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Oscar-Winning Animator Chris Landreth Delivers Masterclass to TFS Video Game Students

Chris Landreth

Toronto Film School recently welcomed Academy Award-winning animator, director and JALI Inc. founder Chris Landreth to our 460 Yonge Campus.

Landreth, who won the 2005 Best Animated Short Oscar for Ryan was on hand on March 6 to deliver his world-renowned Making Faces Masterclass to a select group of Video Game students and alumni.

Rob Elsworthy, Director of TFS’s Video Game Design & Animation program, called it both a pleasure and a privilege to have Landreth share his knowledge of facial animation with TFS students.

“Chris directly contributed to the development of the animation tools that have constituted the industry standard for modelling and animation since 1994 (Alias/JaliResearch), so it was an honour to have him here, sharing his expertise with our students,” Elsworthy said of the Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, whose award-winning films Ryan, Bingo and The Spine have been widely lauded for the expressive quality of the animated faces.

Over the course of the nearly two-hour hybrid Masterclass, which also featured a post-lecture Q&A, Landreth discussed how, from the moment we’re all born, people are hard-wired to notice the minute details of human faces – be it recognizing a friend we haven’t seen in 30 years, knowing when someone is faking a smile, or sensing something is wrong when a person breaks eye contact for half a second.

We know when a face is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ within a moment of looking at it, he said.

Chris Landreth leads Masterclass

With that in mind, Landreth’s lecture focused on teaching students how to create and animate the faces of human characters the ‘right’ way – all while highlighting the expert facial animation tools he’s developed at JALI, which have been instrumental in powering the facial performances of characters in Triple-A titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II.

Learn more about Landreth here.

Cynthia Reason

Cynthia Reason (she/her) is a former newspaper journalist turned communications professional who currently works as Toronto Film School’s Manager of Communications. Prior to joining TFS, she spent 13 years working as a reporter for Torstar/Metroland Media Toronto, writing for publications including Toronto.com, the Etobicoke Guardian, and the Toronto Star, among others. Her byline has also appeared in the National Post. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Guelph and Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Humber College.

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