The Animation department out-does itself this year. With work on display at the DJCAD Degree Show spread out over the lower half of the Cooper Gallery, the floor above and, most importantly, the Crawford Boardroom where the students’ final works play for the public to view, the department has this year allowed for more space to see individual work as well as easier public access.
The Cooper Gallery serves as one of the entrances in to the Degree Show and what you see as you enter sets the bar immediately. The graduates’ work demonstrates a range of talents with strengths in all areas, including 2D animation, 3D animation and background art, to name a few specialisms. All displays succeed in showcasing both personal skill and the ability to work in teams. To the left you’ll notice boards and artbooks, and to your right, an impressive showcase of handmade sculptures and props used within one of the final animations, Saara Vakiparta’s Hortugan Tales. As well as the show reels playing ahead, a stall with prints, art books and bags for sale will immediately catch your eye with the vibrancy of colour and the highly individual styles of these pieces.
Continuing upstairs, past the exciting posters and pieces of artwork advertising the final films playing in the Crawford Boardroom, you’ll enter the room on your far left. The walls are filled with mounted examples of development sketches, and the research and progress videos of the films that these graduates have spent their final year working on. To name a few of the films on show: The Royal by Colin Dick and Elliot Balson, a sadly unfinished 2D piece; Dawn’s Light by Joanne McInnes, one of the 3D films, and Guraffe by Nakitta Reynor, a funny short focusing again on 2D animation. Continuing to walk through, you’ll notice some lightboxes in the room, cleverly set up for the public to attempt some animation. The interactivity of this feature is great as some of the younger (and perhaps potential animators) Degree Show viewers take to the lightboxes and begin to create their own animations. On a few occasions when I passed this section, one or two DJCAD animators at these lightboxes were describing their work to passers-by while, showing their work and advising interested individuals and other aspiring animators.
Your tour must of course include the screening of this year’s final films. The range of talent will, of course, be demonstrated not only with the animators’ artistic style but also in each film’s subject matter and mood – some evoke peacefulness, some are informative, others are entirely humorous, most are inspiring. All of the films truly leave you wanting more! Niall Calder’s Time Jumpers, a two-part film centred around time travel, knitting and the apocalypse (no spoilers here) keeps the viewer intrigued as to what will happen next. The film cleverly references and pays homage to memorable animations and recognizable styles. Another film that did not fail to impress was Lauren Butler & Jodie Ings’ Dodeca, an animation that serves as a trailer for an even bigger story. No word is spoken in this film but the visuals themselves speak loud enough!
While many of the films are unfortunately unfinished, the graduates’ talents are still clearly visible in their showreels, boards, art books and development work. Put simply, their accomplishments are awe-inspiring. From this year’s show, it is plain to see that the animation graduates of DJCAD are heading towards success and what better way to support these upcoming creatives than to see for yourself where they began their journey.