Monsters Inc master class for Sunderland animators

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ANIMATION students on Wearside have been learning the tricks of the trade from world leaders.

The makers of Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo, provided University of Sunderland animation graduates Catherine Salkeld and Joe Sutherland, with a masterclass at the Pixar Studios in America.

Last month Catherine, 22, and Joe, 21, flew to the US with the support of the university’s Futures Fund, and during their stay visited the world-famous Pixar Studios, Duncan Studios and Duck Studio in California.

Since returning, both students have used the skills they learned in America and started working for North East-based animation company Shoofly Publishing. Joe is also doing some freelance work for Hallmark.

Catherine said: “The Pixar masterclass was incredible, the amount of information we received was immense. I came out of the experience with more motivation than ever to create, and have tried to bring that back into my design job now.”

While Pixar is world famous for its feature films, Duncan Studios and Duck Studios have produced some of the best-known commercials.

Catherine, from Durham, said: “During the visit to Duck and Duncan studios the staff looked through our blogs, websites, showreels and portfolios, giving critique on all. It was a very uplifting experience and incredibly helpful.”

Joe said: “These were amazing opportunities and gave us real insight into a working studio in America. From the experiences we gained insightful knowledge, international recognition, strong contacts and future career possibilities.”

Ros Allen, programme leader for animation and design at the university, said: “I am immensely proud of both Catherine and Joe who have been exemplary students throughout their time here as undergraduates. It was a pleasure to teach them and learn from them as they are such creative and talented individuals.”

“Their hard work, passion and commitment to the course was evident in everything they did and I am so happy for them that they got to go on this amazing adventure and to see first-hand the high calibre of work being produced by these companies. The University of Sunderland could not have asked for better ambassadors to go to such iconic places.”

Twitter: @sunechoschools