Friday, 30 December 2016

Animation Taster Days at Escape Studios on January 13 and 25

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Fancy trying out 3D animation for a day? I'm running two Animation Taster Days at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, London on January 13 and 25.  Taster Days are a great chance to come and learn about character and creature animation.

The purpose of an animation taster day to give future animators an idea of what it's like to work in the  industry, and find out if this is a career that's right for them.

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?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Getting Ready For Our January 4th Class

What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us  at Animation Apprentice in January?   We don't want to spoil your Christmas holidays, but 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. It's not comprehensive, and 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.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Student Showcase: Follow-Through Animation by Joris Van Laar



Above is a short piece of animation showcasing follow-through and overlapping action - by one of our MA students, Joris Van Laar.  It's a lovely piece of work, simple but full of character and invention. Follow through and overlapping action together form part of the fundamental principles of animation, first set out in print by Disney legends Ollie Johnstone and Frank Thomas in their classic book "The Illusion of Life".

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Learn 3D Lighting Free With Pixar's Jeremy Birn

Anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D lighting in Maya would do well to watch this excellent series of videos by Pixar lighting expert Jeremy Birn, hosted at Vimeo.

The videos are recorded in an older version of Maya, so there will be a bit of a gap between what you are watching and the latest version of Maya that you are running. But, the basic principles of lighting remain unchanged, even though the interface is a bit different.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Free Flag Wave Tutorial in Maya 2016



Free Flag Wave Tutorial in Maya 2016! This is my favourite beginner's tutorial in Maya, extensively tested and refined in the classroom. Starting with no prior knowledge, students learn how to make a flag wave - using Maya 2016, learning the basic Maya tools and also how to use the Maya dynamics tools to automate the process. This video is aimed at complete beginners who have never used Maya before, and want to find out if animation is for them.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Time to Register for BVExpo!

Time to Register for BVExpo! BVExpo is an annual event that describes itself as "the UK's leading entertainment and media tech event".

The Expo takes place from 28 February until 2nd March at the ExCeL London and - best of all - it's completely free. As ever, we recommend that our students attend events like this - it's a great way to keep up with the latest trends in our industry and find out where future opportunities lie.  It's especially interesting for animators interested in broadcast graphics.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Animation Course at Escape Studios in Feb 2017


Not everyone wants to study online, and for those who prefer a traditional classroom experience, I'm running an animation short course - three months of intensive training in 3D animation - starting in February 2017, at Escape Studios in London.  This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D Animation in Maya. You might be a 2D animator wanting to break into 3D, or a graduate who didn’t get the right skills at university – or someone with no experience of animation who wants to make a career change. I teach all my students from scratch, and the goal is to make you job-ready by the end of the course.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Character Design Challenge!

Character Design Challenge!
Why not polish your design skills by entering the monthly Character Design Challenge?

It's a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for character designers. The group started up in January 2015 and it already has over twenty five thousand members.

This month's design challenge is .....Harry Potter! So what are you waiting for? Let's get designing!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Animated Women UK launch "The Achieve Programme"

This week, Animated Women UK launch "The Achieve Programme" - their first ever programme focused on helping women in animation and VFX to achieve their full potential.

Official sponsors of the programme include Creative Skillset, Disney, Turner, Escape Studios and The Mill. For any of our students in the London area, this could be a great opportunity to break into the industry, and make connections with leading companies.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Animation Taster Day Wednesday 14 December

Learn to animate a bird in flight
I'm running an Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, London on Wednesday 14 December - a great chance for anyone in the London area to come and learn about character and creature animation.

The purpose of an animation taster day to give future animators an idea of what it's like to work in the  industry, and find out if this is a career that's right for them.

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, 30 November 2016

Curve Digital's Brynley Gibson Explains Virtual Reality

At last week's BlueGFX Expo, one of the most interesting presentations was by Brynley Gibson from indie games developer Curve Digital on the subject of Virtual Reality.

Gibson posed a number of questions to the audience about what exactly VR is about, and how digital artists should approach VR projects.

And the first question anyone attempting a VR project should ask is a simple one: why does this need to be VR?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Screening of “Kubo and the Two Strings” in London on 6 December

SIGGRAPH's London chapter is hosting a local screening of Laika's latest Stop Motion triumph - the Annie-nominated “Kubo and the Two Strings” on December 6th.

After the movie screening I'll be hosting a Q&A with Director Travis Knight and Producer Arianne Sutner who will talk about the making of the film.

Events like this are a great chance to meet the talent behind a major motion picture, ask questions, and find out how the industry works.

Monday, 28 November 2016

UK Govt Funding Now Available for Masters Degrees

Government help is available
The new student loan system for postgraduate master's degrees has now been launched.  From August of this year, low interest loans will now provide students in the UK (check the website for precise details of eligibility) with access to postgraduate university courses.

This is very good news indeed for students who would like to do our pioneering master's degree in 3D animation - the first of its kind - launched last year in partnership with Bucks New University. The degree can be done from anywhere in the world.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Awesome Animation by Joris Van Laar



We're enjoying this beautiful pantomime animation of a pro wrestler celebrating his victory by Animation Apprentice student Joris Van Laar.  Boris used the Norman rig (a very adaptable and dependable rig) for this shot, and used as his reference and inspiration the superb animation of "Spanish Buzz" by Pixar's Carlos Baena, on Toy Story 3.  Using other animator's work as a reference for your own shot is a great way to learn the art and craft of animation. Study the work of masters, and you can't help but get better yourself.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Blue Zoo Launches New StoryBoard Software

One of the highlights of last week's Blue GFX Expo was a presentation of Panel Forge Pro (the first public demonstration of the software), a new storyboard and pipeline tool which has now been extensively road tested at Blue Zoo on the Miffy the Rabbit and Digby Dragon TV Series.

Panel Forge uses 3D Layouts – much like its rival Redboard (also developed here in London) – to save time in Storyboarding.  Panel Forge allows board artists to use low resolution 3D assets to help set up camera angles and layouts, and has been used on “10,000 shots” to date.  So, what is Panel Forge all about, and why should our students be interested?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Escape Studios to Host "Evening With" talk Tonight, Wednesday November 16th

Escape Studios is hosting a free "Evening With" talk tonight, Wednesday November 16th at their mid-town campus at 190 High Holborn.

Escape are welcoming Lewis Young, animation director at Polar Media, and Alastair Cross, a visual effects artist who has worked on many vfx hits including The Martian, Pan and the forthcoming must-see movie of the year: Fantastic Beasts - And Where to Find Them.

We recommend coming along to free events like this one - it's a chance to find out about these amazing movies from two of the people who helped put them together.

The event starts at 6.30pm and lasts until 8pm.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

ASIFA Hollywood Helps Rescue Thief Artwork

Some good news at last for Richard Williams' lost masterpiece - The Thief and The Cobbler.  LA animation chapter ASIFA-Hollywood has donated the not-insignificant sum of $20,000 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to assist with the curation and documentation of a big chunk of the movie's original production artwork.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Free Dinosaur Tutorial!



We're excited to announce a new free week at Animation Apprentice - Dinosaurs! Using the excellent  free Dino rig by Harry Geoghegan, available for free download at Creative Crash, our animators can create a believable dinosaur walk cycle and performance. To get a flavour of the exercise, watch the free theory video above.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Chuck Jones Animation Tutorial



In this excellent 13 minute animation tutorial, actor and director Ron Howard introduces the work of animation legend Chuck Jones, the creative master behing the Road Runner and Bugs Bunny. There are other great voices here too - such as Disney animation stars Glen Keane and Eric Goldberg (the latter the author of the excellent "Character Animation Crash Course" - one of the books on our rstudent eading list).  The video is a great introduction to the basic principles of animation, such as anticipation, squash and stretch, secondary action and overlapping action. We're recommending it to all our students.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Bring Your Own Animation Monday 21st November

The Lukin - BYOA!
"Bring Your Own Animation" (BYOA) is an animation event that takes place every month in London.

This month it is being held on Monday 21st November at 6.30pm at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come along for drinks.  If you are a student, or a professional who's working on a shot or a reel, bring your work and get feedback from Professional Animators.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Book Recommendation: Prepare to Board! by Nancy Beiman

Prepare to Board! by Nancy Beiman is the book we are recommending to students of storyboarding here at Animation Apprentice. This is an excellent book from a master animator, who teaches at Sheridan College in Canada. It is arguably the best book you can buy on animation storyboarding.

Nancy Beiman was for many years a supervising animator at Disney (most notably on Hercules) and, like many old-school 2D animators, she does storyboards and character design as well as animation.

There is also a companion site online which has extra resources, and a free downloadable PDF Learning Guide.

Friday, 4 November 2016

"Creating Open Worlds" by Ubisoft at BAFTA on 9 November

BAFTA is a superb resource for all our students with easy access to central London. The BAFTA clubhouse is at 195 Piccadilly, and increasingly BAFTA is supporting not just film and TV but the games industry as well.

On Wednesday 9 November, BAFTA is hosting a games event titled "Creating Open Worlds", hosted by games titan Ubisoft.

This will be an amazing chance for animators with an interest in video games - a rapidly expanding sector - to meet the creative team behind Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Watch Dogs 2 and Steep. Tickets aren't free, but at £7.50 it's cheaper than a movie, and far more rewarding.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Sean Danischevsky at Escape Studios Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Thursday 3rd November, Escape Studios is hosting a free evening with Sean Danischevsky, a visual effects supervisor with over 20 years' experience working in film and television. Highlights of his career include Dark Knight, Batman Begins and Harry Potter.  Sean has worked for some of the biggest studios in London including Double Negative, The Mill and Framestore.

Events like this are a great way to find out how big VFX movies actually get made, by the people who made them. The event is free, so come along on thursday to Escape Studios' MidTown campus (190 High Holborn in London) and find out the secrets behind some of the biggest VFX hits of recent years.

Plus, there will be free beer and pizza!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Animation Apprentice at VIEW

Dan Sarto, Byron Howard, Simone Giampaulo and Conrad Vernon
Animation Apprentice was in Italy this week participaing in VIEW, the 17th International VFX & Computer Graphics Conference.

VIEW takes place every year in the beautiful Italian town of Torino (Turin), and yesterday I was there running a one-day workshop in Maya, demonstrating some cool creature animation techniques.

Meanwhile, plenty of big hitters in the animation and VFX industries were giving talks and sitting on panels, including my old DreamWorks colleague Conrad Vernon (Sausage Party) and Byron Howard (Zootopia).

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Dishonored 2 at BAFTA on Saturday 22 October

BAFTA is a great resource for our students studying in or near London. The BAFTA clubhouse is at 195 Piccadilly, a short walk from Piccadilly tube station and Green Park.

On Saturday 22 October at 5.30pm BAFTA is hosting the creative team behind the game Dishonored 2 - an amazing chance for any of our students interested in getting into games animation to meet the creative team behind this blockbuster game, and get to know the talent that put it together. Tickets aren't free, but at £7.50 it's cheaper than a movie.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Free Careers Webinar with Framestore Tonight from 6.30pm - 7.30pm

London's Escape Studios is hosting a Careers Webinar with Framestore Tonight from 6.30pm - 7.30pm. Framestore are a multi-awarding studio, one of London's leading centres for visual effects excellence. The webinar is all about careers in the industry, specifically focusing on demo reels and how to break into this competitive but highly rewarding industry.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cartoon Movie 2017: Submit Your Project by 25 November

Do you have an idea for an animated feature film project you'd like to get off the ground?  If so, you should submit it to Cartoon Movie!

The Deadline to submit a feature film project to Cartoon Movie is 25 November 2016.  If your project gets selected, you will be able to pitch it to almost 1,000 animation and industry professionals from forty countries.

Present at Cartoon Movie will be around 200 buyers, including 120 distributors & sales agents.

But why should animation students want to pitch their feature film ideas? Because we think all our students should aim high - you could be the next Walt Disney or Jeffrey Katzenberg - an animation mogul!  Most of all...you'll never find out if you don't try.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Blue GFX Expo is Back! Thursday 17th November 2016

Blue GFX Expo is taking place in London on 17th November 2016

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

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

2017 VFX Festival Now Taking Bookings 7-9 February 2017

Save the date! The countdown to the Escape Studios 2017 VFX festival is now officially on.

The VFX Festival is coming back for 2017, and just like last year Escape Studios be showcasing the best of VFX, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics in London.

There is no better way to find out about the latest trends in our industry and - of most importance for our students - who is hiring and for what. Last year all the big London VFX houses showed up - and were actively looking for talent.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Animation Apprentice is going to VIEW!

Animation Apprentice is going to VIEW, the 17th 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 workshop in Maya on 26 October, demonstrating some cool creature animation techniques. The class is aimed at complete beginners and requires no prior experience with Maya.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Animation Apprentice Visits Jellyfish Pictures

Jellyfish Pictures in Brixton
Last week some of our London-based students were treated to a studio tour of Jellyfish Pictures, getting a unique behind-the-scenes peek into the workings of a growing animation studio.

Jellyfish are a relatively new kid on the London block, but they have grown from modest beginnings to become a major player in visual effects animation and also TV series work - which is currently booming in our home town.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thief & The Cobbler - A Moment in Time - NYC

Richard Williams' unfinished masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler - A Moment in Time - is to be screened in NYC in tonight and on saturday at MOMA - New York's temple of modern art.

The screening was featured in the New York Times - you can read about it here.

To buy tickets to see this rarely-screened film, follow the link to the Moma website here.

Anyone serious about studying animation should see Williams' film at least once. This event is a rare chance to catch a film made utterly without artistic compromise. And of course a chance to meet Williams' himself, who will appear in a Q&A after the film.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Animation Jobs! at creativeheads.net


Finding a job can be a job in itself, especially in the creative industries, and especially when you're just starting out in your career.

One website that is well worth bookmarking (and checking regularly) is creativeheads.net, which hosts a wealth of opportunities - including jobs in animation.

You can narrow your search by keywords, such as "UK", "animation" and so on, so you can quickly find out who is hiring in your neighbourhood. It's a great site, and one we are recommending for all our students who are hunting down their first job in industry.  To find the site, follow this link.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Charge sync is Looking for Investors!



Chargesync, the tech company which commissioned a short film from Nano Films for their new product launch, has now gone live - actively looking for investors at investor.com.  Our students at Animation Apprentice made the short film (see above) for Chargesync as part of our Nano Films project, where we bring in small animation commissions to get our students live industry briefs for real clients.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Very Warm Welcome To Our New Online MA Students!

The world's first online MA in animation
We're excited to welcome all our new students who will soon be starting our online MA in animation, launched one year ago here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.

This is a unique degree - the first of its kind - which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

You will not only learn how to be a professional animator, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form. So, what is this degree all about, and what can our new students expect?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

3 Mills Studios Open House on Wednesday 21st September - Just £5

Stop-motion animation specialists 3 Mills Studios in East London (the folks who brought you Fantastic Mr Fox) are collaborating with Creative Skillset to open their doors on Wednesday 21st September.

For one evening only, visitors will have the chance to pose questions to the animation talent who have worked on some of the biggest TV and film productions right here in London.

Recent productions on site include many and varied projects (not just animation) such as Masterchef, The Royals, The Sound of Music - Live, Jekyll & Hyde and Legend.

On the night you will be also be able to get the inside scoop on live vacancies - such as production jobs, apprenticeships and  runner positions.

Monday, 12 September 2016

What Do Cinesite Look For in an Animation Demo Reel? Eamonn Butler Reveals the Secrets

Eamonn Butler
Last night a number of students at Animation Apprentice attended an animation event in London hosted by Escape Studios, part of their regular “Escape Labs” events – where they investigate the new technology that is driving the animation and visual effects industry.

The guest speaker was Cinesite’s head of animation, Eamonn Butler, who came to talk about Cinesite's expanding animation pipeline - developing and producing their own slate of animated films.

Of particular interest to our student animators was what Eamonn had to say on the subject of animation demo reels: what to do – and what not to do.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Bring Your Own Animation - Monday 19 September

The Lukin - BYOA!
"Bring Your Own Animation" (BYOA) is an animation event that takes place every month in London. This month it is being held at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come to share their passion and have a few drinks.  If you are a student, or a professional who's working on a shot or a reel, bring your work and get feedback from Professional Animators. Bring your work in a USB or external hard drive. They probably won't have a good internet connection. Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend that our students attend - if they are in the neighbourhood, of course.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Great Reference for Animals and Creatures from the BBC and Getty Images

Here is some great reference for animators, specialising in animal locomotion and behaviour, from the BBC and Getty Images.

The site is easily searchable so, say you need some reference footage of a cheetah running, it's all very easy to find. You can easily download the videos as .mp4 files, and then open them up in QuickTime so you can step through them frame by frame.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Meet the Mery Rig!

Meet Mery! We're recommending this excellent character rig (with some reservations) for use by our students at Animation Apprentice.

Mery is now live and available to download, and - best of all - is completely free.

One of the many benefits of animating with Autodesk Maya is the large and growing global community of artists who collaborate on freeware projects, bringing to life excellent animation rigs like this one.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Tech Talks at BAFTA Tomorrow

London SIGGRAPH is organising the second annual TECHTALKS, starting tomorrow August 31st. The event is being held in association with VFX powerhouse Double Negative, and is sponsored by Autodesk, makers of Maya, the animation software that is now the dominant platform in our industry.

TechTalks is a two-day conference which focuses on the technical side of our industry. As always, we strongly recommend that our students attend events of this kind. It's always good to know where the industry is heading, and you never know who you might meet.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Get Ready for Our September 5th Class!

Summer is still with us, but our new animation class starting on September 5th is fast approaching.

In our home city of London, animation production is up 300% over three years, with more growth on the way, and the industry crying out for studio-ready talent.

Below is a brief list of stuff to help you get ready for September 5th, including buying one or two books. You don't have to do all of this, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

To Reference or Not To Reference

What is referencing, and when should animators use it? File referencing ("referencing", for short) is the process in Autodesk Maya which allows the animator to make changes to an animation rig in the course of production and have the new rig automatically update itself to all your existing animation files. It's pretty much what most studios use to manage their animation pipeline, one way or another, as most production rigs are a work in progress.

The question for animators working and studying from home is, should you import the rig directly into your shot, or should you use referencing? Here are the pros and cons.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Dinosaur Rig by Harry Gladwin-Geoghegan

Here at Animation Apprentice we're liking this dinosaur rig by Harry Gladwin-Geoghegan. It's a great free rig for Maya animators, and you can download it here.

The Dino rig excellent for doing creature locomotion, and just about the only thing it won't do is close-ups, as the facial controls are quite limited.

But, to get some dino action on your animation demo reel, this is an excellent rig to choose.

Monday, 8 August 2016

11 Second Club

Chicken or egg?
It's August! You could be heading for the beach to relax or, like many of our dedicated animators here at Animation Apprentice, you could be polishing your animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character 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. This month our students will tackle a question of philosophy: which came first, chicken or egg?

Monday, 1 August 2016

"Jelly Cars" by Lee Caller


From time to time we like to showcase some of the best work done by our students here at Animation Apprentice. "Jelly Cars" a very inventive piece of film-making by Lee Caller, who has animated a short film as one of his weekly animation submissions. It's a great piece of storytelling, entertaining and fun - and beautifully animated.  It's just the kind of work we like to see our students do - taking a simple exercise (in this case, animating a cartoon car, using the yellow Beetle rig by Aaron Parker), and bringing it to life, going far beyond the initial brief to create some really fun animation.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Maya 2017....Now With Added Arnold

Autodesk has just released a new version of Maya, titled Maya 2017 (I know, we're only half way through 2016) - which now features an entirely new system for rendering your images. 

The old ray trace renderer, Mental Ray, has been dropped, and Autodesk have chosen Arnold instead. For those of you have have never used Arnold before, and might have some catching up to do, Animation Apprentice student Lee Caller has helpfully put together a YouTube playlist of videos that will walk you through the basics of the Arnold renderer. 

Arnold is a great renderer, and no doubt a significant improvement on Mental Ray. However, there is a catch, and it's a pretty big one.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

2016 Student Demo Reel



Check out our latest awesome student demo reel! This 2016 edit includes animation by many of our students including Lee Caller, Joris Van Laar, Karl Cotta and Neil Whitman. We're proud of the excellent work done by our students here at Animation Apprentice, taking our animation briefs and pushing them far beyond what one might expect, to create an imaginative and inventive performance. A good animator isn't just a technician, they also have to learn to entertain an audience. And our students are doing just that.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Henry Fenwick and Rory Marchant Enjoy Freelance Success



Les Adventures Extraordinaires d'Edgar is a new TV Commercial animated by Animation Apprentice graduates Henry Fenwick and Rory Marchant. Henry and Rory have set up a small animation company to do freelance animation, in effect setting up their own virtual studio, doing work of a high standard for commercial clients.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Finding Dory Team in London on Monday 11 July

Come and grab your free chance to meet Andrew Stanton and the rest of the team behind Finding Dory, Pixar's new sequel to the original Pixar classic - Finding Nemo.

It's not that often that Pixar royalty make it to our shores - so don't miss this chance to meet some of the greatest animation film-makers of our age.

The event is at the Apple Store in Covent Garden on Monday 11 July at 6pm.

So what's stopping you? Book your place now!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Character Walk Reference for Animators by Houman Sorooshnia



Above is an excellent video of walk reference by animator Houman Sorooshnia, who has done a whole series of different live action character walks. It's a great resource, and it looks like he had a lot of fun acting them all out.  As animators, tackling walk cycles is a great way to learn the craft of animation and also a very good way to dig into character.  After all, how someone walks tells us a lot about who they are, and what kind of mood they are in.  If you can convey to an audience the personality and character of someone just by the way they are walking - then you are well on your way to becoming a professional animator.

Monday, 4 July 2016

BB-8 Rig From Star Wars!

BB-8. Copyright Walt Disney
Just released at Creative Crash is a new BB-8 rig - especially crafted for Star Wars fans.

Like any fan art, the creator of this rig obviously doesn't own the copyright - that is owned by the Disney corporation, who now own the Star Wars franchise. But that doesn't mean we can't use BB8 to do some great animation - it just means we have to respect the owners and not do anything silly with it (like, say, try to make a profit from it).

There are in fact two versions of this rig. To the left is version 2, but there is also version 3 which you can download here

Below are some tips on how to use the BB-8 rig:

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Career Advice From Annecy

Annecy Panel "Putting Your Best Foot Forward"
Last week at Annecy (the world's biggest animation festival)  I got the chance to speak on a superb panel discussion organised by the School of Visual Arts (SVA), talking about how animation graduates can best find work in the industry.

The panel discussion was titled:  Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Animation Talent Search. On the panel were recruiters from Pixar, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It was fascinating to hear these representatives of top studios talk about what they are looking for in fresh talent.

So, what then are the secrets of breaking into the animation industry?

Friday, 24 June 2016

Meet Franklin!

Franklin
We're excited to get to know Franklin, a new free character rig from artella.com. Franklin is aimed at students learning animation and is offered for free download on a royalty-free license.

Franklin joins the growing ranks of free character Maya rigs available to students of animation.

To see a full list of rigs that we recommend here at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

And to see what Franklin is capable of, watch the video below.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Get Ready For Our July 5th Class!

Summer is here at last. But why head for the beach when you can learn animation? Here at Animation Apprentice we're running a new animation class on July 5th for students who want to kick-start their career in this expanding industry.

In our home city of London, animation production is up 300% over three years, with more growth on the way, and the industry is crying out for studio-ready talent.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you ready for July 5th. 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.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Still Time to Apply for Our Online MA in 3D Animation!

The world's first online MA in animation
It's not too late! There is still time to apply for our online MA in animation, which launched here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Bucks New University in September 2015.

This is a unique degree (the first of its kind) which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

You will not only learn how to animate to a professional level, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Introducing...Loop De Loop!

Here at Animation Apprentice we're excited about Loop De Loop, a bi-monthly animation challenge that's a bit like The 11 Second Club, but with a loopy twist.

Loop De Loop seeks to create "a community of creative folks working together for the greater good of looping animation". Whatever that is.

So, how do students get involved with Loop De Loop? And what's it for anyway?

Friday, 10 June 2016

A Great Free Script To Toggle Control Curve Visibility On and Off

Morpheus
Here is a very useful script for Maya animators, developed by Justin Barratt, and one which we are recommending for all our students here at Animation Apprentice. It's a super-useful tool, used to toggle the visibility of your animation rigs' control curves on and off.

All you have to do is paste the lines of script below in your script editor in Maya (under the MEL tab) and then save save it to a shelf in the usual way. Once you've done this, it should help to speed up your workflow and make you a faster, and better, animator.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Andy Rig - How To Use It

Meet Andy! Andy (short for "androgynous") is a very flexible rig for character animation, and one that we recommend for student use here at Animation Apprentice.

Andy is useful for both male and female character roles, and can be easily customised.  To get started, you can download Andy for free here at Creative Crash.

Friday, 3 June 2016

How to Get Ready for Our July 5th Class

What kind of preparation should students do before starting our summer class with us on Tuesday July 5th?  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 two books that we recommend for all our students.