Animation is all about creating characters that convey real emotions, mimic life and evoke empathy in the viewer. It is a way of telling stories that inspire, influence and entertain.

The college has been running for more than 25 years, and last year took the exciting step of setting up its first satellite campus in Rotorua.

At this early stage, the Rotorua college is focusing on teaching a 2-D animation course, which includes both manual and digital elements.

The first year of teaching has gone so well that the school is already looking to expand the number of courses available.

The current mix of students includes school-leavers and adult students in their 30s and 40s, from across the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. Students tend to be passionate about drawing, comics or gaming.

Their futures lie in animation, illustration, game design, app design, film, graphic novels, cartoons and comics, either working for studios or remotely over the internet for clients, pitching for work outsourced via freelancing platforms, or over social media.

Nigel Ward is the lead tutor on the Rotorua campus and an ex-student of the college.

He has been animating for as long as he can remember, including working as an intern in a studio, freelancing round the world and now teaching at the college.

As he says: “The raw talent coming out of high schools is crazy. We are now offering a pathway for students to use their skills and creativity in industries that are big growth areas.

“Peter Jackson brought a lot of attention to the industry in New Zealand, but there’s still a lot of room for more talent.

“In Rotorua there is also the Maori side of things. It’s a different medium for keeping traditional stories alive. There’s also a gaping hole for contemporary storytelling in a Maori setting.”

The Animation College has in the past year bought out Ames IT and merged campuses in Auckland.

Courses available there are gradually being introduced to Rotorua, starting with certificate and diploma courses in computer technical support.

These Microsoft-approved courses lead on to careers in IT as helpdesk and computer technicians.

Source: The New Zealand Herald

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