ONE hundred youths will have the opportunity to become versed in animation and the digital industry as the Guyana Animation Network (GAN) commences its fourth annual summer camp on Monday.
This year’s camp was launched on Friday, at the Education Lecture Theatre (ELT), at the University of Guyana (UG), where dozens of participants attended while dressed in their favourite animated characters.
President of the Guyana Animation Network (GAN), Francine Leitch, related to the Guyana Chronicle that the camp would have seen full capacity registration this year, with all 100 slots being taken up by interested youths. The full capacity is attributed to the host of sponsors coming on board to allow children in underprivileged communities to participate in the camps.
The class will be divided into two groups: the five to 10 youths and the 11 to 35 youths. In the class for the older ones, Leitch explained that the participants will be exposed to animation, virtual reality, game design and coding.
This course, she related, entails the group using a pre-built, three-dimensional (3-D) model of a local landmark and will build their own characters around that landmark.
“By the end of it, they will be able to have an immersive experience using virtual realty to interact with the characters that they would have built within the model.
The younger class will however focus on ‘flipbook’ animation, which entails the drawing of figures — the traditional way on paper and online — on different pages which are then flipped through to create movement of the figures. This group will also be doing ‘stop motion’ animation, which is one of the earliest forms of animation.
The GAN President had told the Guyana Chronicle that Network aims to foster an environment where digital media and specifically animation, can be learnt and promoted in Guyana. And over the past few years, the body has been working to develop the creative skills of Guyanese youth.
Moreover, this year’s animation camp is another stepping stone in the creative development agenda GAN has set out on.
“What we realised when we were preparing to do our first summer camp [four years ago] was that people were not aware of what animation entails, the scope of animation and all that it entails,” Leitch explained. As such, GAN endeavoured to first build a foundation for animation, which was done through the previous three camps. These camps featured: traditional art, digital illustrating and then, last year, comic art.
Giving brief remarks at the launch of the camp, Deputy Programme Manager, Information and Communication Technology (ICT4D) at the CARICOM Secretariat, Jennifer Britton commended GAN’s work over the years.
She related that these camps are so impressive that they provide an opportunity for people to learn about animation, a developing industry in the Caribbeean, from as young as five years old. The CARICOM representative also acknowledged the range of qualifed instructors, locally and internationally, that would be in Guyana to train the youths.
“Animation is something I think we almost take for granted,” Britton said, while also acknowledging just how easily young people are able to “connect” with the digital field.
Importantly, however, she noted that GAN’s work allows her to see how responsive young people are to this industry. In so doing, she is able to use it as a pilot project as part of her portfolio at the secretariat and perhaps, implement this kind of training across the Caribbean.