It blew everyone away when it was released in 1995. 'Toy Story' was the first digital animation blockbuster and today much of what Hollywood turns out is born on a computer screen. In Huntington University's 19th Century Becker Hall, 21st Century animators are learning the ropes.
“Growing up like seeing Pixar, Toy Story, it was like going into a whole other world,” says animation student Jesse Mastrian, “and I wanted to be part of that.”
This is animation class at Huntington's Digital Media Arts department, one of the top digital animation programs in the country. 2d and 3d animation, stop motion, computer graphics..all taught here, even cartooning. Instructor Bryan Ballinger says these students grew up using commuters, social media, playing video games. They come to his class already armed with digital skills. Travis Gordon from Kendallville plans to design video games.
“Some kids watch sports with their dad,” he says. “My dad and I sat down and played Twisted Metal together.” 'Blew up worlds!' “Oh yea.”
Jesse Mastrian moved here from Connecticut to be part of this program.
“I always wanted to create stuff especially with my hands,” she says. “I never imagined myself just working in a cubicle with just moving papers and going into business.”
Students design and build their own characters and miniature sets for stop motion movies in the department shops, learn to use the latest digital equipment and shoot their own films. This is a sped up clip of students shooting a stop motion short. This is the final product. Graduates of this program have a world of careers to choose from and nearly all find employment.
“We've had students that have started their own animation studio where they're doing commercial work,” says Bryan Ballinger. “Almost all animated movies now are done digitally or have some digital component all the graphics you see on TV and stuff are all digitally done. 'So the future is bright for most of these guys?' “Oh yea.”