Free digital course targets aspiring animators

Read time 2min 40sec

In an attempt to hone learners’ digital storytelling skills, Triggerfish has partnered with Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to launch the Triggerfish Academy, a free digital learning platform.

Triggerfish is a Cape Town-based film and entertainment company, which says it has produced two of the top five highest-grossing South African feature films: Adventures in Zambezia (2012) and Khumba (2013).

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany's cultural institute, which provides information on Germany’s cultural, social and political life.

The collaborative initiative will teach participants animation techniques. According to Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest, the majority of animation is done with computers, so digital learning felt like the best choice for animation training. He says it is also a highly-efficient way of delivering free content, as the overhead is very low.

The Triggerfish portal has 25 free video tutorials, quizzes and animation exercises introducing animation as a career and the principles of storytelling, storyboarding and animation. While testing on the portal has been conducted for over a month, the site went live yesterday.

Forrest says the site is built on content management system WordPress and the videos are hosted on YouTube, so they can be as widely available as possible. The course was created by Tim Argall, currently the animation director on Triggerfish’s third feature film, Seal Team.

“We also encourage learners to download some simple free apps, like Stop Motion Studio and Flipaclip, onto their smartphones or computers, which will help them practise what they’ve learnt. And we encourage them to post their exercises onto our Facebook group so that others can engage with them.”

According to Forrest, there is no registration required for learners. Students can log onto the portal and begin learning immediately.

The driving aim of Triggerfish Academy is to diversify the animation industry, he notes. “Historically, the industry has been predominantly white and male both in South Africa and in much of the rest of the world. We’ve tried to showcase the diversity of the African animation industry and provide aspirational animators for our learners to be inspired by, who they can relate to.”

Noemie Njangiru, head of culture and development at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg, says the South African animation industry is growing and so is the demand for skilled animators globally. “By the end of working through this course, you'll have all the background you need to know whether animation is a good choice for your career.”

Forrest says while many traditional sectors are struggling in Africa, animation is booming, not only in terms of the film industry. “The purpose of the free learning courses is to train more animators, which we desperately need to keep up with demand.”

Another partnership was launched last week for animators, where the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinctcollaborated with French-based school, Gobelins, to teach visual development skills in animation to prospective animators.

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