Programmes supported by the Animation Skills Fund

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With industry support, we are able to deliver effective training and support programmes UK-wide and online. In 2020 we have hosted knowledge sharing and skills development events with partners including the MOVE Summit in Edinburgh, Animated Women UK, Cardiff Animation Festival, and the She Drew That network.

In development are training opportunities on topics including budgeting animation productions, stepping up to production management and line producing, and writing for children’s animation. We are also devising a ‘Back to School’ initiative, which will support early career animation professionals to return to their hometowns and inspire young people to consider careers in animation.

To find out more about the work of the fund, take a look at some of our recent and current programmes:

3Dami’s Train the Trainers programme

The Animation Skills Fund is supporting 3Dami to run an innovative, two-year project to train young people across the country in 3D animation skills. Train the Trainers will teach 3D animation and VFX skills to young people across the UK, with an ambition to engage more than 1,700 pupils. VFX, games and media students recruited through a partnership with the NextGen Skills Academy will receive training to run 3D animation workshops for 11 to 16-year-old pupils, predominantly in after-school clubs.

The Animation Skills Fund has also supported 3Dami to run the Summer Studio online enabling a group of 13 to 18-year-olds from across the UK to learn how to create a 3D animated short film during Summer 2020. 

ScreenSkills Animation Lesson Plan

Commissioned by the Animation Skills Fund, the career lesson plan is designed to excite and inspire primary school children about jobs in the animation industry. ScreenSkills collaborated on the creation of this educational resource with the production company, Lupus Films using assets from their The Tiger Who Came to Tea TV special, based on the book published by HarperCollins children’s books. It consists of a flexible plan which can be run as a single lesson or a series and includes teacher notes, a presentation, a project book for the children and additional lessons in maths and science. Check out our animation lessons here

ToonBoom Harmony software training

During lockdown, the Animation Skills Fund supported free online training to enable lead animators, riggers and technical directors to improve their knowledge of ToonBoom Harmony software during this challenging period.

One individual has said of the training: “I couldn't recommend this course enough. John Kinsella is an excellent instructor. Rigging in ToonBoom can get quite technical but John explained everything twice and in multiple ways and responded to our questions brilliantly. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I feel it has plugged a gap in my CV!”

Visual Storyboarding for Animation

In 2013 and 2014, Lupus Films ran an intensive storyboarding course and a series of public masterclasses led by former Disney animator and storyboard artist Frank Gladstone. Participants were trained in using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro software, worked on real animated TV series, and met with industry professionals. Most of the students went on to work in the industry as storyboard artists at the end of the course.

Bianca Ansems, who has since storyboarded for Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel, said: “Getting existing series scripts to work with was amazing as it trained us in applying our skills to these great scripts, particularly how to do very visual jokes. I loved the showcase at the end giving us an opportunity to meet professionals interested in story artists.” Read more about Bianca’s journey here.

In 2020/21, Lupus Films will be running an intensive training course to upskill storyboard artists so that they will be equipped to work on traditional 2D animated features, high-end TV specials or even produce 2D pre-vis for 3D features.

The Helen North Achieve Programme

From 2017 to 2020, Animated Women have run this intensive introduction to strategic career management for women at different stages of their career in VFX and animation with support from the Animation Skills Fund. The programme addresses real challenges and barriers in order to help women fulfil their potential.

Participant Georgina Hurcombe at LoveLove Films said: “Being able to talk to like-minded women about issues that we all face and how to overcome them has been invaluable and inspiring. It’s was great to be able to speak to women from fantastic organisations such as DNeg, Disney and Blue Zoo. The mix of career stages also provided unique and valuable insight. Personally, it has also been really useful to hear what these women want in their own organisations and then think about whether I can apply any of these learnings at LoveLove Films.”

Manimation conference

From 2016 to 2019, the Children’s Media Conference hosted the industry-focused conference Manimation in Manchester with support from the Animation Skills Fund. The conference was designed to share best practice between animation production companies, producers, and freelancers and to aid the business skills development of animation professionals. Read more about the 2019 conference here.

In 2020, we supported the organisation to run their SkillBuilder pitching workshop online.

For more information about the Animation Skills Fund please email:

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