Glasgow hones rare digital skills

November 14, 1997

The skills gap in digital design is being tackled by a state-of-the-art education, training and research centre at Glasgow School of Art.

Paul Anderson, director of the school's new digital design studio, acknowledges that the United Kingdom has a good reputation in areas such as multimedia and the Web.

"But there's a worldwide market at the moment for skilled artists and designers who are using advanced technology, not a PC, in a creative way.'' The animated film Toy Story alone used more than 200 animators full-time for two years, he said, a skills resource which the UK would be struggling to supply.

"While people talk about web authoring and multimedia, these are just buzzwords, and we are going to go much further than that.

"In two or three years' time, I'm sure we will start to see three-dimensional television. Because of all the rapid change, we needs artists and designers and skilled creative people who can really manage that technology, and present fresh ideas.'' The school has just taken in the first ten students to its new multidisciplinary MPhil in advanced 2-D and 3-D motion graphics and virtual prototyping, unique in the UK. Each student has a different background, ranging from fine art and animation to marketing and psychology.

"This is not just about skills, but the way people think. They will learn from each other,'' Mr Anderson said.

"What happens if you put a sculptor next to a highly trained engineer? The engineer may be more inspired by aesthetics, while the sculptor may think more about making things work. They will learn advanced digital content creation techniques and will leave the course with a digital portfolio.'' Support for the studio has come from computer maker Silicon Graphics, and its animation and design software subsidiary Alias/Wavefront . The Ford Motor Company is also backing research to develop 3-D visualisation through advanced stereoscopic imaging techniques.

Missing media skills, xii

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