Sheridan College awarded grant to further work in animation


Four of the five films nominated for best animated feature film at this year’s Academy Awards had Sheridan College alumni work on them, and that number could be increasing.

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation has awarded Sheridan with a grant for $995,877.

The grant is intended to help further the work the college has been doing in animating characters for multiple different screens including cinema, television, mobile devices, and immersive interactive displays such as virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as a new project entitled Virtual Humans and the Creative Industries.

“This project is a perfect demonstration of our unique research identity,” Janet Morrison, president and vice-chancellor of Sheridan, said in a news release.

“It engages our faculty and students with industry and community partners in a wide array of projects that span our academic strengths in the arts, technology, social sciences, applied health, and community studies - all with a view to supporting innovation in the screen-based, creative industries for the benefit of private industry and society,” she continued.

The project will support advances in animation, specifically related to computer-generated human characters that can use language, enact human gestures, show emotion, and react to verbal and non-verbal cues.

Additionally, the technology will enable collaboration among programs at Sheridan, such as Interaction Design and Game Design and Sheridan’s Research and Incubation Centres including its Centre for Elder Research and Centre for Mobile Innovation.

“This project will enable private sector firms to gain technical skills, adopt new technology, commercialize innovations, create jobs and increase revenues within a globally competitive market,” John Helliker, Dean of Innovation at Sheridan, said in the same release.

“Virtual characters and virtual humans are also being integrated with person-to-person delivery of services by caregivers, teachers, public servants and other professionals through believable simulated scenarios for training and educational purposes,” adds Helliker. “Sheridan’s project will provide opportunities for social innovation research by enabling the creation of individualized, context-aware, autonomous social interactions.”

Cover photo courtesy of Sheridan College’s Instagram

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