Frequently Asked Questions
Q“How long has the program been in existence?”
AFollowing the success of our Commercial Animation program, the Digital Animation program began it’s first limited-enrollment program in February ’99. Starting September 2014, the Digital Animation program has been expanded into a new 2-year 3D Animation for Film and Games diploma.
Q” Is this a computer animation program?”
AYes,but… This program was designed on the basis of strong traditional animation and design skills. Even though we make extensive use of computer animation software and hardware we haven’t forgotten the traditional roots of animation – drawing and design.
You work hard to learn how to refine your drawing and design skills and how to make characters live and breathe. These are essential skills no matter what you end up doing in animation. Students who choose computer animation as a career will succeed because of their animation skills first; their computer skills second. Plus if all you learn in a program like this is computer skills you’ve just wasted a lot of money learning a technology that will have changed before you’ve even graduated. Great design and animation skills will last a lifetime.
Q“What type of facilities do you have for your students?”
AWe’re better equipped than many animation studios. Custom designed workstations, large studio rooms with natural light and more technology than you’ll need during your stay. All this makes for an efficient and comfortable learning environment. Each student in the 3D Animation program has a dedicated graphics workstations running the latest 3D software. Graduates will leave with the workstation and basic software as it is included in the price of tuition. We also have a huge resource library of books and DVD’s to supplement your education.
Q” What kind of computer equipment do you have in your labs?”
AWe have two advanced computer animation labs running the latest versions of Maya, Mudbox, Zbrush, Adobe Photoshop/Premiere/After Effects and a variety of other applications necessary for the creation of amazing animation.
Q” How much does the program cost?”
AAs a community University, our tuition is partially subsidized by the provincial government. We are one of the least expensive computer animation programs available in Canada. Visit the Capilano University Fees and Payment page for the most up-to-date information on tuition fees and expenses.
Q” How long is the 3D Animation program?”
AThe program runs for 16 months from the beginning of September to the end of April for two years. There is a 4-month break from May to August between first and second year. This is an ideal time for students to find related work while continuing to develop their skills when they return to create a masterpiece in 2nd year.
Q“How much can I expect to spend on books and supplies?”
AAbout $1500 during the 16-months. This covers all the incidental materials you will need including pencils, paper, books, computer supplies.
Q” How much time can I expect to spend studying/working on projects?”
AClasses run 20-25 hours per week. You can expect a minimum of 30 extra hours of homework each week just to keep up. Most of our students work on campus until closing each night. We also have a number of industry professionals who supervise labs at nights and on weekends who are here to help with problems and provide critiques of your work.
Q” How late are the computer labs open for students to work on projects?”
AOur labs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, you still need to sleep to be an effective learner and student. We stress a professional working environment where students work collaboratively together to produce amazing results.
Q” What kind of preparation can I do before entering the program?”
ADrawing, drawing, and more drawing! Take life drawing classes, study traditional animation and design. Design animated characters and locations. Sculpture is also a great way to develop 3D skills. Build up your computer graphics and animation skills. Play with software that is related to the field. Most of the companies provide free versions of their software to practice with.
Check into taking some animation courses. We offer part-time evening courses through Continuing Education. Our eight-week Animation Fundamentals summer school program will help you build foundation artistic skills and develop a strong portfolio.
Q” How do I get into the program?”
AAn amazing portfolio will get you into the program. Excellent drawing and animation skills will provide a foundation for learning 3D computer animation. We review submitted portfolios and choose the applicants with the strongest artistic and computer skills.
Q” How much can I expect to earn upon graduation in the animation industry?”
AThe average starting salary for a full-time cg artist is between 35,000 to 45,000 per year Canadian. These are entry level positions. As people gain experience in the industry, many will make double or more if they have the right combination of people and artistic skills.
Q” What types of jobs can I do after graduation?”
AWe train people primarily as character animators, modelers and texture artists. Companies who have employed our graduates are feature film studios, television production studios and game companies.
Q” Which 3D software packages are taught?”
ACurrently we teach Maya for character rigging, animation and rendering. Zbrush and Mudbox are used for sculpting and texturing. Vray is used for advanced shading, lighting and rendering. We also use Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere and After Effects to complete projects for your final demo reel. The animation industry changes very quickly and we respond to that by continually reviewing and upgrading the equipment and software used in our courses.
Q” What types of students enroll in your course?”
AWe always have a range of students from those out of high-school for a few years to professional animators who want to retrain for 3D animation jobs. All the students have excellent artistic skills. Generally the students are grouped into two categories: those with strong design or animation skills and those with strong artistic and computer graphics skills. This helps build a team of people with technical and animation skills who can help one another become great CG artists and animators.
Q” Can I apply straight to the 3D Animation course without traditional animation training?”
AYes you can. People with traditional animation training usually have excellent drawing, design and animation skills. We also accept people with strong portfolios and little on no schooling. Ultimately we are looking for dedicated students who want to learn to be professional CG artists and animators. What does that look like? They come in all shapes and sizes but have similar strengths: the ability to learn quickly, work efficiently and have a keen visual eye for detail.
Q” Who is the right type of person to take this course?”
AYou love computer animation and character design and want to bring your own characters to life. You dream about working on the next blockbuster game or feature film. On a daily basis you spend a great deal of your time designing your own characters and locations, dreaming up new ideas and concepts for future games or films. You also spend time working on computer graphics projects. Ultimately you know this is hard work and your have a portfolio that shows how dedicated you are to the craft.
Q” What living accommodations are available in Vancouver?”
AMost of our students rent either a room, a suite or share an apartment. Many students live in North Vancouver and either walk to the campus or take the city transit. There are plenty of options with monthly rents between $500 (single room) and $1200 (2 bedroom apartment).