Sunday, 20 August 2017

Animation Taster Days Aug 24, Sept 13 & 27

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Monday 24 August, or September 13th and 27th.

Animation Taster Days are all about helping prospective students learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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, 9 August 2017

Get Ready for Our September Classroom!

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 4 September?  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 just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Arc the Dragon - New Rig From Josh Sobel

The very talented Josh Sobel, who brought us the excellent Kayla rig, and also the very useful (and free) Bonnie rig, has just released a new rig - "Arc the Dragon", for a very reasonable $18.

Arc is described as "a full quadruped with expressive facial control, intuitive body setup, full picker, pose library and limitless customization."

Creature rigs with a full range of facial expressions are hard to find, and this could be an excellent choice for animators looking to create a strong creature performance. We haven't had a chance to road-test Arc the Dragon yet, but if Kayla and Bonnie are anything to go by, this should be a great rig.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Alien Covenant Secrets Revealed

I saw the original "Alien" movie by Ridley Scott when I was just 12 years old - far too young really (I was terrified) - but since then I've always been fascinated by this most stylish of horror film franchises.

Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn (AvatarThe Dark KnightIron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy.) is about the same age as I am, and clearly could not resist the chance to work on Scott's latest instalment - Alien Covenant.

Penn gave an excellent talk about his work on the film at Escape Studios last thursday - a fascinating insight into how the movie got put together.
 
So, what were the secrets behind this most coveted of VFX roles - working for one of the greatest living film directors on the latest Alien movie?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Find Your Future in London on 9 August

Want a career in creative media, but not sure what route to travel? Get yourself to the "Find Your Future 2017" event in London on 9 August.

If you're interested in working in the creative industries, but not yet ready to commit to any particular area then Find Your Future could be the careers event for you.

Representatives from some of London's top animation and VFX houses will be there (notably Double Negative and Framestore) and - best of all - the event is completely free.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Blue GFX 9 November 2017 - Save The Date!

Save the date! For all our students in the London area, Blue GFX Expo is taking place in Waterloo on 9th November 2017.

Last year speakers included Tom Box from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's biggest TV animation company, Stuart Penn from Framestore, and the folks from Autodesk showing the latest tools.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Our First Online MA Animation Graduates! Yay!

Graduation Day at Buckinghamshire New University
Our very first online MA students will be graduating in September.  Graduation Day at Buckinghamshire New University (our degree-awarding partner) takes place in early September, and we are especially proud to welcome our new MAs in Animation.

Of course, the event is something of a formality - no-one actually has to turn up, but we hope that many students will come and celebrate their achievement - graduating as Masters of Arts on the world's first online MA in Animation. There might even be a celebratory lunch!

And, in a small way, everyone there will be making a little piece of animation history.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Why Does Maya Batch Render Too Dark?

Utah Teapot
Lighting your scene using Autodesk Maya can be a tricky process. You get your lights to look just the way you want them to, and when you render out a single frame, everything looks fine.

But then, when you come to do a Batch Render of your final frames, Maya gives you a very different result - the images look much darker. Which is not what you wanted at all.

So why does Maya do this - and what is the solution?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Stuart Penn Talks Aliens in London on 3 August

Stuart Penn
Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn will be talking about his work at a free event in London in two weeks, on Thursday 3rd August at 6.30pm.

Events like this are a great way for animators to get a better understanding of the overall VFX pipeline, and how animation fits in to the big picture.

Stuart will be talking about his recent work as VFX supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. We encourage all our students to attend - and ask questions. This is a chance to meet a successful industry professional and ask him - how does a student artist break into this field?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Bring Your Own Animation Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
This one is for our animators in the London area: the monthly event "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place tonight, Monday July 17th.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London.  This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street. Who is hiring, and what skills are in demand?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

11 Second Club Entry by Victoria Bailey



Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to enter the monthly animation competition known as the 11 Second Club. There are all sorts of reasons to enter, not the least of which is the chance for students' to showcase their skills and get their work noticed. The excellent animation above was done by one of our online MA students, Victoria Bailey, who has created an excellent piece of character animation.  Animators should always think of themselves as actors giving a performance, finding the right mannerisms and gestures to make the shot feel believable.  It's not enough to learn the mechanics of animation - we also have to make our work entertaining and convincing. Many congratulations to Victoria on her excellent work.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

VR UK - Today and Tomorrow

VR UK is at Ravensbourne today and tomorrow
The UK Virtual Reality Festival is taking place today and tomorrow, 6th and 7th July, at Ravensbourne in London. Sponsored by the Arts Council and the Lottery Fund, this event looks to be a great opportunity to break into the fastest-growing part of our industry - Virtual Reality.

Want to be an expert in a field that no-one really understands yet? Any of our students in the London area - get yourself to Ravensbourne. For details, follow this link.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's Inside our Online MA in 3D Animation?


What's inside our Online MA in 3D Animation? It's a question we get asked a lot; after all, anyone signing up for 18 months of study wants to know what they're actually committing themselves to.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Weight Lift Animation by Joris Van Laar


Check out this excellent piece of work by Animation Apprentice student Joris Van Laar, who has taken the familiar theme of a character lifting a heavy weight and turned it into an excellent and entertaining piece of character animation. As ever, here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to think of themselves as actors giving a performance. It's not enough to learn the mechanics of animation - we also have to make our work entertaining and fun to watch. Many congratulations to Joris on some excellent pantomime animation.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Animation Taster Day Monday 24 July.

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Monday 24 July.

Animation Taster Days are all about helping prospective students learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Cinesite Internships Now Open!

Cinesite, one of London's biggest animation and VFX houses, is now accepting entries for paid Summer internships at their London studios.

The programme is open to individuals over the age of 18, with little or no experience of working in the VFX industry, who are eligible to work in the UK.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Festivus is Back! Thursday 13 July

Festivus is back!  – with special guests! The Festivus animation event is an opportunity to get to know people in the London animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The event takes place on Thursday 13th July at The Comedy Pub in London.

There is a guest speaker from Animation UK, and Blue Zoo will also be there.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Endless Reference - Free Live Action Reference!

Using live action reference to inform your animation can be one of the best ways to get started as an animator.

I have used live action reference many times on many films, especially movies with human characters, such as The Road to El Dorado and Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, and especially on action shots where the motion was complex and hard to get right.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bring Your Own Animation - Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
This one is for our animators in the London area: the monthly event "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place tonight, Monday June 19th.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London.  This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street. Who is hiring, and what skills are in demand?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Mental Ray Free For Student Use

Mental Ray is back! 3D Render by Amaru Zeas
Mental Ray is Back! NVIDIA, makers of the classic ray tracer - it used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya - have now released a version of their software which is free for student use.  This is great news for animation students, because Mental Ray has a number of advtantages over its successor Arnold.  In particular, you can achieve some very quick and attractive lighting setups in Mental ray using Physical Sun & Sky, the closest thing Maya has to a "Make It Look Cool" button.  So, how can our students get a free copy of Mental Ray?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Get Ready For Our July Class!

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Tuesday 3 July?  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 just two key books that we recommend for all our students.