A Winnipeg animation studio talks shop after the release of their first feature film

By Eric Antonio

On Sept. 7, Netflix released Next Gen, an exclusive feature-length animated film about a girl named Mai, a robot named 7723, and their quest to save the world from an evil scientist.

Tangent Animation, a Canadian company with offices in both Winnipeg and Toronto, was tasked with animating the film. Though the majority of the traditional animation was done in Toronto, the Winnipeg location was in charge of most of the modeling, texturing, effects and lighting.

Visual effects artist Jyota Malcom was hired by Tangent early in Next Gen’s development.

“We are a fairly new studio, so the scope and the amount of work was definitely a hurdle, but we crushed it,” he said.

Jyota Malcom, 24, sits next to a paused trailer for Next Gen. During the film’s production, Malcom spent most of his time working on explosions. ERIC ANTONIO


According to Malcom, the Winnipeg studio employed approximately 60 people at the height of production, the majority of them being Red River College grads.

“Red River College is a huge influence within our company,” said the 24-year-old. “There are lots of interns coming in and it’s very likely if you do well here, we’ll say ‘Hey, can you come back?’”

Though Next Gen is Tangent’s first major project, the studio is excited for future projects of the same nature, said Malcom.

“It’s great to have this as a ‘This is what we can do, this is what Tangent can do, and this is what Winnipeg can do,’” he said.

Malcom offered advice to students looking to get into the animation industry.

He stressed the importance of having a polished portfolio, and highly encouraged keeping up with hobby projects after finding work.

“Keep pushing your personal work, because that’s where you’re going to see your own growth,” he said.

3D Computer Graphics instructor Tom Lepp also had some advice for students interested in animation.

“You just have to take on that mindset of, if you want to be in this business, you have to be constantly learning and constantly evolving with the state of change,” said Lepp.

Tom Lepp’s 3D Computer Graphics students work on an assignment. ERIC ANTONIO


Lepp spoke highly of former students and their abilities in the field.

“Our best grads compete with grads from any other school throughout the world,” he said.

The 3D Computer Graphics is a third-year specialization of the Digital Media Design program. Typically, 15 students are accepted per year. It’s a full-time course, but students receive a one-year advanced diploma upon graduation.