Max the Mutt College of Animation, Art and Design provides an environment in which students are encouraged to work hard to achieve their full potential. The college guarantees small class size with serious individual instruction by highly qualified instructors who are working professionals in their fields. We offer students a solid, well rounded education, and the encouragement to help them develop as artists.
At the same time, we expect students to conduct themselves in a professional manner which includes the ability to take direction, meet deadlines, work cooperatively, and fulfill responsibilities. The development of good work habits is important in preparing for a successful career in animation, concept design, advertising, graphic design, art direction, comic books, or graphic novels. Our mission is to provide the industries we serve with professionals who are ready and able to contribute as entry level employees, and to provide our graduates with the knowledge, skills and confidence required, not just for their first job, but to build careers.
The inclusion of professionalism as part of our grading system has helped graduates make an easy transition to the workplace: they are used to meeting deadlines, taking criticism, and working as team members. Further, no one graduates without entry level skills for what they are studying.
We offer the only in depth concept art program in Canada for AAA Games and Animation. Graduates have been hired as full fledged Concept Artists straight from graduation (i.e. not as trainees or assistants).
We have had animation and concept art students hired as full animators (i.e. not just interns) while still in school, and several have been given summer internships and then asked to stay on (instead of completing their diplomas). Although we recommend against this practice to our students due to the rapid changes in animation and the need for as deep an education as possible, it speaks to the high level of our students even before they complete the program.
We don’t just set up our graduates for a first job - we set them up for life-long careers. We have many examples of success stories we are proud of - more than we can list here!
Alumni Employment Rates
From 2014-2017, our post-graduation employment rate is 87% for Animation graduates and 79% for Concept Art graduates. It may be higher but we have lost touch with some of our graduates (especially international ones) and are uncertain as to their status.
For 2018, 75% of Animation students and 79% of Concept Art students are or have been employed in the industry or went on to further studies.
We are still compiling data for 2019.
We are only in the 2nd year of our first four-year ISSA class so we don’t have rates for that program yet.
•Tiffani Brown | Background Painter, Corus/Nelvana. (2019 Graduate)
I wanted to email you both to say thank you. You saw something, and for some reason you decided to take a chance on me. You didn’t have to do that, but I am SO very thankful that you did. What I was taught at the school was invaluable. I learned SO much. I will never forget it.
Facilities & Staff
We are a small school but our staff and faculty work hard. We all believe in providing students with a rigorous but supportive educational environment, with a deeply ingrained respect for hands-on learning and individual, 1:1 instruction and feedback.
We know our students deeply value the instructors and the education they receive at Max the Mutt. Many of our graduates remain in touch with their instructors, program coordinators and school directors long after they finish.
Our school is not easy. We know we have demanding standards for our students. They work as hard, putting in up to 50+ hours a week between class time and assignments. This exacting standard ensures our students graduate with the highest level of education. We know it can be tough, though - so we offer students support like bringing in mental health counsellors, helping with housing, job searches and finances, ideas for stress relief and other supports as we can. We recently hired a dedicated Student Support staff to help facilitate and build this aspect of our school.
We are constantly reviewing our curriculum - a requirement as the industry changes so rapidly. We listen to any new industry instructor we bring in if they have suggestions about what we should be teaching, and allow them flexibility in bringing their unique perspectives to the classroom. At the same time, we have program coordinators who monitor industry trends, and are responsible for the ultimate decision making when it comes to curriculum changes and the addition or subtraction of software.
Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe/Substance Painter, ToonBoom Harmony, ToonBoom Storyboard Pro, NUKE (Foundry), Maya, ZBrush, Monkey Jam & Audacity (Freeware).
Industry-standard Intel based desktops with Nvidia Quadro production graphics cards, dedicated render farm for 3D rendering using Renderman and Arnold, Wacom tablets and Wacom styluses.
We want our students to develop an understanding of visual language, as it applies to both traditional and digital art forms, and the ability to take intelligent risks and explore a multitude of visual ideas. Our graduates understand the range of choices they have for creation, and which of those choices to make to get the effects they desire. They have the knowledge and skills to choose, for example, to develop illusions of deep space, shallow space, or create flat design.
We offer three, four-year diploma programs. The curriculum for these programs is the same for all students (to ensure they all graduate with the requisite skill sets).
Currently, the oldest and most popular program is Classical & Computer Animation & Production. In addition to a series of both classical and digital animation courses, the curriculum for this program includes in-depth drawing classes, cartooning, acting for animation, character design, background painting/design, and a sequence of visual language, storytelling and storyboarding courses. In Year 3, as the culmination of a series of linked courses, each student produces an original short, using 2D computer animation. While doing this, they begin their Introduction to 3D Animation course as well. In Year 4, students complete a group 3D film project, with an environment and feel set up to mimic the studio environment as closely as possible (including having a director and technical director/producer). The 4th year is six weeks longer than the previous years because of the intense amount of work required. The structure of this program allows students to hone their skills in various disciplines (rigging, lighting, compositing, etc.) during the academic portion of the year, in addition to the experience of being supervised like they would be in-studio during the actual film production. The curriculum is designed in a way that gives our graduates an experience that smooths their transition from student to professional. During this period, specialization of interested areas also takes place.
The Concept Art for Animation & Video Games diploma program was developed to meet the increasing level of proficiency required by the video game and animation industries in this area. The program offers a rigorous, in-depth curriculum based on suggestions and portfolio requirements from major video game producers and animation companies. It includes a mix of fine art, illustration, animation, and cartooning courses, as well as concept courses and instruction in all necessary computer software from Photoshop to Maya. Students in Year 4 work on a “real time” assignment for a hypothetical client.
Our Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts diploma program was designed with input from leading Canadian artists in the field. It gives students a broad and highly employable skill base that includes using digital media, creating mobile comics, knowledge of the entire Adobe Suite, essential graphic design and illustration for advertising skills, storyboarding for film and advertising. Year 4 contains a full year (2-semester) graphic novel development course that leaves each graduate with a package that can be pitched to publishers. Core courses include all the basics of creating, penciling and inking comics, storytelling and scripting for comics, and children's book illustration.
We also offer art and animation workshops, portfolio development courses and professional development courses. Just some of the examples are listed below.
|Classical & Computer Animation & Production||4 years||Year 1 - 3: $11,850 ($14,000 International)/yearYear 4 - $12,850 ($14,000 International)||September|
|Concept Art for Animation & Video Games||4 years||Year 1 - 4: $11,850 ($14,000 International)/year||September|
|Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts||4 years||Year 1 - 4: $11,850 ($14,000 International)/year||September|
|3D Rigging Animation and Python||72 hours||$1,800||Variable times throughout the year|
|Intro to Traditional Fine Art Skills & Portfolio Development Certificate Program||180 hours||$2,430||Summer|
|“Learn to Draw” Portfolio Development||48 hours||$875||Variable times throughout the year|
|Introduction to Animation||30 hours||$400||Variable times throughout the year|
|Comic Books||30 hours||$400||Variable times throughout the year|
|Cartooning Part 1 and 2||30 hours||$400||Variable times throughout the year|
|Introduction to Life Drawing||30 hours||$400||Variable times throughout the year|
Max the Mutt is a community of mainly working professionals, which means that our industry connections are deep and we are in touch with changing skills and knowledge requirements.
We have strong contacts in the animation, illustration and video game industries, and, since so many instructors are working professionals, we also have connections with many animation and video game studios. Our annual Industry Event is already well attended by representatives from animation, gaming companies and film, as well as publishers. Our new 4 year ISSA program is now underway, so we are also reaching out to creative staffing agencies and literary agents.
Ubisoft, Corus/Nelvana, Brown Bag/9 Story, YOWZA!, Sony Imageworks, Mercury Filmworks, Pixar, ShadowMachine, National Film Board of Canada, Warner Bros Games, Cartoon Network, Guru, Industrial Bros, Portfolio Entertainment, Spinmaster, Disney, Tangent Animation and many others
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