René Jodoin was born in Hull on December 30, 1920. After graduating from the École des beaux-arts in 1943, he joined the National Film Board, working with Norman McLaren in the Animation Section.
In 1966, Jodoin founded the French Animation Studio at the NFB, and would remain as its head until 1977. During that time, he promoted an artisanal approach to animation, with an emphasis on experimentation, innovation and education. As early as 1969, he began experimenting with computer-assisted animation, leading notably to the production of Hunger, directed by Peter Foldès. Jodoin produced some forty films, the best-known being The Bronswik Affair by Robert Awad and André Leduc, Monsieur Pointu by André Leduc and Bernard Longpré, Balablok by Bretislav Pojar and Entre chiens et loup by Pierre Hébert.
Jodoin developed his particular approach to animation as a disciple of Norman McLaren, with whom he co-directed two films, Alouette and Spheres. Like McLaren, Jodoin felt that as a government-supported artist he had a duty to make films with a public purpose and accordingly directed a number of training films, such as An Introduction to Jet Engines (1959). Dance Squared, which he made in 1961, began a cycle of films that would also include Notes on a Triangle, Rectangle & Rectangles and A Matter of Form. In their rigorous manipulation of geometric forms, these educational films were also important as experimental works.Following his retirement from the NFB in 1985, René Jodoin began experimenting with filmmaking on his home computer.