Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Using Open AI to Create Story Ideas



AI is a powerful tool for the creation of stories and ideas.  Watch the video above to see how to use the Playground at Open AI to generate ideas for stories and short films.  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 use of it we can.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Spring Class Starts on 6th March 2023

Our Spring Animation Class begins on Monday 6th March 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.

Sunday, 15 January 2023

2023 Animation Demo Reel


Above is our 2023 student demo reel, a selection of the best work done at Animation Apprentice over the last year. The reel includes work by Joshua Reynolds, Robin Herrmann, Lee Caller, Lisa Springett, Francis Lowe, Dan Fitzgerald, Alex Southcombe, Brandon Barwise, Hamill Buyco, Joris Van Laar,  Chantelle Fairburn, Mark Masters and Muhammad Al-Dasoqi.  Congratulations to all of them on their excellent work.

Friday, 13 January 2023

Bouncing Ball by Lisa Springett

 

Above is an excellent example of the "Bouncing Ball" exercise by Animation Apprentice student Lisa Springett.  Our course at Animation Apprentice, like almost every course in animation, starts with the bouncing ball, as students learn to apply the principles of timing, spacing, paths of action and weight - four of the Twelve Principles of Animation.  Lisa's skilled work shows that even a simple exercise can be entertaining and interesting, and can be completed to a demo-reel level of skill.
 

Thursday, 12 January 2023

How "APEL" Works

APEL: route to post-graduate study
What is the APEL process, and why does it matter? APEL stands for "Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning", and is the formal recognition of prior learning by UK universities.

Why is it important? APEL is the means by which students who do not have an undergraduate degree can gain entry onto a masters' level course, such as our master's programme in 3D animation.

For example, an animator with ten years' experience in the industry might not realise they can apply for our MA course in animation, because they need a BA first.  In fact, this would not necessarily be true.

We can consider a student's body of work, and their professional career, as a route into post-graduate study, permitting them to meet the necessary qualifications for entry onto a masters' programme.

Wednesday, 11 January 2023

Luxo Lamp Hop by Lisa Springett

 

Above is a charming example of a "Luxo Lamp" animation by Lisa Springett, created as part of Lisa's studies at Animation Apprentice, using the Pixo Jr lamp rig.  The lamp hop is part of students' early induction into character animation. Like Pixar's first short film "Luxo Jr", our students have the chance to show emotion and character in an inanimate object with no facial expressions - breathing life into a simple table lamp and creating a fun, entertaining performance - the hallmark of good animation.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Flour Sack Animation with Joshua Reynolds

 

Above is a fine example of "Flour Sack" animation by Animation Apprentice student Joshua Reynolds, using the free flour sack rig, available for download online.  The flour sack rig is one we like to use in the early stages of learning animation, so that students can get used to the idea of creating the illusion of weight, and also getting a performance from an inanimate object.

Friday, 6 January 2023

Storm Trooper Animation by Mark Masters


Above is an excellent piece of locomotion animation by Animation Apprentice student Mark Masters, created as part of his studies on the Animation Masters' Degree at Buckinghamshire New University.  The assignment brief for the first module, DA701 PR1, is to create a short piece of human locomotion, with character and personality. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Pantomime Animation with Joshua Reynolds

 

One of the key skills every animator needs to learn is how to tell a story without words, to create "pantomime" animation. The art of pantomime is that, like mime, the audience should understand completely the story being told - without words.   In the example above, by Animation Apprentice student Joshua Reynolds, Joshua tackles the "Phone Booth" exercise, in which the animator must tell the story of a phone call silently, just using body language and expressions, communicating to the audience what the character is thinking and feeling.

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

Do You Need a BA to Apply for an MA?




One question we often get asked here at Animation Apprentice is this: "Do I need a BA in order to apply for your MA in animation?". The answer is... "maybe".  Ideally, candidates for our Online MA in 3D Animation, delivered in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, will already have a BA in an arts-related subject.  However, those without a BA can still go through what is called the APEL process - APEL stands for "Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning". APEL is the formal recognition of prior learning by UK universities, and is the means by which students who do not have an undergraduate degree can gain entry onto a masters' level course, such as our master's programme in 3D Animation.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

2023 New Year's Resolutions for Animators

Fuochi d'artificio
Happy New Year to all our students!  The New Year brings new challenges but also opportunities - the animation and VFX industries continues to thrive, with remote working now fully established as an alternative to the traditional in-house commute. 

This year, top of our list of New Year's Resolutions, is to experiment with the new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as  OpenAI and MidJourney.  AI is changing the face of the animation industry in a way that challenges everything we do, but also offering new opportunities. 

Saturday, 31 December 2022

Online MA in Animation - Now Taking Applications

Animation by robin Herrmann
We are now taking applications through UCAS for the September 2023 intake of our online MA in 3D animation, delivered in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University (BNU).

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.

Students learn how to animate to a professional level, and also engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Friday, 30 December 2022

Character Animation by Muhanad Al Dasoqi


Above is an excellent piece of character animation by Animation Apprentice student Muhanad Al Dasoqi.  Having a great character animation piece on your demo reel is an important step in landing that crucial first job in the animation industry.  Animation studios are looking for animators who have good technical skills - but can also create genuinely entertaining work - the animation "X factor".

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Bird Animation by Joshua Reynolds


Above is an excellent example of bird animation by Animation Apprentice student Joshua Reynolds, using the "Red Whisker Bird" rig by Truong. Joshua has used live action reference to excellent effect, creating a charming and believable piece of avian animation.  Being able to tackle photo-realistic animal and creature animation is one of an animator's core skills, as studios ramp up production on films with photo-realistic animal animation such as The Jungle Book and The Lion King.

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

VFX Festival 21-23 February 2023

2023 VFX Festival is Coming Soon
The VFX Festival is back in London from 21-23 February 2023. 

The 2023 VFX Festival returns to Escape Studios in Central London and, like last year,  will run as a hybrid event, both online and also in person. The event runs from 21-23 February. 

The 2023 VFX Festival will be hosted at Escape Studios at their midTown Campus at 190 High Holborn, and also online. To book your tickets, follow this link to thevfxfestival.com.

Friday, 23 December 2022

Is it Good? Animation by Lee Caller

"Is it good?" from Lee Caller on Vimeo.

Above is a fine acting shot animated by Animation Apprentice graduate Lee Caller, one of a number of pieces of animation that Lee has started lately, but - as he puts it - "rarely gets to finish".  In this case, the purpose of the demo was to show that great animation it not always all about over-the-top super-exaggeration, but more about subtle facial expressions and believable acting choices. The acting reference was taken from the TV series Killing Eve - you can see the original shot here: youtu.be/HDdhotN0Dnw?t=223

Saturday, 10 December 2022

Why Animators Need to Finish Their Reel

One of the key tasks for our graduates is to be job-ready at the end of the course, and this includes finishing a professional-level demo reel.  

A student's demo reel is the single most important means of landing that crucial first job in the animation industry.  

The key thing however is to get it done.  Remember that the best is the enemy of the good.  Perfection, as Milton Friedman used to say, is for the next life.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Character Animation by Joris Van Laar


Above is a charming character animation shot created by Animation Apprentice student Joris Van Laar.  It's a great example of how character animation can be funny and full of personality.  Joris used the almost-free Kayla rig, which you can read about here, and also created a well-designed set, with appealing textures and lighting.  Having a great character animation piece on your demo reel is an important step in landing that crucial first job in the animation industry.  Animation studios are looking for animators who have good technical skills - but can also create genuinely entertaining work - the animation "X factor".

Wednesday, 7 December 2022

11 Second Club December 2022

This month a number of our student animators are polishing their 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. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

New Year Class Starts on Monday 9 Jan 2023

Artwork by Animation Apprentice Graduate Joe Gamble
Our New Year Animation Class begins on Monday 9th January 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.

Monday, 5 December 2022

Character Animation by David Davis


A number of our students are currently tackling the 11 Second Club, the monthly competition in which animators compete to bring a line of dialogue to life, testing not just their technical skills but also their powers of imagination. Students must find performance and acting choices that create an entertaining and well-realised piece of animation. In the example above, one of my former students David Davis demonstrates strong, well-chosen choices for this very witty piece of character animation.