Thursday, 30 July 2015

Download the Free Escape Studios Annual VFX Careers Guide

Escape VFX Careers Guide
Escape Studios, now owned by Pearson College, is one of the best places to get a first class training in VFX. Among the many resources they offer students is their annual Careers Guide, an invaluable handbook for any aspiring visual effects artist - including animators.  Escape Studios track the latest trends in the digital market, focusing especially on the skills that are currently in high demand. After all, their goal is to place their students in well-paid work in the best visual effects houses in Soho. We recommend that all of our students at Animation Apprentice sign up for a copy.  Best of all, it's absolutely free.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How Do You Cast a Movie?

Frank Gladstone directs voice actors in a Soho sound booth
How do you cast a movie? The question is as relevant for animators as it is for live-action film-makers. If you are hoping to get your animated film project to the big screen, then at some point you need to think about casting.

At a recent event at BAFTA in London, part of the BAFTA Guru series of lectures, a panel of industry experts discussed how, exactly, film-makers can go about casting their film.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Free Rig - Yellow Beetle by Aaron Parker

Yellow Beetle by Aaron Parker
One of the great benefits of working in Maya is the large and growing number of free rigs, props and sets now made available through our community of users.

Today we look at one of the most imaginative vehicle rigs - The Yellow Beetle by Aaron Parker - available for free download at Creative Crash. It has some flaws and quirks, but it's a great little rig, and you can do some really fun animation with it.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

History of Animation!

Gertie the Dinosaur - the first animated character with a personality
Every animator should know at least a little about the history of animation. Follow this link for an excellent free web-based history of the medium.

It starts at the very beginnings of attempts to capture motion, and finishes in the modern era.

When you've a has a close look, take our free online video History of Animation Quiz to see how you've done!  And, to see more about the history of animation (there many free videos at YouTube that we recommend), follow this link.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Recommendation - Animation Methods by David Rodriguez

Animation Methods by David Rodriguez is a very, very good book on learning animation in Maya.  It's a book that focuses primarily on 3D Character Animation, a step-by-step guide for learning Maya, and the Maya animation tools. It also has useful sections on how to get into the industry, how to make a great demo reel, and how to get a job in animation. We think this is a very useful companion book to the course at Animation Apprentice.

It is also an unusual book in that it makes extensive use of QR codes - meaning you can use your smartphone to scan the codes and then view a 3D animated clip of the lesson. So, not only can you read the lesson, but you can also see and understand it through a video demonstration. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Studio AKA Reel

STUDIO AKA Montage Reel 2015 from STUDIO AKA on Vimeo.

Check out the latest work by STUDIO AKA, a multi-BAFTA winning & Oscar-nominated independent animation studio & production company based in London. This is just the sort of small studio we love to see, boutique houses doing creative and interesting work in animation. Most interestingly, Studio AKA do a mixture of 2D and 3D work, showing that the medium isn't really what matters - it's what you do with it that counts. Animation is all about creating an entertaining and believable performance. We train our students to master these skills so that they can use any software to create great animation.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

CTN Hosts Pixar Masterclass This Weekend

Animation masterclass with Pixar's Michal Makarewicz

This weekend the Creative Talent Network (CTN) hosts an animation masterclass with Pixar's Michal Makarewicz. There are still some spots available - the only catch is you will need to be in Los Angeles. For any of our students in the area, we highly recommend attending this event - and others like it. Time spent seeing the work methods of master animators is never wasted, and will help you to polish and refine your own workflow.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Get Ready For Siggraph! 9-13 August, Los Angeles

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.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Getty Makes Art Books Available for Free Download

Getty has created a new online virtual library, offering over 250 art books, now available for free download.  Don't forget that animators are artists; a good understanding of the visual arts and art history helps to give depth and context to your work. Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our students to take advantage of the growing quantity of free content available online for student use.

Monday, 13 July 2015

BAFTA – Producing Masterclass with David Thompson

David Thompson at BAFTA
This past Saturday BAFTA held a series of lectures and masterclasses on film production, welcoming members of the public to hear industry professionals give lectures on all aspects of the business.  One of the best presentations was a talk by David Thompson, formerly head of films and single drama at BBC, and a producer with a clutch of BAFTAs and Golden Globes on his shelf. Most importantly, he has over 100 screen credits, including Billy Elliot and Mandela. So, someone worth listening to then.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

BAFTA Guru - Free Resources on Film-Making

BAFTA Guru is a wonderful resource for aspiring film-makers. The website features free videos on just about every aspect of the film-making process, from animation to cinematography and raising finance for independent film. Mystified by how the film industry actually works? Check out some of the free videos, almost all of which are created by masters of their craft, people at the top of their game, passing on their skills to the next generation.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Buckinghamshire New University Seeks Lecturer in Animation

Gateway Building at Bucks New University
Bucks New Uni is looking for a senior lecturer in animation and visual effects.  I can personally testify to what a great employer the university is; I have myself been very happy there for the last three years.  Bucks offers excellent facilities for film-making of all kinds, with a big upgrade to the animation kit due over the summer break.  It's also the kind of employer that offers a genuinely positive work/life balance.  Obviously, this isn't necessarily an opportunity for a recent graduate, but for anyone with some industry experience this could be a great chance to broaden your skillset and teach some great students.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

10% Discount on our Online MA in Animation Extended Through August

Learn Character and Creature Animation
Our new online MA in Animation, developed in partnership with Bucks New University, is still welcoming applications and, if you hurry, you can still get a 10% discount on the fee! Bucks has extended the deadline until the end of August. We're excited to be launching the world's first degree of this kind, and we're getting applications from all over the world, including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Some of the applicants are very talented indeed, many of them professional animators looking to broaden their skills and also gain a qualification suitable for teaching in higher education around the world. So how does the application process work, and what can applicants expect?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

What Sort of Deal Terms Do Film Investors Want?

How do movies get financed? Image: Wikipedia
In a previous blog post about animation film finance we looked at what sort of investors put money into film finance, and how film makers and film entrepreneurs can find them. At Closing the Gap, a European film finance conference, Perrine Hamon of Media Deals and Thierry Beaugard of Peaceful Fish explained what sort of deal terms an equity investor would be likely to ask for when you are trying to raise money for an independent film. Sounds dry? Well, maybe. But any animator who is serious about taking their project to the big screen needs to know at least a little bit about how movie finance works.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Introducing the Charlotte Rig - Free For Student Use!

Digital artist Ahmed Elmatarawi has just released his newest baby - Charlotte - a free Maya rig available for student and non-commercial use around the world. We haven't tested it yet, but the video below takes you through the rig in detail, and we look forward to seeing what our students can do with her. One of the great benefits of working in Maya is its growing user base, bringing us new and better animation rigs for student use all the time. So who and what is Charlotte?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Is It Better To Study Online Or In a Classroom?

Studying Online. Two screens, one to play the videos and one to do the exercise.
Online study is an incredibly powerful tool. Animation Apprentice founder Alex Williams argues that online study can work much better than traditional classroom study - and for a tiny fraction of the price.  Each student at Animation Apprentice gets to learn at their own pace, watching videos on their own time, and getting bespoke feedback. We asked Alex why online study really is a better mousetrap, and why the results are often better than in a traditional classroom.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

What Does a Sales Agent Do, Exactly?

Sola Media - Sales Agents with a focus on animation
Any animator with dreams to bring their own project to the big screen will eventually need to understand the business of making and financing animated films. This includes the question of who, exactly, is going to sell your film for you. Are you going to do it yourself? Or are you going to bring in experts who know the business? Probably, you will do the latter. As part of our series on the business of animation, we take a look at what exactly a sales agent is and what they do