Two of our third year BA (Hons) Animation students recently returned from the Marathon de l'anim' in Tourcoing (Imaginarium), as part of the 11th edition of the Fête de l'anim'.
“The Animation Marathon, in the run-up to the Fête de l'anim 2015 in Lille, was a great opportunity for our students Billy Coles and Jordan Matthews to work alongside other emerging animators, and at the same time discover the latest work from Europe's animation courses and their diverse approaches to the medium,” said Christopher Eales, BA (Hons) Animation lecturer.
Over two and a half days in the run-up to the festival, our students worked alongside other teams from Europe's universities and colleges to create an animated sequence that could be looped to be strung into a sequence of everyone's work.
The sequence was to be based on an image given to them by this year's guest of honour, french animator Michel Ocelot and the final film was shown on the closing night of the festival.
The marathon provided a buzzing creative environment in which students could connect with teams from other schools and witness different approaches and techniques.
By the time the festival opened at the end of the workshop everyone had built up a small network of fellow animation students to share the festival's screenings, parties and events with.
We spoke to student Billy Coles about the gruelling 48hr marathon, meeting Michel Ocelot and his experience in Lille,
So you must be exhausted after that weekend, we hear that one of the first things you did was volunteer to take part in a graphics battle,
Yes, very exhausted as it was quite fast paced but good fun, basically you were up against four other people and you each had 25 minutes to make a 3D character. There is so much talent out there, it's amazing what you can do in such a short space of time.
So how many teams were you competing against in the 48hr marathon?
There were 17 other teams at the marathon which had three people in each team, whereas me and Jordan were just a team of two, so it felt a bit more intense.
But with that many people it meant I got the chance to make new friends, there were great networking opportunities and I learnt extra stuff about Adobe After Effects as the software was in French!
I just had to use muscle memory to work the software – however it did make me notice more things I could do as you really have to explore it in order to figure out what the right tool is when it's all in another language!
Wow, sounds challenging! Did you get a chance to have a break and go around Lille?
Yeah we had some spare time so we visited the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art (LaM) and saw works by Picasso, Modigliani and Joan Miró which was amazing. And I got the chance to help out some students from Ireland with some VJing and video mapping on the façade of the Opéra de Lille.
"I think over that whole weekend I didn’t sleep for about 52 hours! But it was great fun and I got the chance to meet other animators and pick up some new skills," says Billy Coles, BA (Hons) Animation student.
So alongside the marathon there were also talks and workshops.
Yes, it was all held in this place called the Imaginarium and it had a massive sculpture of a Game Boy, virtual reality equipment and holograms!
I also got the chance to meet Michel Ocelot, who is such an amazing guy – we just chatted about animation and I asked him some questions about his work.
There were also various talks going on from various industry professionals like Adam & Eve/DDB who made the animated John Lewis advert, The Bear and the Hare.
Sounds like an intense weekend and when you got back you went straight into a two day workshop on Celaction training.
I think over that whole weekend I didn’t sleep for about 52 hours! But it was great fun and I got the chance to meet other animators and pick up some new skills.
But yeah when we got back we went into college for the Celaction training, so it was straight back into the swing of things – the CEO of Celaction Andy Blazdell came in to do two days of training with us on the software.
The first day was all about learning about the programme and getting pointers about how to use the software, its the best, up to date software for 2D animation and its great that we get to use it whenever we want.
Andy also asked for our feedback on it which was great as you don’t usually get asked that by industry professionals about their own software – but it was great to hear that if you wanted to ask them to change or improve something then they were open to hearing what you think.
On the second day we got to rig up our own characters and were shown how to work with the layers and then we went straight into building our own character in the software and Andy went round giving feedback on it too.
Have you planned to use Celaction in any of your own projects then?
Yes I’m hoping to use it for one of my projects to create a piece inspired by subgenre Japanese animation. It’s exciting to learn a new software, especially one that is used for a lot of well known animated shows.