Autodesk and Unity are joining returning partners Animation Mentor and Toon Boom to expand Women in Animation’s awards for the organization’s 2021 WIA Scholarship recipients.

WIA gives out scholarships annually to college students studying animation who demonstrate artistic talent, a passion for animation, a financial need and a promising future in the industry. The application process is open to college students worldwide who identify as female or non-binary and who are pursuing degrees in various animation disciplines.

“WIA is thrilled to have leading 3D software developer Autodesk and Unity, the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content, join returning partners Animation Mentor and Toon Boom for the 2021 Scholarship Program,” said WIA president Marge Dean. “We’ve been extremely fortunate to have ongoing support from Animation Mentor, the premium mentoring program for our industry, as well as Toon Boom, the leader in storyboard and 2D animation software, which — in addition to providing access to their innovative software and training — has very generously supported WIA’s scholarship fund, further enabling the next generation of diverse talents. We are grateful to all of this year’s industry partners for their commitment to furthering educational opportunities and resources for scholarship recipients.”

Autodesk will provide scholarship recipients with licenses to its 3D modeling and animation software as well as yearlong subscriptions to either Autodesk Maya or Autodesk 3ds Max. “It’s inspiring to be part of a project like the WIA Scholarship Program which provides rising talent with the resources to take their careers to the next level, and paves the way for more diverse storytellers and leaders in our industry,” said Autodesk industry marketing manager, entertainment, Jocelyn Moffatt.

Unity will offer 15 annual Unity Pro licenses and 15 annual ArtEngine licenses to help recipients gain skills using real-time 3D tools and technology found in the animation industry.

Animation Mentor will provide one WIA Animation Scholarship winner with a six-week workshop, offering the recipient a choice among a 13 courses, including Maya Workshop: Animation Basics, Cartoony Animation for 3D Animators and the brand new course 2D Animation: Walk Cycles & Character Movement. “Animation Mentor is so excited to continue our partnership with Women in Animation,” said Animation Mentor co-founder Bobby Beck. “WIA’s many great resources and worthy mission benefit not only our students but the animation industry as a whole.”

Toon Boom will offer scholarship recipients both software and scholarship funds. Finalists will receive one-year bundled licenses of Storyboard Pro and Harmony Premium and three scholarship winners will split scholarship funds. “Toon Boom Animation is focused on strengthening its partnership with WIA by working together on projects that encourage diversity and female leadership in animation arts and business,” said Toon Boom’s director of marketing Stephanie Quinn. “By providing women animators the best software and training, we look to support their creative journeys from inspiration to big screen.”

The deadline to apply for the WIA Animation Scholarship Program is Dec. 1 with recipients to be announced in February 2021. For more information, visit the WIA website.