Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Happy Christmas from Animation Apprentice!



Happy Christmas from Animation Apprentice! Laura Dunning, one of our very talented students, has done this charming piece of animation with a snowy, Christmas theme. Laura has taken the exercise of a character lifting a heavy object and turned it into a Christmas card - an excellent application of the important principle that, as animators, it isn't enough to be technically skilled, we also have to make our work entertaining and fun to watch. Congratulations to Laura on a very nice piece of animation. And a very Merry Christmas to all our friends and students, past, present and future.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Animal Locomotion for Animators

Animal Locomotion for Animators is a free eBook by paleontologist and animal locomotion expert Stuart Sumida, which you can download from his website here.

The book is an excellent resource on animal locomotion, and very useful right now for our students - who are currently tackling animal and creature locomotion.

Stuart Sumida is a paleontologist who also works in showbiz; he has acted as advisor to countless Hollywood films including Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, where he gave extensive talks to the animators (including me) on horse locomotion. To find the free download, follow this link. And to read more about Stuart Sumida's work, see this blog post.

http://www.stuartsumida.com/ANIMATION/LocomotionImages.pdf

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Free Horse Rig by Mothman TD

horse rig by Mothman TD
We're liking this horse rig available for free download from the Mothman TD website.

It's an excellent choice for animating quadruped locomotion, a useful alternative to the (also very good) Rhett the Clydesdale rig.

So, how can our students get the most out of this rig?

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

bhPathAnim by Brian Horgan

bh_pathAnim Launch Video from Brian Horgan on Vimeo.

The very talented Brian Horgan has just released a new path system for animal and creature locomotion. At $30, bhPathAnim isn't free, but it is priced attractively and could be on any animator's Christmas wish-list. Brian Hogan describes bh_pathAnim as "a robust and flexible new tool for path animation in Maya". His goal was to make it "simple and intuitive", easy to "attach any rig, with any number of limbs and body controls, to a path and animate it walking or running along it". bh_pathAnim "will work for bipeds, quadrupeds, and insects". We haven't had a chance to road-test it yet, but it does look very handy. You can download the new tool from gumroad.com.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Wolfdog Rig from HighEnd3D

Wolfdog
We're liking this Wolfdog rig, available for free download from highend3d.com. He is loosely based on the character Balto from the movie, and has a good range of controls and even facial expressions.

The rig does have some limitations, especially in the way the wrists and feet have been rigged, but you can get some really nice character work out of Wolf dog.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

2018 VFX Festival Lineup

Escape Studios' 2018 VFX Festival is fast approaching.  As in previous years, Escape has got some great speakers coming to talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.

Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend our students attend events like this one. It's a great way to find out what's going on in our industry and, best of all, to meet the recruiters from London's leading animation and VFX houses. Below are some of the VFX, games and animation companies who will be speaking in February.

Monday, 4 December 2017

London International Animation Festival

The London International Animation Festival (LIAF), the UK’s largest animation festival, is now on, having returned for its 14th year with a series of screenings of the best shorts and features, both domestic and international, including children’s screenings and the Best of the Fest.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Leopard Rig by Truong

We're liking this Leopard Rig by Truong, available for free download at Gumroad. It is an attractive, well-structured rig with simple controls, and it's pretty easy to figure out how to use it.

In order to get real-time playback in your viewport in Maya, you need to go into your Animation Preferences (bottom right hand corner of the screen) and then under Settings/Animation/Evaluation change Evaluation Mode to Parallel.

So, how do students get the most out of this rig?

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Design (and Animate) Like a Rockstar

Eugene Riecansky, founder and CEO of Rockstar, a motion graphics company based in Norwich, East Anglia, gave a superb talk at the recent BlueGFX Expo in London titled "How to Design like a Rockstar". 

It was an excellent talk because it brought to life the extraordinarily fast-paced nature of doing video work for clients, working to insane deadlines to create unique video content for bands doing live gigs and performances.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Where Do Animators Find Live Action Reference?

Where can animators find useful live action reference? Reference is often a necessary starting point for producing believable animation. Of course, YouTube is a great resource, but it can be hard to find what you want, and you may need to dig within YouTube to find particular channels that specialise in what you need.  Below is a list of some of the best online resources that we are recommending to find the perfect live action reference.

Monday, 20 November 2017

RIP Mental Ray

Mental Ray 3D Render
NVidia, makers of the once-ubiquitous ray tracer Mental Ray, have announced in a press release that it is to be discontinued.

Mental Ray used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya and, until recently, have released a version of their software which is free for student use.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Pixar Colour Scripts

Finding Nemo Colour Script.
Colour Scripts are an important part of the animation process; they allow the director to get a feel for what the movie will look like, long before the animation and lighting is complete.

Sequence by sequence, and even shot by shot, colour stylists (i.e. painters) plan the mood and look of the film as part of the pre-production process.

To see the master designers at Pixar at work, follow this link to view the actual colour scripts used on hits like Finding Nemo.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Storyboard With Panel Forge Pro

At last week's Blue GFX Expo, Blue Zoo’s Tom Box announced that Panel Forge Pro, their new storyboard and pipeline tool, is now available for free for student use.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Animation Recruiter Secrets Revealed

VIEW panel. From left: Amy Smith, Giorgio Xhaxho, Alex Williams, Tiffany Feeney, Angie Wojak


















What do Animation recruiters look for from recent graduates?  How do they find fresh talent? At last week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA). Also on the panel were two recruiters, Amy Smith from Framestore and Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Both of them had a lot to say on the subject of student demo reels. But most of all, it turns out that recruiters want one thing from animation graduates...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Cristian Pall Animator at A.i. Solve

Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Cristian Pall who has just secured a position as an animator with the games company A.i.Solve.

A.i.Solve describes itself as "an Artificial Intelligence Solutions provider bringing together the best in AI, VR & MR products and solutions".

We asked Cristian to tell us a little about the new position, what is involved, and how he secured that crucial first job in the animation industry. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

How To Get Ready For Our November Classroom

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 6th November?  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 just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Animation Apprentice Animals & Creatures 2017



Check out our latest Animals & Creatures Reel, featuring work by many of our talented students. Animators aren't just technicians, they are entertainers, and the job of the animator is not just to master the art of animal and creature locomotion, but to craft an interesting and compelling performance. Congratulations to Joris Van Laar, Lee Caller, Dave Novis, Celine Sakr, Ramakrishna Maccha and Victoria Bailey on their excellent animation.

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 Highend3d.com. 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 http://www.accessvfx.org/.

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 http://www.studiolibrary.com
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).

Monday, 28 August 2017

Free Sound at YouTube Sound Effects Channel

Where can you find free sound effects for your animation? Sound design is something that animators at a big studio take for granted - because someone else does it for you.

But when you are creating your own animation, and your own animation demo reel, you need to think (at least a little) about sound effects, and sound design, for your shots. One excellent resource for royalty-free sound effects is the YouTube Sound Effects Channel.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Animation Taster Days Aug 24, Sept 13 & 27

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Monday 24 August, or September 13th and 27th.

Animation Taster Days are all about helping prospective students learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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, 9 August 2017

Get Ready for Our September Classroom!

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 4 September?  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 just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Arc the Dragon - New Rig From Josh Sobel

The very talented Josh Sobel, who brought us the excellent Kayla rig, and also the very useful (and free) Bonnie rig, has just released a new rig - "Arc the Dragon", for a very reasonable $18.

Arc is described as "a full quadruped with expressive facial control, intuitive body setup, full picker, pose library and limitless customization."

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Alien Covenant Secrets Revealed

I saw the original "Alien" movie by Ridley Scott when I was just 12 years old - far too young really (I was terrified) - but since then I've always been fascinated by this most stylish of horror film franchises.

Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn (AvatarThe Dark KnightIron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy.) is about the same age as I am, and clearly could not resist the chance to work on Scott's latest instalment - Alien Covenant.

Penn gave an excellent talk about his work on the film at Escape Studios last thursday - a fascinating insight into how the movie got put together.
 
So, what were the secrets behind this most coveted of VFX roles - working for one of the greatest living film directors on the latest Alien movie?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Find Your Future in London on 9 August

Want a career in creative media, but not sure what route to travel? Get yourself to the "Find Your Future 2017" event in London on 9 August.

If you're interested in working in the creative industries, but not yet ready to commit to any particular area then Find Your Future could be the careers event for you.

Representatives from some of London's top animation and VFX houses will be there (notably Double Negative and Framestore) and - best of all - the event is completely free.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Blue GFX 9 November 2017 - Save The Date!

Save the date! For all our students in the London area, Blue GFX Expo is taking place in Waterloo on 9th November 2017.

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

Friday, 28 July 2017

Our First Online MA Animation Graduates! Yay!

Graduation Day at Buckinghamshire New University
Our very first online MA students will be graduating in September.  Graduation Day at Buckinghamshire New University (our degree-awarding partner) takes place in early September, and we are especially proud to welcome our new MAs in Animation.

Of course, the event is something of a formality - no-one actually has to turn up, but we hope that many students will come and celebrate their achievement - graduating as Masters of Arts on the world's first online MA in Animation. There might even be a celebratory lunch!

And, in a small way, everyone there will be making a little piece of animation history.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Why Does Maya Batch Render Too Dark?

Utah Teapot
Lighting your scene using Autodesk Maya can be a tricky process. You get your lights to look just the way you want them to, and when you render out a single frame, everything looks fine.

But then, when you come to do a Batch Render of your final frames, Maya gives you a very different result - the images look much darker. Which is not what you wanted at all.

So why does Maya do this - and what is the solution?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Stuart Penn Talks Aliens in London on 3 August

Stuart Penn
Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn will be talking about his work at a free event in London in two weeks, on Thursday 3rd August at 6.30pm.

Events like this are a great way for animators to get a better understanding of the overall VFX pipeline, and how animation fits in to the big picture.

Stuart will be talking about his recent work as VFX supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. We encourage all our students to attend - and ask questions. This is a chance to meet a successful industry professional and ask him - how does a student artist break into this field?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Bring Your Own Animation Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
This one is for our animators in the London area: the monthly event "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place tonight, Monday July 17th.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London.  This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street. Who is hiring, and what skills are in demand?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

11 Second Club Entry by Victoria Bailey



Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to enter the monthly animation competition known as the 11 Second Club. There are all sorts of reasons to enter, not the least of which is the chance for students' to showcase their skills and get their work noticed. The excellent animation above was done by one of our online MA students, Victoria Bailey, who has created an excellent piece of character animation.  Animators should always think of themselves as actors giving a performance, finding the right mannerisms and gestures to make the shot feel believable.  It's not enough to learn the mechanics of animation - we also have to make our work entertaining and convincing. Many congratulations to Victoria on her excellent work.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

VR UK - Today and Tomorrow

VR UK is at Ravensbourne today and tomorrow
The UK Virtual Reality Festival is taking place today and tomorrow, 6th and 7th July, at Ravensbourne in London. Sponsored by the Arts Council and the Lottery Fund, this event looks to be a great opportunity to break into the fastest-growing part of our industry - Virtual Reality.

Want to be an expert in a field that no-one really understands yet? Any of our students in the London area - get yourself to Ravensbourne. For details, follow this link.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's Inside our Online MA in 3D Animation?


What's inside our Online MA in 3D Animation? It's a question we get asked a lot; after all, anyone signing up for 18 months of study wants to know what they're actually committing themselves to.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Weight Lift Animation by Joris Van Laar


Check out this excellent piece of work by Animation Apprentice student Joris Van Laar, who has taken the familiar theme of a character lifting a heavy weight and turned it into an excellent and entertaining piece of character animation. As ever, here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to think of themselves as actors giving a performance. It's not enough to learn the mechanics of animation - we also have to make our work entertaining and fun to watch. Many congratulations to Joris on some excellent pantomime animation.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Animation Taster Day Monday 24 July.

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Monday 24 July.

Animation Taster Days are all about helping prospective students learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Cinesite Internships Now Open!

Cinesite, one of London's biggest animation and VFX houses, is now accepting entries for paid Summer internships at their London studios.

The programme is open to individuals over the age of 18, with little or no experience of working in the VFX industry, who are eligible to work in the UK.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Festivus is Back! Thursday 13 July

Festivus is back!  – with special guests! The Festivus animation event is an opportunity to get to know people in the London animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The event takes place on Thursday 13th July at The Comedy Pub in London.

There is a guest speaker from Animation UK, and Blue Zoo will also be there.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Endless Reference - Free Live Action Reference!

Using live action reference to inform your animation can be one of the best ways to get started as an animator.

I have used live action reference many times on many films, especially movies with human characters, such as The Road to El Dorado and Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, and especially on action shots where the motion was complex and hard to get right.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bring Your Own Animation - Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
This one is for our animators in the London area: the monthly event "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place tonight, Monday June 19th.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London.  This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street. Who is hiring, and what skills are in demand?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Mental Ray Free For Student Use

Mental Ray is back! 3D Render by Amaru Zeas
Mental Ray is Back! NVIDIA, makers of the classic ray tracer - it used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya - have now released a version of their software which is free for student use.  This is great news for animation students, because Mental Ray has a number of advtantages over its successor Arnold.  In particular, you can achieve some very quick and attractive lighting setups in Mental ray using Physical Sun & Sky, the closest thing Maya has to a "Make It Look Cool" button.  So, how can our students get a free copy of Mental Ray?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Get Ready For Our July Class!

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Tuesday 3 July?  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 just two key books that we recommend for all our students.