Friday, 17 August 2018

Producing Animation Webinar on 23 August

Learn from the producer of Ultramarines
Veteran animation Producer Bob Thompson is hosting a webinar on Producing Animation on Wednesday 23 August.

The webinar, which is completely free, is titled "An Artist's guide to Animation Producers".  

Bob Thompson is an industry veteran with a long and successful track record of producing animated feature films, commercials and VFX projects, including Ultramarines and the Bionicle series.

The purpose of the webinar is to introduce artists to the business side of animation, which artists often don't understand, or tend to ignore.

But a good artist needs to get the business side of animation. After all, producers need artists who can be relied upon to deliver quality work, on time and on budget.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Free Webinar in Motion Graphics Tonight

Thiago Maia - head of Motion Graphics
Motion Graphics guru Thiago Maia,  founder of Cookie Studios the hosting a free webinar in Motion Graphics tonight.

Motion Graphics isn't something we teach at Animation Apprentice, but some knowledge of After Effects never did any of us any harm.

The webinar is all about applying the 12 Principles of Animation to motion graphics work, to get more fluid and believable motion graphics.

The webinar takes place at 6pm, and is free. To sign up, follow this link.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Find a Job in Animation at

One website we're liking a lot for finding work in the creative industries - and animation in particular - is It's a comprehensive site, well organised and easy to search.

You can sign up for their weekly jobs newsletter, and use the keyword "animation" to search for new job listings all around the world.

Anyone looking for work in our industry should be checking this website regularly - ideally every day, along with (of course) the jobs list at

Friday, 27 July 2018

Monday, 23 July 2018

Pixar Animation Workflow

Incredibles 2
Pixar animator Royce Wesley was in London recently, talking about his experience working on Incredibles 2, and also explaining his own personal animation workflow.

Royce is an experienced character animator whose credits include Brave, Coco, Robots and Inside Out.

Understanding how to plan your work is one of the key parts of the animator's skill set. Every animator has their own unique approach, and it's important to develop a workflow that you can rely on to get your shots approved without too much stress.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Free Webinar July 24

Sea Serpent - Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I'll be doing a webinar on how to animate non-human characters on Tuesday July 24th.

The webinar is hosted by Escape Studios in London and is completely free, and there will be plenty of time to take questions during the talk.

How does an animator approach the challenge of animating non-human characters? After all, you probably can't film yourself acting out the scene, so you will need to find other solutions.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sarah Perry "Acting for Animators" Starts 24 Sept

At Animation Apprentice we teach acting as part of the animator's toolkit. One thing we can't do, however, is teach an old-school live acting class, the kind of thing you might get as a classically trained stage actor.

Sarah Perry is an actor who specialises in teaching acting for animators. Her school Shapes in Motion is teaching an 8 week evening class in London, titled "Acting for Animators", starting on Monday 24th September.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Bonnie 2 Released for $15

Bonnie 2 Rig Walkthrough from Josh Sobel on Vimeo.

Bonnie 2 has just been released by Josh Sobel, creator of many production-quality rigs that are priced affordably for students. Bonnie 2 is a "from-the-ground-up rebuild of Bonnie", Josh Sobel's first rig, which he describes as "easily the most advanced rig" he has made. Bonnie 2 isn't free, but at $15 for a solo license, she is competitively priced for a wide audience. Josh Sobel's rigs are dependable and reliable, and we recommend them highly. And, you can still download Bonnie 1.0 for free.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Keepvid is Dead. Long Live Apowersoft, the website that used to be very useful for downloading video from YouTube, doesn't work anymore, most likely due to copyright problems.

So, what's an animator to do, when you need to download reference footage from YouTube? There are a number of sites that work well, including Apowersoft - a very useful website for downloading video.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Why Animators Need Their Own Blog or Website

Animators should have their own website, or blog, and it should have your own name in the url, to make you easy to find.

The reason is simple - when recruiters are looking to hire you for a job, they will Google you, by entering your name plus the key word "animation" or "animator" in the search engine.

Hopefully, your bog, website and demo reel will pop up on page 1. If it doesn't, recruiters may well move on the next candidate. The trick with getting hired is to have a great demo reel which is easy to find.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Jason Thompson Animator at Cloth Cat

Jason Thompson
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice Graduate Jason Thompson for starting a new position as 3D Character Animator at Cloth Cat Animation

Cloth Cat is an animation company based in Cardiff, and produces a number of TV series including Shane the Chef

You can see Jason's work, as well as his demo reel, at his official website here

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Kevin Hudson Presents "Weeds" on 2 July

"Weeds" by Kevin Hudson
Kevin Hudson, asset artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios, is visiting London on July 2nd at 4.30pm to talk about his multi-award-winning short film "Weeds" 

“Weeds” is the story of a dandelion, rooted on the wrong side of the driveway in a barren yard surrounded by dry dirt and dead grass.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Five Key Rules of Animal Anatomy

Stuart Sumida
One of the highlights of today's Annecy film festival was the talk by palaeontologist Stuart Sumida. Stuart is a world expert on animal anatomy and creature locomotion, widely consulted for his technical expertise on animated feature films like “Spirit”- Stallion of the Cimarron”, "Beauty and the Beast" “Lion King”, "Zootopia" and and “How to Train Your Dragon”.

In a packed room on the third floor of the Imperial Hotel, with lines snaking out into the halls (and no doubt a few fire regs being bent in the process), Stuart gave a talk titled "The Five Most Important Anatomical Rules for Animators".  

Monday, 11 June 2018

Animation Apprentice Goes to Annecy

Annecy, France
I'm heading over to the Annecy Animation Festival next week, checking out the latest developments in our industry at what has become the world's biggest animation festival.

I'll be on a panel tomorrow, tuesday 12th June, talking about how to animate non-human characters, sitting alongside my fellow panelists Alonso Martinez from Pixar, Joeri Christiaen from Thuristar, and independent animator Nicolas Deveaux.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Thumbnailing Mrs Copperbottom from "Robots"

Robots - Mrs Copperbottom
Learning to thumbnail animation is one of the hardest skills for junior animators to master, but being able to do rough thumbnail sketches is a very helpful skill because it helps the animator plan their work.

You wouldn't build a building without architectural plans. And you shouldn't start animating a shot without a clear plan of where you are going.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

How Many Retakes?

Framestore's Andrew Schlussel, Oz Gani and Ross Burgess
How many re-takes does it take to make a shot perfect? Or, put another way, how many times might an animator have to re-do a shot until it gets approved?

The answer depends on what kind of project you are working on.

The bigger the budget, the higher quality the animation, and the more the studio will tend to expect perfection - or near-perfection - from the animation team.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Grey Screen Playback Problem Maya 2018

The video above addresses an odd grey screen playback problem with Maya 2018. You open up your shot, press play, and the screen goes grey - i.e. you can't seen anything. Scrub through the timeline and the same thing happens. It's like putting on a pair of blackout shades - you can't get any work done. The only solution I have found is to open up the same shot in Maya 2017, and, under the Renderer menu in the Viewport, select Legacy Default Viewport (an option which has been disabled for Maya 2018).

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

New Bonus Week: Butterflies

Learn to animate a butterfly
We've got a new free bonus week at Animation Apprentice - Butterflies.  Adding to our range of different creature animation techniques, and reflecting the growth in creature animation, (especially at the big VFX houses) our student animators can create a believable butterfly flap cycle and performance.

As ever, we break down an apparently complex exercise into a series of simple steps, giving students a feeling of success at the end of the tutorial, and helping them to learn a new technique. This bonus week is absolutely free for all of our students.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Animating Lipsync by Pixar's Aaron Hartline

Aaron Hartline
Lipsync is arguably the least important part of animating a great acting scene. As a result, most 3D animators tend to leave lipsync until the end, or near the end, of the shot, concentrating their efforts first on getting the overall acting and body poses right.

But at a recent talk at Escape Studios, veteran Pixar Aaron Hardline explained that, counter-intuitively, he actually does the lipsync first.

So, why does one of Pixar's lead animators apparently put the cart before the horse?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Free Anchor Transform Plugin Stops Feet Sliding

Anchor Transform by Robert Joosten stops feet sliding
Sliding feet can be a problem when animating a character walk or a walk cycle. Fortunately for Maya animators, Robert Joosten’s new Anchor Transform Maya plugin offers animators an easy solution.

Rather than manually tweaking your animation to stop the feet sliding, rigger Robert Joosten has come up with a script that lets you anchor a transform for any given time range in your animation.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Free Character Walks Webinar on 5th June

"Monty" character walks
I'll be hosting a webinar on character walks at Escape Studios at 6pm on Tuesday June 5th.

Character walks are one of the most important parts of the animator's toolkit. It's where you start building a character's personality - how we move says a lot about who we are.

I will be taking a basic walk cycle and showing how, with just a few simple tweaks, you can completely change the character's mood and personality.