Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Still Time to Sign Up for Our July 6 Class!

There is still time to sign up for our new class beginning on Monday 6 July 2015. We believe that we provide the very best animation training that money can buy, for the lowest possible price. Our students at Animation Apprentice are finding jobs with leading studios like Blue Zoo and Jellyfish Pictures, proving that our teaching methods work, and are helping our students to find paid work at a high level in our industry. So what's keeping you? Sign up now to kick-start your animation career!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Marion Strunck Reveals FrameStore Animation Secrets

On Friday 29 May I brought Framestore's Marion Strunck to teach some of my animation students at Buckinghamshire New University in High Wycombe.  Marion is a graduate of the excellent Animation Workshop in Denmark and an expert in character and creature animation. Every animator has their own workflow, and it was fascinating to gain some insights into how a top London VFX house approaches the art character and creature animation.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Annecy Survival Guide - How To Navigate the World's Biggest Animation Festival

Annecy - an ancient medieval town in the French Alps
The International Festival of Animation at Annecy is the world’s biggest animation festival. It can be a slightly overwhelming experience; there are so many things going on at once that it can be hard to feel like you really get to make the most of being there. Alongside the film festival is MIFA – the world’s biggest animation marketplace, a brain-boiling congress of industry types furiously buying and selling. But Annecy is an event that every animator should go to at least once – if only to get a feeling for the sheer size and diversity of the modern animation industry.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Calling All Character Designers! Time to Enter the Character Design Challenge!

Character Design Challenge!
Calling All Character Designers! Why not polish your design skills by entering the monthly Character Design Challenge? It's a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for character designers. The group already has an astonishing twenty five thousand members - and growing fast.  So what is it all about, and how does it work?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Thief and The Cobbler at Annecy

On stage at Annecy - Le Voleur et Le Cordonnier
Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to visit the international Animation Festival at Annecy at least once.  It's the world's biggest animation festival - everyone who is anyone in animation shows up, and there are more screenings, workshops and events than you could possibly attend in a whole year.  Friday 19 June was the last day of the MIFA marketplace at Annecy, and also a rare chance to see The Thief and The Cobbler (en Francais: “Le voleur et le cordonnier”) original director’s cut – presented by the director himself.  Dad got a standing ovation when he came on stage, and he dedicated the screening to the memory of Ken Harris, one of Chuck Jones’ top animators on the Looney Tunes series and the man responsible for much of the animation of The Thief himself.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Job Alert - Sheridan College Seek Animation Professor - MA Required!

Sheridan College are hiring!
Sheridan College in Toronto are looking for a professor of animation. The job is a well-paid post at one of the world's most prestigious animation schools. So what's stopping you applying? Most likely, it's because you don't have an MA in your chosen field. To teach in higher education, you need an MA. But where to get one? That's where Animation Apprentice comes in. This September we launch The World's First Online MA in Animation.  You can study from home part-time - all without ever leaving your desk.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Backburner - The Poor Man's Render Farm

Render by Gilles Tran - Wikimedia Commons 
Rendering, as my old tutor at Escape Studios used to say, "is where everything starts to go wrong". Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage our students to present finished, polished work for their demo reels, properly lit, textured and rendered out. But this poses problems - render times can be long and, as deadlines loom, any technical failure can be fatal to a timely submission.  So, in the absence of a high-end render farm, how do students render their work on time? The answer is Backburner - the poor man's render farm.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Get Ready for Our Summer Class on 6 July!

What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom at Animation Apprentice on July 6th?  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.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Free Dragons! Introducing...the Shaththnan Rig!

Shaththan Rig. Here Be Dragons!
Here at Animation Apprentice we're always on the lookout for great creature rigs that are capable of producing a full range of facial expressions so that our students can study creature animation and get an excellent performance.  One rig that has been giving good results is the Shaththan Rig, created by the very talented Revanth Ravi, and now available - free for student use - at Creative Crash.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

BAFTA Hosts Film-Making Masterclasses in London on 11 July

On Saturday 11 July,  the BAFTA HQ in London at 195 Piccadilly will open its doors to emerging filmmakers for a day of masterclasses and panels with some of the UK’s major film industry organisations. The classes are hosted by industry experts, aimed at helping emerging filmmakers improve their creative and business skills. Best of all, each lecture/masterclass costs just £6 - cheaper than the price of a movie ticket.

Friday, 12 June 2015

See You at Annecy!

Annecy evening screening. Photo: Wikipedia
Next week we're off to Annecy to the world's biggest and best animation festival. Annecy is to animation as Cannes is to Film. We'll be there to see some of the best work done by animators around the globe, and to find out the latest news in our industry. Annecy is not just a competition, it also hosts MIFA - the world's biggest animation marketplace.  So, should animators go to Annecy? Heck yes.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Rocketsig - Our Students' Latest Commercial Project

Our students at Animation Apprentice have just completed their latest freelance commercial project: Rocketsig.  Rocketsig is an email signature product created by Rocketseed, a tech company that offers clickable email banners, with built-in analytics so that a company's email can become an important marketing tool. The purpose of the film is to help their prospective customers understand exactly what it is that Rocketsig will do, so that they can get their message across more quickly and effectively. Animation is a wonderful tool for taking complex ideas and getting them across in a simple, clear way. And this film was a great way for our students to get paid experience of working a live freelance job.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Top Three Free Maya Plugins Every Animator Should Use

Maya 2016
What free plugins do Maya animators need? Each time Autodesk release a new version of Maya they fix many things that don't appear to need fixing - such as the design of the overall interface, but leave many traditional weaknesses in place.  Luckily for us, there are a number free plugins that can easily be accessed by Maya animators to make our lives easier. Here is our shortlist.