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April 22, 2015

Blizzard Entertainment animator offers advice for breaking into game design field

Five questions for Hunter Grant

Blizzard Entertainment animator offers advice for breaking into game design field

Hunter Grant is the Lead Animator for In-Game Cinematics at Blizzard Entertainment. He has also worked for game studios 3DO, EA, Interplay, and Point of View. At Omation Animation Studio, he worked on the Barnyard movie. He came CIA in March to speak with students about his career and the videogame animation field and teach a workshop.

You started your college career studying to be an architect. What changed your mind and are you glad you made the switch?

Spending 6 hours tracing building plans in ink onto vellum paper trying desperately not to mess up while listening to a senior critique happening. That and not being able to understand calculus.

What skills should students develop in order to succeed in this field?

Strong work ethic and being proactive. Never have an excuse as to why you didn't do something, or why you didn't learn something. If you want to learn it or create it, the information is available to anyone willing to find it.

What other recommendations do you have for animation students hoping to work for companies like Blizzard?

Know that your work and your personality (reputation) is all you have. So make your work meet or exceed the quality bar and make sure you are the type of person that brings positive energy to a team.

The faculty members teaching in CIA’s Animation and Game Design departments have worked – and in many cases, continue to work – for some of the top names in the business. How important is it for aspiring animators and game designers to learn from artists who have direct experience in these fields?

I think it is extremely important for students to learn from people who have direct experience in the industry they are trying to enter. It helps with knowing exactly what students should be learning to be hire-able, but also for the connections in said industry. However, I do believe that those individuals teaching also need to be great teachers. Not every professional makes a great teacher. It is a learned skill to be able to disseminate information to others.

What did you think of the students you met at CIA and the work they are producing?

I thought the students were very positive and took feedback well. (I however didn't get to look at very much work because I had to catch a flight home soon after the lecture.)

Above, Hunter Grant, left, clowns around with Tomas Jech, senior animator at Riot Games. Both professionals came to CIA in late March for a five day blitz of visiting artist talks and workshops on animating for the videogame industry.

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