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3 April 2018 - Aspiring artists from around New Zealand sharpen your pencils and hone your Photoshop skills: the Light and Dark Secondary School Character Competition is now underway and students have until June 5 to submit their entries.

Now in its fifth year, Light and Dark is the country’s largest character design competition for Year 11, 12 and 13 students. Presented by Animation College in conjunction with Yoobee School of Design, entrants must use their artistic talents to create a character portraying two opposite emotions – excitement and fear, happiness and sadness, love and despair, or serenity and rage. Judged by some of the country’s top creatives, contestants will be marked on expression, character pose, and wow factor.

“It’s not so important that characters are perfectly rendered - the ability to breathe life into the characters is what we are really looking for,” says Adam Berry, CEO of New Education Group’s Creative and Technology Cluster which includes Animation College and Yoobee School of Design.

Students can use traditional tools such as pencils and paint, digital programmes like Adobe Photoshop, or they can submit 3D modelled characters.

“We really just want them to use their imagination and go for it. It’s a really exciting opportunity for students to showcase their animation skills and potential pathway into further studies and a career in this fast-growing industry.”

One student who has done exactly that is 2016 Light and Dark third place getter Grace Kim, who has just moved from Mt Maunganui to Auckland, to start a Bachelor of Animation at Animation College.

“It came as such a shock to me when I found out I placed third. It really gave me a confidence boost that a panel of artistic judges liked my work,” says Grace. “All those hours of drawing felt like they had finally paid off!”

Students receive online support through the Light and Dark Facebook Group and for Grace this proved invaluable.

“This competition is such a great way to learn from other aspiring artists. The feedback group was so helpful – I don’t think I would have placed without their support and critique. It enabled me to see my art from a different perspective. Even if you’re not confident that you will place or win, Light and Dark is such a good competition to gain experience, build skills and learn from others.”

It’s also a great way to pick up a stash of prizes. The winner of 2018 Light and Dark will receive a scholarship for the Bachelor of Animation degree programme, which can be undertaken at Animation College’s Auckland Central campus or Yoobee School of Design’s Wellington campus. They’ll also win loads of vouchers, subscriptions and prize packs from competition sponsors. Second and third place winners will walk away with a bunch of cool prizes too, courtesy of Light and Dark’s primary sponsors - Adobe, Wacom, Gordon Harris, Playtech and Arkham City Comics.

Competition winners will be announced on July 10.

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Animation College celebrates three years in Rotorua with Graduation

19 March 2018 – The first cohort of students from Animation College’s Rotorua campus are on the cusp of graduating from their three year Level 6 Diploma in Applied Animation (DAA) and Level 7 Diploma in Digital Media (DDM).

It’s a proud time for campus tutors who are thrilled to celebrate with the nine students, eight of whom are of Māori descent. Heritage has played an important role in adding cultural layers to many of the projects undertaken by the students over the past three years.

In addition, another 10 students are also graduating from the 2 year Level 6 Diploma in Applied Animation (DAA) to their third year, the Level 7 Diploma in Digital Media (DDM). They will be part of the ceremony too; in total 19 students will be graduating.

In addition, the third year students have been able to work at Digital Basecamp, a collaborative one-stop-shop for creative techs, where they worked alongside industry leaders on live projects as Digital Apprentices. With state-of-the-art facilities and Digital Apprentices pioneering the space, the industry is buzzing in Rotorua.

Nige Ward, senior Regional Manager, Rotorua Animation College says, “The Rotorua campus adds a real whānau feeling to storytelling, it offers the ability to nurture individual animation skills, both in a traditional 2D sense with the paper and pencil, and with software such as Flash/Animate, Photoshop and After Effects.”

The Animation College Rotorua campus was launched in May 2015, with one programme; the Diploma in Applied Animation 2D. Nineteen students and two staff were on site on one floor. Now Rotorua has 42 students, five staff, two floors, two programmes, and Digital Basecamp.