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Interview with iAnimate Games

By Emma Handley

Web: http://www.iAnimate.net (will open in new window)
Email: ten.etaminai@divad

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Date Added: 15th August 2012
Who are iAnimate Games?

iAnimate Games consists of a group of talented artists currently leading the video game industry as Animation Directors and Lead Animators. All our instructors have worked and are still working on award-winning AAA cinematics and video games such as Uncharted, Halo, God of War, Splinter Cell, Dante's Inferno and Dead Space just to name a few. We are passionate about animation, and our goal is to share our experience and give all the tools needed to help the next generation of artist succeed as we did.

What makes iAnimate Games different to other online training schools and sites?

I believe that our philosophy and unique approach towards education helps us stand out. All of our lectures and reviews are live, giving students the chance to ask questions and interact with their instructors at all times. This direct connection with their instructor not only gives a more personal experience to online education, it also prepares the students for the industry where they'll have to interact, on the spot, with their peers and supervisors. Education should not only be about knowledge, but inspiration and motivation as well. This is something no tutorials in the world will ever bring you.

All our sessions are recorded and available for all students; we're talking about hundreds of hours of lectures and critics available at all times. Our instructors are all leaders of this industry, and therefore we teach what is needed and being applied today. Also, if a student is struggling with an assignment, we take the time to do a one-on-one session with them or we will do a supplement class focused on that subject to make sure the student(s) are on the right path to success. We believe it's important to push our students on a weekly basis and help them strive to be the very best.

Why do you feel working in the games industry is a worthwhile pursuit?

Let me say that we are in constant contact with major studios and have a good idea of the industry needs and who is hiring when. The industry is still young and growing really fast. AAA games continue to get bigger and require more artists than ever before. Mobile games, Facebook and other social media platforms, Kickstarter and Indie Games have also appeared in the gaming landscape these past few years and are all in need of specialized animators too.

The gaming industry surpassed the US movie and music industry in 2005 and 2007 respectively (it is actually expected to double those two combined in 2012). The profits generated by this industry are growing a staggering 10% a year, making it the fastest-growing component of the international media sector. And this industry is still young - far from having reached its full potential - and there's so much we have yet to explore. It is the perfect combination of art and technology, and studios are desperately looking for more and more talented artists.

Could you explain why you have chosen to focus your workshops specifically on video games?

With the quality and complexity that animation for video games has reached in recent years, there was an obvious educational need that iAnimate and certain studios felt weren't fulfilled by the online and traditional schools. The development process is so distinct and often overlooked by film students and artists. Studios have a specific need for game designers/animators that are creative and technical. The game iteration process is very different from the traditional pipeline of feature animation. We also deal with real-time applications and engines that let us put in new content, change it or remove it very rapidly. Therefore, gaming animators come with extra/different knowledge and experience that other kind of animators don't necessarily possess or haven't yet acquired. If you want to succeed at

games, it would be wise to study it, have the right tool set and understand how to work with programmers, designers, scripters, riggers, TDs, supervisors and game directors.

Does this not limit the skill set of your students?

Absolutely not, it is actually complementary to all the other workshops iAnimate already offers. Not only will it give invaluable knowledge for anyone aspiring to work in gaming, these workshops can be really beneficial for animators in commercials, films or any other relative field. We heavily focus on body mechanics and different workflows that are often overlooked by feature animators. For instance, rather than following the usual workflow (pose-to-pose blocking, splining and refining) we bring new ways of approaching an action shot. These techniques have been developed over the years by this industry that has different tools, technical needs and deadlines than feature animation. We might use much more layering, blend animations, use motion capture, separate body parts for procedural animation, animate from a 360 degrees perspective, etc. All these skills are typical for game animators but can benefits animators of any other field and media.


What workshops can people enroll on and what can they expect to achieve?

iAnimate offers rigging, feature animation and game animation workshops. Our gaming workshops focus on basic and advanced physical actions, and also deal with multiple characters battling, grappling or vaulting like you would see in action games such as Assassin's Creed, God of War and Uncharted. We break down games and their gameplay, and teach the students how you would create and implement those types of animations into a game engine. Graduate students should consider themselves as more than just typical animators, but as animators with design and game development capabilities. This new breed of animators will become increasingly in demand in the next few years.

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