Issue date: 10 January 2003

Monday 13 January at 4.30pm, Bower Ashton Campus

Animation students at the University of the West of England will soon enjoy professional quality facilities with the opening of a new studio in the Animation Unit at the Faculty of Art, Media and Design.

The latest in animation resources will be made available to students. These include five 2D Animation workstations running Toon Boom Studio software, and working in conjunction with a rostrum line tester and flatbed scanners, and six 3D model animation stages with controlled lighting and 3-CCD high resolution video cameras using Stop Motion Pro Animation Software. Animation studio resources work in conjunction with the Faculty’s extensive media centre production and post-production facilities, e.g sound recording, dubbing, video graphics and editing as well as support and materials from the Drawing, Textile, Print, Wood and Metal Centres and the faculty shop and stores.

The studio will support undergraduate students as well as those joining the Faculty from around the UK and internationally to study on the MA Animation and professional development programmes.

Chris Webster, a long-time animation tutor and professional animator with many prestigious projects under his belt has recently joined the animation programme team. He has worked as animation consultant for ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and was unit director and lead animator for ‘The Princess and the Goblin’, ‘Under Milkwood’ and the ‘Old Man of Lochnagar’.

Chris said, “The new studio is the icing on the cake that will put the Animation Unit at UWE at the forefront of animation training and education in the UK. Access to industry standard resources is essential if the unit is to provide the experience students will need to enter the competitive world of animation." However, opportunities are good with many UWE graduates now working for some of the prestigious animation companies based around the UK.

UWE receives more than its fair share of animation enquiries thanks to the fact that Bristol is the UK centre for animation. The appointment of Peter Lord, MD at Aardman Animation, as Visiting Professor has assured the future of the important relationship enjoyed by the Faculty and local animation studios. The courses at UWE have been developed and supported by key players in the UK animation industry, namely: Aardman Animation, A Productions, the BBC, bolexbrothers, Fictitious Egg and 4:2:2:. The University also receives funding from CARTOON (MEDIA), a European Union initiative, for the three month, professional standard animation course run at The Tobacco Factory in Southville.

The Faculty has been overwhelmed by the interest undergraduates have shown in wanting to study animation. Students studying Graphic Design, Illustration and Time-Based Media can all take modules in animation in their second year before going on to specialise in animation in their third year. So far over 50 second year students have opted for this module - an all time high - which will put the new studio and facilities to excellent use.

Popularity is due to the unique nature of animation, which enables students from many disciplines to get together and combine their skills in order to produce original and innovative animated films. Through an integrated programme of study including animation, scriptwriting, design for animation, production management, sound production, editing and life drawing for animation, students have a unique opportunity to develop those skills essential for animation production.


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