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.

Monday, 4 July 2016

BB-8 Rig From Star Wars!

BB-8. Copyright Walt Disney
Just released at Creative Crash is a new BB-8 rig - especially crafted for Star Wars fans.

Like any fan art, the creator of this rig obviously doesn't own the copyright - that is owned by the Disney corporation, who now own the Star Wars franchise. But that doesn't mean we can't use BB8 to do some great animation - it just means we have to respect the owners and not do anything silly with it (like, say, try to make a profit from it).

There are in fact two versions of this rig. To the left is version 2, but there is also version 3 which you can download here

Below are some tips on how to use the BB-8 rig:

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Career Advice From Annecy

Annecy Panel "Putting Your Best Foot Forward"
Last week at Annecy (the world's biggest animation festival)  I got the chance to speak on a superb panel discussion organised by the School of Visual Arts (SVA), talking about how animation graduates can best find work in the industry.

The panel discussion was titled:  Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Animation Talent Search. On the panel were recruiters from Pixar, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It was fascinating to hear these representatives of top studios talk about what they are looking for in fresh talent.

So, what then are the secrets of breaking into the animation industry?

Friday, 24 June 2016

Meet Franklin!

We're excited to get to know Franklin, a new free character rig from Franklin is aimed at students learning animation and is offered for free download on a royalty-free license.

Franklin joins the growing ranks of free character Maya rigs available to students of animation.

To see a full list of rigs that we recommend here at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

And to see what Franklin is capable of, watch the video below.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Get Ready For Our July 5th Class!

Summer is here at last. But why head for the beach when you can learn animation? Here at Animation Apprentice we're running a new animation class on July 5th for students who want to kick-start their career in this expanding industry.

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

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you ready for July 5th. 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.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Still Time to Apply for Our Online MA in 3D Animation!

The world's first online MA in animation
It's not too late! There is still time to apply for our online MA in animation, which launched here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Bucks New University in September 2015.

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 animate to a professional level, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Introducing...Loop De Loop!

Here at Animation Apprentice we're excited about Loop De Loop, a bi-monthly animation challenge that's a bit like The 11 Second Club, but with a loopy twist.

Loop De Loop seeks to create "a community of creative folks working together for the greater good of looping animation". Whatever that is.

So, how do students get involved with Loop De Loop? And what's it for anyway?

Friday, 10 June 2016

A Great Free Script To Toggle Control Curve Visibility On and Off

Here is a very useful script for Maya animators, developed by Justin Barratt, and one which we are recommending for all our students here at Animation Apprentice. It's a super-useful tool, used to toggle the visibility of your animation rigs' control curves on and off.

All you have to do is paste the lines of script below in your script editor in Maya (under the MEL tab) and then save save it to a shelf in the usual way. Once you've done this, it should help to speed up your workflow and make you a faster, and better, animator.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Andy Rig - How To Use It

Meet Andy! Andy (short for "androgynous") is a very flexible rig for character animation, and one that we recommend for student use here at Animation Apprentice.

Andy is useful for both male and female character roles, and can be easily customised.  To get started, you can download Andy for free here at Creative Crash.

Friday, 3 June 2016

How to Get Ready for Our July 5th Class

What kind of preparation should students do before starting our summer class with us on Tuesday July 5th?  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. 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.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to two books that we recommend for all our students.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Norman Rig - How to Use It

There are many free rigs available to Maya animators hoping to practice and learn their craft. Norman, Max, Morpheus - all excellent rigs available at no charge and easy to download, all free for non-commercial use.

But beware - all rigs are different and each one has its own quirks. All take time to get used to, and each one has its frustrations.  Norman was one of the first character rigs made available for student use, free on a non-commercial license. Norman is reliable, relatively simple to use, and highly customisable.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Blue Zoo at SIGGRAPH tomorrow in London!

Blue Zoo, one of the UK's most innovative indie animation studios, is the star of the next SIGGRAPH event, on Wednesday May 25 at MPC in London's Soho, at 7pm.

The founders of BlueZoo will be talking about how they nurtured their fledgling company from an idea into a multi-million pound animation powerhouse.  Best of all, the event is completely free!