Sheridan College’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design is the largest art school in Canada with over 3,000 students studying in 32 arts programs ranging from ceramics and textiles to music theatre, game design, and media arts. But it is the animation programs that remain the fl agship programs at Sheridan College.
With roots dating back over 40 years, Sheridan has earned its renown as the “Harvard of Animation” and its ranking as number one in the world for animation education (Animation Career Review, 2012). The key to excellence comes from a variety of factors including top-notch facilities, world-class faculty, a team of dedicated technologists, and students carefully chosen from a large pool of applicants. It is also the result of a curriculum that has evolved steadily over time and anticipated signifi cant changes in the industry. While remaining committed to teaching the fundamentals of animation, the tools for doing so have rapidly changed. Paper and pencils have given way to Wacom Cintiqs, high-powered computers, and 2D and 3D software. Principal among the software packages is Toon Boom’s suite of animation and storyboarding tools. Storyboard Pro has been an integral part of Sheridan’s fi rst and second year digital tools course, allowing students to streamline the process of boarding. This year, Sheridan introduced a third year course in 2D Applications that allows students to delve into Toon Boom’s Harmony and the array of tools that it offers the animator. Students apply their learning to group fi lms that are developed over two semesters and their fourth year capstone fi lm. Harmony has become the software package of choice for colour management and for its capability of creating 2D characters in 3D space, and to block in and test camera movements, among other functions. Many students are also keen to learn Toon Boom software because it provides valuable tools in their belt when applying for internships and, after graduation, employment opportunities. Indeed, Sheridan graduates are everywhere. Recent graduates include Vladimir Kooperman and Evan Bonifacio at Pixar, Brandon James Scott at Guru Studios in Toronto (with an Emmy® nominated original show he created called Justin Time), and Alan Cook at Laika.
Now as a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence, Sheridan students and faculty have the opportunity to purchase renewal software licenses, allowing them to work on and off site. The key is to provide students with the skill sets they need to work in the worldwide animation market. With the addition of new courses and the ability to specialize, we know that our graduates are equipped to participate in, if not lead, new directions in the art of animation.
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