As the snowstorm rolled over the city, students from Centennial’s Digital Animation program were cozy and warm inside ToonBox Entertainment’s Toronto studio. ToonBox_studio_visit_Centennial_banner

This studio is the home of the highly successful animated feature The Nut Job, (having grossed $62 million in 4.5 weeks!). ToonBox graciously gave us a tour of the studio and a sneak peak at the production process on current projects.

Will Arnett's  "Surly"

It was great to see Centennial College alumni and faculty working in the studio. The success of The Nut Job has ensured the health of ToonBox, and reinforces Toronto’s reputation as a major force in the international animation industry. We are proud of our talent and the role the Centennial play’s in developing the animation industry.

Coincidentally, the two lead characters were voiced by Canadians, Surly by Will Arnett (originally from Toronto) and Brendan Fraser (originally from British Columbia) as Grayson.

TAAFI 2013


Guest post by Digital Animation student Marie Sanginesi

TAAFI 2013

I feel very fortunate to have been able to enjoy such a wonderful animated weekend! Being able to watch a variety of animation and listen to so many industry professionals dish their pro advice was incredible!
I think my favourite film of the weekend was The Day of the Crows, a french film by Jean-Christophe Dessaint. The 2D style was gorgeous to watch, the animation was delicately done and the story was incredibly touching. I definitely recommend anyone who likes animation to see this film!

Other highlights of the weekend include attending a seminar by Pixar animator Benjamin Su, and a life drawing masterclass by Disney animator Samatha Youssef, two incredibly talented animators. But one of the coolest moments was having my school’s 15-second animation challenge short (made by 5 of my lovely classmates and I personally critiqued by Simpsons director David Silverman himself!

(You can find all the shorts here:

Benjamin Su

Very personable with a great sense of humor, it was a pleasure to listen to him critique our pieces while he told us what he liked and went into the nitty-gritty details of what could have been improved. On my school’s short (Centennial College), he mostly commented on pushing our poses and exaggerating our line of action. He gave suggestions on everything and anything that warranted fine-tuning to all of the other groups as well. It was a pretty surreal experience having our humble college project critiqued by such an esteemed director of one of the most popular cartoons ever. All in all, a very fun, enjoyable and memorable experience!

Afterwards, the TAAFI team was very clever and got some Simpsons-appropriate sprinkle donuts for a post-critique group photo-op as well :D


I’m already Looking forward to next year’s festival!

-Marie Sanginesi

**Photos taken by TAAFI’s Rebecca Grosz

Students in the Digital Animation program have two courses dedicated to the production of a short film; the students can work in teams or individually. In second semester we begin with pre-production producing the following assets: scripts, character concept, environment design, matte paintings, animatics and preliminary modeling. In Third semester students complete the films.
Here are a few examples from the last year.

Pierlui - by Daniel Baldenegro

Klutz the Ogre- Justin Jaujokas and Brandon Petrasso


Game of Thrones. Borgias. Discovery Channel.Game of Thrones - Emmy

You may have heard of these, but did you know there’s a Toronto, and even better a Centennial College connection?

These three media properties were all nominated for VFX work done by Toronto based studios. Intelligent Creatures and Spin were each nominated by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for an Emmy award.

Nathan Larouche

Nathan Larouche

Spin won Outstanding Special Visual Effects Emmy as part of the Game of Thrones VFX team. Spin employes Centennial graduates and has Spin employees as members of it’s Program Advisory committee.

Digital Animation graduate Nathan Larouche and his co-workers from Intelligent Creatures were nominated for Outstanding Graphic Design & Art Direction for the Discovery Channel program Curiosity, Battlefield Cell. Former faculty members Geoff Scott (VFX Supervisor) and  Bojan Zoric (Art Director) lead the team. Centennial students from the Digital Animation program and Game Art & Design programs regularly intern at Intelligent Creatures during their field placement.

Awesome samples from the third semester Character Design 2 course.

Here are several student short films from first semester. These are from the Broadcast Production course in first semester. Students create a “bumper” in weeks 8-15. I am always impressed at the quality in creativity shown by students in first semester!

Wonjoon Lee

Daniel Smith

Benjamin Figueroa

In the Game Art & Design Porgram students are challenged to work in the Unreal game engine. Below are a few concepts that students produced.


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