Our visit to Tribal DDB

(guest post by Jay Lee)

DDB is one of the most successful and award-winning international agencies. Digital Design Class 33 had the pleasure of visiting DDB Vancouver to catch a glimpse of their creative process. Upon entering the office, the walls proudly displayed framed work they have produced for various brands. We were escorted to the lounge, where we were greeted by Antonio Roman and Gabriel Santiago, Digital Design alumni who are now interactive designers at the agency, and Josh Fehr, the creative director of Tribal DDB.

After brief introductions, we were presented with some of their recent projects with EVO, Volkswagen, and Metropolis. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session where Josh and Antonio emphasized the importance of ‘share value’ in the digital era and original ideas that deliver tangible results. They led us on a tour around the office, where we experienced their creative process first-hand. The walls were covered with moodboards and style guides, which we have become very familiar with in our school curriculum. The team members were discussing ideas in a meeting with champagne in hand, which we learned is a fun Friday afternoon ritual at the office.

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Our visit to Giant Ant

(guest post by Ignacio Florez)

It was a Tuesday afternoon when we, the Digital Design Class 33, found ourselves walking through Chinatown, Vancouver. We were looking for a little place known as Giant Ant. Today was going to be the day when Jay Grandin, one of its founders, was going to give us a talk.

Giant Ant is one of the most respected motion and live action production companies, not only in Vancouver or even in Canada, but possibly in the world. When someone thinks about motion graphics, it’s undeniable that this studio comes to mind. It’s known mostly for its colourful animations and playful style.

We made it to Giant Ant. In a way, the big room where designers, cinematographers and the whole team work made a lot of sense — It was a creative environment. There were Macs everywhere, Wacom tablets, a handmade bicycle rack, and even some cool, hanging, round lights. There were around 20 people working on their computers, completely focused.

Jay greeted us and we followed him to the meeting room. He’s a laid-back guy and, in a way, Giant Ant seems like a reflection of his personality. He was honest from the start: there is no structure when it comes to introducing this type of production company to students. He started talking about the history behind the company; he’s an industrial designer who got into the video world and started Giant Ant with his wife, Leah. In the beginning it was only them and a phone, then things started growing – and growing.

Jay showed us some of their latest work, which inspired many questions from our group, and we looked at some of their storyboards as well as their whole creative process. It’s worth noting how detailed their storyboards are – as Jay explained, at first they were very simple, then they realized that they had to make them as detailed as possible so that the production process could be smoother. Pre-production is probably the most important part of the creative process!

Our questions were mainly divided into two categories: market experience and Giant Ant. There were many things we were curious about: what are they looking for when they hire, how many videos they make a year, how the relationship is between them and the client, how they divide the workload between them, how much time it takes to make some of their motion pieces, how their cinematography team works, what kind of work an intern does, etc.

Giant Ant’s overall objective is to give life to the message, and ensuring the message is as good as it can get. They can be working on a 3D animation piece, but they may have cell animation on top and some After Effects animation in there too – whatever it takes to make it look great. We also discussed how to ensure a piece is well done yet also creates something that tries to break barriers and introduce new ideas to the studio. They’re not afraid to approach unknown techniques and take the time and experimentation to get the result they want.

As for us, we will continue to find our own style and hopefully our way through the journey in which we embarked on when we arrived at VFS.

Thank you for having us, Giant Ant!


On the Wall : September 2015

On the Wall - September 2015

In the early weeks of each new term, the students in Digital Design are encouraged to submit images from work that they did in the previous term. They are welcome to submit anything from character or logo designs, interface mockups, to even screen captures from their motion design work. The work is then posted online so that all of the Digital Design students can vote on the work, resulting in a “Of The Students, By The Students” selection of winners, who then see their work framed and mounted On The Wall around the campus.
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recap of DD Talks: Engagement and Emotion

On July 30th, VFS Digital Design presented a well-received DD Talks event with the theme of Engagement and Emotion: Interactive Digital Content and Public Multimedia PlatformsJorge R. Canedo Estrada, a DD alumnus and Associate Creative Director & Animator from Giant Ant, spoke first to promote Blend, a festival taking place this October. Jorge mentioned this festival grew from the online community of Wine after Coffee, a Vimeo channel dedicated to celebrating amazing animations. Blend will be a two-day gathering of some of the biggest names in the motion design industry with speakers from BuckGiant AntTendril and an inspiring mix of artists, some yet to be announced. This will be the first time we will see such a collection of art and design talent in Vancouver.

Next to speak was Amahl Hazelton, a producer from Moment Factory. Moment Factory is an industry-leading collection of over 150 multidisciplinary creators who create public multimedia environments around the world that integrate video, lighting, architecture, sound, and special effects to create stunning and memorable experiences. Their projects range from innovative live performances such as Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show which they had a tight time frame of only eight weeks to produce to iconic permanent installations such as LAX and Vancouver’s own Canada Place Sails Light Show.

Amahl delighted the audience with stories and examples of Moment Factory’s work for Nine Inch Nails, Foresta Lumina, and Royal Caribbean International. Following his presentation, Amahl conducted a lengthy Q&A session where there was no shortage of questions from eager students.

The students were clearly inspired by the speakers. Thanks to Jorge and Amahl!

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Animated Typeface – League Gothic

It’s that time again where students in Term 3 at VFS Digital Design get to work on the Animated Typeface project. Recap: It is a collaborative class initiative where each student makes a second long animated sequence for 3 – 4 glyphs. This time League Gothic was used and this typeface was created by Tyler Finck, Micah Rich, and Dannci.

These sequences needed to be 25 frames long using three or fewer of the chosen colours. It has been amazing to see the incredible work.

To view the full project, please check out:


Here is what some students have to share about their experience:

Carolina Cortes

Carolina Animated Type Screenshot

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