Positioned on the fourth floor of Building 15 at UTS, the UTS Animal Logic Academy (UTS ALA) is a unique learning space with an unconventional approach to training students for the animation industry. Since its opening in 2016, the UTS ALA has guided two cohorts of students through the challenging but rewarding Masters of Animation and Visualisation (MAV) program. It’s early days, but already the Academy is making waves. It’s clear they’re doing something right, so we thought we’d drop by for a visit to hear about what’s going on in the studio.

a group of ALA students sitting and standing around a boardroom table

1. No classes, no lectures

You read correctly. Unlike most university students around Australia, the recruits at UTS ALA are pulled into an intensive schedule that runs 9-5, Monday to Friday. Students enrolled in the MAV enter into a fully immersive studio experience, where collaboration and teamwork are critical to the success of the year. The students are all required to work together, solving problems and pushing visualisation boundaries, using industry standard tools, hardware, software, advanced pipelines and techniques coupled with emerging technologies.

2. Industry connections

This is a big area of focus at UTS for all programs, and the MAV is no exception. The Academy works closely with leaders in industry, education and research to provide support to the students. Master classes are held on a regular basis and industry mentors are brought in to provide dedicated guidance throughout the year, providing a dynamic-learning practice layered with deep industry experience.

3. High level output

On our recent tour of the UTS ALA studio space, we got a chance to see some of the projects completed by students. It was an array of high quality animation, as well as VR and AR projects that could be tested and played with, including TerraChi, a tai chi experience in VR (very popular with my team). TerraChi has recently been selected for the Sydney Film Festival – VR Hub to host a world premiere viewing of the student work, and the UTS ALA is planning on a continuation of creating and pushing the boundaries in the animation and visualisation space. Emerging technology provides such a unique opportunity to develop graduates for jobs of the future, and the UTS Animal Logic Academy has engineered the perfect environment in which to make this happen.

4. Graduate success

UTS ALA is so new that the first cohort graduated only recently. From this first batch, the results of the program have been overwhelmingly successful – of the students surveyed, all have found jobs post-graduation in a variety of organisations. The unique design of the program speaks to an immediate need in industry to provide work-ready graduates. With most, if not all industries, still coming to terms with the speed in which they need to operate, to keep up with the changing landscape of future work and technologies, employers will benefit enormously from this new model of education and graduates. It is a flagship for the University, as it continues to look for ways to support industry and the community.

5. Diverse cohorts

The UTS ALA is welcoming its next cohort, who have made it through a competitive recruitment process. One of the most striking things about the UTS ALA crew is the diversity of students studying in the program. Students come from a variety of different backgrounds, from film production to design and software development. It’s this variety that helps the students to form a cohesive, multi-talented team. Just a glance at the list of achievements the UTS ALA have produced can be seen in their finished projects, which includes VR and AR games, as well as movie-quality animation.

Want to visit the UTS ALA? You can!

Staff wishing to experience the exciting work of UTS ALA through a Studio Tour or viewing of projects can contact the Academy on animallogicacademy@uts.edu.au for an appointment, or check our Facebook page for event listings. The LX.lab team would like to send a big thanks over to UTS ALA for hosting us recently, we had an excellent time and highly recommend dropping by for a visit!

a group of ALA students standing together and cheering

  • Really enjoyed my tour of the space. One question I have though for the ALA staff – what was involved in your program approval, to be able to award a qualification? TECSA can be pretty onerous in their requirements, so imagine a lot of work had to go into it to get such an unconventional degree authorized. Would be great to hear more about this, particularly for those who are interested in trying new approaches! Observations, considerations, lessons learned?

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