Friday, 26 November 2021

Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition 2021

The Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition is back. 

Hosted by the Cartoon Museum, now re-opened after its long Covid-19-slumber, the annual competition seeks to reward rising cartoon talent. 

Judges include leading cartoonists such as Martin Rowson (The Guardian), Christian Adams (Evening Standard), Banx (FT), Peter Brookes (The Times), Nick Newman (Private Eye), and Matt from the Daily Telegraph. 

There are two categories: Under 18 and Under 30; the deadline is 5 January 2022, and entries can be mailed in (old school Royal Mail) to the Cartoon Museum, or emailed to

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Laughter Lab Opens at the Cartoon Museum

Last night was the opening of a new exhibition at London's Cartoon Museum, titled Laughter Lab: What’s So Funny?, which seeks to "uncover the science behind funniness".  

The exhibition invites visitors to contribute to a science experiment which hopes to find out what makes a cartoon funny. 

The experiment is being conducted in collaboration with Robin Dunbar, Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Oxford. What makes us laugh? It's a complex question, with some surprising science behind it. 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Meet "Mr Buttons"

Mr Buttons
Meet Mr Buttons, the cartoon cat created by veteran animator and rigger Keith Osborn, who has made his cute orange cat available for free download.

Mr Buttons is a fun, quirky rig, suitable for broad cartoony character animation.  Mr Buttons is the star of Osborn's book "Cartoony Character Animation with Maya", which we recommend for all our students.

We also have a series of tutorials with Mr Buttons (see below) on how to plan cartoony animation.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Sesame Street Sounds Archive

For animators looking for inspiration for some cartoony animation with dialogue, one great place to search is the Sesame Street Sound Archive, which you can find here. 

The Sesame Street Sound Archive is full of cartoony audio clips, which work well with cartoony characters such as Mr Buttons and also the Willy rig.  

To get started, try picking a very short line of dialogue, download it and then drag and drop it into your timeline in Maya. To see more about how to use audio files in Maya, follow this link.  To see more about how to use the "Willy" rig, see this blog post.

Leopard Animation by Alex Southcombe

Animation Apprentice student Alex Southcombe did this excellent piece of animation above, as part of studying for his Online MA in Animation at Buckinghamshire New University, our academic degree-awarding partner.  The animation was completed as part of Module DA703 "Animals and Creatures", in which our MA students tackle the art and craft of animal and creature locomotion.  Alex used the Leopard Rig by Truong, available for free download at Gumroad, which we recommend for animal and creature animation. 

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Why Animators Need a Good Silhouette

One of the most important things that an animator needs to get right is to learn how to create great poses. Part of this is learning how to create a great silhouette, one that reads clearly. 

The image on the left is taken from Eric Goldberg's book "Character Animation Crash Course", a copy of which we have in the library, one of the best books on character animation.

Eric shows how a single pose can get an instant "read" from the audience. Even though the images are shown blacked out in silhouette, we still know exactly what the character is thinking and doing.

Always make sure your poses, whether drawn or digital, communicate exactly what the character is thinking, feeling and doing. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Early Bird by Dan Fitzgerald Wins Multiple Prizes

Earlybird from Noad Animation on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Dan Fitzgerald who has been experiencing festival success with his short film "Early Bird" (above).  So far Early Bird has received awards from the Berlin Flash Festival, The Halicarnassus Film Festival, The Vesuvius Film Festival, The Art Film Awards and the Onyko Film Awards, as well as Honourable Mention at the London and Tokyo International Monthly Festivals.

Monday, 8 November 2021

BAA Awards Ident Brief

BAA - British Animation Awards
The BAA Awards are back next year, celebrating the best of British Animation

This year the BAAs have offered our students a unique opportunity - the chance to animate a "sting/ident" for the Awards Ceremony.

This brief is a perfect opportunity to help out one of the UK's biggest animation festivals with some fun animation.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Float Folks Wins Best Trailer at Halicarnassus

Float Folks wins Best Trailer at Halicarnassus
Congratulations to the makers of "The Float Folks", the short teaser/trailer made through our animators' co-operative Nano Films, which has won "Best Trailer" at the Halicarnassus Film Festival. 

The Float Folks is a TV Series created by Ian Foyle and directed by Monika Dzikowicz, currently in development.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Last Call for Winter Class Starting Nov 2021

Last call for our Winter Animation Class, which begins on Monday 2 November 2021.

It's not too late to book a place; all you need to do is visit the main Animation Apprentice site and go through a few simple steps.

If you want to learn 3D animation to a professional level, and start your new career as an animator - your journey starts here.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Why Animators Need to Be Art Directors

Sometimes, animators need to be art directors. When working on an animated scene, animators need to consider the environment the character is inhabiting.  

One of the most common mistakes made by student animators is to combine a realistic character (say, a dinosaur or dragon) with a cartoony environment. The character and the set come from different worlds, and they don't always work well together.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Charlie & Yip Wins Best Animation at 1st Fest

My short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award - Best Trailer at the 1st Monthly Film Festival.
Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, which turns out to be a bad idea.

It's a really a teaser for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Jobs & Careers Playlist at YouTube

For all our graduates currently looking for work, check out our jobs and careers playlist at YouTube. There are plenty of opportunities to find work in the expanding animation industry, but it is important to have a solid demo reel and a well-curated LinkedIn profile - recruiters live at LinkedIn.  Our jobs and careers playlist at YouTube offers advice and support on how to land that crucial first job in industry.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Friday, 24 September 2021

"Knight Spider" Free Maya Rig from Rookies

We're liking this new "Knight Spider" Free Maya Rig just launched from "the Rookies". We haven't yet road-tested it, but it looks pretty cool, and suitable for some nice character animation.

You can download the rig here:

The Rookies has also organised a special character animation contest for the Knight Spider rig, which you can find here

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Charlie & Yip Hon Mention at Monza Film Fest

My short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award - Honourable Mention in the Category of Best Animation at the Monza Film Festival in Italy. 
Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, which turns out to be a bad idea.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Truong Rigs Optimised for Unreal Engine

Truong CG, who creates many of the best free (and nearly free) rigs for student use, has released the video above to optimise his rigs for Unreal Engine.  All of Truong's latest rigs are fully compatible with Unreal Engine since they are all joints-based for both body and face. However, for Truong's older rigs, this video will help optimise the rigs for use in Unreal Engine, giving all the advantages of real-time rendering. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

"Animation Trainee Finder" Launched

Animation Trainee Finder Programme at ScreenSkills
ScreenSkills has launched the Animation Trainee Finder, a paid placement programme for entry-level graduates.

Animation Trainee Finder is being launched by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council with the support of UK animationStudios.  The deadline is 27 September 2021.  

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Pete Nicholson Animator at NRG Digital

Pete Nicholson
Congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Pete Nicholson who has started work as an animator at NRG Digital

Pete began his animation career working at Nano FilmsKing Bee, and Dead Ready Productions.

NRG Digital is a visual communications agency based in Fleet, England.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Demo Reel 2012-2021 "Best Of"

Our latest demo reel is an edit of some of the best shots done by students at Animation Apprentice over the last decade. These shots have all been selected because they show considerable skill in character and creature animation, as well as imagination and a flair for entertainment.  Thanks to Marc Godfrey, Joris Van Laar, Lee Caller, Giuseppe Candido and Victoria Bailey. The background track is "Wait for me" by Moby.

Saturday, 14 August 2021

BBC Ignite Seeks Fresh Animation Ideas

BBC Ignite wants your pitches
BBC Children’s Animation are seeking submissions for fresh, bold and innovative animation ideas. The scheme is called "Ignite" and the deadline is Midnight on 1st September 2021

For all our students who have been working on short films for the past couple of years - this is a perfect opportunity to pitch your materials to the UK's biggest broadcaster.

Successful pitches will be given a "fully funded development opportunity" to bring their project to the small screen.

You don't need to have created any finished animation for your project; more important is an idea of the stories you want to tell and who the main characters are.  To see more, follow this link.