Woodbury's Department of Animation offers a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts. As part of the School of Media, Culture & Design, animation students attend interdisciplinary courses with students from Filmmaking, Game Art & Design, and Media Technology, with an eye towards creating a more real-world learning experience. Courses in the animation program focus on storytelling as the foundation of quality animation media. In the first two years, skills-based courses lay the groundwork for a variety of production techniques, including traditional hand-drawn animation, computer graphics, and stop motion animation. Students hone their skills through the production of personal projects in their junior and senior years. Professional practices include building a portfolio, completing an internship at a nearby studio, and learning collaboration and leadership skills. All of their animation faculty members have substantial professional experience; many are currently working in the industry.
"Adding Toon Boom software to our tool kit has been of great benefit to the students. We first introduced Toon Boom Storyboard Pro in our storyboard class. Edward Rosas, who works at Film Roman and teaches in our program, includes Storyboard Pro in his curriculum. Students complete a storyboard and animatic, learning the paperless pipeline. Last year, our juniors learned Harmony as part of their collaborative animation project. This year, as seniors, they went on to use Harmony in the production of their capstone projects. As part of their compositing class, students integrated hand animation and computer graphics software with Harmony to complete their senior films," explains Dori Littell-Herrick, Chair, Department of Animation at Woodbury University.
Senior Christine Willson, who served as an artist on the Sheep Film, has this recommendation to students: "Since our film was traditionally animated, Toon Boom really helped with the compositing and colouring processes. We did our junior film in Toon Boom. We were new to the program at the time, so we used it to composite and put in basic colours. Now that we know how to use the node tree and various other features, this year we are able to do even more. My advice to next year's seniors: if you are planning on animating traditionally, I'd definitely recommend using this program."
"We look forward to integrating Toon Boom software into more of our courses," says Dori Littell-Herrick. "Moving towards a complete paperless pipeline, we are planning to add the puppet style animation to the current traditional animation style. Also, one of our alumni from 2004, Ross Blocher, is Training Project Manager at Disney Studios, where they are developing a paperless pipeline based on Harmony. "We are currently developing post-graduate training opportunities for industry professionals, including our alumni. We'll share more about that in the future," teases Littell-Herrick.
Woodbury University is located in Burbank, California, in the heart of the entertainment industry. Nearby studios include Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Film Roman. Founded in 1884, Woodbury serves the Los Angeles professional communities, providing accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees in media, design, architecture and business.