Selkirk College Digital Arts & New Media Program (DANM) student Harley Palmer can pinpoint the time he discovered a passion for 3D computer animation. He was six-years-old and like many kids in the mid-90s was awestruck with a revolutionary animated series created by Vancouver-based production company Mainframe Entertainment.
“When I first saw ReBoot, I knew that’s what I wanted to be part of,” Palmer says of the first half-hour completely computer animated TV series that began in 1994. “I have made it my passion and drive to get into that industry.”
Harley Palmer is a second year student in the Selkirk College Digital Arts & New Media Program. In the program’s Maker Lab, students are encouraged to explore their passions using all the latest tools and knowledge.
Later this month Palmer and his DANM classmates will graduate from the two-year diploma program and head into a highly creative industry with an exciting future. During his time at Selkirk College, Palmer has acquired a wide variety of new skills—graphic design, digital photography, digital video and audio editing, mobile application development, motion graphics, web design—but the source of his passion has remained.
“All the rest of the learning in the program is a bonus, I just wanted to increase my knowledge of 3D animation,” he says.
Taking Learning to a New Level
Palmer grew up in Fruitvale and started to dabble in computer animation when he was 13. After high school, Palmer spent several years working in retail and when he was 26 decided to return to post-secondary. Though he had been away from formal learning for a few years, his desire to understand more about computer animation had only increased.
“It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you have the passion and drive… just do it,” he says. “I think that everybody that takes the program doesn’t think about age.”
As an added bonus, DANM instructor Jason Taylor worked on the ReBoot series before arriving to teach at Selkirk College. There was an immediate bond.
The world of 3D printing is a fascinating one and students in the Selkirk College Digital Arts & New Media Program are getting involved in this exciting medium. More on 3D printing in this feature from Global television's 16X9 program.
“The opportunity to come here and know that you are coming to improve yourself has been very important to me,” says Palmer. “Having the teachers who are going to help you find ways to improve yourself is the best thing about the program, there are so many great teachers here with valuable knowledge.”
One of the areas of learning that Palmer has unexpectedly capitalized on is the world of 3D printing. In a tucked away corner of the Tenth Street Campus is the DANM Program’s Maker Lab. In the lab, students are encouraged to take their learning to the next level and in Palmer’s case that has been accomplished by building his own 3D printer.
3D printers take computer code and create physical objects. At the highest level, the technology is able to create objects for industrial design, aerospace engineering and the medical industry. It can also be used to create models, toys and art.
“Being able to hold something that you create on the computer that is just data and turn it into atoms is totally mind-blowing,” says Palmer.
A Future Full of Opportunity
In the fast-moving digital world, the skills being developed in the DANM Program are in demand. Though still a few weeks away from receiving his diploma, Palmer is already working on a contract for a Calgary-based company where is doing set-up for an animated production.
“Getting to be part of a part of a production is really cool,” says Palmer. “It’s always something I wanted to do, but didn’t expect to be doing it this early in my career.”
Harley Palmer's inspiration for 3D animation comes from the Canadian television production ReBoot. The animated half-hour show was produced by Vancouver's Mainframe Entertainment and first came to television in 1994.
This Friday night at Nelson’s Mary Hall on the Tenth Street Campus, Palmer and his classmates will be bringing a showcase of their talents to the community at the annual Year End Show. Students will have displays set up that feature their work over the last few months. Everything from photography to animated shorts will be on display. Palmer will have his 3D printer set up and some examples of his animation work.
“Everybody has their own unique story to tell through their artwork,” says Palmer. “It will be a very interesting night because there is so much talent in this program.”
The DANM Year End Show runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Mary Hall. Admission is free and the entire community is invited to come check it out.