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Press Release | Entertainment

Press Release: Master class with special effects animator, Disney veteran and author, Joseph Gilland, to take place in Toronto, Ontario on February 20

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Elemental Magic Workshop: an organic approach to special effects animation - master class with Special effects animator, Disney veteran and author, Joseph Gilland.

Toronto, ON February 1, 2011 – The Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) in partnership with the NFB Mediatheque is pleased to announce a special workshop and masterclass with author, special effects animator and DISNEY veteran, Joseph Gilland, based on his ground-breaking book, “Elemental Magic: The Classical Art of Hand-Drawn Special Effects Animation” (Focal Press, 2009). The event takes place February 20, 2011 from 10 am – 5 pm at the NFB Mediatheque.

Speaking about his workshop, Gilland says, “The Elemental Magic workshop is not just a cute little tip of the hat to traditional animation principles. This is vital stuff that cannot be left behind in the rush to embrace ‘cutting edge’ digital technology. Elemental Magic brings the organic imaginative process

back into the picture of the 'digital' revolution of visual effects.”

There will also be a book signing with Joseph Gilland the day before the workshop, on February 19, 2011, from 3 – 5 pm at The Labyrinth Books on Bloor St. W.

About the workshop:

In this inspirational, full-day workshop, Gilland brings a fresh perspective to understanding the underlying energy behind elemental special effects such as fire, water, smoke, explosions and magic. 

Drawing on a life-long mission to capture the essential energy of the elements, Gilland urges his workshop participants to explore the natural world around them and inside them, to tap into the true nature of the elements and thus bring fresh, dynamic energy to the visual effects that they create.

About Joseph Gilland:
In his long and storied animation career, Joseph has utilized his traditional and digital animation talents at such studios as Walt Disney Feature Animation, Don Bluth Animation, and the National Film Board of Canada. At Walt Disney Feature Animation, Joseph served as Supervisor of Visual Effects for the Disney classics “Lilo & Stitch” and “Brother Bear”. Joseph also served as Head of Florida Special Effects Unit for the features “Kingdom of the Sun” and “Tarzan”, and was Special Effects Animator on such notable titles as “Pocahontas”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “James and the Giant Peach”, “Hercules” and “Mulan”. His broad experience also includes animating for video games, on several short film projects at the National Film Board of Canada, and directing dozens of television commercials as an independent director. From 2003 to 2005, Joseph headed up the world-renowned animation program at the Vancouver Film School.  Joseph is currently writing a follow up volume to “Elemental Magic: The Classical Art of Hand-Drawn Special Effects Animation” (Focal Press, 2009).


An Organic Approach to Special Effects Animation with JOSEPH GILLAND



$15, $10 TAIS/NFB members


SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2011, 3 - 5 PM

The Labyrinth, 386 Bloor Street West (Bloor & Dalton Streets)


Presented in partnership with The NFB Mediatheque and with funding support from The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.

Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS) is a non-profit artist-run centre committed to promoting the art of animation and supporting animators as artists. Founded in 1984, TAIS continues to encourage the exchange of information, facilities, ideas and aesthetics within Toronto's animation community through events, screenings, workshops, commissions, art exhibitions, and by providing affordable access to a specialized animation studio. The TAIS membership is made up of independent and professional animators, educators, enthusiasts and artists. TAIS is supported by its members and patrons, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Media Inquiries | Contact Tara Schorr | Toronto Animated Image Society | 416-533-7889 | |

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