Thursday, 30 April 2015

VFX Jobs at Facebook

VFX Jobs at Facebook

Finding that crucial first job can be one of the toughest parts of a career in animation. To get there, you need to keep an eye on various company websites, sign up for their Twitter feed (Aardman for example seems to recruit largely through Twitter these days), and keep you ear to the ground. One useful group is the VFX jobs Group at Facebook, a community of VFX artists to post jobs, information, and generally help one another out.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Still Time To Sign Up For Our May Classroom!


The clock is ticking to sign up for our new class beginning on Monday 2 March 2015.  Want to start your career in the rapidly growing animation industry? Register here today (registration is free) and you will be just a few days away from getting started on what can be one of the most fun and rewarding careers in the digital arts.  Here at Animation Apprentice we love teaching animation, and we think we have the best system for training animators in the world.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

How DreamWorks Animators Trained Their Dragons


How do animators train their dragons? Or, rather, how do they approach the complex and daunting business of creating a beautifully animated flying dragon? All animators start with a blank screen, and as professional artists we need methods that we can rely on to produce work we can be proud of, every time.  In this excellent documentary about the making of How To Train Your Dragon, DreamWorks animators talk about going to Flight School, analysing reference, and making sure that their animation was based on real, credible material that helped to bring their fantasy creatures to life.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Henry Fenwick Animator at Jelly Fish Pictures

Jellyfish Pictures
Animation Apprentice student Henry Fenwick has just secured a position as a junior animator and 3D layout artist at Jelly Fish Pictures.

Jellyfish was founded in 2001 and since then has grown into one of the leading boutique visual effects and animation houses in London, with over 100 employees.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

How Do Pixar Animators Plan Their Shots?

The secret of good animation lies in the planning, and experienced animators know that by drawing clear thumbnails to plan out their work, they can save a ton of time in executing their shots. I have always used thumbnail drawings to plan my work, but seldom (to my regret) have I saved my sketches - most of them hit the bin long ago.  But one animator who has saved a ton of his planning sketches is Pixar's Victor Navone, and you can see his thumbnail gallery here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Purpose of Storyboarding - by Eric Goldberg



This short film about storyboarding is presented by the awesomely talented Eric Goldberg, an animator who moves seamlessly between animation, storyboarding, and directing. And why not? All these skills are complementary, and all involve the telling of stories in a visual medium. I was lucky enough to work as an animator on "Looney Tunes, Back in Action", and was directed by Eric, who taught me a lot about comic timing and just how much an animator can get away with in terms of fast transitions from one pose to another. Eric is the author of the excellent book "Character Animation - a Crash Course", and there are few better people in our industry to learn from.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Secrets of Disney's Nine Old Men - Ollie Johnstone

Ollie Johnstone. Photo: Janke 
Walt Disney joked that his best animators were his "Nine Old Men" - and the nickname stuck. One of the nine was Ollie Johnstone, one of the best character animators at the Disney Studio and the man who breathed life into some of the studio's most enduring characters. In the video below, Ollie talks about how he created his characters, giving a surprising amount of detailed insight into his work methods. This is fascinating material for anyone who aspires to master the craft of animation, and what comes across most strongly is the amount of time and effort that the Disney animators put into their research, shooting live action, and studying life, in order to create their characters.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Getting Ready for Our May 4th Classroom


What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom at Animation Apprentice on May 4th?  Below is a brief checklist of stuff to get you started. 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.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Pixar Story Process Revealed




Ever wondered how Pixar artists pitch their storyboards? In this excellent video, we see the awesomely talented Joe Ranft pitch the opening sequence for Toy Story. It's a great insight into how animated films get made, where sequences are worked over and re-worked in the story department long before animators get their hands on them.  When animators worked on paper by hand, many used to move fairly seamlessly between the story dept and the animation dept. Now that our tools are digital, this is less common, but being able to tell a story in pictures is still a great skill for any animator, digital or otherwise.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Questions About Animation Apprentice!


Recently I got asked some new questions from a potential student at Animation Apprentice and I thought I would post them here at the blog for everyone to see.  Embarking on a new course of study can be a daunting business. What if it doesn't work? What if I don't like it? Here at Animation Apprentice we want our students to have the very best experience in education they have ever had. If we're not delivering that, we are not doing our job right.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Get Ready for Our May 4th Class By Watching Our Free Videos


What is Animation Apprentice all about? And what should our students starting with us on Monday 4th May do to get ready? For a general introduction to the medium, and a beginners guide to the language and the basic principles of animation, watch this series of free videos at Animation Apprentice. Start with The Twelve Principles of Animation, and move on to Keys, Extremes and Inbetweens - the Language of Animation. Like all art forms, animation has its very own special jargon, and you will need to know the basic grammar and some of the key terms. Plus, you'll start to get a good feel for what our course is like and how it all works.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Walt - The Man Behind The Myth



Walt - The Man Behind The Myth is a 90 minute documentary about the life of the legendary animator who is, more than any single individual, responsible for the medium that we work in today. Why watch the documentary? Because it's important to know the history of our medium; we all stand on the shoulders of giants and no-one in our industry was bigger than Disney. Watching documentaries like this one helps all of us to improve our own work, by taking inspiration from the pioneers of animation, such as Walt Disney and the incredibly talented team that he put together.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

How to Animate Lipsync




Above is an excellent video on how to animate lipsync, showing how to break things down into easy sections so as to make sure that your work starts off simple and gradually grows in complexity as you layer in the detail. At its simplest, good lipsync is just about opening and closing the mouth on the vowels, and closing it on the consonants. But, developing a system to keep it simple and at the same time get a sophisticated result, is all part of mastering the art and craft of animation.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Chuck Jones - Extremes and In-Betweens



Above is a wonderful documentary about the legendary Warner Bros animation director Chuck Jones. Chuck died a few years back but his influence on our medium is immense. His comic timing is hard to beat, and the characters he helped to create - Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck - still endure today.  Watch this video not just for a better understanding of the history of animation but also to see a great film-maker reveal his secrets. The sections where Chuck talks about how he timed out the jokes to the musical score are especially fascinating. Chuck Jones was a great animator, a great director, and a great comedian.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

RealFlow Student Challenge - Worth S3,000


Time to enter the RealFlow "Deliciously Viscous" Student Film Challenge! At stake is $3,000 in prize money for the winning submission. RealFlow is one of the newest and most exciting software packages for creating realistic fluid motion in an animated environment, and $3,000 of prize money is a worthy prize pot. So, how does it all work?