Two Dover Bay Secondary School students can now say their computer animation skills are best in Canada.
Josiah Stefani and Jamie Ruddick won gold medals at the national Skills Canada competition in Quebec City last weekend in the 3D character computer animation category.
The Grade 11 students, who have been friends since Grade 9, make the perfect team – Stefani draws out the vision on a paper and pencil storyboard and Ruddick takes that vision to the computer screen.
Stefani, who just started learning computer animation this year, said drawing comes naturally to him and the computer animation program is basically an extension of that skill. Stefani also used his artistic talents to win an ICBC poster contest promoting road safety earlier this year – the prize was a MacBook Pro.
“I’m pretty good spatially,” he said. “I can take something I see and put it on paper.”
Ruddick has been into computer animation since he was 11 – he loves thinking up characters and scenes and then creating them.
“Whatever you think up you can do,” he said. “You’re only limited by your imagination … and the computer sometimes.”
The students had about 13 hours over two days to create an animated short with the theme ‘Clowning Around’. Their winning short can be viewed by following a link on Dover Bay’s website (www.doverbay.ca).
Stefani said the pair felt less pressed for time than at the regional and provincial competitions because they had the two days instead of one.
Both students agree winning a national competition is a great accomplishment.
“It’s a good step for my career because I’m thinking of going into animation,” said Ruddick.
For Stefani, who wants to go into medicine or engineering when he graduates next year, it’s something to add to the resumé.
They plan to enter the competition as a team again next year.
Bruce Currell, the information technology teacher at Dover, said while the school has frequently sent computer animation students to the national Skills Canada competition, Stefani and Ruddick are the first to take home gold medals.
“They’re the fastest animators out there,” he said.
Two Dover Bay animation students won bronze in the 2008 national competition.
Other Nanaimo school district students at this year’s competition were Stryder Cooke in automotive service and Jean-Luc Major and Robert Keel in TV/video production.