12 Month Diploma Program
“I really just want to say that Think Tank is a special school. I was hired by Bioware with the demo reel I made, and after being hired I found out that I beat out a few senior guys from other studios for the position.”
“Being a student at Think Tank made me feel like I was in an exclusive school for artists seeking to achieve the highest of standards in CG creation.”
“It was a family more than a school, really. A great, supportive family that was always there to help out if I was having trouble with anything, and one that was dedicated to seeing me succeed.”
“At Think Tank the school not only cared about my success but also did everything in their power to make sure I had the tools and skills required to succeed in the industry.”
“Think Tank surpassed my expectations of what I thought a good vfx school would be. Not only do they provide the academic foundations and resources for artists to learn and grow, Scott and Joe make it their priority to ensure a safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment for students to work in.”
“Think Tank cared a lot about my success. I had a few requests, like a rig I wanted to buy or having a mentor once I was over with my mentorship. Think Tank gave me everything as soon as I asked for it. Scott was always checking how my work was going and looking for job opportunities for us. The teachers and Mentors were patient with me at the beginning, because my English wasn’t very good. The year and a half I spent at Think Tank, was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I learned so much, met so many good people and had such a great time.”
“Think Tank exceeded my expectations in every way. It became my home away from home and I consider my time there one of the best years of my life.”
“Think Tank was even better of than I was expecting. They take care of you individually, helping you to solve any problem, always pushing you to the next level.”
“Think Tank exceeded all my expectations. I had heard great things about the school before attending, but from the minute I walked through the door I was blown away by the entire experience. Everything from the amazing facility to the carefully selected Instructors and Mentors are designed to give us the best education possible.”
I initially came into Think Tank by happenstance. My background and previous industry experience was sporadic to say the least. Several years before this I had gone to another Vancouver school for animation. I ended up working at a 2D animation studio compositing for 2 years and then did tech support for another year. I felt like I was moving further away from the industry and needed to streamline my experience and focus on a specific area. I was not necessarily looking at going back to school at the moment but I figured I would check out what Think tank was about.
Then I learned about Think Tank’s mentorship program. One on one training created specifically for people who’ve had previous 3D experience without having to take a full year of school. You get full access to all of the classes, workshops and resources think tank has in their yearly curriculum. They plunk you right into 3rd semester to start with where your main goal is the completion and/or refinement of your demo reel and to get you ready to search for that sought after industry job. The mentors are there to guide, educate, and critique your progress along the way. I figured this was perfect for someone in my situation and at much more reasonable price compared to taking the full year program, considering I was still paying student loans from the last school I went to.
The mentors are all industry professionals whom usually come into Think Tank right after their work to mentor you. The sessions last at least 4 hours once a week, and usually (depending on the mentor) they are available to contact via email with any questions you have anytime between sessions.
The mentor I was assigned was Luke Wakeford who was a previous student at think tank and now works as a lead modeler for Digital Domain. Luke and I got along well and he helped in all aspects of my demo reel from discussing ideas to teaching me new programs and techniques to utilize. He had a good eye for detail and knew many tricks I would have otherwise not learned on my own. The beauty of the mentorship is because it is catered to your needs, you and your mentor decide what specific things you want to learn and focus on.
When you are not in your mentor sessions you are pretty much left up to your own devices with what to do with your time. How you spend that time is up to you so having dedication and a strong independent work ethic is a must for this course. You are treated as a peer not as a student so there is no mandatory attendance or requirement to work at the school aside from the mentorship. However, this is a competitive industry so you will want to spend as much time there as possible. The student culture at Think tank is that of working together and sharing knowledge, so you can often learn much from fellow students as well as other mentors not assigned to you. Being an outgoing person can also be an advantage. For instance, if you would like to put a realistic lighting setup in your demo reel, befriending the lighting mentor would be a definite benefit and perhaps they will take the time to explain it to you.
Think Tank is so much different than any other big educational institution. They really do care about your success and individual satisfaction. This is an attest to the fact that even after your mentorship is over you can stay a student there as long as you need. You are equipped with the best tools, new versions of software, and have access to so many resources. (Online subscriptions, tutorials etc)
Think tank also actively helps in job placement. New announcements go through anytime a local studio is hiring. In my situation I actually got a job freelance modeling for a small boutique studio in North Vancouver called Plan B productions. My job there can be directly attributed to the school as I was not aware of them out otherwise.
Because of this I am quite happy with the outcome of my mentorship to say the least! And am grateful for all the guidance I received. I managed to get three pieces completed for my demo reel in the mentorship period and had stayed an extra semester to expand my knowledge in some areas and do some final finessing on my reel. This is an industry that is always evolving and the learning never stops.
The Think Tank Mentorship Program was a godsend to me. After learning 3D from two Institutions, the opportunity for future learning felt like it was over once the course was complete.
After finishing Animation programs from other institutions my only source for improving my skill set was only from tutorials, but then I found the Think Tank Mentorship program. Not only my artistic eye improved, my skills and workflows followed. With the Think Tank Mentorship program I had actual active industry professionals critique my art work and workflow.
I learned more in depth knowledge in terms of anatomy, perspective, texturing and rendering techniques. The knowledge I learned was up to date, advanced and in current use by the industry. I also learned how to use new software and technology, that made my workflow faster and more refined. The mentor Think Tank provided for me complimented my needs in being a Character Artist because he is a Character Artist in both the game and film industry. You don’t really get this star treatment in other institutions.
The main benefits in taking the Think Tank Mentorship Program are not only the additional knowledge and training you receive, but also being around others that are equally as passionate about 3D as you are. There is also the extra benefit of networking with fellow artists, mentors, instructors and administrators. You also make new friends which is always a bonus.
In retrospect I now feel that I’m more prepared to work in the industry then I have ever been. Trained in the most up to date techniques and software, an improved artistic eye and faster workflow; I now have attributes that will make me an asset for any future employer in games or film.
I came to the Think Tank Training Centre with only a vague sense of how the Mentorship program would work. At the time I was just hoping to be accepted with a reduced course load as I had already gone to school for animation but my skills were not quite to the point where I could get sustained work at studios. I sat down and was given a brief overview of how it would work and even sat in on one of the sessions and it was just what I was looking for and needed.
The amount of time I got to sit with professionals every week to look over my work for four months was extremely beneficial in increasing my skill set and understanding of animating at a professional level. With every critique came many fixes and a lot of work but I had no problem with that as it was good preparation for what I would face out in the field and I ended up learning much more than I had before. I got along well with all the mentors as well and I felt that they really wanted to help me improve and get a job.
My time in the Mentorship program at Think Tank has been a turning point for my young career and I now feel ready and confident that I can land a job at a studio, a feeling that I didn’t have before coming to the school.
My experience with the mentorship program was not as I expected, it was far better than what I first thought it would be. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I first came to Canada. I only had a rough idea. I also didn’t know if I was going to be at a good “level” compared to the other artists. I had experience in other fields and I wanted to get into games or films, but I didn’t know exactly what to do.
My main goal was to get a job after the mentorship, gain some experience and the “ know how” on how to get there. I think the best advice I got was from Scott Thompson, one of the owners of Think Tank, who told me from the beginning that I shouldn’t worry about getting the job based on my experience and past work, as I was very confused about what to do or where to aim. He simply said that once finished I will have a better perspective of where I want to go. And that was it. The mentorship, the college, and all the people you meet during the process help you find your way. Then ultimately your goal.
I will define this experience as “polishing” my skills, and learning the right tools to make the transition into the industry. Now I have!
The experience was incredible. I’m so glad I chose this wonderful school.