Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Getting Started with Stop-Motion Animation


My six year old daughter did her first animation over the Christmas holidays, with a little help from her Daddy.  To make it, we used the Lego Animation Studio, aimed at kids 8-12 years old, which you can buy here.  Father Christmas gave it to her for Christmas (how did he know?), and we did this short stop-motion animation on Boxing Day.  We also needed some kit that didn't come with the Lego pack - an iPhone, a tripod (we used this one here), and the app "I can Animate" which cost $3 to download from the App Store. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

Online MA in Animation - Apply Now

"School Run" by MA student Lee Caller
We are now taking applications through UCAS for the September 2021 intake of our unique online MA in 3D animation.

The online MA 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, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Webinar with YouTube Animator and Entrepreneur Charlotte Gimbird 26 Jan

QC Animations at YouTube - the future of animation?
On Tuesday 26 January at 11.30am I'll be interviewing Charlotte Gimbird, one of my most entrepreneurial animation students. 

The webinar is hosted by Escape Studios, and features undergraduate animation student Charlotte Gimbird, creator of QC Animations.  QC Animations is a YouTube Channel with over 80,000 subscribers, and hundreds of thousands of views every month.  To see how Charlotte has created her own successful animation business out of thin air, sign up for the free webinar here

Friday, 1 January 2021

Last Call For Our January 4th Class!

Alien animation by Jeton Lakna
Last call for our 2021 New Year classroom; the new class begins on Monday 4 January 2021.

It's still 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.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Best Rigs for Animation in Maya

Morpheus - endlessly flexible
What are the best rigs to use when creating your own animation in Maya?

There are many excellent free rigs and sets provided by Maya enthusiasts for student use, and many others available for just a few dollars. 

So what are the very best freeware rigs, and how can you find them?  Below is a list of some of the best, and how to get the best out of them.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Why Animators Need to Storyboard

Storyboard by Anastasia Gurova
One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to have too many cuts, and for relatively simple exercises to become overly complex with multiple cuts and camera moves.

The trick in the beginning is to keep it simple. If you do want to cut, or move the camera, it is important to do a rough storyboard first so that you figure out well in advance what the best shot structure is. 

Should you start with a close-up? Or a wide shot? sketch it out in advance, and figure out what the shot order should be.  Best of all - keep the camera still, and don't cut. 
 

Friday, 18 December 2020

How Monty's Eyebrows Work


How do you animate Monty's eyebrows? One of the many rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the Monty Rig, created back in 2007 by Raveen Rajadorai, and free for download at CreativeCrash.com.  Monty's brow controllers are Nurbs surfaces. If you tick Nurbs Surfaces under the Show tab in your Viewport, the brow controls will pop up as five small spheres running across his forehead.  You can individually select and rotate them to get various brow expressions.  Watch the short video above to find out how Monty works. For more on how to use Monty, read this blog post

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Charlie & Yip Wins Best Trailer at Dreamachine

I'm delighted to announce that my short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award -  Best Trailer at the Dreamachine International 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.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

New Year Classroom Starts 4 Jan 2021

Alien animation by Jeton Lakna
Our New Year classroom is now taking applications, and the new class begins on Monday 4 January 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.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Charlie & Yip Best Animation at Krampusnacht

My short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award -  Best Animation at the Krampusnacht Freeky 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.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development. 

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Belgis Al-Mahdiova Animator at TikTokRobot

Many congratulations to Belgis Al-Mahdiova who has landed a job as an animator at TikTokRobot, a UK animation studio.

Belgis took our 30 week course at Animation Apprentice, developed her demo reel, and then applied for positions as an animator. 

Belgis also attended industry events in London, learning from animation professionals and building up her own network.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Victoria Bailey Releases "Turtley in Love"

Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Victoria Bailey, who has just published her new book: "Turtley In Love", a short animated story for children.

"Turtley In Love" was written and animated by Victoria through her new publishing venture Wonky Pictures.

Join Tommy the Turtle as he battles the elements and journeys through the unknown in his quest to find Celia, his one true turtle love.

Monday, 30 November 2020

How Long Should a Demo Reel Be?


How long should a demo reel be? This is a question I often get asked at Animation Apprentice. The simple answer to the question is, for a student reel, "about 30 seconds to a minute". But there is a longer answer, which is a little more complicated.  A demo reel is the single most important means of landing that crucial first job in the animation industry, so it's important to get it right. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

How to Fix a Floaty Walk Cycle

How do you fix a floaty walk cycle? Walk cycles tend to be floaty because junior animators often (make that usually) forget to add the "squash" or "down" position in which both feet are bearing the weight of the body. It's an easy mistake to make, especially if you are animating a walk "on the spot", on an imaginary treadmill, where the character's body stays still and the feet travel backwards.  In this ten minute video I show exactly what the problem is, and how to solve it. The solution is simple - but only when you know how to fix it. 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

How Much Do You Charge Your First Client?

 

One of the most common questions I get asked at Animation Apprentice by students and recent graduates is this: "What should I charge for my first freelance job?".  First of all - congratulations! You have your first client. Now you have to figure out the scope of the work, and how much to charge.  Generally, at the start of your career, you want to keep your rates as low as possible. Work as cheaply as you can afford to in the beginning, do a good job - and your clients will come back for more. Before you know it, you'll be building up a portfolio career as a freelance animator.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

How to Solve Technical Problems


Why doesn't it work? Technical problems are the bane of the animator's life - but inevitable whenever you are working with tech tools. In the video above I explain the best approach to solving technical problems; the secret is to get help, but make sure you ask the right questions, and provide the maximum amount of information so that others can help you. Below is a list of solutions to some frequently-encountered technical difficulties.  Remember that every technical problem, no matter how infuriating, has a solution. You are not the first person to face the problem - there is an answer out there somewhere. 

Friday, 20 November 2020

Live Action Reference with Pernille


A while back I was teaching a class at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark, one of Europe's best animation schools. Students are required to film themselves acting out a shot and then use the acting as reference for the animation. One of the best examples was this shot animated by Pernille Flyvholm.  Like all the students, Pernille filmed herself acting out the shot, filming multiple takes until she got it just right. The live action has some great detail in it - such as the little flip of the phone in the character's hand - an authentic detail that makes the acting feel believable. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Angelo Garrizone Animation Intern at King Bee

Angelo Garizzone
Many Congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Angelo Garrizone who has recently landed an animation internship with King Bee animation, based at the historic Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, just outside of London.

King Bee have worked on many animation projects, including music videos and TV series. They use Maya, Flash and Photoshop to do much of their work.

Angelo worked hard at building an animation demo reel, and also had to complete a test in Adobe Animate in order to secure the position.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Lee Caller "Special Mention" Award at ANSFF

"Jelly Cars": Special Mention at ANSFF
Animation Apprentice is proud to congratulate Lee Caller whose short film Jelly Cars has won a "Special Mention" Award at the Arte Non Stop Film Festival in Argentina. 

This is the second award for Jelly Cars; earlier this year the short won a "Five Stars" Award at the British International Amateur Film Festival.  Lee graduated from Animation Apprentice several years ago and now teaches animation at Escape Studios in London. 

Friday, 13 November 2020

How Feedback Works at Animation Apprentice

 

How do students get feedback at Animation Apprentice? I personally tutor all my students, who receive a weekly bespoke feedback tutorial on their work, showing how to fix mistakes and how to make it better.  In addition, we have a Facebook classroom where students post their work, receive positive feedback, and give creative criticism to others.  Being able to take criticism ("notes" in the industry) is part of the process of creating great animation. When you first show your work to a client, they will have comments, and they won't always love your first efforts. Whether you're working at a studio, or doing private client work, or just working on your own personal work, animators need to learn to incorporate criticism in order to make your work the best it can be.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Charlie & Yip Nominated Best Trailer Bucharest

I am pleased to announce that my short film "Charlie and Yip" has won an award nomination for Best Trailer at the Bucharest 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.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.  Recently it won the "Scream Award" at the Berlin Flash Film Festival, Best Animation at the Flicks Film Festival in London,  Best Trailer at the Changing Face International's Film Festival (CFIFF) in Australia, "Best Trailer" at the Lisbon Monthly Film Festival, Best Trailer at the Halicarnassus Film Festival, and Best Film at the Film One Film Fest in July.