Monday, 30 September 2019

How to Get Started in Animation

Animation Studio by Helen Piercy
One question I get asked often is this "My kid loves animation - what subject should they study at school?".

And also - "how can I teach my child animation?".

Parents tell me that their 13-year old is really into animation, but doesn't know what they should do to realise that goal.

Today, animation is a mix of art and technology.  So, art subjects, such as Art GCSE or Art A level, will help, as will tech subjects, such as IT or computer studies.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Autodesk Launches "Maya Indie License"

Autodesk has launched the "Maya Indie License", allowing students who have learned to animate using the free student version of the software to enter the marketplace at a much-reduced price.

This is great news for graduates of Animation Apprentice; Autodesk offers junior animators the chance to "become a pro at a price you can afford".

Thursday, 26 September 2019

How to Install the ParentMaster Plugin



Installing plugins in Maya can be a fiddly process, and often needs troubleshooting. And, worse, every time Maya updates their software, you have to re-install all the plugins you installed a year ago. Above is a handy short video showing how to install the free ParentMaster plugin by Paolo Dominici to the latest version of Maya - Maya 2019. The Parentmaster plugin is very useful for attaching and un-attaching objects. Say you have a character who picks up a phone, and then puts it down again. For this, you need the ParentMaster. To see more about how to install the Parentmaster plugin, see this blog post.

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



Mobygratis.com 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.