Friday 1 December 2023

How to Clean Up Scanned Images in Photoshop

This short video shows how to take a scanned image and tidy it up in Photoshop. The image I am using is an ink cartoon drawing, but this method works equally well for pencil drawings, and also works for images that have been photographed with a smartphone camera.  Why should you clean up your scans? The purpose of the cleanup is to make your scanned images look prettier, to make them ready to send to a client, or to look nice for a presentation. Raw scans look ugly and unprofessional - watch the video above to see how to tidy them up.

Thursday 30 November 2023

How to Use The Shelf Editor in Maya

This short introductory tutorial shows how to use the Shelf Editor in Autodesk Maya. The Shelf Editor allows animators to create buttons on a shelf, permitting the user to select frequently-used control curves such as hands, feet, body and head quickly and efficiently. For most animators working on production, the Shelf Editor is one of the first tools they will use when setting up their character workflow, to ensure they can animate fast and efficiently. 

Monday 27 November 2023

Animating With Maya's Motion Trail Tool

This short video (just three minutes long) shows how to use Maya's Motion Trail Tool. The Motion Trail Tool is very useful for smoothing out the kinks and bumps in your animation, to ensure that your arcs and paths of animation are as smooth and flowing as possible. Bumpy animation curves will create pops and bumps in your animation. The Motion Trail Tool is one way of overcoming these problems and giving your animation an extra polish. 

Thursday 23 November 2023

Animate a Feminine Walk with "Monty"

One thing every animator needs to learn is how to animate a character walk.  In this tutorial, we show how to take a "plain vanilla" walk using the marvellous "Monty" rig (free for download from and make Monty walk in a feminine way, like a model on a catwalk.   The video tutorial is recorded in Autodesk Maya, and is aimed at animation beginners.  The animation above was completed by Animation Apprentice graduate Phil Loeffler

Thursday 16 November 2023

How to Fix Knee Pops in a Walk Cycle

In the video above, we show how to fix knee pops in a walk cycle. IK chains can "pop" if the leg on a character gets over extended, so the trick is not to completely extend the leg. Straighten the leg on the contact position, then slightly dial it back and relax it. To find out more, watch the short video above.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Using AI to Colour 2D Animation with Cadmium App

Cadmium App
Artificial intelligence continues to offer new ways to speed up the animation pipeline and turboboost the productivity of animators. 

One new breakthrough comes from the Cadmium App, a new tool which automates the process of colouring 2D animation.

Cadmium is a creative tool for hand drawn animation. Using machine intelligence, animators can now colour their entire animation sequence from just a few keyframes.

Monday 13 November 2023

History of Who Framed Roger Rabbit

We're enjoying this "Deep Dive Documentary" into the History of the 1988 animated film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".  The documentary is based on a range of source material, including Ross Anderson's well-researched book Pulling a Rabbit Out of a Hat.   It's a thorough documentary that shows just how many twists and turns Who Framed Roger Rabbit took before finally making it (and even then only just) to the big screen. 

Saturday 11 November 2023

How to Pitch a Cartoon Strip - Queen's Counsel

This is a short video on the subject of pitching ideas - in this case the "Queen's Counsel" cartoon strip that I pitched to The Times back in 1993.  The pitch was successful; the cartoon strip started in The Times in 1993 as Queen's Counsel - it became King's Counsel in 2022.  It's still being published every week 30 years later. 

Friday 10 November 2023

Free Tutorial: Copying & Pasting Curves in Maya


In this brief tutorial we show how to copy and paste curves in Autodesk Maya. This short video tutorial is part of our series of beginners' tutorials, and shows how to copy and paste curves in Autodesk Maya. Maya is not especially good at copying and pasting curves; it's a fiddly process and takes a while - but it can be done.

Thursday 9 November 2023

How to Use The Layer Editor in Maya

How to use the Layer Editor in Maya. This short video tutorial is part of our series of beginners' tutorials on how to use Autodesk Maya, and how to develop a fast, efficient workflow. The Layer Editor works much like layers in Photoshop - it allows you to put different elements of the shot on different layers, so you can work faster and more efficiently.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Steve Woodhouse - Founder of Skyline Visuals

Skyline Visuals - founded by Steve Woodhouse
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Steve Woodhouse who has founded his own successful architectural visualisation company - Skyline Visuals

Skyline Visuals creates  3D visuals & photomontage for the architecture & landscape industry.  Skyline Visuals "provides effective solutions to assist with planning pipeline and visual marketing".  

Monday 6 November 2023

Oliver Canovas 3D Artist at KAN Engineering

Many congratulations to Animation ApprenticeOliver Canovas who is working as Digital Modelling Engineer at KAN Engineering. 

Oliver Canovas took our Online MA in Computer Animation (the first of its kind) with our Higher Education partner Buckinghamshire New University, graduating with honours.

Friday 3 November 2023

Young Cartoonist of The Year Awards 2023

The Young Cartoonists of the Year Awards are back.  This year the deadline for submissions is 14 January 2024.

Hosted by the Cartoon Museum in London, the annual Young Cartoonists of the Year competition seeks to reward rising cartoon talent. 

Judges include Martin Rowson (The Guardian), Christian Adams (Evening Standard), Banx (FT), Peter Brookes (The Times), Nick Newman (Private Eye), and Matt Pritchard from the Daily Telegraph.  Entry is free. 

Entries can be mailed in (via old school Royal Mail) to the Cartoon Museum,  at 63 Wells St, London W1T 3PT, or emailed to  As always, we encourage all our students to enter competitions such as this one. 

Wednesday 1 November 2023

ILM Offers Industry Advice to Animation Graduates

ILM Education Series 2.0

VFX powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) is offering a series of free industry panels offering advice for recent graduates looking to break into the animation and visual effects industry.

Known as the ILM Education Series 2.0, ILM is offering two dates, Thursday 9 November at 5pm, and Wednesday 29 November at 5pm. The events are free.

Friday 27 October 2023

Animate a Neon Sign in Maya - Free Tutorial

In this free tutorial we show how to animate a neon sign in Maya. The idea is to create a personal logo for your demo reel, something that has a little more style and invention than a simple title card. Start by creating a logo for your animation reel, then import the logo into Maya, and use the technique described above to turn your logo into neon letters. From there, you can easily animate the letters, render some images, and create a movie file for your demo reel. 

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Animate a Lamp Hopping With Pixo Jr.

Lamp Hop with Pixo Jr rig
In this tutorial we show how to animate a lamp hopping. It's an introduction to character animation, and also a nod to one of Pixar's first animated shorts - Luxo Junior. 

The rig we recommend for this exercise is the Pixo Jr rig - an excellent rig, free for student download at, and the perfect starting point to learn locomotion & mechanics.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Create a Starry Sky with the Arnold Skydome

In this short video tutorial (just five minutes long) we explain how to create a starry sky in Maya with just a few clicks, using the Arnold Skydome. Using an HDRI night sky texture map (Google one to get started), we can create a night sky effect with little or no effort, using the Arnold Renderer.  To see the step by step plan, follow the outline below. You can find the tutorial video at YouTube here.

Monday 16 October 2023

Using AI to Make Better Animation

In the short video above we offer some suggestions on how to use AI to make better animation.  AI is a powerful tool for the creation of stories and ideas.  Watch the video above to see how to use Chat GPT to generate ideas to make our animation more interesting and inventive. AI represents the biggest technical advance in the animation & VFX industry since 3D animation began to replace traditional hand-animated feature films in the early 2000s. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay - so let's make the best possible use of it.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Export a Render Sequence in Arnold

In this super simple tutorial we show how to export a Render Sequence in Arnold, in Autodesk Maya. First watch the tutorials on basic lighting setups, such as Lighting in Arnold with Physical Sky, or Lighting in Arnold with Sky Shader, and then watch this video to see how to render out a series of images that can be imported into Adobe Premiere or Blender - or any editing software - ready to export as a movie file.

Friday 13 October 2023

Basic Lighting in Arnold with Sky Shader

In this simple lighting tutorial, aimed at Autodesk Maya beginners, we explain how to achieve a basic lighting setup in Arnold using the Arnold Sky Shader. This is a simple lighting setup, only slightly more sophisticated than the Arnold Physical Sky tutorial - which is as simple as it is possible to achieve in Arnold, and gives good results for an outdoor scene with just a few clicks

Thursday 12 October 2023

Winter Animation Class Starts 6 Nov 2023

Animation by Robin Herrmann
Our Winter Animation Class begins on Monday 6th November 2023.

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.