Wednesday, 30 April 2014

How To Get Your Name Listed at IMDB

IMDB - Insert Your Name Here
The Internet Movie Database, or IMDB, is the principal portal for finding people who work in film and broadcast media.

It's where you go to look people up. Gone are the days when you had to dig through back copies of Variety to find out someone's track record - knowledge is now just a click away.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Animation Apprentice Student Demo Reel - Animals & Creatures

Animation Apprentice is still a very young animation school. We launched our website in September 2012, and we are still polishing and tweaking our methods to make sure that we live up to our goal: to provide the best value, highest quality animation training anywhere in the world.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

How do you find a Summer Placement? has published a list of Summer placements and graduate opportunities in the creative industries. You can find it here: Not all of these opportunities will be of interest to animators, but the list is long and there are many and varied positions available in creative media.

Take a look and see if any of them seem worth applying for. As ever, the process of applying for a position is invaluable in itself - even if you don't get the job. One of the most important skills that all creative artists need to learn is how to find work, and how to present yourself to a potential employer in a way that makes you attractive and employable.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Where can you learn Flash online for free?

Hexjibber - home of Andy Sykes - and awesome Flash tutorials

Animation Apprentice is primarily a 3D animation course, focusing on character and creature animation in Maya, training our students in 30 weeks to reach a professional level at which they can start to take on freelance jobs and find work in the animation industry. What we don't have (yet) is a course in 2D animation, using Flash or Toonboom to create sophisticated traditional-style animation. Fortunately, the skills learned in 3D animation are highly transferable to 2D. A good animator must master timing and spacing, and must be able to give a performance. After all, we animators are entertainers, not robots. Like actors, our job is to entertain an audience.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Art of "Frozen" in London on April 28 - book now!

The Art of Frozen is being showcased by Disney in London on April 28th. For full information see this link here: We strongly recommend that any of our students in the London area attend events like this if they can - you will always learn something new about the animation industry and - who knows - you might even meet someone looking to hire an animator.....


Student Showcase - Giuseppe Candido gets into deep water

Not all jobs in the animation and visual effects business involve making movies. Giuseppe Candido worked hard to polish his demo reel at Animation Apprentice, going through many iterations to take his reel to a professional level. His hard work paid off and he found work in an unusual place: Ceona, a leading offshore oil and gas exploration company.

Ceona needed an animator with all-round digital skills to create and animate 3D representations of their heavy industrial products - a perfect job for an ambitious animator keen to showcase his many digital skills. We asked Giuseppe to tell us how it all went, and what was involved.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Why Animators Should Go To Siggraph This Summer

Siggraph 2015
This year Siggraph is taking place in the Los Angeles Convention Center, from 9-13 August. Siggraph is the world's biggest conference on computer graphics. Like FMX in Stuttgart, or the Annecy animation festival, it is the perfect place to find out about the latest technologies, meet other animators, find the big recruiters, and figure out where the industry is heading. It is, in short, a window into the digital future. We recommend that all our students attend events like Siggraph whenever they can - nothing will give you a better insight into the animation industry.

Aardman Animation's film competition: 'Success against the odds'.

National Accident Helpline has teamed up with Aardman Animation to run an animation competition called 'Success against the odds'. Aspiring animators are invited to create a short animation on this theme, for a chance to win a tour of the Aardman studios, a 'Make a Morph' workshop, an original Morph artwork signed by Peter Lord, plus paid travel expenses and accommodation. The winner and shortlisted entrants will also get personalised feedback on their animation from Aardman.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mac -v- PC - which should an animator choose?


One question we get asked a lot at Animation Apprentice is this: "What should I use for animation - a PC or a Mac?" The good news is - you can use either one. The bad news is - you should really buy a PC. We recommend a PC for several reasons. First, all the course videos are recorded on a PC, and the interface is a little different on the Mac. Second, a number of free Maya plug-ins will only work on a PC. In particular, the Parent Master plugin, which is seriously useful for attaching and un-attaching objects in Maya, does not work on the Mac. Finally, audio playback in Maya can be troublesome on a Mac.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

UK Cartoons boom - time for animators to polish their demo reels

Calamity Island. Shipwrecks... and penguins
According to an article in today's Guardian, the British cartooning industry is booming as never before, thanks in large part to the tax credits put in place by Chancellor George Osbourne in April 2013. CBeebies, the UK's most popular broadcaster of animated children's content, is apparently doubling its output, and it is largely local talent which will reap the rewards of this new boom in UK cartoon spending.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Invoices For Animators

One of the essential skills needed by animators and digital artists is the ability to get paid on time. As a freelancer, you need to know how to invoice a client.

Invoicing, like most life skills, is obvious when you know how, but confusing when you don't.

The basic ingredients are: your name and address, your contact details, your bank details, today's date, the invoice number (start with no 1), the amount owed, and your payment terms (generally 2 weeks to a month)

Below is brief summary of how to get it right.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Elizabeth Murdoch and DNeg to open animation studio in the UK

According to Variety, Elizabeth Murdoch and VFX house Double Negative are opening an animation studio in the UK, known as Locksmith Animation. The venture is being piloted by Sarah Smith, who was the writer and co-director of the Aardman animated feature film Arthur Christmas.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Why Animators should go to Annecy in June

Annecy is to animation as Cannes is to Film. And, just like Cannes, there is no particular reason why this small and rather attractive town on a lake in the French Alps should host the world's biggest animation festival - except for the fact that they have always done so. They got there first, and while many towns and cities now have animation festivals, Annecy is the first, the original, the biggest - and still the best.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

How Animation Apprentice Works

Salman Khan - founder of the Khan Academy. Photo: Wikipedia
Here at Animation Apprentice we believe in the power of online training - and in the idea of "flipping the classroom", a philosophy of teaching pioneered by Sal Khan's Khan Academy. Khan's big idea is that physical classrooms are obsolete. Why take notes on a lecture during class and then do the homework later, when you watch the lectures in advance, online, and then use precious classroom time for workshops and feedback? Best of all, each student gets to learn at their own pace, so no-one gets bored or, worse, falls behind and can't keep up.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Why Animators should go to FMX on April 22

FMX is the place to be if you want to break into the visual effects industry. It takes place in Stuttgart every year - this year from April 22-25. It's a big, bustling, crowded, brain-boiling congress of people who work in the global visual effects industry, getting together for their annual shindig. Everyone shows up - and there are lectures, screenings and panel talks on every imaginable aspect of the visual effects process.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Student showcase - Wild Horse animation by Giuseppe Candido

Giuseppe Candido was an early student at Animation Apprentice and has done some beautiful work on animals and creatures since starting our course. Much of the animation work done in London visual effects houses tends towards the super-realistic; studios like Framestore, MPC and Double Negative compete with one another to produce the most elegant, hyper-realistic animation, so subtle that you can't tell the animated version from the real thing. For an animator, that's a big hurdle to leap, arguably much harder than the broad cartoony animation that we all grew up with.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Cinesite explains what make a great student reel

One of the most common questions asked by students is: how do I get a job? The answer, of course, is to be really good at what you do, and have a great demo reel to showcase your talent. But what makes a great animation reel? After, all, different companies have different priorities, and everyone is looking for something a little bit different. Luckily, many companies, including Cinesite (which offers the excellent Inspire internship for budding visual effects artists) have posted a lot of information at their website about what, exactly, they look for in a graduate's demo reel.

Friday, 4 April 2014

How to blow a job interview in 9 easy steps

Interview, a short animated film by Mikkel Okholm and Mikkel Brons-Frandsen
By the time you get to being interviewed for a job, most animation and visual effects companies probably already want to hire you. Why? Because the thing that counts for most in getting hired is your demo reel. They are not hiring you for your good looks or charming conversation - they are hiring you for your skill and talent in digital media.

That said, interviews do matter. They are important mostly because this is the point at which many otherwise excellent candidates blow it, and throw a great opportunity away. How does this happen? Below are some of the most common reasons why candidates screw it up and fail to get hired. Read on and learn from other people's mistakes.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

How to Create a QuickTime Movie in Maya

This excellent tutorial below was created by my colleague David Creighton at Buckinghamshire New University, and explains briefly but clearly exactly how to go about creating a Quicktime movie from Maya. This is something that animation students ask about all the time, and it is super helpful to have a short video that takes you through all the steps.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

BAFTA offers scholarship up to £10,000 for post-graduate study in film, TV or games

BAFTA has now opened applications for its scholarship programmes. The BAFTA Scholarship Programme, which assists talented UK nationals in need of financial support to study a post-graduate course in film, television or games in the UK, is now accepting applications for the forthcoming academic year. The deadline for applications is Monday 16 June.