Interview with iAnimate Creature Workshop guest instructor James Cunliffe

on July 18, 2013

iAnimate is proud to announce that James Cunliffe, a veteran in the animation industry and currently an animator at Valve Coorporation, is joining our all-star team of guest instructors for the new Creature workshop starting in September.

His background in both games and feature animation is pretty impressive. Working at world renowned studios like Valve, Crytek, MPC, FrameStore, and Animal Logic, we are privilege to have him share his passion for animation and knowledge with our students. We had the opportunity to discuss with him about his journey has a professional animator, his view about the industry and what he will be presenting for this new workshop. Without any further ado, here's our interview with James Cunliffe:

James Cunliffe blog-interview

What path led you to learn animation in the first place?

I was actually pretty invested in animation since I can remember. When my parents bought their first video cassette recorder I was 6. The first thing I did was record WB cartoons and pause the video so I could draw the still frames. Drawing was always an interest of mine and I used it as my medium for telling stories.

It took some time before I ever realised that it could be a vocation and bring me a livable wage. I remember the penny dropping when I went to see "beauty and the beast" at the cinema when I was 15. I got a sense that this movie had been given a bigger budget and marketed more aggressively than any recent animated features and I sensed a renaissance. I started to dream that this could be an actual career. The following years were spent hearing from various teachers and career counselors that I should aim for something more realistic.

I eventually managed to ignore my way onto an animation course at bournemouth art college doing 2d animation. I had been interested in the cg medium but at the time the character animation coming out of cg was rudimentary compared with the drawn work I could enjoy at the cinema. I had bought some 3D software off a computer magazine cover called Imagine. And had been playing with it a little. I was convinced that cg backgrounds with 2D characters would combine the best of both mediums and was keen to explore this at art college.

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Member Spotlight - Rob Kim

on July 10, 2013

Rob KimRob Kim

iA: What is the biggest thing you took away from your time at iAnimate?
I remember graduation day clearly. I stood under a blazing afternoon sun among my warrior classmates that flew or drove in from all over, shook hands with my heroes, a.k.a. instructors, seeing some of them face to face for the first time. I was finally partying with a group of folks that I respected greatly, with friends who knew exactly how challenging, humbling, and satisfying this process is. We all just finished one of the most grueling marathons ever.. which lasted many long months. The biggest take away from my iAnimate experience is gaining a great sense of accomplishment because I had pushed past many invisible ceilings and I grew beyond what I ever imagined. I had to find Jason Ryan, hidden in the crowd, to thank him for creating iAnimate. "You're absolutely welcome, mate! But really, it was all of you," he replied in his amiable Irish accent. For me, graduation was a culmination of my hard work and dedication towards something so elusive. A symbol of a long trail of empty coffee cups and countless evenings and weekends sacrificed by me and my loved ones so I can reach higher and go further. And no doubt, it was all worth it.

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Member Spotlight - Sébastien Dussault

on July 08, 2013

Please state your name, where you're from, if you had previous animation experience, how long you have been studying at iAnimate, and what workshops.

My name is Sebastien Dussault and I am from Quebec City, Canada. Overall, I did 5 workshops at iAnimate. I started in the feature animation workshops with the close up acting (Workshop 4) and the full body acting class (Workshop 5). After completing those workshops, I realized I was still struggling with body mechanics and also needed to improve my workflow in order to become more efficient. At the time, the Games workshops were just announced. It was a perfect fit with my ambitions to improve those specific skills so I enrolled in. I recently completed the Games curriculum and am really happy with my choice. Afterwards, I did an internship as a gameplay animator for the prototype of "Project Lune" at iAnimate. Prior to getting hired a few weeks ago, I had close to no experience in a studio environment as an animator. So all my experience basically came from my studies at iAnimate and this internship.

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