Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Escape Studios VFX Festival 23-25 February 2016

Increasingly, animators are finding work and building careers in the visual effects industry, bringing animals and creatures to life. It is challenging work, creating photorealistic moving images that feel completely believable. Accurate motion and a proper study of live action are essential.

For our students who are in London early next year, mark your calendars for the annual Escape Studios VFX Festival. The Festival takes place from February 23rd - 25th 2016, and brings you the very best in VFX, games, animation and motion graphics.

To sign up for the mailing list (and benefit from an early-bird discount when tickets go on sale), go to the official site here.  So what exactly is in the festival, and what can you expect to see?

Monday, 28 September 2015

Success! Animation Apprentice Student Benn Garnish Lands a Job on Cinesite's "Charming"

Charming is due for release in 2016
Animation Apprentice Student Benn Garnish has landed a job as a senior animator a Job on Cinesite's debut feature film "Charming"

Charming is produced by John Williams (one of the producers of "Shrek") and is being directed by Ross Venokur (Animal Crackerz).

The film has begun production at Cinesite’s MontrĂ©al studios.

Charming describes itself as "an irreverent animated comedy that re-imagines the tales of three iconic princesses: Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, who find they are all engaged to the same Prince Charming".

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Marc Godfrey Takes the Magic of Disney Animation Tour at Disneyland

Marc Godfrey was one of our first students at Animation Apprentice and is now working as an animator at Blue Zoo, one of the UK's leading independent animation companies.

Marc recently went to Disneyland where he took the Magic of Disney Animation Tour. He had taken the tour before, but this time he visited as an animator in his own right, thriving and succeeding in the industry.  Here is what he wrote:

"Four years ago, on the Animation tour at Disney, I decided to train as an animator (left pic). It's kinda overwhelming and lump-in-throat-ish coming back, knowing that this time, I am an animator (right pic)."

To see how Marc Godfrey succeeded in realising his dreams in the animation industry by studying at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Warm Welcome To Our New Students On Our Brand New Online MA in 3D Animation!

The world's first online MA in animation
We're excited to welcome all our new students who have just started the journey with us on our brand-new online MA in animation, launched this week here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.

This is a unique degree - the first of its kind - which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field. You will not only learn how to animate, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form. So, what is this degree all about, and what can our new students expect?

Tom Sito Reviews Richard Williams' Prologue

A still image from "Prologue"
Animation director Richard Williams recently completed his long-anticipated short film Prologue, premiered at Annecy this past June and recently released in selected theatres in Los Angeles.  Tom Sito, Animator, Director, Historian and President Emeritus of the Animation Guild, wrote a review of the film. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Troubleshooting Shelf Tabs in Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya has many useful tools, some of which don't always work the way you want them to.  One super-useful tool is the Shelf Editor, which allows animators to select parts of an animation rig quickly and efficiently.

But a common problem occurs when you import an animation rig into a new shot, and all your carefully created Shelf Tabs don't work anymore.

So, what is the solution to this annoying problem?

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Max Rig - and How to Use It

Max is a free animation rig, created for student use by Peter Starostin and James Hunt. It's a good, stable rig, very well tested, and one that we recommend for use at Animation Apprentice. It's also on the list of approved rigs at The Eleven Second Club.

However it does have a few quirks. Below are some of the known issues and bugs - and how to solve them.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Perils of Freelancing in Los Angeles - The Taxes You Never Knew You Didn't Owe

LA City Hall. Wikimedia
Any animator who lives and works in Los Angeles needs to be aware of  the laws relating to freelancers in the City of LA.  These local rules are not well known and very easy to fall foul of, as I know myself from personal experience.

In a nutshell, if you do any freelance work at all while you live and work in LA, make sure you register with City Hall.  If you don't, scary penalties will follow.  Here's how the system works.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Master Animator Glen Keane Introduces Nephtali

Ever wondered what master animator Glen Keane has been up to since he left Disney back in 2012? "Nephtali" is what. In this beautiful short film combining live action with animation, Glen shows why he is regarded as one of the best animators alive. I was lucky enough to have worked with him on Pocahontas back in 1994, and the animation notes he distributed for newbies like me are still among the most valuable training materials I use in the classroom today.  In this film, Glen shows us why traditional 2D animation still matters.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Walt Disney Biography at PBS

Walt Disney at PBS
PBS has just broadcast a major new documentary on the life of one of the greatest Americans - Walt Disney.  If you missed the original broadcast you can now catch up at the PBS website here.

Why should animators learn about Walt Disney?  Because he was the founder of our industry, and the man who above all others defined the medium we work in today.  His methods have never been surpassed and even today animated films are still made essentially the same way he made them - though with better technology.  The PBS download is absolutely free.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Calling All Animators - Blue GFX Expo is taking place in London on 19th November 2015.

Blue GFX Expo
Blue GFX Expo is taking place in London on 19th November 2015. Previous year's events have been superb - in attendance in 2013 were the founders of Blue Zoo, the UK's biggest TV animation company, the guys from Framestore who did the animation for the Skyfall title sequence, and representatives from Autodesk showing the latest simulation tools.

There are so many talks on cutting edge CG tools that can be hard to choose which ones to attend.  For all our students, this is a not-to-be-missed chance to catch up with the latest technology and meet in person the people who run the UK's top animation and visual effects houses.  And best of all, it's completely free.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Submit Your Feature Film Project to Cartoon Movie!

Cartoon Movie - pitch your project
The Deadline to submit a feature film project to Cartoon Movie is 25 November 2015. Do you have an idea for an animated feature film project you'd like to get off the ground?

If so, you should submit it to Cartoon Movie! If your film gets selected, you will be able to pitch it to almost 1,000 animation and industry professionals from forty countries. Present at Cartoon Movie are 200 buyers, including 120 distributors & sales agents.

But why should animation students want to pitch their feature film ideas? Well, why not? We think all our students should aim high - you might be the next Brad Bird or Jeffrey Katzenberg. You'll never find out if you don't try.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sole Trader or Limited Company - Which is Best?

As a freelance animator, considering whether to set up a Limited Company or become a Sole Trader can be a tricky decision. There are many things to think about when identifying which route would be right for you.  So, what is the difference, and which route is best?

Sole Trading
Becoming a Sole Trader (self-employed) is the simplest way to run a small business, especially if you’re just starting out. Many contractors and freelancers - including animators - operate as Sole Traders at the beginning of their careers. As a Sole Trader you will be operating your business as a self-employed individual.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Richard Williams Premieres "Prologue" in Los Angeles

A still image from Prologue
Animation guru Richard Williams, who directed The Thief and the Cobbler, and was animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, has released a first look at his new six-minute animated short Prologue.  The short film was first screened at Annecy in June of this year, and will be playing soon in selected theatres in Los Angeles. Williams is the author of The Animator's Survival Kit, now the essential textbook for all aspiring animators, as useful for 3D artists as it is for 2D practitioners.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

aTools, Free Utility Belt for Maya Animators.

aTools - "The ultimate free utility belt for Maya Animators"
aTools is a free download for Maya that describes itself as "The ultimate free utility belt for Maya animators." aTools was created by Portuguese animator Alan Camilo, and is extremely useful for all kinds of tasks in Maya.

It's free, makes your work flow faster, and very easy to install - just drag and drop it into your Maya viewport.

Still time to sign up for our September 7th Class!

There is still time to sign up for our new class beginning on Monday 7 September 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!