Saturday, 28 February 2015

Jim Van Der Keyl Talks About His Career in Caricatures

Jim Van Der Keyl is a caricaturist and animator who has worked on many of the biggest animated hits from DreamWorks in recent years, including Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda2, Flushed Away, and Over the Hedge. In 1999 he was nominated for an Annie award for his animation on Brad Bird's masterpiece  The Iron Giant. He also writes books and DVDs on the art of caricature - truly a renaissance animator. We asked him to reveal the secrets of the craft - how does an animator become a great caricaturist?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Three Days Left To Sign Up For Our March Class!

The clock is ticking to sign up for our new class beginning on Monday 2 March 2015. We are working hard to make sure that we provide the very best animation training that money can buy, for a price that is far more affordable than traditional education. We're even cheaper than the vast majority of our online competitors. If you find someone who offers a better deal - let us know. We'll beat it on quality and on price.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Animation Masterclass in London in April

Jason Schleifer of DreamWorks
This Spring from 10-12 April London will play host to the "World Animation Masterclass", featuring distinguished animation guests including Jason Schleifer, Head of Animation at DreamWorks, Ed Hooks, author of Acting for Animators,  Eamon Butler from Cinesite, and many other animation experts.  It looks like being an excellent way to gain an insight into the modern animation industry. So what can delegates to the conference expect?

Get Ready For Our March 2nd Class By Watching Our Free Videos

What is Animation all about? And what should our students starting with us on 2nd March do to get ready? For a general introduction to the medium, and a beginners guide to the language and the basic principles of animation, watch this series of free videos at Animation Apprentice. Start with The Twelve Principles of Animation, and move on to Keys, Extremes and Inbetweens - the Language of Animation. Like all art forms, animation has its very own special jargon, and you will need to know the basic grammar and some of the key terms. Plus, you'll start to get a good feel for what our course is like and how it all works.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Illusion of Life - The Original Animation Bible

The original animation bible
The Illusion of Life was first published in the 1970s. It caused a sensation among animators, because it represented for the first time in print the accumulated wisdom of the Disney studio - set out in detail for anyone who cared to learn. The 1970s were a lean time for animation; Walt Disney was dead and the revival that would come with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Little Mermaid (and, later, with 3D animation) was still far in the future.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fancy a Career in Animation? Here's How To Get Started....

free 3D software - yours to try at no cost
Fancy a career in 3D animation, but don't know where to start?  You're not alone. A lot of different skills go into making up a great animator, and no-one wants to waste a lot of time on a career that isn't right for them.  One way of finding out if digital animation is the right career for you is to do a couple of free tutorials online. And a great place to start is with the 3D software Blender - it's completely free to download and install, and there are many free tutorials out there to get you started.

Monday, 16 February 2015

FrameStore are hiring!

Time for our animation graduates to polish their demo reels - London's Framestore is actively recruiting talent for a big roster of upcoming feature films.  Framestore have gone from strength to strength in recent years, working on ground-breaking hit films like Gravity.  Most recently they did the vfx work on Paddington, now the second-largest grossing non-Hollywood family film of all time.  So what does it take to land a job with one of the world's leading VFX houses?

Saturday, 14 February 2015

DreamWorks Layoffs - What Does It Mean For Our Industry?

DreamWorks - big layoffs
At the end of January DreamWorks announced big layoffs in their animation division, bad enough for the Los Angeles based artists who were laid off, but a disaster for Bay Area studio PDI, which is now to be closed.  PDI, for those who don't know, created ANTZ, the first non-Pixar CG animated feature film to reach the big screen. So, what does all this mean for our industry?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Online Q&A at Twitter for our new Online MA - Today at 4pm!

Join us at Twiiter on Thursday!
Today at 4pm we're hosting an online Twitter Q&A - #BucksAskAlex  - to answer questions about the new online MA in animation we're launching with Bucks New University in September.  Got questions about the course?  What's involved? How do you learn and progress? What can you expect to do with an MA anyway? Login on Thursday and join the conversation!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Should Animators Critique One Another's Work?

One of the hardest skills for animation students to learn is how give and receive criticism. The craft of animation requires not just technical skill but also the ability to give a performance. Animators are actors, with a pencil or a mouse, and - just like actors - they must learn to take direction. Being able to take notes, and also give notes, is part of the process. Working on production involves not just pleasing a director but also pleasing your professional colleagues. After all, if the other animators on a film like your work, the chances are good that the director will too.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Finding Work in the Industry - Film and TV Pro

Film and TV Pro - worth signing up for
Film and TV Pro is a great website to sign up for. You can get updates on jobs, both paid and unpaid, and connect with industry professionals. Looking for that first job can be the trickiest part of launching your career, and being connected is part of the solution.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Kayla Rig by Josh Sobel Available for $12

Kayla Rig by Josh Sobel
Kayla isn't free, but $12 is a very reasonable price for a fully functioning Maya rig with excellent facial expressions. 

Kayla is sweet and charming and very useful for any student looking for an attractive rig for animating a young or pre-teen girl. 

Kayla even has an aging function so you can scale her older or younger according to the context of your shot.

Friday, 6 February 2015

How to Get Ready for Our Spring Class in March

Spring is here! Well, almost. Photo: Wikipedia
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our Spring classroom at Animation Apprentice in March?  Below is a brief checklist of stuff to get you started. It's not comprehensive, and 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.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Animation Apprentice Character Performance Reel 2015

Animation Apprentice is proud to present our 2015 Character Performance Demo Reel!  Our students are doing fantastic character animation, putting them in the running for jobs in the rapidly expanding animation industry all around the world.  We want to make sure we offer the highest quality animation training anywhere in the world - and we are proud of what our students have achieved.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Handbrake - a Great Way to Reduce Video File Sizes For Free!

Handbrake. Free to download.
What is Handbrake? Handbrake is a video transcoder,  a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. It's super useful for reducing the size of big video files without losing quality, and best of all - it's completely free.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Animation Apprentice Student Enters 11 Second Club - Two Days Left to Vote!

Henry Fenwick, one of our talented students here at Animation Apprentice, has just entered the online animation competition The Eleven Second Club (see his animation clip above), and he's looking for your support! You can still vote for Henry's excellent submission by going to the official site here, but hurry! There isn't much time left!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Why Animators Should Go To Annecy

Annecy is to animation as Cannes is to Film. 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.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

How To Use Live Action Reference To Create Great Animation

Horse in Motion by Edward Muybridge
How can animators use live action reference to create believable animation?

Back in the old 2D days of hand-drawn animation, rotoscoping (as it was called) was a legitimate, if much debated, method of achieving a realistic look and feel to your animation.

Today, the technology has changed, but 3D animators can also benefit from using live action to help inform their animation, and this is especially the case when doing complex animal or creature animation. So how, in practice, does a MAYA animator use live action reference to get a great result? Below are some techniques for making it work.