Our second visit was to NORMAAL Animation Studios. There are approximately 120 people working at NORMAAL and Alexis Lavillat is the founder of the studios. Alexis has alternately worked as a graphic author, designer, screenwriter, director, but always as producer on 15 animated series broadcast in France and around the world. During our visit, he gave us a tour in the studios. Students observed the distribution of work in the animated advertisement and TV series industry, along with different techniques of animation from stop-motion to 3D animation.
In Paris, our last studio visit was to Ciclic to see two MICA teachers’ (Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter) studios. Ciclic is an animation residency for French and international directors and provides support for films throughout all different stages. Since 2008, Ru & Max have been working together as “Tiny Inventions”. They have directed and produced TV commercials, music videos, PSAs and independent films. When my class and I went there, they were making their characters, rooms, and furniture for their last animation. Students learnt about creating 3D objects and their process.
Along with these visits, we had three great guest lecturers. The first one was Veronique Vienne. Veronique is an author, editorial art director, and journalist. She is known with her book 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, co-authored with Steven Heller. During her visit, she talked about perspectives of Paris. Our second visitor was Bernard Genin. Bernard is a critic, reporter, teacher of history animation, editor and the author of two history of animation books. Bernard gave us a lecture on the history of animation. Our last visitor was Alexis Hunot. In addition to teaching history of cinema, Alexis is a proud member of the Cesars Award committee. He also gives talks in video interviews for the Institut Français. Alexis showed us a selection of animations in very different styles, including award-winning animations from this year’s The Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
During the course, I led four out of the five workshops. The workshops were: Thaumatrope, Photoshop Gifs, Monoprinted Animation and Animated Faces. Except animated faces, the ideas behind the workshops and their assignments were of my own original design. I also gave weekly feedback to the students and moderated class discussions. When we were teaching our course at Les Recollets, California College of Art was also having a course there. For their final critique, I was invited to help and give feedback to the CCA students.
The Thaumatrope Workshop was a short introduction to one of the earliest and primitive form of animation. Thaumatropes use a flat disc with a different drawings on opposite sides. When spun quickly with two strings, it creates an illusion of a simple animation, or a combined picture. The students were assigned a different letter, which will later be combined to spell out “Paris in Motion.”