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GIRAF animation festival teaches cinematic flair and augmented reality

Presented by Calgary Quickdraw, the festival celebrates all kinds of animation

Animator Brandon Hearty specialized in augmented reality

Aaron Chatha / Metro

Animator Brandon Hearty specialized in augmented reality

As a kid, Brandon Hearty grew up watching Disney films and thinking he’d never to have to tools, time or talent to create such stunning sequences himself.

Adult animator Brandon Hearty knows that simply isn’t true.

In fact, creative, hard-working adult animator Brandon Hearty is actually leading the way in presenting animation using augmented reality.

It’s sort-of like Pokemon Go – using something like a cellphone, he creates works of art that trigger into animations using your phone.

Now, armed with the wonder of a child, Calgary-based, creative, hardworking, tech-pioneering, adult animator Brandon Hearty wants to give others the confidence to go out and animate.

He’s one of the professional animators teaching a workshop at this year’s GIRAF (Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival) event, focused at showing off cool animation from around the world, and teaching some valuable skills.

“I think, a large part of a lot of the workshops that are being offered at the animation festival have a lot to do with breaking that barrier between the average Joe and this cool, fun, exciting way to make art,” Hearty said. “We’re giving people the cheerleading and introductory skillset to get started on their own.”

As well, award-winning animator Sean Buckelew will host a workshop on animating a cinematic ‘money shot’ with zero budget.


The beauty of animation, for Hearty, is that you’re really giving life to something, completely from the ground up. The models and figures on a page take on a certain walk or way of breathing.

At Quickdraw Animation, the group that puts on the festival, they value how an animation can result from a singular idea. Unlike a movie with tons of cast and crew, nothing in an animation – from an arm movement to a table lamp – is placed within the frame without the animator carefully crafting it first.

“If you can draw it, render it, rig it, you can make whatever you want,” said Quickdraw executive director Peter Hemminger. “Even the animators coming out of our studio every day – the sheer amount of pure imagination, creativity and widely different aesthetics … they’ll come up with such different visions, it’s beautiful.”

One of those visions is from local director Tank Standing Buffalo, who directed Still, an animated music video for artist Sammy Jean.

The premiere will be at Quickdraw, where it will be featured with a number of other short films, both local and international.

The festival will also offer animation film screenings – from the popular Japanese animation Paprika to Junkhead, a stop-motion film created by one person over eight years.

GIRAF runs from Nov. 23 to 26. Visit for more information.

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