romsdal College is quite young. Since 1971 and until quite recently, my school was the only film and television school in Norway at university level. The film and television teaching is part of the Media Department at the College with a total of 170 students, mainly journalism students. We have 40 film and television students on a two-year course. We have 10 students specialising in documentary in their third year.
Six years ago we enrolled our first animation students. The animation teaching at the school was a direct result of a practical seminar led by Bob Godfrey in 1986. Since then, animation training has been steadily growing. This year I have 8 animation students. Four of them do a one-year course, but they are quite well qualified. They have already had either three years at an academy of art or applied arts, or they have long practice in graphic design. The other four students are in their second year at the school with a one-year course in general film and TV as a background.
The school concentrates on non-fiction. We teach documentary and animation, a combination I find both exciting and fruitful.
Norway has a very small animation "industry". Commercials play a very minor part. We did not have a proper commercial television station until recently. Therefore the Norwegian animators either do personal short films funded by state money, or work for TV, or do education/industrial films/segments for films. My students should be able to work in all these areas.
I believe in the combination of documentary/factual films and animation. And I believe in the artistic combination of documentary and animation; like it was in Germany in the 20s, in Britain in the 3Os, and at National Film Board of Canada since the lst World War.
An example: A student of mine who graduated this summer, is involved with a 4-episode TV series about the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Fridtjof Nansen who travelled in Siberia between the two World Wars. A film team has travelled in his footsteps. This film needs a lot of animated maps and graphic illustrations. My student proposed a multi-plane solution that included both cell animation, sand, and cut-out. She was competing with computer animators and she's twice as expensive. However the producer doesn't want computer graphics. He wants my former student's solution.
At the college we have full 16mm equipment, but no 35mm. We mainly work on video, for which the school is very well equipped. We shoot animation either on U-matic highband, one inch video with no pre-roll, or on laser disk. Professionals come to our school to shoot their own animation films and we also produce animation for the industry.
When it comes to computer animation we are only on the beginning with Amiga equipment.
Inevitably, the time scale is too short for teaching students practical animation. I have students for only one year (eventually 2 years) as animation specialists. We hope to start a regular two-year animation course next fall. We teach most kinds of animation techniques at the school, but all students have to do basic drawn animation in the first months.
We screen many films chosen from the history of international animation. Animation as art is important in our choice of films. This inspires the students, it makes them experiment.
A major advantage at our school is that the students have access to the equipment at the school 24 hours a day. This is possible because of the situation of the school. It is located in a small village with only five thousand inhabitants, tucked between fjords and mountains on the west coast of Norway. In a certain way it is a special and exotic place. The student population adds another 2,000 inhabitants during term-time.
Akademia Sztuk Pieknych
Born in Wilczogeby in 1930, Daniel Szczechura is considered one of the
most refined artists of animated cinema. Amongst his films are "The Car" (1962), "The Armchair" (1963), "The Trip" (1969), and "Morgana" (1983).
For many years he has taught animated cinema at the Akademia Sztuk Pieknych, in Warsaw.
The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw is over two hundred years old, with rich traditions. Hence it has all the disadvantages as well as advantages of an old type of university.
In its pedagogical work, the main emphasis is put on painting and drawing. They are the subjects of the entrance examinations, which last one week.
The Animated Film Section is in the Graphic Arts Department. The students come to me after completing two other courses. During the first two years, they study composition, sculpture, calligraphy and typography, photography, and of course, painting and drawing. These latter two subjects are studied until the students graduate from the Academy.
For the third course, each student chooses a specialisation. He can choose between poster design, book illustration, graphic arts, or animated film. He studies this specialisation for two years. After this comes the fifth course, in which the student prepares his diploma film.
This traditional style academy has its good and bad implications. A good artistic preparation is its main advantage. Students are well taught in painting and drawing. They also know the rules of composition, and techniques of photography. As a result, working in my field is easier. We can begin at a higher level.
Students come to specialise in my studio from different departments. For example, they could come from Interior Design or Fine Art Conservation. Obtaining such an extensive education, with experience of other disciplines has undoubted merits. A broadly educated artist can easier find himself and his own voice in life.
The disadvantage of our Academy is that it is too bound to tradition. All kinds of changes come to us very late and are adopted very slowly. For example, a video studio is only just coming into being. Even the animated film studio itself exists by chance and is not very popular.
Our equipment is rather simple. We have one animated stand, one 16mm camera and one editing table. This year we are going to work with Amiga 2000, but we do not have software that satisfies our needs.
Student numbers are also a problem. Each year I get only 4-6 students.
The first exercise I give my students is aimed at making them see the difference between traditional fine arts like painting or drawing and the same pictures set in motion. I use McLaren's method. Each year I repeat the same set of exercises and I convince myself that the results are good.
There is one exercise above all others which allows me to check the students' psychological predisposition. I think that to practise this profession each artist needs a set of personal stylistic features which are helpful in future work. This exercise points them in this direction. It involves the creation of a non-camera film, drawn or painted directly onto 16mm film stock. After trying it, some students realise they have not got this desire for such self expression, and drop out of my studio. I have come to regard this as not unusual.
Our Academy co-operates with a professional film studio, Miniatury. Hence we have free access to a quick action recorder and other professional equipment. Students serve their training there, and even during their studies they become familiar with processes of professional production. I consider this to be an important factor in education.
The young people I work with are somewhat older than students from western universities. They are twenty years old or more when they begin their studies, and over twenty-five when they graduate. This late entry age results, among other things, from our difficult entrance examinations, which some students are able to pass only at the second or third attempt.
Higher Courses for Film Directors and Scriptwriters
Born in Moscow in 1941, Eduard Nazarov has developed a distinguished career as an animation scriptwriter and director as well as an actor and an illustrator of books and magazines. He has worked at Souyzmultfilm since 1959 and, for many years, he served as an art director under Fydor Khitruk. His own award winning films include "Once there was a dog" and "The ant's journey". Mr Nazarov is currently Vice-President of ASIFA, and teacher of animation at the Higher Courses for Film makers and Scriptwriters in Moscow.
Our Higher Courses in Moscow for script writers and directors are under government supervision. We exist on state money.
These courses are for adult students who have already acquired a higher education and then have the opportunity to take the High Course and busy themselves only with practice.
Our courses each last for two years and included the disciplines of animation and animation direction. We also have an acting of course and a film study course, with a wide variety of international films, including animation, documentary and live action. We cover all areas of cinematography.
In the two years, we concentrate on animation
direction. Our lessons are usually open and not aimed at teaching anyone
because we believe we cannot teach anyone but anyone can have an education.
We play with the students and push them towards awakening and gaining the
feeling of confidence in themselves. We try to awaken their imagination
and try to be correct with them so as
not to destroy their nerves, their opinions or their brains.
New York University:
Tisch School of the Arts
John Canemaker is an internationally known animator, film maker, author, teacher, and lecturer.
His award-winning short films, "Confessions of a Stardreamer" , "Bottom's dream". "The Wizard's Son". "Remembering Winsor McCay", "Otto Messmer and Felix the Cat") are screened regularly on TV, in schools and at film festivals. In 1984, the Museum of Modern Art honoured his work with a "Cineprobe".
In addition to several articles for leading periodicals, Canemaker is the author of four books on animation: Felix, The Twisted Tale of the World Most Famous Cat, Pantheon 1991; Winsor McCay, His Life and Art, Abbeville Press 1987; Treasures of Disney Animation Art, Abbeville Press 1982; The Animated Raggedy Ann & Andy, Bobbs-Merrill 1977). Through his own company he has produced, designed and directed animation for Warner Bros., HBO, PBS, CBS.
Former Visiting Lecturer at Yale University, he is now Head of Animation Programme at New York University, where he teaches history of animation.
The School of the Arts at New York University was founded in 1979. The animation area of the Dept. of Film and Television was established by the Richard Protoven. I joined the program in 1980 and then became an associate professor. I designed seven of the animation courses that are still in place. I have been Head of the Program at NYU since the fall of 1989. We have five teachers of animation; two are full time.
In terms of our equipment, we have a computerised Super Oxberry Stand. We have two small Oxberrys. We have around fifteen light tables, three video test cameras, an optical printer, various projectors and two laser disk players. The latter are quite wonderful for describing and discussing animation and live action frame by frame. We have a number of Bolexes and Mitchell cameras, tape decks, lights etc.
The animation area is established as an atelier serving all of the School of the Arts students. All students who are interested in creative image making, whether it be frame by frame, live action or stills, may use it. Emerging directors, script writers, cinematographers, actors, costumes, choreographers, art directors, designers, storyboard renderers, computer artists, producers, as well as animators are all welcome in the animation area. All will find something of interest there to help them to create pictures that communicate, tell stories in moving images and hone their graphic skills or discover them, stage concepts effectively and realise or perfect a personal vision.
Because it is open to the entire Film and Television School we have over three hundred students who pass through the different classes that we offer each year. About seventy of those students may specialise in animation by taking specific courses.
These courses include history of animation, which is a chronological course going back to pre-cinema toys and philosophical toys of the 19th century and coming straight through the studio era, the European influences, and ending up with computer animation.
We usually have a guest tutor who deals exclusively with computer animation at the end of the semester.
The basic course offered is Drawing and Design for animation. It's actually a course that is an introduction to animation which explores all the different techniques from drawing on film to cut-outs to puppets to clay, cell, etc. Students are allowed to take more advanced classes after completing that course.
We have a course in animation story visualisation. It's a very organic sort of course in which I present three literary properties of which the student chooses one for the entire semester. He/she then develops it into a final production storyboard at the end of the semester. They begin not by going directly to the story and by creating story sketches, but by going to costume sketches. going to the picture library to look up material that might relate to the work. Eventually it just builds and builds over the semester. It's quite wonderful to see the development.
We have an animation camera technology workshop. This teaches students to concentrate on camera movements, underlighting, special effects etc. It also familiarises them with the optical printer. We also have a stop motion course dealing with puppets and claymation.
We have two, soon to be three, computer animation courses. Basically it's an introduction to 2D and 3D computer animation.
We have two courses in action analysis. The first course is on basic movement and timing. For this we use the laser disk technology. The learning curve that students have when they use the laser disk is quite incredible. We look at film sequence such as Fred Astaire dancing or The Wizard of Oz from - by -frame or some of the Disney classics. Most of them are now available on film.
Although we don't impose a style or method, we feel that to know the vocabulary of movement, to know how to put weight into a character or line, if you want to, is important. You have to know the vocabulary in order to know how to reject it for your own work.
We have another course "Advanced Animation Production" in which the student makes a complete film. Its a year-long course. During the summer I teach "Films of Walt Disney" which is again, a form of history of animation.
We also have a graduate level course which is very small. We are allowed to have only six students. We cannot, in terms of our staffing and finances afford to have more. The students come from all over the world and work for two years, concentrating on animation in the graduate program.
There is invited professionals from the New York area or, if we can bring them in, from different parts of the country, to come and discuss the particular work that the student is working on. We are lucky within the New York area to have many cultural outlets and many sources for research. We always have a number of guests from the various studios who come through New York. Chuck Jones was in not too long ago and gave a wonderful impromptu discussion for two and a half hours which enthralled the students. Alfreda Fishinger came with Dr. William Moritz. They discussed the work of Fishinger and the German avant-garde of the 1920's and 30's. Tisa David has discussed studio animation with them. Jules Engel from CalArts has visited when he's been in town.
In terms of research there is also a unique resource which I wanted to particularly tell you about. You can enjoy and use it when you're in New York City. This is my own collection of animation material for which I donated fifteen years of my research on the history of animation to the Bobst Library at NYU. It's been open since 1989.
It contains over one hundred audio taped interviews with major figures in the field of animation. And then there is paper material, more than sixty books out of print, periodicals, stills, drawings, posters, flip books, fifty folders on individual animators, press clippings, interview transcripts and data on animation techniques, history and artists. They're all available free to any scholar from all over the world who wishes to make use of it. It's at the Bobst Library at NYU.
Finally we have a double showcase for the students' work, at the end of each year. In April we have an art show in which original art work is displayed in the Tisch School of the Arts. And then we have the NYU Animation Festival each year. The first half of it is silent work, work in progress, or experimental work. We have a pianist who play along with it as if it were a silent movie. The second half screens answer prints. It's become almost a cult to view this work. We advertise the event in the New York newspapers. The students attract distributors for the films. They also find work through the studios by this means.
UCLA Animation Workshop
Dan McLAUGHLIN was born in Hollywood where he started working in feature films at the age of four months. Deciding that education was more important than Hollywood, he quit the live-action world when he was 12.
A few years later he returned to film when he received his degree in animation from UCLA. Now he is a Professor at this same University, where he supervises the "UCLA Animation Workshop", one of the top animation programmes in the world since 1947.
As an experimental filmmaker, McLaughlin has made 18 animated films, and has been awarded national and international prizes. Among his films are: "Yes and No" (1957), "Claude" (1963), "God is Dog Spelled Backwards" (1963), "Nine O'Clock News" (1968), "Trilogy" (1981), and "Words Kill" (1991). He has written a number of essays and articles on animation and is an invited lecturer at many festivals as an authority in the field.
In 1947, the UCLA Animation Workshop was founded by William Shull as part of the newly-established Department of Theatre. Since that time it has become one of the leading university animation workshops in the world.
Bill Shull, a former Disney animator, set the basic philosophy of the Workshop: one person, one film - one person does the entire film. This philosophy allows each film maker complete control over their film: its content idea, viewpoint, style, purpose, audience, form, process and value. The film maker learns the complete animation process by making an animated film.
Today the Animation Workshop offers three undergraduate courses and five graduate courses, as well as graduate thesis courses in animation. These courses include: an introductory class, a storyboard class, production classes, computer animation classes, and a graduate seminar. Any regular enrolled UCLA student can take animation courses.
Along with serving the university at large, the Workshop also offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in animation.
This three-year program admits students only in the Fall Quarter, with applications due by the preceding November 1. Applications for this program may be obtained by writing to: Student Services, Department of Film and Television, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90024. The telephone number for the Workshop is 310.825 5829.
The other staff member of the Workshop are: Phil Denslow, the technical supervisor; Richard Edwards, lecturer in computer animation; a yearly graduate Teaching Assistant; and a yearly Special Reader in computer Animation. The internationally diverse student population in the graduate program is currently thirty-three students.
The Animation Workshop has a complete animation studio which includes: two animation cranes (one 16mm, the other 16/35mm), a video pencil test unit; a rotoscope moviola; several micro-computers with both 2D paint/animation and 3D object animation programs; two high-end computer animation workstations on loan from Symbolics Corporation; a 16mm optical printer; and complete sound editing, and viewing facilities.
Internships with various production companies in Hollywood keep students abreast of the latest developments in computers, special effects and the new area of animation.
Plans for the future include expanding further into the areas of interactive media, digital traditional animation, and the possibility of the creation of a New Technology Centre for the Moving Created Image.
The animation collection in the UCLA Film and Television Archive provides students with a strong and unique source for research. Archive screenings make available to students animated films shown in their original 35mm nitrate form. The Workshop has an archive of the more than 300 student animated films made here over the last 44 years. There is also an extensive collection of oral/video interviews of animation personalities and pioneers. Animatrix, a graduate student journal of the Workshop, has been in yearly publication since 1984. As the only graduate journal in animation, it allows students and scholars to publish critical articles concerning animation.
Local, national, and international animators often present guest lectures at the Workshop. There are approximately six of these each year and have included: Tex Avery, Joh Coates, Corny Cole, Elfrieda Fischinger, Faith Hubley, Chuck Jones, Fedeor Khiturk, Ward Kimball, Bob Kurtz, Norman Roger, Bill Scott, Raoul Servais, Jan Svanmejer, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston.
In 1989 the Workshop hosted the first International Society for Animation Studies (SAS) Conference.
Once a year current and past students gather together for the "Falling Lizard Weekend." The term, "Falling lizard," comes from a Nigerian definition of animation coined during a workshop I presented there is 1982. The purpose of this event is for each person to make a film around a commonly-agreed theme in one weekend. Usually, sometime Sunday night, after a gruelling regimen of little or no sleep and questionable diet, each person finishes shooting his/her film that becomes part of the common reel.
Students who have gone through the workshop have enjoyed a high degree of success.
Currently, the main worry of the Workshop is that students are hired and are working full-time before they can finish their degree. Some alumni own their own production houses and many are leading animators.
Some teach at college and universities, and other are renowned independent film makers. Bob Abel, Richard Bohn, Colin Cantwell, Randy Cartwright, Doug Chaing, Marija Dail, Ben Jackson, Mike Jittlov, Robert Mitchell John Neuhar, Con Pederson, Sara Petty, Bob Pike, Ron Saks, David Silverman, Charles Solomon, Robert Swarthe, Kurt Thacter, Tony Venzia, Pierre Vexliard, Sam Weiss, Hoyt Yeatman and Claudia Zeitlin are some of the successful alumni of the Workshop.
Among recent student films produced at the Workshop are:
"Mama See Tree" by Carlos Spivey, a 1990 Focus Award prize winner.
"The Yodel Contest" by Andy Arzt, a 1990 Student Academy Award winner.
"Sand Dance" by Richard Quade, the 1989 Student Academy Award winner which is also included in the 22nd "Tournee of Animation."
Picture Window" by Sara Petty. Winner of the Independent Animators' Award at the 1989 L.A. Animation Celebration.
"Madcap" by Phil Denslow. Winner of the Best Animated Film at the 1992 Ann Arbor Film Festival.
UCLA animation student, Brian Boyle was recently awarded a Design Development Grant of $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Each student in the Workshop is asked to consider and make decisions on ethics, history, society, concepts, aesthetics, structure,style, quality, process, entertainment, content, viewpoint, philosophy, audience , value, conviction, and ideas.
Each student sets his or her own direction. Therefore, films from the workshop range from conceptual to cartoon, from narrative to non-narrative, from cel to computer animation from entertainment to experimental and from traditional to new animation.
Animation is viewed as an art/communication form that has only two limitations: one's imagination and exhaustion. By allowing each student to experience all stages of their own animation production, the Workshop prepares the student not only for the first job they will have but for the last. The UCLA Animation Workshop is committed to excellence in defining, expanding, creating and teaching a new art form - animation.
Institute of Theatre and Cinema
Professor Nguyen Manh Lan
NGUYEN Manh Lan
Manh Lan Ngyuen teaches animation classes at Truong Dai Hoc San Khau Va Dien Anh - (Institute of Theatre and Cinema), Hanoi, Vietnam.
"Only where budding flowers, the future generation -- the children -- are cared for and safe, can animation be brought into full play. Children today are the world tomorrow."
My country has gone through many successive wars. It continues to suffer severe losses caused by foreign invasions. Consequences of war may be felt in the poverty of the country....Yet animation is taken into account in Vietnam. The history of cartoons has just opened its first chapter. The Vietnam Institute of Theatre and Cinema founded in 1980 has set up an animation section.
The training Programme for animated cartoon painters is based in the Artistic Department of the Institute. The course covers 5 years divided in two stages.
The first stage is a 3-year course. The students are equipped with basic knowledge and are taught some professional subjects - designing, composition, graphics, lettering and so on. At the end of the first stage, the students are able to design scenes of theatre drama, motion pictures and animated cartoons.
The second stage is a 2 year course which concentrates on creativity. Students study professional subjects, aesthetics and philosophy. In the section devoted to animated cartoons, the students study animated cartoon design as well as the history and development of various kinds of animation. The exercises aimed at creativity are repeated and heightened. This work is based on fairy tales, myths, puppets, plays and modern subjects.
The proportion of professional skills taught occupies 65% of the total training programme.
The balance between theory and practise is 1-3 respectively. The exercises are repeated and elaborated in each identified genre. While the first stage concentrates on the craft elements, the second stage encourages heightened creativity.
DIFFICULTIES IN TRAINING
The Vietnam animated cartoon studio was founded not more than 30 years ago. It has severely limited equipment. Even now computers have not yet been applied to animation in Vietnam. Practical training is mainly based on the film studio. As a result professors and students have considerable difficulties in researching, teaching and studying.
The Hanoi Institute of Theatre has six Departments:
1. The General knowledge Department: In which students study literature, philosophy, aesthetics, artistic psychology, Art, music, language and society.
2. The Drama Department: In which students train to become Writers, Directors, Theatre critics, as well as actresses and actors for theatre and cinema.
3. Cinema Department: This department offers specialist training for play writers, directors, cinematographers and film critics.
4. Artistic Department: Offers specialised training for designers of theatre, set designers, cinema designers as animators.
5. The Department of National Traditional Theatre: Dedicated to training writers - directors, drama actors and actresses.
6. The Department of Dance: Here dancers receive specialised teaching.
Student candidates must have:
1. Passed high school examinations.
2. Have ability in this field.
3. Are working in the theatre, art club, film studio or other fields. They must be aged 17-32 years old. Candidates must pass through two selection stages to be chosen.
Each area of specialisation has its own selection process. Time of training for each course is 4 years, apart from the Artistic Department which requires 5 years.