Animation student captures hearts of contest judges


Michael Wang, left, with winning artwork, alongside Ubisoft art director Scott Lee

Michael Wang, left, with winning artwork, alongside Ubisoft art director Scott Lee


Sheridan’s talent left multinational video game developer Ubisoft in awe last Thursday.

Ubisoft, known for games such as Assassins Creed and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, hosted their first ever Ubi Gallery contest at their Toronto studio on Wallace Avenue.

“We want to see students reach for the stars and fall rather than not try at all,” said Scott Lee, art director for Ubisoft Toronto, setting the tone for the company’s award ceremony.

The game developers’ first contest gives students the opportunity to have their work seen by professionals and be rewarded if it’s good enough.

“I was really surprised by the quality of the entrants. I’m inspired by the students’ art. I’m very impressed,” said Lee.

With seven students making the final cut, it was a hard decision for the judges to choose one winner.

In the end, it came down to the artwork most relevant to gaming, and Sheridan’s Michael Wang captured the hearts and souls of Ubisoft’s judges.

“There was a great debate to see what criteria we were looking for. Are we looking at concept art, worlds for video games? Or are we looking for pure art,” said Jeff Kaldma, office administrator for the company’s Toronto building.

“I’m nervous and excited. This was a big surprise,” said Wang, a third-year Animation student. “I never thought I’d have the chance to be inside Ubisoft. I’m really grateful for this opportunity.”

And while Wang took home the prize, Sheridan’s honors didn’t stop there.  Of the seven finalists, three students, including Wang, attend Sheridan College.

The gallery also saw the works of Linda Yan, a third-year Illustration student, and Gary Chan, a Visual and Creative Arts student.

“I’ve never done this before, I’m very nervous,” said Yan. “But it’s always so inspiring, doing concepts and making your own world.”

The atmosphere at the Ubisoft studio encouraged and inspired the artists to push each other further.

“Whenever I see new work created by artists, it’s very inspiring. I want to get on their level,” said Chan.

“It really is a love of art. It’s a tough job. If you’re a professional artist, it means you do it all the time, all day every day,” said Lee. “It’s much different than just doing art as a hobby.”

And with such a competitive environment, it’s really important for everyone to give it their all, Kaldma said. “You really have to be on the ball, one bad move and it can sink a studio,” he said. “It’s really important to put out your best work. You won’t have a next game if you don’t.”

Though the work is tough, all of the students were very proud to have made it so far in Ubisoft’s contest. Many of them, hope one day to work at the multinational game developer.

“We have lots of Sheridan graduates who work with us, some of them at very senior levels,” said Lee. “What’s important is that you stay proud. That means you finish your work. You have it print ready. The next hardest thing is staying at the leading edge, and constant self improvement.”

Ubisoft will run the contest annually. For more information visit