Vancouver Film School Head of Animation and Visual Effects Colin Giles Shares the Importance of Educating Young Minds

The premier post-secondary entertainment arts institution in Canada, the Vancouver Film School boasts seasoned academics. While giving an overview of their curriculum, School of Animation and Visual Effects Director Colin Giles believes it is important to be exposed to the full spectrum of animation or effects. visuals before choosing a specific topic. The master trainer reveals how they believe in starting the training program at an early age.

Giles, who has over 17 years of experience as a character animator, animation director, and designer, with credits in both traditional and computer animation, sheds light on some basic questions that an aspiring animator or artist VFX may have.

To meet industry demand as the need for professional animators and VFX artists explodes, Vancouver Film School’s (VFS) 3D animation and visual effects program (one of the best in the world) gets even better in May with a new advanced industrial program. only open to experienced and advanced 3D animators and VFX artists. The school also announced that its 3D animation and visual effects program is now officially a “certified partner” with Houdini/SideFX.

In an email interview with Animation Xpress, Giles discussed how their institute’s courses can pave the way for future artists.

1.As an Animation VFS Lead and industry veteran, do you think a student should specialize in a specific Animation/VFX vertical or train as a generalist?

We believe students are best served by understanding the full spectrum of the animation/VFX pipeline and then choosing a specific track in their final projects. This way they have the full background and communication skills for today’s industry.

To reflect the nature of the 3D industry, 3D Animation and VFX students have the option of focusing on 3D Animation, Modeling, or Visual Effects during their third year.

2.How do you ensure that students are ready for industry upon completion of the programs?

Contrary to traditional post-secondary institutions, our students can enter the industry while studying. Through a year of focused work balancing industry-led theory and practical production, we are able to equip our students with the skills to craft a professional-level portfolio or reel and start working. Our students could be graduating and in the industry in a year or two, and by the time their college-going high school classmates graduate, VFS graduates could be the ones hiring them.

We are also partnering with a number of secondary schools to begin preparing students prior to enrollment, as some schools have begun to shape their arts programs to match the VFS curriculum, expediting enrollment.

3. With different groups of students joining and graduating from classes each year, what do you think of the future of animation in Vancouver?

The industry has continued to grow and new studios, such as Walt Disney Animation, continue to open in Vancouver. Vancouver is the world’s leading animation hub. This is in addition to the fact that there is currently a high demand for VFX artists.

4.What percentage of international students join VFS 3D Animation and VFX training? Which country do you receive the most students from?

Around 60% of our students are international. South America continues to be our main growth market.

5.In your 25 years of experience in animation, what do you have to say about the evolution of animation as a discipline?

I’ve seen the evolution of animation grow by leaps and bounds over my career. Changes in new technologies and streaming services have been the spark.

6.While students are learning about creative processes, are there any classes or sessions organized to give them an understanding of the business/managerial side of the industry?

Yes, we have a comprehensive career preparation track to prepare students for many aspects of the industry that are not artistic or technical. We are also constantly evolving our program to mimic the real world industry.

7. When the pandemic first broke out, how did your service manage to continue training such skills-based courses? Was the e-learning method already in place or did you have to come up with an immediate plan?

We went fully online in six days and then spent many months improving our online delivery. We continue to offer online courses that work best in this format.

8. With the growth of games, the Metaverse space and NFT, will we see courses on this being offered at VFS?

VFS is always at the forefront of new developments in the industry and will continue to be. We currently offer a part-time machine learning course as an example.

9.VFS has partnered with Pixelloid Studios India. What is your opinion on Indian talent?

Indian students and alumni consistently rank among our top students!