Thursday, 19 October 2017

October 11 Second Club

Why not polish your character animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character animation 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.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Queen's Counsel Wins CAT Award

Last night my cartoon strip Queen's Counsel was awarded "The Cartoon Art Trust Award for Strip Cartooning" at the annual CAT Awards - which are sort of like the Oscars for cartooning. The Cartoon Art Trust supports the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, hosting the CAT Awards Dinner to raise funds for the museum and keep its doors open. At the dinner were some of the finest cartoonists in the UK - Matt Pritchett, Mac of the Mail, Nick Newman (who co-writes Private Eye), and plenty of politicians and lawyers to dig deep into their pockets to support the good cause.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

2018 VFX Festival - Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets for the 2018 VFX Festival in London are now on sale.  Just like last year, Escape Studios will be showcasing the best of VFX, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics.

There is no better way to find out about the latest trends in our industry, who is hiring, and what skills are in demand.  We strongly encourage all our current, past and future students to attend. Come and find out what the future holds for our industry.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Maya 2018 Transform Manipulator Problem

Maya 2018, like all new recent releases from Autodesk, can be a bit buggy.

Many students downloading this latest release of the 20-year old software package have experienced a problem selecting the Transform Manipulator on their character rig, meaning (in plain English) that you can't move your characters around.

Fortunately the solution is a simple one. So, how do we fix it?

Friday, 6 October 2017

Meet Tuna - Free Maya Character Rig

We're liking the free Tuna character rig, downloadable for free from He's relatively light, at just 9MB, and he should give you real-time playback in your viewport. So far we haven't uncovered any major flaws or weaknesses.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Festivus! Thursday 8th October

Festivus 5th October
Festivus is back! London's regular animation networking event is an opportunity for our students and recent graduates to get to know people in the animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The latest Festivus event takes place on Thursday 5th October at The Comedy Pub in London from 6.30pm until closing time.

There will be a number of guest speakers, including folks from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's leading animation studios.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Time to Enter the British Animation Awards

British Animation Awards
It's time for our students to get ready for the British Animation Awards 2018. The awards come around every two years, and this year the ceremony will take place on March 15th 2018, at the BFI Southbank.

The British Animation Awards (BAA) invites all kinds of animation submissions, from student work to commercials, children’s entertainment, shorts, experimental films, music videos and new technologies.

If you've done some animation, there's a category for you. And yes, there is a category for student films, and admission is free.  But don't wait - the deadline is friday 13th October.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Eamonn Butler in London on Wed 4th October

Eamonn Butler, head of animation at Cinesite, will be giving a talk at Escape Studios' High Holborn Campus in Central London on wednesday 4th October.

Eamonn is a director of Cinesite, one of London's major VFX houses, and a founder of the growing animated features side of the business. The event is hosted by Escape Studios and is free for anyone interested in studying with them (no commitment is required).

Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend that all our students attend events like this one. This is a great chance to meet one of the major players in our industry.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Awesome Animation by Jinng Hwee Tan

JinngHwee Demo Reel 2017 from Jinng Hwee Tan on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Jinng Hwee Tan on his excellent animation demo reel, just recently released at Vimeo.  Jing Hwee Tan took our online MA in 3D animation in partnership with Bucks New University, where he continued to polish his animation skills, and of course developing a more academic approach to the medium.  One of his shots features in the latest Animation Apprentice compilation reel, an entry for the 11 Second Club competition which came out especially well. Many congratulations to Jinng Hwee for cutting a great reel - a beautiful body of work.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Access VFX in London this Week

Access:VFX events are taking place next week, at visual effects studios across Soho. Access VFX is all about promoting diversity and inclusion in our industry.

Events are being held at The Mill, Framestore, Double Negative, MPC, Jellyfish Pictures, ILM, Blue Zoo Animation, Union VFX, Escape Technology, and UK Screen Alliance.

We're encouraging our students to attend these events; they are great opportunities to network and meet working professionals in our business. You can book your free tickets online through

Sunday, 17 September 2017

100 Ways to Walk by Kevin Parry

"100 Ways to Walk" is an excellent video by Kevin Parry, a collection of walk cycles intended as inspiration for animators. The key point of the video is that the way we walk says a lot about who we are, how we are feeling, how our day has been. A great walk cycle is the entry point for character animation - can the animator describe a character simply by the way he or she moves? It's one of the first things we teach at Animation Apprentice, but a good walk cycle can remain elusive even for an experienced animator. Acting one out yourself, and filming yourself doing it, is a great way to get started.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Animation Insider's eBook - Free from Squeeze

Animation Insider's Ebook - free from Squeeze!
Get your free copy of the Animation Insider's eBook, downloadable from Squeeze animation studio in Quebec.

This free digital download describes the workflow of talented animators such as Mike Nguyen, Victor Navone and Jason Ryan.

It 's a remarkable insight into how experienced animators approach a shot, and very useful for students looking to develop their own animation workflow.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Animation Apprentice Character Reel 2017

Check out our latest Character Animation Reel, featuring work by many of our talented students, some taking our 30 week course, others doing our online MA in animation. Animators aren't just technicians, they are entertainers, and the job of the animator is not just to master the art of character animation, but to craft an interesting and compelling performance. Congratulations to Steve Woodhouse, Victoria Bailey, Jinng Hwee Tan, Joe Gamble and Joris Van Laar on their excellent animation.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Animation Apprentice Masterclass at VIEW 2017

Animation Apprentice is hosting a creature animation masterclass at VIEW, the 18th International VFX & Computer Graphics Conference.

VIEW takes place every year in the beautiful Italian town of Torino (Turin), and we'll be there running a one-day masterclass in Maya on 25th October, demonstrating some cool creature animation techniques.

The class is aimed at complete beginners and requires no prior experience with Maya.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Classic Graph Editor in Maya 2017

New look Graph Editor
Not everyone loves the Maya 2017 interface. In particular, the new-look Graph Editor isn't necessarily as easy to use as the old version (or maybe it's just that I'm getting older and I don't like change).

So, if you want life to stay the same as it used to be - how do you get your Classic Graph Editor back?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Celebrating Our New MA Graduates

Alexi Balian, Charlie Falconi, Tim Millson, Neil Whitman, Stephen Young. 
Today was Graduation Day at Bucks New University and our new MAs in Animation made a little piece of animation history.

Our first graduating cohort aren't the first animation MAs in the world, but they are the first to get their MA purely online.

And, despite living in far-flung parts of the world, many came to Bucks for the graduation ceremony, for the chance to wear a robe and a silly hat and - at last! - meet up in person for the first time.

KeyFrame MP - Video Playback for Animators

Keyframe MP Overview from Chris Zurbrigg on Vimeo.

KeyFrame MP - Video Playback for Animators - is an excellent video playback tool that we are recommending to all our students.  Unlike most free playback tools (such as Media Player), KeyFrame PM gives you super useful features like scrubbing (with audio), single frame advance - all the stuff you need as an animator to play your work back frame by frame and trouble shoot the mistakes. At $79, KeyFrame MP isn't free, but it's much, much better than most of the free stuff that is out there. And, since Apple has stopped supporting their very useful tool Quick Time Pro, KeyFrame MP now fills a gap in the animator's tool kit.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Tripod for Filming Animation

Photo-R Tripod
One of the best ways to get live-action reference for a piece of animation is to film yourself acting it out, capture the footage on your phone, and then import the footage onto an image plane in Maya.

But how you film yourself acting it out, if it's just you? Someone has to operate the camera, after all. The answer is - you need a tripod. We're recommending this excellent (and inexpensive) tripod, made by Phot-R, for mounting your phone/camera, while you do the performance.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Pose Lib for Maya - Save Your Poses!

Pose Lib - free at
Pose Lib is a great free tool for managing poses and animation in Maya.  It's a super-useful free script for animators; you can use it to record a pose for any object in Maya, meaning that you can build a library of poses for your characters.

To use Pose Lib, download the tool, select your character, hit the "new pose" button, and a pose file is created in the relevant directory, along with the corresponding icon (a .bmp file).