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The Bachelor of Computer Generated Imagery (BCGI)* and Diploma in Animation programmes have been developed by Singapore-born CGI professor and practitioner Gabriel Teo in collaboration with NMIT staff and leading industry giants within film, game and visual effects studios. It offers high value learning in a lab environment on a par with the best CGI animation schools worldwide.
Neil Benson, who is part of the coordination team, says the focus with the programme is to create industry ready graduates by providing a hands on learning environment, taught by passionate industry experienced professionals in an exciting and creative atmosphere.
“This is a truly unique programme, with an emphasis on coursework constructed around students actually creating CGI for virtual reality (VR), films and games as part of their coursework. The students will be learning by doing, with students working on world class industry standard studio equipment.”
The first year will provide fundamental knowledge to get started in the industry. Students will learn production skills in animation for the film industry from 3D modelling to cinematic colour grading using programmes like Unreal Engine, Houdini and Substance.
In the second and third years, students are encouraged to specialise in an area of interest and build work ready production skills plus a portfolio of work that can be presented to studios in New Zealand and internationally.
Gabriel says that what clients want most is fast photoreal results. “The industry is changing a lot, moving faster, and developing new technologies to meet this need. Six months ago you could still use Photoshop but now they’re moving toward Procedural which uses algorithms to create animations like fire, fur and explosions.”
An eight-week module and a dedicated pathway in Technical Direction has been developed to meet this growing demand. First year students will gain insight into the role and students completing the full bachelor of animation can choose to major in Technical Direction if they wish.
According to Gabriel, up to 40% of studios worldwide need Technical Directors and at present studios are not finding them in arts schools. “We currently find them doing computer science degrees,” he says. “They are people who love to code but would also like to learn other elements such as modelling, lighting and shading.”
Studios are also crying out for Look Development artists, but the field is wide open. Whether you want to be a storyboard artist and concept designer, a colourist or a content developer for augmented reality (AR), NMIT’s BCGI* programme offers a pathway to suit.
The BCGI* programme is taught on NMIT’s Nelson campus. It is for domestic and international students who want to learn how to become a CGI animator in a great location in New Zealand on a medium-sized campus using cutting edge technology.
The first intake is in February 2019 and enrolments are open now. You can view the full programme here.
*Subject to NZQA and TEC approval. Graduate Diploma in development for 2020 delivery, pending approval.