Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Reel talk Live in London on Sept 25th

Nothing is more important for students breaking into the industry than a great demo reel.

We're recommending that our students in the London area attend "Reel Talk Live" on Wednesday September 25 at 6:30pm in Central London.

"Reel Talk Live" is a free event in which professional animators review alumni demo reels and discuss the Do's and Don'ts of demo reels.

Industry guests include representatives of The Third Floor, Jellyfish Pictures and Creative Assembly.

A student's demo reel is the key to finding work in our industry. All are welcome, and you can book your free place here.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Dinosaur Masterclass at VIEW October 24th

Animation Apprentice is going to VIEW, the 20th International VFX & Computer Graphics Conference that takes place every year in Turin.

This year the VIEW conference runs from Monday 21st October until Friday 25th October.

On Wednesday October 23 at 2.30pm I'll be on a panel with SVA titled "Starting Your Animation Career: How to Get Noticed and Get Hired".

On Thursday October 24th I'll be teaching a one-day masterclass in Maya demonstrating how to animate dinosaurs, from 9.30am at Piazza Mestiere.

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

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Camera Always Follows, Never Leads

One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to have the camera lead the action, instead of following it. One of the basic rules of cinematography (a fancy word for a moving camera) is that the camera always follows, never leads.  For example, if a character is leaving a scene, they should initiate the motion, and the camera should follow them. This is natural on a live action set, where the camera will naturally tend to follow the actor. But in animation, where we get nothing for free, these choices have to be made deliberately, and we need to be aware of the pitfalls.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Free Music by Moby for Animators is a great free resource for independent film-makers, including animators. The musician Moby has released tons of free tracks for use in independent film projects, including short films and also student demo reels.  Moby's site is an excellent resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short. Props to Moby for so generously making his superb music available to the creative community.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Why Do Animators Need a Masters' Degree?

Do Animators Need a Master's Degree? It's a question we get asked often at Animation Apprentice, mainly by prospective students who want to know if the committment of time necessary to complete an MA in animation (such as the one we run with Buckinghamshire New University) is worth the effort.

The simple answer is, it depends on what you want to do. Academia cares about academic qualifications. Industry cares about demo reels.

If your focus is purely on industry, and on finding work there, you don't really need a masters' level qualification.  But if you are hoping to teach, especially in higher education, a masters degree is more or less a necessity.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Books: The Animator's Survival Kit

Our MA in Animation, run in partnership with with Buckinghamshire New University, starts on 30 September, so now is the time to get ready.

We recommend one key textbook - all our students should get a copy of  The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams.

The ASK was first published in 2002 as a book, and a few years later was released as a DVD set, and later as an iPad app.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Improv for Animators Starts October 7th

Improv with Bruce MacKinnon and Framestore
Actor and comedian Bruce McKinnon, (The Office, Guardians of The Galaxy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Inside No.9, Black Mirror) has teamed up with Ross Burgess, Head of animation at Framestore, to create a "fun and fast paced improv course, specifically designed for animators", starting on 7th October in Central London.

The purpose of the class is to "push animators creatively and explore through workshop how actors approach character movement and comedic storytelling."

As we know, animators are actors (we must give a performance), and we strongly recommend our students take acting classes in order to improve their acting skills and choices. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Anna Zielinska Animator at Fundamental VR

Anna Zielinska
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Anna Laura Zielinska on her job as an animator at Fundamental VR, a company that specialises in medical animation - bringing surgical procedures to life, and helping to teach the next generation of surgeons their life-saving skills.

Fundamental surgery specialises in low-cost virtual reality surgical simulation.  Digital surgical simulations provide medical professionals with low-risk hands-on experience,  resulting in much better patient outcomes.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

El Suliman - Lion King Lead Animator

El Suliman
Last week MPC lead animator El Suliman was in London talking about his work on the Disney blockbuster "The Lion King".

El was speaking at Escape Studios, at one of their regular "Evening With" events.  El Suliman was an animation lead on The Lion King, and he animated many of the key shots on the film.

El explained how the animators approached the animation on this hugely complex and ground-breaking movie, which raises the bar for creature animation

Friday, 9 August 2019

Summer 2019 Animation Demo Reel

Take a look at some of the great work done by our students over the past year. Congratulations to Amedeo Beretta, Anna Zielinska, Jeton Lakna, Joe Gamble, Lee Caller, Olavo Lins, Oliver Canovas, Tim Milson and Victoria Bailey.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Student Loan System for Masters' Study

The UK Government's student loan system for postgraduate master's degrees is now well established.

A system of low interest loans now provide students in the UK with access to postgraduate university courses - including our own Online MA in 3D Animation, offered in partnership by Buckinghamshire New University.

Prospective students who would like to do post-graduate study with us can borrow up to £10,906 in the coming academic year.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Animating "Venom"

Troy Saliba, animation director at Double Negative, gave a talk in London earlier this year, to talk about his work on the blockbuster release: Venom.

Troy was my animation director on "Monster House", way back in 2005, so it was a pleasure for me to see him again, and welcome him to London, where he is now working for DNeg in Soho.

Troy's talk was a masterclass in how animators work alongside VFX artists on FX-heavy films, where the final result, with all the FX work added, can often look quite different to the animator's initial keyframe animation.

The result is that, on films like Venom, animation and FX are heavily interlaced, requiring careful collaboration between departments, and plenty of back-and-forth to get the right final result.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Animation Taster Day 7th August

Eagle by Lee Caller
Interested in learning 3D animation, but not sure you want to commit to a whole course? We're running a new Animation Taster Day in London on 7th August, at Escape Studios at 190 High Holborn.

Taster Days are a great chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

You will learn how to use Autodesk Maya and get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques; the full day costs just £25, and by the end of the day you'll have your own piece of creature animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  No prior knowledge of Maya - or any software - is required.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Dream On Silly Dreamer

Dream On Silly Dreamer is now available at YouTube - anyone interested in the history of the Disney Studio should watch this film to see how the magic of the Disney Renaissance came about. It's also a window into the making of traditional 2D animation.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Get Ready for our September Class

Animation by Joris Van Laar
Our September classroom is now taking applications, and the new autumn class begins on Monday 2nd September.

It's not too late to book a place; all you need to do to start a conversation is head over to our main site and fill in a form.

If you want to learn 3D animation to a professional level - your journey starts here.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The Lion King - Which is Better? New or Old?

I went to a preview of The Lion King last night fully prepared to dislike the new film - how could anyone top the original? And why bother with a re-make, other than to please the shareholders? (But maybe I'm just jealous - I don't own any Disney shares)

Of course, I am very biased, having worked on the original Lion King back in 1993, so I was doing my best not to enjoy the movie and to persuade myself that the original film was still the undisputed king.

But MPC, the London VFX house that did all the animation, have raised the bar for animal and creature animation to such a level that it's impossible not to be impressed by the sheer skill of the digital artistry.

The Lion King is a triumph not just of technology but of great storytelling, as the film-makers kept most of the original film but wove in new elements to keep the story fresh.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Dialogue and Lipsync Tutorial

Dialogue by Joris Van Laar
We've uploaded a new tutorial on animating Dialogue & Lipsync to our Vimeo channel.

In this 8-part video, we explain how to approach the challenge of animating dialogue and lipsync, breaking the process down into a simple, dependable workflow.

Friday, 12 July 2019

"Eat Drink Animate" by Tom Sito

Who knew animators could cook? Tom Sito, USC animation professor, co-director of Osmosis Jones and Emeritus President of the Animation Guild, has written a cookbook celebrating the recipes of animation artists.

"Eat Drink Animate" is where you can learn the secrets of Walt Disney's chili and and Tissa David's Hungarian Goulash.

I should declare an interest here - the book includes one of favourite recipes, Poisson a la BAFTA, which was reverse-engineered a few years ago from a dish I liked so much while dining at BAFTA Piccadilly that I decided to try and make it myself.

Tom is a prodigious author, with many books on animation and animation history to his name.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

How to Animate Eye Darts

Above is a short video using the free Eleven Rig, on how to animate eye darts - fast moving micro-changes of eye direction. Animators should always remember that eyes are the window to the soul - it's the thing the audience will look at most, and one of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is fail to pay enough attention to their character's eyes.  Our eyes are very expressive, and the eyes are what we look at when we seek signals for how another person is thinking and feeling. The human eye is directly connected to the brain, and the audience will watch your character's eyes. There are endless variations on eye expressions, and it's important to get it right. So, how do animators animate a character's eyes?

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Escape Studios Free Summer School 8-10 Aug

This Summer Escape Studios in London is partnering with Access VFX, London SIGGRAPH, 3Dami, and and We Are Stripes to host a free Animation Summer School.

The event takes place over three days in August,  and is aimed at 11-16-year olds interested in a career in the animation industry.

Escape Studios will host a range of free workshops across 3 days on Thursday 8th August, Friday 9th August and Saturday 10th August.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

BAFTA Guru Live Sat 14th September

Mark your calendars - BAFTA Guru Live is taking place in London on the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September.

We strongly encourage our students to attend at least some of the workshops; tickets are very inexpensive (just £6 for each masterclass) and are aimed at students and rising talent.