Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Why Animators Need Early Feedback

Our online Classroom is hosted at Facebook
One of the hardest skills for animation students to learn is how give and receive criticism.  We all tend to be shy about our work (especially when we are learning something new) and, when our work is criticised, that criticism can feel very personal.

But 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.

Friday, 3 January 2020

January 2020 Demo Reel



Check out some of the great work done by our students over the past year; all the work shown above was completed by our students at Animation Apprentice. Many congratulations to Joe Gamble, Lee Caller, Amedeo Beretta, Jonathan Humphries and Anna Zielinska on their excellent work.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Back to DreamWorks

DreamWorks Animation
Jeffrey Katzenberg may have left DreamWorks animation, the studio he founded back in the late 1990s, but the old place feels much the same, and just as busy as ever.

I was there recently visiting Stuart Sumida, the paleontologist-turned-movie consultant, who has advised on the science behind animal locomotion and behaviour since The Lion King back in 1993.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

3D VFX Taster Online - Just £25

Online 3D VFX Taster Course
London-based VFX academy Escape Studios has just launched a new online 3D VFX taster course, aimed at absolute beginners who want to master the basics of Maya and 3D VFX.

This online taster was developed by Escape Studios' Head of 3D, Mark Spevick, and costs just £25.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Get Ready For Our January 2020 Class

Alien animation by Jeton Lakna
Our next classroom is now taking applications, and the new class begins on Monday 6th January 2020.

It's not too late to book a place; all you need to do is visit the main site and fill in a form.

If you want to learn 3D animation to a professional level - your journey starts here.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Meet The Jelly Cars!

Animation Apprentice student Lee Caller has recently completed his short film Jelly Cars, a short story about perseverance in the urban jungle.   

"Jelly Cars" is an inventive piece of film-making;  it's a charming story, entertaining and fun - and beautifully animated.

Lee took a simple exercise - animating a vehicle in motion, (in this case, animating a cartoon car, using the free yellow Beetle rig by Aaron Parker), and turned it into a short film, which has already been accepted into its first film festival - the annual KRAF film festival in Croatia.

Congratulations to Lee on his excellent work; we wish him every success in film festivals around the world.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Charlie & Yip in "Film Only Film" Festival

My short film "Charlie and Yip" is a finalist in the Film Only Film Festival in Harrow on January 11th 2020.

Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, with unexpected results. It's a really a teaser for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.

We'll be heading to Harrow for the event, cheering on our talented animation team. To buy tickets, follow this link.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Andreas Deja, Scar and The Lion King

Disney Legend: Andreas Deja
Two weeks ago I was invited to participate in a panel discussion at CTN in Los Angeles about my father's work in animation. It was a nice way to honour his memory and talk about his work in an open forum with family, friends and colleagues.

While I was in LA, I also got to meet up at the Disney lot with Andreas Deja, lead animator and the man responsible for bringing "Scar" to life.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Roger Rabbit Reunion at Disney

Doy, Alex, Nik Ranieri, Ross Anderson, Burny Mattinson, Max Howard, Charles Fleischer, Andreas Deja
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in the summer of 1988, making the movie 31 years old this year.  On Friday at Disney in Los Angeles we had an informal reunion with some the people who worked at the film, hosted in the Rotunda Building by Disney marketing head Howard Green.  Lead animator Andreas Deja was there, as well as Burny Mattinson, officially the longest serving employee of The Walt Disney Company,  Producer Max Howard, Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit, Ross Anderson, who has written the history of the film, animator Nik Ranieri, and me.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Medusa Thumbnails by Milt Kahl

Thumbnails by Milt Kahl
Andreas Deja's animation blog, Deja View, is a treasure trove of information about the Golden Age of Disney animation, and in particular the work of Disney's "Nine Old Men".


The scene is one of Milt's best; a shot I often show in class to illustrate the importance of great acting choices in character animation.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Pixar Animation Workflow by Michal Makarewicz

Michal Makarewicz
Pixar animator Michal Makarewicz was at the CTN Expo in Los Angeles yesterday, running a masterclass in Pixar animation and explaining his own personal animation workflow.

Michal is an experienced character animator whose animation credits include Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Incredibles 2.

Michal won an Annie Award (the animation Oscars) for Best Character Animation on Ratatouille back in 2008.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

How to Get Ahead in Animation - Tonight

Tonight in London the Royal Television Society (RTS) are hosting a free event titled "How To Get Ahead in Animation".

A panel of animators will discuss the wide variety of options open to those with a passion for animation.

Members of the panel during this event will share stories of their careers, the highs points (and the low points) and how to land that crucial first job in the industry.  To book your free place visit https://rts.org.uk/event/how-get-ahead-animation for more details.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Stratostorm Animation Comes to London

Tomorrow night in London the founders of Stratostorm are making a presentation about the creation of their award-winning animation company.

The event takes place at Escape Studios, and is completely free. As always, we recommend our students attend events like this one; it is a great opportunity to find out how the industry works and also an opportunity to develop industry contacts.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Tribute to Richard Williams Sat November 23

CTN Expo in Burbank, Los Angeles, is hosting a tribute to my father, the animator Richard Williams on Saturday November 23rd.

The tribute is titled "Life is on Ones", and the panel is being hosted by my old friend and colleague Tom Sito, who is an animator, director and professor - as well as the author of many books on animation. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Blue Zoo: Real Time Rendering

Blue Zoo's Tom Box at BlueGFX Expo
Blue Zoo's Tom Box explained the Blue "real-time animation pipeline" at today's BlueGFX Expo, exploring new ways to speed up the animation process.

Tom described Blue Zoo as a studio that, since its inception, has "refused to accept industry standards", and has forged its own path in the industry.

Recently Blue Zoo have been pioneering the use of real-time rendering using Unreal Engine - trying to find ways to make the production process faster and more efficient. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Cartoon Movie 2020: Deadline 20 November

Our student animators at Animation Apprentice are film-makers as well as animators, and many are developing their own ideas for original films and TV Series.

Of course, financing idea projects isn't easy, but the annual Cartoon Movie event in France is a good place to begin.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Why Animators Should Be On Linkedin

Tiffany Feeny, Ted Ty, Alex Williams, Jan-Bart Van Beek
How do animation graduates break into the industry?

At this week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts, hosted by SVA's Director of Career Development Angie Wojak.

Also on the panel was the recruiter Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.

Tiffany's big message to recent graduates looking for work?  "Be on Linkedin".

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Secrets of the Spider-Verse at VIEW

Peter Ramsay at VIEW: Into the Spider-Verse
The highlight of last week's VIEW conference in Turin, Italy, was a talk by Peter Ramsey, co-director of Spiderman – Into The Spider-Verse.

Ramsay's talk was sub-titled “What Story are You Telling?”, and he showed the audience how the answer to that question informed every frame and every pixel of the Oscar and BAFTA winning movie.

Spiderman – Into The Spider-Verse re-invented the Spiderman franchise, and achieved a unique comic book-style look for the world of Spiderman.  How did they do it?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Funny Fail Stories of Animation & VFX Tonight

Funny Fail Stories is back in London tonight - book your seats for tonight, Tuesday 29 October for tales of failure from the world of animation and VFX.

Hosted by animator and director Simone Giampaolo, this event takes place at Zigfried Von Underbelly at 11 Hoxton Square, London N1, just a 5 minute walk from Old St Tube station.

Speakers bringing tales of disaster and near-disaster in the animation and VFX industry include Alina Bopele from Studio AKA,  Sabina Janetzka from Cinesite, and Stefano Marrone from Nucco Brain.

The event is also supported by the London chapter of SIGGRAPH.  Tickets are free and you can book them here.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Belgis Al-Mahdiova 3D Animator at Studio 68

Many congratulations to Belgis Al-Mahdiova who has landed a job as a 3D animator and digital artist at Studio 68 Creative.

Studio 68 Creative specialises in 2D and 3D animated intros, motion posters, kinetic typography, and character, animal & creature animation

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

Friday, 18 October 2019

Adobe Premiere Pro - Basics for Animators

At some point every animator needs to learn the basics of video editing.  Premiere Pro, made by Adobe,  comes bundled as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.

Animators need Adobe Premiere mainly to cut (and re-cut) their demo reels and - of course - to make short film projects.

Premiere is also needed to create movie files from a batch render of images. Let's say you are lighting and rendering your scene with Arnold, the ray tracer that is currently bundled with Maya. Arnold will not render out a movie file (such as a avi or mov) directly; instead, you must render still images in a sequence.  To turn those still images into a movie file, you need Premiere (or some other editing software). Here is how to do it.