The ELITE sessions are back for a third edition!

24 April 2013

May is almost upon us and it brings with it the third edition of the ELITE sessions. Presented by Centre NAD, these sessions taught by masters in video games, visual effects and animation will take place from May 21st to 31st.

13 master classes are already scheduled over the course of those two busy weeks. Among others, Phil “Captain 3D” McNally from DreamWorks Animation will share the secrets of a flawless stereoscopy and Stephen Chui from Shotgun will present how to manage production using Shotgun.

VES Montreal will host the first Montreal VFX Production Summit and the Indie Camp, hosted by Jason Della Rocca and presented by Execution Labs, will be back for a second edition by popular demand.

Visit the ELITE 2013 website for the entire program schedule and stay tuned, more announcements are coming your way. In the meantime, please contact us should you have any questions or wish to register.

See you at ELITE this summer!

Christian, Chantal and Claude

Centre NAD reassures Montrealers: no danger of being snatched by a royal eagle

19 December 2012
POSTED BY (3D Studies)

The “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” video, uploaded to YouTube on the evening of December 18, was made by Antoine Seigle, Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault and Félix Marquis-Poulin, students at Centre NAD, in the production simulation workshop class of the Bachelors degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design.

The video shows a royal eagle snatching a young kid while he plays under the watch of his dad. The eagle then drops the kid a few feet away. Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards.

The video has already received more than 1,200,000 views on YouTube and has been mentioned by dozens of media in Canada and abroad.

The production simulation workshop class, offered in fifth semester, aims to produce creative projects according to industry production and quality standards while developing team work skills. Hoaxes produced in this class have already garnered attention, amongst others a video of a penguin having escaped the Montreal Biodôme.

About Centre NAD’s 3D animation and digital design bachelor degree
Created in the Fall of 2010 in association with UQAC, Centre NAD’s 3D animation and digital design bachelor degree is primarily aimed at students finishing their CEGEP or university studies in the field of visual arts and at people who hold relevant experience in visual arts. It is a solid professional training program that allows students to master the theoretical and practical bases of 3D creation in today’s world. During their training, students must choose one of two concentrations: visual effects for cinema and television or video games. The three-year program (90 credits) thus aims to answer the industry’s needs. More and more, it requires qualified manpower at the cutting edge of technology and creative innovation with both technical and artistic skills.

People interested in obtaining more information or wishing to attend a visit of Centre NAD can visit www.centrenad.com

About Centre NAD

Centre NAD opened its doors in Montreal in 1992 and quickly became one of Canada’s major new media training centres. From the very start, it offered innovative and comprehensive training programs, beginning with 3D animation, and adding Canada’s first game design program to its roster in 1997. Over the years, Centre NAD has trained more than 1,500 CGI professionals who currently work for renowned companies in the film and television, post-production and video games industries all over the world. Centre NAD also offers extensive consultation, R&D and training services to industry partners in Canada and the world over. For more information, go to centrenad.com

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Information and interview requests:
Claude Arsenault
Manager, Communications and Public Relations
514-288-3447 #404
carsenault@centrenad.com

Monthly profile: Mathieu Leclaire, Graduate from the Film and Television Program

24 September 2012

Interview with Mathieu Leclaire, Graduate from the 3D Animation and Visual Effects for the Film and Televesion program, Fall 2003 and Head of the R&D Department at Hybride Technologies.

1. Where do you work and what is your job?
I am part of the R&D (Research and Development) team at Hybride Technologies (a Ubisoft division since 2008) where I work since 2005. My work consists of analysing a production’s challenges in order to create either a new process or new tools that will help deliver our SFX shots. Mostly, I take care of the creation of tools for simulation, rendering and rigging.

2. Why did you choose a career in 3D?
Actually, it was a long process. When I was younger, I was good with puzzles, assembling Lego, etc. and very good in mathematics. During my third year high school, I discovered programming. At first, I didn’t enjoy it, until the day when I had to program my first video games and their layout. Back then, I didn’t realize that it was the visual aspect that fascinated me, but I quickly developed a passion for programming and computers. Around the same time, I started to be passionate about every aspect of cinema. Even though I loved all the aspects of movie making, I was most interested by the visual side and everything tied to cinematography.

In 1996, I went and saw “Lost in Space”. Personally, I didn’t think the movie was very good but I was impressed by the visual effects! It was at the beginning of the movie, where there was a 3D battle between spaceships, that I had a flash: I realized that I could combine my strength in technology (programming and computers) with my passion to create movies! 3D animation became, for me, the ultimate career goal. To be able to use a computer into order to turn any concept in images? I was in love with the idea! I always had a lot of imagination and ideas that I dreamt to turn into animated pictures. I decided to learn everything there was to learn to create the best pictures ever using this new technology.

Monthly profile : Jessi Thind, Graduate from the Design and Animation for Videogames program

10 August 2012

Interview with Jessi Thind, Graduate from the Design and Animation for Videogames Program, Winter 2007 and Senior Game Designer at Eidos Montreal.

1. What made you want to become a game designer?
I’ve had a deep passion for games ever since I can remember. From playing pong with my grandfather to playing chess with my dad, I’ve always been amazed by rule sets and the endless possibilities within any given rule set. But nothing really made me want to be a game designer. I just made games. It’s what I did to have fun. As a kid I made them as much as I played them, making new games out of old, or providing all the storytelling and contextual set-ups for the make-believe games we played around the yard. I think the first tangible game I ever created was inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens. I was about ten-years-old and I didn’t even know who Cameron was. But I was inspired by his movie, and I made a game using the Dungeons and Dragons RPG system. I drew all the characters and gadgets, made cards and wrote scenarios. Then I pitched my game to my friends, and we played my unauthorized interpretation of Aliens for a few days. It’s actually really funny to me that the first major franchise game I ever designed and wrote for was Avatar. I guess life has a funny way of foreshadowing.

Where have our alumni gone?

13 July 2012
POSTED BY (Industry)

This summer marks the beginning of Centre NAD’s 20th anniversary. It was on July 12, 1992 that the National Animation and Design Center opened in downtown Montreal.

Through the years, Centre NAD has trained nearly 1,500 students who now work in the 3D and digital design industry all over the globe.

For our 20th anniversary, we would like to reconnect with these alumni to discover what they’ve become… and to invite them to our party, of course!

So if you’re a Centre NAD alumni, click here to get in touch and feel free to contact us with questions or comments.

Whether you studied at Centre NAD or not, help us find our alumni by sharing this post. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed of the activities surrounding our 20th anniversary.

ELITE 2012 – Mission accomplished!

11 June 2012

28 speakers, 12 master classes and 100 hours of training later, we can finally say “Mission accomplished!”

Thanks to our collaborators and partners for making ELITE 2012 a resounding success. In 10 days, we received nearly twice as many participants as we did in 2011, bringing the total count to nearly 300.

Special thanks to our speakers: Gio Nakpil, David Hubert, Pierre Perifel, Michael Beaulieu, Mark Shekter, Nancy Trites, Scott McCloud, David Fugère-Lamarre, Michel Gagné, Matt Guetta, Vincent Ruelle, Caroline Peika, Stéphane Beaudet, Jason Della Rocca, Jamie Cheng, Irving Ho, Sunny Handa, Louis-René Auclair, Laurent Mascherpa, Julia Pung, Michel Gagné, Alex Sakiz, Hugo Morin, Alain Tascan, Ian Jeffrey, Bruno Légaré and Vander Caballero.

ELITE 2013 is scheduled for May 21st to 31st, 2013 (dates to be confirmed). We will be back, bigger and better than ever! ELITE 2013 will be marked by the introduction of content committees composed of industry experts. ELITE 2013 will remain true to its nature by offering superior master classes in small groups to encourage proximity between speaker and students.

Until then, visit centrenad.com to be informed of the master classes and professional training offered all year long. Please send us your questions or feedback at elite@centrenad.com

See you soon,

The ELITE team

PS: Come say hi on Facebook to access photos from ELITE 2012 and for scoops on the 2013 edition!

ELITE 2012 – INDIE CAMP is this Friday!

30 May 2012
POSTED BY (Industry)

The ELITE convention is in full swing at Centre NAD right now. And that means that the first edition of Indie Camp is right around the corner!

We’re happy to announce we have added Unity to our list of partners! They have agreed to present our end-of-day cocktail.

If you have yet to register, here are a few reasons why you should join us on Friday:
- To participate in a conference and three panels given by a total of fifteen industry experts;
- For the opportunity to discuss in small groups with mentors at the end of the day;
- To meet people who, like you, want to learn more about managing a gaming studio the indie way;
- To understand how renowned companies such as Klei, Trapdoor, Gamerizon, Sava and Minority (and more!) operate;
- Because we’re pretty nice, and will supply breakfast, lunch and drink & finger food at the end-of-day cocktail. On the terrace.
A day not to be missed for all those interested by the indie management style.

For more information and to register, please click here!
See you Friday,

The Indie Camp & ELITE2012 team

Thanks to our partners:

ELITE 2012 – Interview with Scott McCloud

29 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
I’ve been making comics and graphic novels since 1984. I’m best known for my 1994 book Understanding Comics and its sequels, including 2006′s Making Comics which grew out of workshops like the one I’ll be giving at Centre NAD. I’ve lectured on comics and visual communication at 200+ destinations including Pixar, MIT, Google, and the Sydney Opera House.

2. What does your master class consist of?
Visual lectures and intensive hands-on workshop in the art of making comics. The lecture at the beginning of each class will be one to two hours, including time for questions and discussion. The rest of each day will concentrate on applying those ideas with pen and paper and examining the results in a group setting

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
Literally anyone with an interest in the form, teenager to adult. No prior drawing experience is required. Some of my students have been master draftsmen, some drew stick figures. This is a class in visual communication and writing with pictures. The ideas are universal and broadly accessible.

4. What will the participants learn?

  • Telling stories through sequential art.
  • Harnessing the knowledge and expectations of readers.
  • Choosing moment, frame, and image for impact and clarity.
  • Dynamically combining words and pictures.
  • Mastering the calligraphy of body language and facial expressions.
  • Exploring new approaches to story structure.

5. A brief word for future participants?
I’ll be providing all materials, but feel free to bring along your own favorite drawing tools for your final assignment. Other than that, bring your eyes, your hands, and your curiosity, and we’ll have everything we need for a fun and productive two days. :-)

ELITE 2012 – Interview with Michel Gagné

28 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
I was born in Roberval, Quebec, and grew up in the small town of Saint Félicien, dreaming of one day, being a comic book and special effects artist. At the age of 18, I moved to Oakville, Ontario, to study Classical Animation at Sheridan College. Upon finishing college in 1986, I was hired by Don Bluth Studios as they were finishing up the animated movie, An American Tail. I graduated to character animator on their next picture, The Land before Time, and ended up working for Bluth Studios for six years, both as a character animator and a special effects artist.

In 1992, I left Bluth to work for various studios doing effects work on both animated and live action movies, as well as doing character designs and pre-production development. Through it all, in my free time, I pursued independent ventures such as doing short films, painting, sculpting, writing and illustrating books and graphic novels, etc.

In 2001, after working for the big studios for fifteen years, including a 6-year stint as head of special effects for Warner Bros Feature Animation, I decided to move away from Hollywood to focus all my time working as an independent. For the past ten years I’ve diversified my skills working in various medias including illustrations, live shows, books, comics, animated short films, and video games, while still maintaining a good relationship with movie studios such as Disney, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, etc for which I produce concepts, designs and animation on a freelance basis.

In 2007, Joe Olson (my game expert partner) and I created Shadow Planet Productions, in order to do our first game project, Insanely twisted Shadow Planet, which was released on Xbox in August 2011.

2. What does your master class consist of?
The first part, I will be discuss my professional experience and how I was able to break into the movie industry. I will demonstrate my process and approach to animation, special effects, character and environment concepts, etc. I’ll talk about my various ventures into various artistic mediums and explain how they co-relate to my growth as an artist. I’ll give my personal insight on how to discover your own voice and creating art that is unique.

For the second part, I will be focusing on the making of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, going in great detain on how we put the project together from start to finish. The subjects covered will include: The Birth of an Idea; Putting Together a Pitch and Getting the Game Financed; Creating a Work Pipeline from Scratch; Experimentation – Trial and Error – Finding What Works; Color Scripting and Storyboards; Bringing Animated Film Techniques into the Game; Transposing Concept Art into Playable Environments; Making Impressive Cinematics on a Small Budget; Using Simple Methods to Create Spectacular Effects; Keeping a Singular Artistic Vision throughout the Project; Making the Gaming Experience as Cinematic as Possible; Combining Music and Sound with Animation for Maximum Impact.

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
Professional and students alike. I’m going to do my best to share as much knowledge as I can within the allocated time. People that are interested in animation, game making, as well as peripheral artistic medias, will get a good insight from an insider who has been equally successful working in both, the studio system and the independent arena.

4. What will the participants learn?
I intend to make the workshop as much of a visual experience as possible and show a unique perspective that my many years in the industry have provided me. I’ll do my best to open their minds to the endless possibilities of making it as a successful creator and not put unnecessary limits upon themselves. I have been in the art industry for 25 years and still believe the best is yet to come. My goal is that the participants will feel the same way after the workshop and see the future in a brighter light than they did before.

5. A brief word for future participants?
We’re going to have fun and learn a great deal!

ELITE 2012 – Interview with David Fugère-Lamarre

28 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
I think I’ve made my career choice at the age of 5 when I saw for the first time someone who was playing at Super Mario Bros. Later, it was only natural for me, since I come from a family of engineers, to study in Computer Engineering at Polytechnique to work in the game development field. I graduated in 2004 and I obtained my first job as a game developer at Artificial Mind & Movement (now Behaviour Interactive) in the same year. Back then, I worked on teams that were developing PS2 games. It was also during that time that I’ve met my future wife and in 2006, I decided to follow her in Lyon where I worked as a game developer at Phoenix Interactive on a Wii game. We switched roles the following year because I was doing a master’s degree in project management at NJIT in Newark. It’s when I returned to Montreal in 2008 that renewed contact with former coworkers from A2M to establish Illogika, a game and application development company where most of our creations were developed with Unity. We’ve been involved in more than fifteen projects for iOS, Android, Web and PC/MAC applications ever since. In parallel, I collaborate on a regular basis with Centre NAD to give Unity training within their premises in Montreal and, starting this year, outside the country.

2. What does your master class consist of?
This master class is an introduction to the Unity game engine and its use in a business production. This multiplatform game engine is very popular in the development of iOS and Android games, but it can also create games and applications for PC/Mac, Web (with a plug-in or through Flash or NaCl), Wii, Xbox360 and PS3. In addition to games, several companies use Unity for projects like architectural simulations, interactive demonstrations, educational applications and product visualization. The main objective of the master class is to give to the attendees a concentration of knowledge and aptitudes that will allow them to start off their first project on Unity with a bang!

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
Anyone with a minimum of basic knowledge in programming and working in the game industry or any related industry using 3D in real time can attend to this master class. Programmers, designers and technical artists are the target audience. You don’t need to know Unity, but a general knowledge of game engines and 3D sofwares like 3ds Max will be useful.

4. What will the participants learn?
The participants will start getting used to the interface of the editor of Unity and the importation of game elements like 3D models, animations, textures and sounds. They will also learn the main functionalities like the physical engine, terrain editor and particles, animation culling and light mapping systems. Some external libraries like SpriteManager that are used to create 2D games will also be introduced. During the second day of this master class, the participants will learn how to write scripts in C# by using Unity’s API and MonoDevelop editor to create several common games functionalities. They will use the profiler and they will see how to use one version control software with Unity.

5. A brief word for future participants?
I hope to be able to pass on to you the fun I have when I develop games and applications with Unity. You will discover why 750 000 people working in companies of various sizes use this game engine to develop tremendous variety of games, applications and prototypes.