Tuesday, 31 March 2015

It All Started With A Mouse: The Disney Story

Students of animation can never know too much about the history of our craft. Fortunately, there are tons of great (free) resources online, including this one: It All Started With A Mouse: The Disney Story, now available at YouTube. Why study the history of our medium? Because it gives you credibility in an industry which, as much as any other, builds upon the achievements and talents of the pioneering animators of the past. Learn from the masters at Disney, polish your craft - and aim to do even better yourself. To watch the video, follow this link, or paste this into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnpGiEjxN0

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Learn the Art of Film-making For Free at LAvideofilmmaker.com

We live in an age in which it is possible to learn almost anything online. All you really need is the determination to concentrate - free of distractions - and dedicate enough time to learn the subject properly. Film is no exception to this, and one excellent site that we highly recommend is www.lavideofilmmaker.com, a free website with all kinds of excellent resources on how to make movies. Any serious student of film should navigate to it, bookmark it, and drink deep from the well.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

How Our New Online MA Will Work

We're excited to be launching an animation world-first here at Animation Apprentice - the first online MA in Animation. This brand-new online post graduate degree can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world. It is a unique blend of practical training and Masters-level academic content, the latter supplied by Buckinghamshire New University. Unlike the 30 week course at Animation Apprentice, this new MA will lead to a formal, internationally-recognised qualification. Above is a short video that explains how the new course will actually work in practice.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Cutting Edge Technology - In 1976

Lyon Lamb Video Animation System - a Revolution
Recently Disney producer Don Hahn posted a nostalgic piece at the Disney FaceBook Group about some cutting edge technology from 1976: the then brand-new Lyon Lamb Video Animation System. It was an astonishing development - you could shoot your animation and see a pencil test immediately instead of sending it off to the rostrum camera dept to be filmed, and then having to wait for the developed film to come back the next day. Nowadays all animators take real-time playback for granted. Until the Lyon Lamb, the only real-time playback was in the imagination of the animator. So, how did the animators do it? How could they possibly know in advance how their work would come out?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Renderman - Free At Last!

Pixar's Renderman, one of the leading industry software packages for rendering high quality animation images has at last been released free to students on a non-commercial basis.  Pixar's RenderMan is used throughout the CGI industry for the creation of stunning visual effects, and is highly recommended for student use. So what are you waiting for? Download it here now!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Autodesk CD Student Awards 2015 - $360k To Be Won - Deadline 13 May 2015

Yes, you read that number right. Autodesk, creators of Maya and 3D Studio Max (among much else besides) have launched the CG Student Awards, featuring an astonishing $360,000 prize pool to be won by student animators and VFX artists. Not only is the potential prize money enormous, but once you enter, you still qualify for $96 worth of prizes - just for entering! Any student who is serious about a career in the animation and visual effects industry should not miss the chance to take part in this competition.  

Friday, 20 March 2015

Animation Workflow From Big Hero Six

Shot Breakdown: Fred basketball test from trent correy on Vimeo.

Above is an excellent shot breakdown video by Disney animator Trent Correy about how he planned out one of his shots on Big Hero Six. How does an animator actually plan their shot? There is, of course, no single answer to this question - every animator has their own workflow that works for them.  That said, most animators approach a shot in fairly similar ways, thinking about it, planning it, thumbnailing it, making a road map for their destination. Watch Trent's video above and see how a skilled animator approaches their subject. You can also click here, or follow the link below:

Thursday, 19 March 2015

DreamWorks Industry Panel - Where Are The Jobs In Animation?

On Monday March 9th I hosted an industry panel in my capacity as animation course leader at Buckinghamshire New University. The event was held to launch our new online MA in animation, a joint project between Bucks and Animation Apprentice.  The panel included some leading figures in the animation and visual effects industry, including Shelley page of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Bob Thompson of Film London, and Adam Lucas of Cinesite. I asked them to talk about where the industry is headed, and how animation graduates can break into it - what do animators need to do to get that crucial first job?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Canadian Studios are Hiring Animators - Come to Working International Expo in London This Weekend!

Working International Expo , a jobs fair for opportunities in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is taking place in London this coming weekend.  Why might students and recent graduates at Animation Apprentice be interested? Because the Expo has two Canadian animation and games studios looking to recruit international talent - Copernicus Studios and HB Studios

Monday, 16 March 2015

What Is Transmedia?

The Internet. Image: Wikipedia
Once Upon a Time there was Media. Then, there was Multi Media. Then, there was New Media. Later, there was Cross Media, and eventually 360 Media.  But nowadays, it's all about your TransMedia strategy. And yes, you really do need one - at least, anyone with a product to sell. At a recent conference on the business of making animated films, Mahesh Ramachandra, Transmedia Producer & Strategist, explained what a Transmedia strategy is, and why we all need one.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Free Animation Tutorials at AnimationMethods.com

Animation Methods
One of the biggest changes in recent years in the study of animation has been the vast quantity of resources available on the web, either for free or at very low cost.  One site that looks very interesting is animationmethods.com, which has tons of free tutorials on how to carry out a large variety of animation tasks.  For anyone studying animation and trying to engage seriously with the medium, this looks like a great place to learn new skills.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Nickelodeon Announces $25,000 Scholarship for Young Animators

New scholarship for animators
Nickelodeon is launching a new animation scholarship worth $25,000. Nick has partnered with the US non-profit organisation Get Schooled, which was co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — to award an innovative animator with a $25,000 scholarship by creating an original animated short.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Why Animation Jobs Go Fast

Below is a link to an excellent blog post by animation artist Chris Oatley at chrisoatley.com on animation jobs.

Why do so many jobs seem to be gone as soon as you apply - especially that elusive first job? The answer is, according to Chris, because candidates don't apply fast enough.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Animation Buffet - Free Rigs for Maya Animators

Animation Buffet is one of the best places to go for free rigs for animation students working in Maya. Alongside the Resources page of the Eleven Second Club, Animation Buffet is probably your first stop to find character and creature rigs that are fully functioning, reliable - and free.  One of the pleasures of doing animation in Maya is the growing quantity of freeware produced by Maya animators all around the world. So bookmark the page now, and start downloading and experimenting with new rigs. Who knows, it might inspire you to do the best piece of animation you've ever done.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Why Not Enter the March 11 Second Club Competition?

Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Cluba monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators practice their skills and get their work noticed. Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided every month by the club.

Throughout the competition, participants can share their progress with one another and critique each other's work - just like in a real animation studio. At the end of the month, all the participants vote for the submission that they consider the best for that month - so it's a very democratic process. The idea of the 11 Second Club is "to give animators a chance to practice their skills in a fun, challenging environment".

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Marc Godfrey Animator at Blue Zoo

Blue Zoo animation
Marc Godfrey is a talented animator who was one of the first students to sign up for the course at Animation Apprentice.

He is also one of the most dedicated, and we are proud that his dedication and commitment to the craft of animation has been recognised by the industry in the form of a job Blue Zoo, now the UK's largest independent TV animation studio.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Instant Rigging at Mixamo.com

Mixamo.com. Instant rigging!
Rigging is one of the more complex and technical parts of the animation pipeline. In brief, rigging is the process of putting skeletons into our digital models. It is the way we bring them to life with controls that can be used to give a performance. The rig in a CG model is a bit like the armature that goes into a puppet. But what if we could automate the process, and speed it up? This would eleminate (at least in theory) hours of labour. One company that is leading the field is Mixamo, creating automated rigs through their Auto-Rigger tool.