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Interview with Game Character Academy

By Emma Handley

Web: http://www.gc-academy.net/ (will open in new window)
Email: ten.ymedaca-cg@nimda

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Date Added: 10th January 2013

Could you explain why you have chosen to focus your workshops specifically on creating video game characters? Does this not limit the skill set of your students?

Our focus will be on game characters and cinematic game characters. We thought long and hard about how generalized we wanted to go and we concluded that in order to really teach people at the level we intend to, we needed to have a focused curriculum that doesn't get watered down. With that said, the curriculum will be very extensive and so if our students do want to make the jump from games into features or VFX, it shouldn't be a problem. For example, if the students are taking the Character Art course, they will be delving into advanced sculpture principles, extensive anatomy, hard surface vs organic modeling, realistic skin shading and texturing, normal maps vs displacement maps, hair, and much more. These are all things that are very much applicable to any character artist career in the computer graphics industry.

For the Character Rigging/Technical Art course, the students will learn extensively about facial and body anatomy, understanding muscles and their structural role in characters, all the ins and outs of Maya and its tools, realistic rigging vs cartoon style rigging, the importance of good topology, Python scripting and API development, and a whole lot more. This will really give the students the diversity and preparation required to be able to work as a rigger/technical artist in any setting. In essence, by focusing our curriculum we feel like we are actually increasing the student's skill set. How does that saying go again, a jack of all trades and master of ....?!

Can anyone study with Game Character Academy?

Yes, anyone, anywhere in the world can sign up, provided they can speak English. That is unfortunately the one limitation we are plagued with. The students are not required to be 100% fluent in English, but they must at least be able to communicate and comprehend the basics of the language. In a nutshell, if they are reading this interview and they understand a good 5-10% of it, then they should really sign up right now [Laughs]. Just kidding!

Are there any partnerships you have that benefit the students?

Our lecturers will all be working industry professionals and we've gone through a rigorous selection process, where we've hand-picked people that we feel will fully represent what we stand for. Our lecturer base will continue to grow, so keep checking in on the website for a list of all the lecturers and their respective companies. There are some pretty awesome people from some amazing companies that will be working with us. We've also tried to diversify the types of lecturers we work with, so that we have all our bases covered. As an example, building a character or rig for an MMO is going to be different from that of an AAA action adventure game, so we've made sure that we cover the different techniques and approaches so that our students are not limited in any way.

Another partnership we're really excited about is with CGSociety and their CGWorkshops. They're a strong affiliate of ours and we'll be promoting their workshop courses as supplemental education to our existing curriculum.

What are the Game Character Academy's future plans for both the company and its students?

At this stage, we've just launched and we're really hoping to build up a nice student/lecturer base so that we can continue to develop the school, keep improving ourselves as educators and really start the process of educating and producing top quality graduates. We will also be looking to strengthen our relationships with companies and create a strong

bridge between our school and employers. It's really in our best interest, as well as the companies that will be employing our students, to make sure we're teaching skills that are going to be relevant and that our students are always up to date with the latest trends.

Finally, why should people choose to study at the Game Character Academy?

We're an institution that wears who we are on our sleeves. We want to work with passionate, talented people who have an interest in working in the games industry and just need the right platform to get their careers going. We're looking to invest in each and every individual student and really commit to developing them into outstanding professionals that companies will leap at the opportunity to hire.

Character art and character rigging/technical art is who we are. It's what we eat, sleep and breathe and this is our opportunity to share that passion and pass on all the great things we've learned over the years to our students.

To sign up now, or learn more about the school, go to www.gc-academy.net . We look forward to working with you!

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