Thursday, 16 February 2017

Frame Store's Fantastic Beasts - And How They Made Them

At the VFX Festival last week, Framestore's Christian Manz talked about "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", explaining how Framestore brought these amazing digital creatures to life.

The address followed on from a packed recruitment talk also given by Framestore - both events were standing-room only.  Framestore is one of London's leading VFX houses, one of the reasons why London is a global hub for high-end visual effects work.

So, what were the secrets behind this remarkable film, and how did Framestore bring photo-realistic goblins and other fantastical creatures to life?

Monday, 13 February 2017

Star Wars Rogue One at the VFX Festival

This past week the Rich Mix arts centre in Shoreditch played host to the London VFX Festival, and ILM's presentation of The making of "Star Wars Rogue One" was - unsurprisingly - one of the most popular events.

John Galloway - compositing supervisor at ILM, and Steve Ellis, CG Supervisor, were there to introduce the "Star Wars Rogue One" story, one of 2016's most successful VFX movies.

So, how did the London ILM team help to create such an impressive film, and how did they meet the expectations of the legions of Star Wars fans?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Govt Industrial Strategy Highlights Creative Industries - Good News for Our Students

Support for "Creative Industries"
Theresa May's Government recently released an Industrial Strategy that highlights a number of sectors that they believe will lead to new jobs and growth in the future.

Among these are listed the creative industries, suggesting that our Government will continue to offer support to the business of - among other things - animation, games and visual effects.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Sci Fi Animation by Joe Gamble.



Check out this excellent Sci Fi animation by Animation Apprentice student Joe Gamble, who has taken the basic brief of animating a walk cycle and pushed it to the next level. As with everything we do, animators are not just technicians - we are entertainers and story-tellers. Joe has created an intriguing world for his character and - best of all - makes us want to know "what will happen next?". Congratulations to Joe on some great work.

Friday, 3 February 2017

History of Pixar



Above is an excellent short film about the history of the Pixar studio. It's a promotional piece, but also a great introduction to the history of the modern medium, the second "Golden Age" of animation. Among the impressive insights into the story-telling process at Pixar are John Lasseter suggesting that "every Pixar film at one point in time was the worst motion picture ever made". Why? Because "it's a process". In other words, it's not the doing of the thing, it is the re-doing of it that really counts.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Learn to Animate in Photoshop!



Here at Animation Apprentice we teach 3D animation, with a strong focus on the kind of skills needed to succeed in the demanding world of visual effects. That means a lot of animal and creature work, perfecting the kind of photo-real style that London studios such as Framestore and MPC specialise in.  But we also do 2D work as well, and recent releases of Photoshop now allow animators to animate with great flexibility in this most universal of software packages. In the video above you can watch a character walk cycle animated in Photoshop. Who needs Flash, After Effects or TV Paint when you can do it all with software that most digital artists already know how to use?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Emma Thorpe Gets Job at King Bee Animation

An internship at an animation studio is often a necessary first step to entering the industry. An internship gives you real-world experience of the business, will helps you to build contacts and - hopefully - might even lead to a full-time job.

In December last year Animation Apprentice student Emma Thorpe landed an internship with King Bee animation, based at the historic Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, just outside of London. And, fortunately, that internship has since turned into a job.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Meet Billy Butler at Framestore on 2 February

Escape Studios in West London is hosting another free event for students - an "Evening With..." coming up on Thursday 2 February at their Shepherd's Bush studio, with Billy Butler,  Lead Modeler at Framestore.

Billy has a serious amount of VFX experience, having worked on hit movies such as Gravity, Animalia and Sucker Punch.

Billy will be showing students his demo reel and talking about his experience in the VFX industry. This is a superb event for any of our students in the London area who would like to find out more about 3D and VFX - and 3D modeling in particular. 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Alexi Balian's Art & Design Academy

Alexi Balian was one of the first students to study at Animation Apprentice, and he will soon be among the first students to graduate with an MA from our online MA in Animation, delivered in partnership with Bucks New University.

Alex has made a career of teaching animation. In his capacity as Provincial and National Skills Canada Chair for 2D and 3D Character Animation, Alexi also runs workshops and seminars in Canada through his Animation Art & Design Academy.

Monday, 23 January 2017

John Watkiss 1961 - 2017

John Watkiss 1961-2017
The brilliant John Watkiss has died, taken by cancer at the much-too-young age of 55

I first met John when I was just 16, when I used to tag along with my sketchpad at the life drawing classes that he taught at my Dad's old studio in Soho Square, and later at "The Diorama" Arts Centre in Regent's Park.

John wouldn't just tell you how to improve your work - he would sit down and show you how to make it better.  Anyone who attended his class took home his drawings - on the corner of the page, mocking your own unskilled efforts, and encouraging you to do better.

At the time I thought all art teachers did this. It was only later that I found out how few teachers have the confidence and ability to personally correct their students' work. John knew he was better than the rest of us put together, and he didn't hesitate to show you where you had gone wrong. 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Pete Nicholson Gets Job at Dead Ready Productions

We're delighted to congratulate Animation Apprentice student Pete Nicholson who has just landed a job with Dead Ready Productions, as an After Effects animator.

Pete has previously worked at King Bee animation, based at the historic Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, just outside of London.  He also polished his 2D animation skills on various short projects at our Nano Films co-operative, giving our students real-world experience of live briefs in front of paying clients. Congratulations to Pete on the new job!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Online MA in 3D Animation Now Recruiting for April

Our unique Online MA in 3D Animation, developed in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, is proving so popular that we've decided to open an April enrollment - giving our students much more flexibility.

The official webpage is still showing a September enrolment date, but this will be changed soon to reflect the new April intake.  After all, as an online degree, there isn't any reason why we have to be bound by the traditional September enrollment of the academic calendar.

So what kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in April?  It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bring Your Own Animation on Monday 23 January

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 on Monday 23 January at 6.30pm at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come along for 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.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Marc Godfrey Joins Animation Apprentice!

Marc Godfrey
Marc Godfrey is a very talented animator who was one of the first students to sign up for our course at Animation Apprentice back in 2012.

Marc is currently an animator at Blue Zoo Animation, one of the UK's leading animation studios, having worked on a number of their projects including some of their excellent short films, made in-house as part of their creative development.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Morpheus Bros by Lee Caller



Above is some excellent pantomime animation by Animation Apprentice student Lee Caller. You can check out his other videos at website here - almost all of his work has a strong storytelling element as well as great technical qualities - the perfect ingredients for a great animation performance. Lee has been teaching classes at Escape Studios lately, introducing animation students to the art and craft of character animation.

Friday, 13 January 2017

What is Redshift?

Animators need renders to be as quick and efficient as possible.  Long render times increase  the time taken to to get your shots finaled and, ultimately, the cost of production.

I asked one of my former students -  Lyuboslav Angelov - to talk about Redshift, a new rendering tool - which has also been adopted by leading London studios such as Blue Zoo.

I asked Lyuboslav to explain how Redshift works and how students can benefit from its speed and simplicity.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Amazing Mike Hermes

Here at Animation Apprentice we focus almost exclusively on the art of character and creature animation, apart from two weeks at the start of the course where in Module 1 we lightly cover the basics of the 3D pipeline.

However, many students want to go beyond these basic workshops and dig deeper into Modeling, Texturing, Lighting and Rendering.  So where should students go for a deeper understanding? One great place to start is Mike Hermes' videos at YouTube, which offer excellent short videos on pretty much every aspect of the Maya pipeline. They are short, easy to follow, and refreshingly free of unnecessary information.  The playlists are well organised and, best of all, it's all completely free.

Friday, 6 January 2017

London Mime Festival - 9 January to 4 February

The London Mime Festival is about to launch its 40th anniversary season in our home city.  Artists include acrobat-genius Mathurin Bolze (Cie MPTA), Charleroi Danses’ Kiss & Cry and Mossoux Bonté, German Mask-theatre experts Familie Flöz, and Gandini Juggling with a hugely expanded version of its glorious Pina Bausch tribute, Smashed.

But why watch mime? Because mime is the basis of great animation. If you can tell a story without words or dialogue, then you have the makings of great animation. Our student animators have to master the art of body language and facial expressions long before they learn lipsync and dialogue.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions for Animators

Happy New Year!
What should an animator's new year's resolutions be? Animation is a huge and growing business, much bigger than the small cottage industry it used to be just a few years years ago.

But the world of animation and visual effects is a competitive one, and good animators need to be smart to stay on top of their game.

So, what are some simple ways to maintain your edge in 2017?

Friday, 30 December 2016

Animation Taster Days at Escape Studios on January 13 and 25

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Fancy trying out 3D animation for a day? I'm running two Animation Taster Days at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, London on January 13 and 25.  Taster Days are a great chance to come and learn about character and creature animation.

The purpose of an animation taster day to give future animators an idea of what it's like to work in the  industry, and find out if this is a career that's right for them.

You will work with Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25. By the end of the day you'll have your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Getting Ready For Our January 4th Class

What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us  at Animation Apprentice in January?   We don't want to spoil your Christmas holidays, but it's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. It's not comprehensive, and you don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.