Monday, 10 May 2021

Summer Class Starts Monday 6 July

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 6 July? It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Friday, 7 May 2021

How to Animate with Blend Shapes

 

We've uploaded a new four-part tutorial to our expanding list of free tutorials at our YouTube Channel.  This latest tutorial demonstrates how to animate Blend Shapes (also known as Morph Targets) in Maya.  The idea is to take a simple object (a cube) and turn it into a shape-shifting UFO - as in the example above.  Blend Shapes, which are used extensively in facial rigging, are a simple animation technique that can yield impressive results. 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Henry Fenwick Animator at Freefolk

Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Henry Fenwick, who is currently working as an Animator at Freefolk

Freefolk is a London-based animation studio founded in 2003, initially known as Finish, and re-branded as Freefolk in 2016. Freefolk works with clients in the advertising, film, TV and music industries, providing "a full service post production and VFX offering including high-end colour grading, 2D & 3D visual effects, shoot supervision, animation, design, direction and concept."

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Charlie & Yip "Best Trailer" at BAIFF

My short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award - Best Trailer at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAIFF).
 
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.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Royalty Free Music at Bensound

One question that animators often ask when making a short film, or compiling their demo reel, is where to get Royalty Free Music either for free or at low prices.

One useful resource that we recommend is Bensound. At Bensound.com you can download royalty free stock music for animation, YouTube and multimedia projects.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

What is Imposter Syndrome?

 

What is Imposter Syndrome? According to Wikipedia, Imposter Syndrome is "a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".  Everyone starting out, learning a new skill, experiences a level of uncertainty and insecurity about their skills. My own career in animation was no exception; almost everyone experiences something similar when they first start out.  How do you deal with it? Understand that you are not alone, that everyone goes through this.  Study hard, learn from your mentors - and you will get there in the end.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Charlie & Yip Hon Mention at Screen Power

My short film "Charlie and Yip" has won another festival award - Honourable Mention in the category of "Best Animation" at the Screen Power 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.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

11 Second Club May Unreal Challenge

Next month we're recommending that all our student animators enter the monthly 11 Second Club Competition

In May 2021 Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine real-time renderer, are launching a special prize challenge with The 11Second Club, in association with Dell Computers.  First prize is a Dell Workstation.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Cartoon Springboard 2021

Save the date! Submissions will open soon for Cartoon Springboard, the annual pitching event that takes place from October 27-29 in Valencia, Spain. 

Successful projects will pitch to industry delegates, including producers, broadcasters and sales agents, as our students seek ways to capitalise on the festival success of their films

Friday, 2 April 2021

Charlie and Yip Wins Best Trailer at Onkyo

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

Monday, 29 March 2021

Summer Class Starts on Monday 4th May 2021

Our Summer classroom starts on Monday 4th May 2021.  You don't need to know Maya beforehand (we teach everything from scratch), but it's always a good idea to do a little preparation.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. No need to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Speed Lipsync - How to Animate Dialogue Fast


In this short video (less than five minutes long) I set out the basic principles for animating dialogue and lipsync swiftly and cleanly. The trick is to avoid over-complicating the process.  Start by animating the jaw open and closed - open on the vowels, closed on the consonants (make sure you close the mouth for at least two frames on Ms Bs and Ps, or they won't "read"). Then, layer in the wide and narrow mouth shapes (narrow for "oo" and "w" shapes, wide for "a" and "ee" shapes). Tidy it all up, and you're done.  

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Why Animators Should Apply for Jobs Twice

In the short video below, I explain why student animators should apply for animation jobs more than once. 

Rejection is normal; not getting a job is always frustrating, but you should never be downhearted.  Instead, wait a while, update your demo reel, and then re-apply.  

Back in the '90s at Disney Animation it was said that no-one got into Disney the first time around - you had to apply two or three times for the company to believe that you really, really wanted the job. Being rejected is never a reason to give up; keep applying until you land that crucial first job in the industry. 

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Priya Chitnis 3D Layout Artist at ILM

Priya Chitnis
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice Graduate Priyanka Chitnis, who has a secured a new position as a Layout Artist at Industrial Lights & Magic (ILM) in Sydney, Australia.

Priya took our online MA in 3D Animation, delivered in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University, and this is her first role in the animation and VFX industry.

ILM is a global powerhouse in animation and vfx, the pioneering studio that created the animated dinosaurs for Jurassic Park and has since gone on to create the Star Wars franchise of films. 

Monday, 22 March 2021

Save The Date! Cartoon Forum 2021

Save the Date! Cartoon Forum is back - Europe's biggest TV pitch-fest for animation takes place in Toulouse, France, from 20 – 20 September 2021.

For all our students and graduates with an idea for an animated TV or web series, Cartoon Forum is the place to pitch it.

The deadline to submit your series project this year is in May. So, there is plenty of time to sharpen your pencils, fill out some forms - and make your pitch perfect.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Dog Walk Cycle Reference


Above is a handy video showing different gaits when animating dogs in motion; walks, trots and runs. Being able to master the three basic animal gaits is an important part of studying at Animation Apprentice. Especially in the world of VFX animation, studios will expect animators to be able to handle quadruped locomotion, and also create an imaginative a believable performance. 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Blue Zoo To Keep Remote Working Post-Covid

Tom Box (right) with animation students
In a recent interview at Cartoon Brew, Blue Zoo co-founder Tom Box explains why remote working is here to stay.  Since Covid-19 broke, around 700,000 people have left London, and this change is reflected at Blue Zoo animation, where many of their team have left the capital for good.  

According to Tom: "Blue Zoo is no longer really a London based company, even though we have (empty) offices there. Now, just 30% of our team live in London. Over last 10 months lots of staff relocated across the UK for a better work/life balance.  London has changed forever".

Friday, 5 March 2021

How Animators Work Under Direction

Sooner or later all animators have to learn to take direction. The short video above (9 minutes) explains in brief what it is like working in an animation studio, who you are likely to have to answer to, and how to take direction from directors, lead animators, and other supervisors.  It's a video about day to day survival and is aimed at anyone starting a studio job for the first time, or working on a team in a group project, where everyone has to pull together to achieve a successful result. The second part of the video is continued below. 

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

How to Use the Grid in Autodesk Maya


We've uploaded a new free video to our YouTube channel - how to use the grid in Autodesk Maya. The grid is what anchors us in 3D space, and stops us getting lost in the infinity of the X Y Z axis. The Grid, like everything in Maya, can be adjusted and tweaked, to make it work for you and the shot you are working on. Watch the video above to see how the Grid works in practice.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

February 2021 Animation Demo Reel



Check out our latest animation demo reel, showcasing the best work done by our students in 2020 and early 2021. Many congratulations to all our talented students on their superb work. Our latest demo reel showcases some of the best work done by our animation students, including Kent Sunde, Kristis Bandzevicius, Michael Davies, Lisa Springett, Adam Sale, and Verity Clarke.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Spring Class Begins on 3 March 2021

Our Spring classroom starts on Monday 3rd March 2020.  You don't need to know Maya beforehand (we teach everything from scratch), but it's always a good idea to do a little preparation.

Below is a brief list of things to do to get you under way. No need to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.