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.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Student Showcase: Follow-Through Animation by Joris Van Laar



Above is a short piece of animation showcasing follow-through and overlapping action - by one of our MA students, Joris Van Laar.  It's a lovely piece of work, simple but full of character and invention. Follow through and overlapping action together form part of the fundamental principles of animation, first set out in print by Disney legends Ollie Johnstone and Frank Thomas in their classic book "The Illusion of Life".

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Learn 3D Lighting Free With Pixar's Jeremy Birn

Anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D lighting in Maya would do well to watch this excellent series of videos by Pixar lighting expert Jeremy Birn, hosted at Vimeo.

The videos are recorded in an older version of Maya, so there will be a bit of a gap between what you are watching and the latest version of Maya that you are running. But, the basic principles of lighting remain unchanged, even though the interface is a bit different.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Free Flag Wave Tutorial in Maya 2016



Free Flag Wave Tutorial in Maya 2016! This is my favourite beginner's tutorial in Maya, extensively tested and refined in the classroom. Starting with no prior knowledge, students learn how to make a flag wave - using Maya 2016, learning the basic Maya tools and also how to use the Maya dynamics tools to automate the process. This video is aimed at complete beginners who have never used Maya before, and want to find out if animation is for them.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Time to Register for BVExpo!

Time to Register for BVExpo! BVExpo is an annual event that describes itself as "the UK's leading entertainment and media tech event".

The Expo takes place from 28 February until 2nd March at the ExCeL London and - best of all - it's completely free. As ever, we recommend that our students attend events like this - it's a great way to keep up with the latest trends in our industry and find out where future opportunities lie.  It's especially interesting for animators interested in broadcast graphics.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Animation Course at Escape Studios in Feb 2017


Not everyone wants to study online, and for those who prefer a traditional classroom experience, I'm running an animation short course - three months of intensive training in 3D animation - starting in February 2017, at Escape Studios in London.  This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D Animation in Maya. You might be a 2D animator wanting to break into 3D, or a graduate who didn’t get the right skills at university – or someone with no experience of animation who wants to make a career change. I teach all my students from scratch, and the goal is to make you job-ready by the end of the course.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Character Design Challenge!

Character Design Challenge!
Why not polish your design skills by entering the monthly Character Design Challenge?

It's a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for character designers. The group started up in January 2015 and it already has over twenty five thousand members.

This month's design challenge is .....Harry Potter! So what are you waiting for? Let's get designing!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Animated Women UK launch "The Achieve Programme"

This week, Animated Women UK launch "The Achieve Programme" - their first ever programme focused on helping women in animation and VFX to achieve their full potential.

Official sponsors of the programme include Creative Skillset, Disney, Turner, Escape Studios and The Mill. For any of our students in the London area, this could be a great opportunity to break into the industry, and make connections with leading companies.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Animation Taster Day Wednesday 14 December

Learn to animate a bird in flight
I'm running an Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, London on Wednesday 14 December - a great chance for anyone in the London area 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?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Curve Digital's Brynley Gibson Explains Virtual Reality

At last week's BlueGFX Expo, one of the most interesting presentations was by Brynley Gibson from indie games developer Curve Digital on the subject of Virtual Reality.

Gibson posed a number of questions to the audience about what exactly VR is about, and how digital artists should approach VR projects.

And the first question anyone attempting a VR project should ask is a simple one: why does this need to be VR?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Screening of “Kubo and the Two Strings” in London on 6 December

SIGGRAPH's London chapter is hosting a local screening of Laika's latest Stop Motion triumph - the Annie-nominated “Kubo and the Two Strings” on December 6th.

After the movie screening I'll be hosting a Q&A with Director Travis Knight and Producer Arianne Sutner who will talk about the making of the film.

Events like this are a great chance to meet the talent behind a major motion picture, ask questions, and find out how the industry works.