Monday, 26 September 2016

Animation Apprentice Visits Jellyfish Pictures

Jellyfish Pictures in Brixton
Last week some of our London-based students were treated to a studio tour of Jellyfish Pictures, getting a unique behind-the-scenes peek into the workings of a growing animation studio.

Jellyfish are a relatively new kid on the London block, but they have grown from modest beginnings to become a major player in visual effects animation and also TV series work - which is currently booming in our home town.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thief & The Cobbler - A Moment in Time - NYC

Richard Williams' unfinished masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler - A Moment in Time - is to be screened in NYC in tonight and on saturday at MOMA - New York's temple of modern art.

The screening was featured in the New York Times - you can read about it here.

To buy tickets to see this rarely-screened film, follow the link to the Moma website here.

Anyone serious about studying animation should see Williams' film at least once. This event is a rare chance to catch a film made utterly without artistic compromise. And of course a chance to meet Williams' himself, who will appear in a Q&A after the film.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Animation Jobs! at

Finding a job can be a job in itself, especially in the creative industries, and especially when you're just starting out in your career.

One website that is well worth bookmarking (and checking regularly) is, which hosts a wealth of opportunities - including jobs in animation.

You can narrow your search by keywords, such as "UK", "animation" and so on, so you can quickly find out who is hiring in your neighbourhood. It's a great site, and one we are recommending for all our students who are hunting down their first job in industry.  To find the site, follow this link.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Charge sync is Looking for Investors!

Chargesync, the tech company which commissioned a short film from Nano Films for their new product launch, has now gone live - actively looking for investors at  Our students at Animation Apprentice made the short film (see above) for Chargesync as part of our Nano Films project, where we bring in small animation commissions to get our students live industry briefs for real clients.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Very Warm Welcome To Our New Online MA Students!

The world's first online MA in animation
We're excited to welcome all our new students who will soon be starting our online MA in animation, launched one year ago here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.

This is a unique degree - the first of its kind - which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

You will not only learn how to be a professional animator, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form. So, what is this degree all about, and what can our new students expect?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

3 Mills Studios Open House on Wednesday 21st September - Just £5

Stop-motion animation specialists 3 Mills Studios in East London (the folks who brought you Fantastic Mr Fox) are collaborating with Creative Skillset to open their doors on Wednesday 21st September.

For one evening only, visitors will have the chance to pose questions to the animation talent who have worked on some of the biggest TV and film productions right here in London.

Recent productions on site include many and varied projects (not just animation) such as Masterchef, The Royals, The Sound of Music - Live, Jekyll & Hyde and Legend.

On the night you will be also be able to get the inside scoop on live vacancies - such as production jobs, apprenticeships and  runner positions.

Monday, 12 September 2016

What Do Cinesite Look For in an Animation Demo Reel? Eamonn Butler Reveals the Secrets

Eamonn Butler
Last night a number of students at Animation Apprentice attended an animation event in London hosted by Escape Studios, part of their regular “Escape Labs” events – where they investigate the new technology that is driving the animation and visual effects industry.

The guest speaker was Cinesite’s head of animation, Eamonn Butler, who came to talk about Cinesite's expanding animation pipeline - developing and producing their own slate of animated films.

Of particular interest to our student animators was what Eamonn had to say on the subject of animation demo reels: what to do – and what not to do.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Bring Your Own Animation - Monday 19 September

The Lukin - BYOA!
"Bring Your Own Animation" (BYOA) is an animation event that takes place every month in London. This month it is being held at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come to share their passion and have a few drinks.  If you are a student, or a professional who's working on a shot or a reel, bring your work and get feedback from Professional Animators. Bring your work in a USB or external hard drive. They probably won't have a good internet connection. Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend that our students attend - if they are in the neighbourhood, of course.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Great Reference for Animals and Creatures from the BBC and Getty Images

Here is some great reference for animators, specialising in animal locomotion and behaviour, from the BBC and Getty Images.

The site is easily searchable so, say you need some reference footage of a cheetah running, it's all very easy to find. You can easily download the videos as .mp4 files, and then open them up in QuickTime so you can step through them frame by frame.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Meet Mery!

Meet Mery! We're recommending this excellent character rig (with some reservations) for use by our students at Animation Apprentice.

Mery is now live and available to download, and - best of all - is completely free.

One of the many benefits of animating with Autodesk Maya is the large and growing global community of artists who collaborate on freeware projects, bringing to life excellent animation rigs like this one.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Tech Talks at BAFTA Tomorrow

London SIGGRAPH is organising the second annual TECHTALKS, starting tomorrow August 31st. The event is being held in association with VFX powerhouse Double Negative, and is sponsored by Autodesk, makers of Maya, the animation software that is now the dominant platform in our industry.

TechTalks is a two-day conference which focuses on the technical side of our industry. As always, we strongly recommend that our students attend events of this kind. It's always good to know where the industry is heading, and you never know who you might meet.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Get Ready for Our September 5th Class!

Summer is still with us, but our new animation class starting on September 5th is fast approaching.

In our home city of London, animation production is up 300% over three years, with more growth on the way, and the industry crying out for studio-ready talent.

Below is a brief list of stuff to help you get ready for September 5th, including buying one or two books. You don't have to do all of this, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

To Reference or Not To Reference

What is referencing, and when should animators use it? File referencing ("referencing", for short) is the process in Autodesk Maya which allows the animator to make changes to an animation rig in the course of production and have the new rig automatically update itself to all your existing animation files. It's pretty much what most studios use to manage their animation pipeline, one way or another, as most production rigs are a work in progress.

The question for animators working and studying from home is, should you import the rig directly into your shot, or should you use referencing? Here are the pros and cons.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Meet the Dino Rig!

Here at Animation Apprentice we're liking this dinosaur rig by Harry Gladwin-Geoghegan. It's a great free rig for Maya animators, and you can download it here.

The Dino rig excellent for doing creature locomotion, and just about the only thing it won't do is close-ups, as the facial controls are quite limited.

But, to get some great dino action on your animation demo reel, this could be the best rig to choose.

Monday, 8 August 2016

11 Second Club

Chicken or egg?
It's August! You could be heading for the beach to relax or, like many of our dedicated animators here at Animation Apprentice, you could be polishing your animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character competition in which aspiring animators compete to win prizes and get their work noticed.

Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided on the first day of every month by the club. This month our students will tackle a question of philosophy: which came first, chicken or egg?

Monday, 1 August 2016

"Jelly Cars" by Lee Caller

From time to time we like to showcase some of the best work done by our students here at Animation Apprentice. "Jelly Cars" a very inventive piece of film-making by Lee Caller, who has animated a short film as one of his weekly animation submissions. It's a great piece of storytelling, entertaining and fun - and beautifully animated.  It's just the kind of work we like to see our students do - taking a simple exercise (in this case, animating a cartoon car, using the yellow Beetle rig by Aaron Parker), and bringing it to life, going far beyond the initial brief to create some really fun animation.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Maya 2017....Now With Added Arnold

Autodesk has just released a new version of Maya, titled Maya 2017 (I know, we're only half way through 2016) - which now features an entirely new system for rendering your images. 

The old ray trace renderer, Mental Ray, has been dropped, and Autodesk have chosen Arnold instead. For those of you have have never used Arnold before, and might have some catching up to do, Animation Apprentice student Lee Caller has helpfully put together a YouTube playlist of videos that will walk you through the basics of the Arnold renderer. 

Arnold is a great renderer, and no doubt a significant improvement on Mental Ray. However, there is a catch, and it's a pretty big one.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

2016 Student Demo Reel

Check out our latest awesome student demo reel! This 2016 edit includes animation by many of our students including Lee Caller, Joris Van Laar, Karl Cotta and Neil Whitman. We're proud of the excellent work done by our students here at Animation Apprentice, taking our animation briefs and pushing them far beyond what one might expect, to create an imaginative and inventive performance. A good animator isn't just a technician, they also have to learn to entertain an audience. And our students are doing just that.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Les Adventures Extraordinaires d'Edgar

Les Adventures Extraordinaires d'Edgar is a new TV Commercial animated by Animation Apprentice graduates Henry Fenwick and Rory Marchant. Henry and Rory have set up a small animation company to do freelance animation, in effect setting up their own virtual studio, doing work of a high standard for commercial clients.  Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our graduates to think not just of being employees at animation companies (though there is nothing wrong with that!) but also of taking on freelance projects and also developing their own intellectual property. We congratulate Henry and Rory on a great piece of animation - and on their entrepreneurial flair.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Finding Dory Team in London on Monday 11 July

Come and grab your free chance to meet Andrew Stanton and the rest of the team behind Finding Dory, Pixar's new sequel to the original Pixar classic - Finding Nemo.

It's not that often that Pixar royalty make it to our shores - so don't miss this chance to meet some of the greatest animation film-makers of our age.

The event is at the Apple Store in Covent Garden on Monday 11 July at 6pm.

So what's stopping you? Book your place now!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Character Walk Reference for Animators by Houman Sorooshnia

Above is an excellent video of walk reference by animator Houman Sorooshnia, who has done a whole series of different live action character walks. It's a great resource, and it looks like he had a lot of fun acting them all out.  As animators, tackling walk cycles is a great way to learn the craft of animation and also a very good way to dig into character.  After all, how someone walks tells us a lot about who they are, and what kind of mood they are in.  If you can convey to an audience the personality and character of someone just by the way they are walking - then you are well on your way to becoming a professional animator.