Student animators take national gold

Are we there yet? Reese Bartlett and Jordy Smith certainly are, the impatient apple-seeking worms of their imaginations the toast of the Skills Canada competition’s 3D animation category this weekend in Waterloo, Ont.

Reese Bartlett

Reese Bartlett

Are we there yet?

Reese Bartlett and Jordy Smith certainly are, the impatient apple-seeking worms of their imaginations the toast of the Skills Canada competition’s 3D animation category this weekend in Waterloo, Ont.

The two 17-year-olds, both students at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, took gold after their animation following the theme of the oft-quoted complaint wowed judges with its humour and originality.

“The kids showed really good character,” said Lindsay Thurber animation instructor Gilles Theriault.

The nearly minute-long animation showed two hungry worms working their way through the soil to the surface, where an apple sits.

Just before they get there, a giant hand descends and steals away their prize.

The Skills Canada competition ran Thursday to Sunday, with two-person 3D animation teams representing B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The boys clinched first place after two days, totalling 14 hours, of work, followed by an interview by a three-person judging panel.

Theriault said the competition was a close one.

• CLICK HERE TO SEE REESE AND JORDY’S AWARD-WINNING ANIMATION

“The thing I would say (is) the other animations were the common scenario, where you have a child in the back of the seat, or an airplane taking a long time. Well, my kids went out of the box and came up with the two worms story,” he said.

Prior to winning the national title, Bartlett and Smith placed first in the Skills Alberta competition earlier this month. They will receive scholarships for both, Theriault said, and two gold medals “looks really good for them” in their post-secondary endeavours.

“They learned how the industry works, where they have their crunch-time — that’s the term they use in the industry,” Theriault said. “It’s only 14 hours and you have to have a final product.”

This was Theriault’s fifth year coaching a team at Skills Canada, although his students have never before won gold. He said every year animation is getting more fluid and realistic, and story-boards more interesting.

“We’re getting so much good results,” he said. “It excites me and gets me going even more, with more passion, to continue what I’m doing.”

Visit www.rdpsd.ab.ca/~gilles_theriault/GillesTheriault to view the gold medal-winning animations by Bartlett and Smith.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com