Wednesday, 29 June 2022

How to Animate a Skip - with Michael Schlingmann

Skip Animation Tutorial from Felix Sputnik on Vimeo.

How to Animate a skip - with Michael Schlingmann. Above is an excellent, clear tutorial on how to animate a skip, recorded by veteran animator Michael Schlingmann, who I worked alongside many years ago on the animated epic The Thief and The Cobbler.  A skip is a hard thing to animate; it is an eccentric gait and doesn't conform easily to the formula of a walk or a run.  To learn how to animate a skip, watch Michael's video above.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

How to Animate Lipsync - with No Lips

"Monty" dialogue by Rich Jeffrey
The first dialogue exercise tackled by students at Animation Apprentice is how to animate a character speaking a line of dialogue - with no mouth.  Students almost always look skeptical at this idea - how can you animate Lipsync with no lips? 

The answer, of course, is that it's all in the acting and the performance.  If the body language is working, then the audience will believe that the character is speaking - even if the character itself has no mouth.

Monday, 27 June 2022

What Kind of Laptop To Buy in 2022

What kind of laptop should I buy?" is a question that we are often asked at Animation Apprentice. 

Computer specifications change regularly and much depends on exactly what you want to use your laptop for.  But let's say you want to buy a laptop capable of running Autodesk Maya, for computer animation and to render out your shots.

What sort of laptop should you buy, and how much do you need to spend? Animation Apprentice graduate and animation teacher Amedeo Beretta offers some advice to our students.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Why Animators Need Handles

Adobe Premiere
What are "handles", and why do animators need them? "Handles" are a technical term used in video editing to describe the process of adding a few frames to the start and end of every shot. This means that each shot in the film is slightly longer than it needs to be, allowing the editor to adjust the cut by a few frames in either direction to make the edit smoother.

An editor working with, say "four frame handles", has an extra four frames at the start and end of every shot. Working with handles means that animators have to do a little extra work, but it gives the editor flexibility with the final edit. 

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Jim Van Der Keyl Live Action Reference


Above is a lovely piece of live action reference by animator Jim Van Der Keyl who I worked with many years ago on Brad Bird's classic animated film "The Iron Giant". Jim, like many animators, used live action reference to help create the best animation possible with the most believable acting choices. In this case, he ended up being nominated for an Annie Award for his hard work. 

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Journey of Life Wins Best Director

Journey of Life wins Best Director (Short Film) at FOFA
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Robin Herrman whose short film "Journey of Life" has won award for Best Director (Super Short Film) at the Future of Film Awards.

"Journey of Life" was written, produced and directed by Robin, currently studying for his MA in 3D Animation with our academic partner Buckinghamshire New University.  The film has won many festival awards. 

Monday, 23 May 2022

Summer Class Starts Monday 4th July

"Artifact" by Kristis Bandzevicius
Our next class at Animation Apprentice starts on Monday 4th July 2022. We're excited to welcome new students on their animation journey; junior animators are still very much in demand, especially in our home town of London, and my inbox is full of requests from studios for fresh talent.

So, how to get ready for the start of class? It's always good to do a little preparation.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Getting Your Name Listed at the IMDB

 

For all our students working on short films and getting their names listed at the IMDb, here is a short video explaining how the process works. The IMDb interface is a bit fiddly when you first use it, but it gets easier with a little practice.  Getting your name listed at the IMDb is something of a rite of passage in our industry - it proves that you "exist" in our industry, and it's where industry folk will search to find your name.  A well-curated IMDb profile is an important thing to keep half an eye on. 

Friday, 6 May 2022

BAFTA Scholarship Deadline 20 May 2022

Perhaps you might be considering applying for our Online MA in Animation - but lack the funds? Why not apply for a BAFTA scholarship?

BAFTA has opened applications for its scholarship programmes, worth up to £12,000. The scholarships are open to UK nationals for both undergraduate and post-graduate study. The deadline is 20 May 2022.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Walt - The Man Behind The Myth


Sometimes it's time to down tools and learn a bit about the history of animation. The pioneering giant upon whose shoulders all animators stand was Walt Disney. To understand why Disney was such a transformative figure in the history of the animation industry, watch "Walt – The Man Behind the Myth" -  a biographical documentary on the man who founded the Walt Disney Studios.  The documentary was narrated by Dick Van Dyke and directed by Jean-Pierre Isbouts.

Friday, 22 April 2022

How To Create Thumbnails for Animation

 

How do you create thumbnail sketches for character animation? Learning how to create thumbnail sketches is a very important skill, even for animators who don't draw well, because thumbnail sketches are an important tool for planning animation.  Even 3D animators who aren't that comfortable with drawing are encouraged to have a go at the thumbnailing process, because it is so valuable for planning character animation.  Watch the video above to see how to create simple but expressive thumbnail sketches for this month's "11 Second Club"

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

"Journey of Life" Hon Mention at DSFF

"Journey of Life" wins Hon Mention at DSFF
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Robin Herrman whose short film "Journey of Life" has won an Honourable Mention for Best No Budget Film at the Dreamer's Short Film Festival (DSFF).

"Journey of Life" was written, produced and directed by Robin, currently studying for his MA in 3D Animation with our degree-awarding partner Buckinghamshire New University.  

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Summer Class Starts 2nd May 2022

The book all animators need
Our next class at Animation Apprentice starts on Monday 2nd May 2022. We're excited to welcome new students on their animation journey; junior animators are still very much in demand, especially in our home town of London, and my inbox is full of requests from studios for fresh talent.

So, how to get ready for the start of class? It's always good to do a little preparation.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Hold Ms Bs and Ps for Two Frames

Hold Ms Bs and Ps for 2 frames minimum
One of the rules of animating lipsync is that you should always hold Ms Bs and Ps for at least two frames if you want them to "read" clearly.

The reason for this is that we need to compress our lips together to make these shapes, after which there is a little expulsion of air. 

For Ms Bs and Ps to read clearly, they need to be making the shape on the screen for at least two frames, even if the dialogue is rapid.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Why Live Action Reference Needs Exaggeration

Edward Muybridge
Using live action reference to create great animation is one of the key techniques we teach at Animation Apprentice. However, as a technique, it has its risks, the main risk being that the animator follows the live action too closely, and the final performance ends up being floaty, weightless and "spliney".

Animators should always remember that our job is to give a performance. This means using live action to create realistic, believable animation, but then going further, pushing it, and exaggerating the results. Good animation is a caricature of life, not a copy of it.

Live action reference is a very powerful tool, one which I have myself relied upon countless times on many feature films to get my shot completed on time. It is a technique used by animators all over the world.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

Journey of Life "Hon Mention" in Florence Fest

Journey of Life Hon Mention at Florence Film Awards
Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Robin Herrman whose short film "Journey of Life" has won an Honourable Mention in the category of Animation at the Florence Film Awards.

"Journey of Life" was written, produced and directed by Robin, currently studying for his MA in 3D Animation with our degree-awarding partner Buckinghamshire New University.  This is the film's third festival award. 

Saturday, 9 April 2022

How Much Animation Do Studios Expect?

How many seconds?
How much animation does a studio expect an animator to deliver each week? The answer depends on the studio, and what kind of work is being expected. On a high-end feature film such as the kind made by Disney and Pixar, an animator might be expected to complete around five seconds of animation each week - and sometimes even less.

On a TV series where budgets are tight and deadlines loom, an animator might be expected to complete as much as 30 seconds of completed animation each week.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Robin Herrmann Wins March 11 Second Club

Robin Herrmann wins 11 Second Club
Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Robin Herrmann who has won the monthly 11 Second Club for March 2022

Robin Herrmann's superb animation was created as part of Module DA702 - the character animation module taught as part of the MA in 3D Animation, delivered in partnership with our degree-awarding partner - Buckinghamshire New University. 

This is the latest success for Robin whose short film "Journey of Life" has been winning festival awards. 

Monday, 4 April 2022

Journey of Life Best 1st Director Halicarnassus

Journey of Life Best 1st-Time Director at Halicarnassus
Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Robin Herrman whose short film "Journey of Life" has won an award for "Best First Time Director" at the Halicarnassus Film Festival.  

"Journey of Life" was written, produced and directed by Robin, currently studying for his MA in 3D Animation with our degree-awarding partner Buckinghamshire New University.

This is the film's second festival award. 

Saturday, 2 April 2022

"Early Bird" Best Animation at IndieFilmopolis

Dan Fitzgerald Wins Best Animation 
Congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Dan Fitzgerald who has won another festival award for his short film "Early Bird".  

Early Bird won "Best Animation" at the IndieFilmopolis Film festival.

Early Bird is about a bird who catches the early worm - or tries to.   Dan's short film has won many festival awards.

Dan Fitzgerald took our 26 week course at Animation Apprentice, learning 3D Animation skills to a professional level of quality. 

Dan recently won the BAA Ident Challenge for his awesome BAA Ident Animation.

Friday, 1 April 2022

Why Lipsync Should Be "Two Frames Ahead"

Cliff Nordberg
Why should your lipsync always be at least two frames ahead of the audio? Because there is a very slight time delay between our mouths making a shape, and the sound being expelled from our lips.

For your audience to be able to read the lip sync clearly you'll want to offset the jaw opening at least two frames before the audio is actually heard. 

If you have the jaw opening and closing exactly on the frame that the audio is heard, your lip sync will feel slightly "off sync", ie a little late.