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Looking for New Zealand’s Best Young Animator

Light and Dark – New Zealand’s largest character design competition for Year 11, 12 and 13 students – is now underway, thanks to Yoobee School of Design and Animation College.

Light and Dark, YoobeeStudents have until June 5 to submit their entries, which must portray a character showing two opposite emotions - excitement and fear, happiness and sadness, love and despair, or serenity and rage. Now in its fifth year, the competition is judged by some of the country’s top creatives. Contestants are marked on expression, character pose, and wow factor.

“It’s not so important that characters are perfectly rendered - the ability to breathe life into the characters is what we are really looking for,” says Adam Berry, CEO of New Education Group’s Creative and Technology Cluster which includes Animation College and Yoobee School of Design.

Students can use traditional tools such as pencils and paint, digital programmes like Adobe Photoshop, or they can submit 3D modelled characters.

“We really just want them to use their imagination and go for it. It’s a really exciting opportunity for students to showcase their animation skills and potentially pathway into further studies and a career in this fast-growing industry.”

One student who has done exactly that is 2016 Light and Dark third place getter Grace Kim, who has just moved from Mt Maunganui to Auckland, to start a Bachelor of Animation at Animation College.

“It came as such a shock to me when I found out I placed third. It really gave me a confidence boost that a panel of artistic judges liked my work,” says Grace. “All those hours of drawing felt like they had finally paid off!”

Students receive online support through the Light and Dark Facebook Group and for Grace this proved invaluable.

“This competition is such a great way to learn from other aspiring artists. The feedback group was so helpful – I don’t think I would have placed without their support and critique. It enabled me to see my art from a different perspective. Even if you’re not confident that you will place or win, Light and Dark is such a good competition to gain experience, build skills and learn from others.”

It’s also a great way to pick up a stash of prizes. The winner of 2018 Light and Dark will receive a scholarship for the Bachelor of Animation degree programme, which can be undertaken at Animation College’s Auckland Central campus or Yoobee School of Design’s Wellington campus. They’ll also win loads of vouchers, subscriptions and prize packs from competition sponsors. Second and third place winners will walk away with a bunch of cool prizes too, courtesy of Light and Dark’s primary sponsors - Adobe, Wacom, Gordon Harris, Playtech and Arkham City Comics.

Competition winners will be announced on July 10.

Pictured here:  Artwork by 2017 Runner Up Erin Lim

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