MCV Pacific Women In Games: Kate Ianabeit

Kate has been at the coal face since the turn of the century.

After completing a Certificate IV in Applied Arts (3D Animation) at AIE/CIT Canberra, Kate begun working as a Junior Animator for Brilliant Interactive Ideas. The varied role saw her working across character animation for interactive web series’, Web Icon creation, and work with Motion Capture.

After the company closed down, Kate returned to study, and in 2002 she completed a Certificate IV Advanced 3D Computer Modelling and Animation at AIE Canberra.

Throughout 2002 and 2003 Kate worked as a contractor for Ambience Entertainment in Sydney. Here she animated character scenes in a music video clip for the ‘Boom Boom Satellites’.

In 2003 Kate moved south, joining Atari Melbourne House as a Senior Animator. She predominantly worked across in-game and cut scene animations, but also ranged from rigging through to model refinement, as well as posing and rendering high quality character stills for publicity shots. It was during this time that Kate published a monthly editorial column titled “Geekette” which focused on the industry and surrounding issues.

In 2006 she moved across to the THQ studio, Bluetongue Entertainment as a Senior Principle Animator and Animation Outsource Manager. As a Principal Animator she continued producing in-game and cut scene animations, as the Animation Outsource manager Kate maintained schedules for her teams (in house and overseas), supervised progress, provided feedback and ensured that the animations coming back adhered to the quality and style of our product. During this time the studio published a string of titles including: Marvel Superhero Squad, El Tigre, Nicktoons: Battle For Volcano Island, Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots, Barnyard, and the De Blob franchise.

In 2009 Kate was diagnosed with cancer, and recalls, “Bluetongue went above and beyond with their support through my operations, radiation and illness. In the end my health forced me to cut down to part time work and thus I transitioned to teaching and freelance animation.”

In 2010 Kate moved on to lecture Advanced Diploma of Games Development (Art) Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Here she created and delivered a broad range of industry relevant tutorials that cater to a career in Games Development including: Modelling, Rigging, Texturing, Animation, Lighting, Cinematography and in-game Level Creation. I also designed and ran holiday workshops.

In June 2012 she moved to ACMI Melbourne, serving as a Hothouse Workshop Mentor, providing instruction and art direction throughout the creation of mobile phone games, including 2D animation techniques, colour theory, asset creation and management, scope, team dynamic and game design.

During this time Kate also worked as an Animation Contractor for Robot Circus, overseeing and implementing the creation and rigging of all character models. Created key poses for animation and sculpted morph targets to generate emotional range of the characters within a Living Book – a new type of evolving storybook.

Her work with ACMI has continued until today, as Kate works as a Project Advisor and Sessional Lecturer, designing and delivering the students a series of lectures, tutorials and exercises that include Professional Portfolio Development, Games Design Studio, Scrum Development, and Animation.

In 2014 and this year, she designed and delivered six week Animation Summer Courses at RMIT. The course is an intensive workshop based around fully understanding the 12 Principles of Animation and how they apply to game characters.

Kate’s development focus as now shifted to her own yet to be released education based game/app for kids.

Outside of the above Kate has dedicated alot of her time to confernce participation and panel discussions around the issue of being a woman within the games industry. Over the years she has been involved with;

  • AGDC, Volunteer 1999
  • AGDC, Graduate Representative 2003
  • GDAA, Panellist (Women in Games) 2003
  • AGDC, Panellist (Women in Games) 2004
  • Freeplay, Panellist (What it’s like to work in Games) 2004
  • IE, Conference Management Committee 2007
  • Atomic Live, Keynote Speaker (How Women Play Games) 2007
  • Freeplay, Judge and Panellist (What Game Development Means to Me) 2012
  • ACMI Generator, Panellist (Girls in Games) 2012
  • Freeplay, Judge 2015

In addition to this, Kate has also been active as an event organiser. In 2007 she organised and ran a successful industry sponsored games night designed to research and document the role women play in the games industry, how women like to play in comparison to men, and female’s validity as gamers and consumers. The results of this were published as a special three page feature in Atomic MPC Magazine, and presented at the Atomic Live conference in Sydney.

Kate also dedicates a sizable portion of her time to mentoring. She presents at numerous schools around Melbourne to discuss the merits of working in the Games Industry with the purpose of encouraging more girls to consider games development as a part of Women in Games Pathway. She is also actively involved in the Smith Family Mentor Program, providing ongoing one on one mentorship to underprivileged girls training to become game developers for the duration of their scholarship and beyond. Through the RMIT Graduates program, Kate also provided ongoing mentorship to students who are currently studying, recently graduated and applying for jobs in the games industry, or negotiating contracts as they traverse the industry as a developer in numerous roles across Australia and Overseas. Since 2015 Kate has also been a part of the ACMI GamesNet Mentorship Program.

Kate’s efforts and career has drawn the attention of the media over the years, being featured in various media including The Canberra Times, Creative Australia Magazine, Desktop Magazine, and Atomic MPC Magazine. Kate has also represented the various companies she has worked at to discuss and demonstrate their projects and/or process on JJJ Radio, Nickelodeon’s Sarvo, Sunrise Morning Show and BTN.

Kate tells us, “When I first entered game development it was a lonely space for a woman. I was either the only girl or one of just a couple of women, and now I look around in awe at the wealth and breadth of extraordinary female talent within the industry I love so much. A sisterhood of pioneers, challengers, and innovators, who mentor, inspire, support and educate the existing industry along with the future.”

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