Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Excellent Work by Our Online MA Students!

Our brand-new online MA in 3D animation (the first of its kind anywhere in the world) has only been up and running for a few months now, but we are already starting to see some excellent results. The short clip above was created by MA student Neil Whitman, and shows perfectly how important it is for animators not only to master the technical side of our craft, but also to entertain an audience. Neil does this perfectly, creating an imaginative use of different walk cycles to create an interesting and funny story.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Steve Woodhouse Starts His Career as a Freelance Animator

Coral Windows & Conservatories (Animated TV Advert) from Stada Media on Vimeo.

Take a look at this sixty second animated TV Advert for Coral Windows - with some great work by Animation Apprentice student Steve Woodhouse. Steve did all the animation on the fish (Coral's logo is a clownfish) and the girl, for this commercial project.  Steve is now well on his way to establishing himself as a freelance animator, with some excellent production shots for his demo reel. Congratulations Steve!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Recommended Free Rigs - Squirrely!

This squirrel rig is a nice cartoony rig that can be used for some fun character animation. It was created by the very talented Josh Burton and can be downloaded for free at Creative Crash.

The only tricky part about animating with the Squirrely rig is the enormous tail - which is almost a character in itself.

Lots of your time will be spend doing overlapping action and follow-through, to make the tail feel natural.

Still, what did you expect - a squirrel with no tail?

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas from Animation Apprentice - and Tiny Tim!

Spot the Difference
Way back in 1971 I was the voice of Tiny Tim - age four years. It was the beginning (and pretty much the end) of my voice-acting career.

The reason I got the job was because my Dad's old animation studio in  Soho Square in London had taken on their first really big project - a TV adaptation of Charles Dickens'  A Christmas Carol, and they needed a little kid to do the voice-over.

By chance, I was just the right age.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Why Not Become a Volunteer at SIGGRAPH 2016?

Time for our students in the USA - and especially those in California - to sign up for the SIGGRAPH 2016 Student Volunteer Program! The deadline for team leaders is 12 January 2016, and the deadline for student volunteers is 9 February 2016.

But wait, why would students want to volunteer for SIGGRAPH? Simple - it's all about who you might meet.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

How To Get Ready For Our January 4th Class

What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us  at Animation Apprentice in January?   We don't want to spoil your Christmas holidays, but it's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. 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.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Meet Nico!

Meet Nico!
Nico is an excellent creature rig, free for download for student use at Creative Crash.

Nico is described as "a quadruped rig of a fantasy creature ready for animation. It's got all the standard controls you would expect in a quadruped rig along with a facial shape rig".

This is what makes Nico particularly useful for creature animation - you have access to facial controls. So, if your goal is to produce creature animation and get some personality and acting out of the rig, Nico fits the bill.

Like all rigs, Nico has its quirks. So how can our students get the best out of Nico?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

"More Stuff" by Blue Zoo Animation!

More Stuff by Blue Zoo Animation from Blue Zoo on Vimeo.

Animation Apprentice graduate Marc Godfrey worked on this excellent short film by Blue Zoo animation, one of the UK's best indie animation houses and a studio that takes seriously the business of keeping its creative juices flowing. One of the ways they do this is by making short films, involving their staff creatively and ensuring that their work is experimental, fun and interesting. Congratulations to Marc on another great piece of animation.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Animation Apprentice Student Demo Reel!

We're proud to showcase the newest work done by our talented students here at Animation Apprentice. Above is our latest demo reel of student work, featuring excellent animation done by  students including Henry Fenwick, Charlie Aitken, Ian Green, Lee Caller and Steve Woodhouse.  As you can see, our students learn both character and creature animation, preparing them for a future career in 3D feature animation, games, visual effects and all kinds of animated digital media. If you would like to see work of this quality on your demo reel, register now for our January 2016 class.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Cinematography, Stanley Kubrick and One Point Perspective

Kubrick // One-Point Perspective from kogonada on Vimeo.

This excellent 90 second video is titled "Cinematography, Stanley Kubrick and One Point Perspective". It's all about the work of legendary director Stanley Kubrick, showing how Kubrick uses camera angles with single-point perspective to enhance the story telling of his films. Cinematography, of course, is a whole discipline it itself, and can involve a lifetime of study to master. But animators need to understand at least the basics of cinematography, knowing how to compose a shot and get successfully from one shot to another. The camera can, and should be, a part of the storytelling process.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Tank -v- Scorpions! By Lee Caller

Above is some excellent creature animation by Lee Caller, one of our students at Animation Apprentice. Lee has mastered not just the art of creature locomotion but also managed to give a convincing and believable performance. The set design and sound design are excellent, and the shot leaves the viewer wanting more. The robot scorpion rig is by the very talented Kiel Figgins, and can be found here.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Steve Woodhouse Brings Spiders To Life

Check out this excellent piece of spider animation by the very talented Steve Woodhouse, one of our students here at Animation Apprentice.  Part of the challenge of doing any kind of creature animation is mastering not just the mechanics of the animation, but also making it fun to watch and giving a performance which is entertaining and interesting. The spider is Raa, and can be downloaded here.  For more about how the rig works, see this blog post. And to see more work done by our students, follow this link.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Flour Sack Rigs!

Rockin' Rooster Flour Sack
Meet the flour sack! The free flour sack rig is one we like to use in the early stages of learning animation, so that students can get used to the idea of creating the illusion of weight, and also getting a performance from an inanimate object.

The idea of making a flour sack give a performance dates back to the early days of the Walt Disney studios, when lead animators would test the mettle of aspiring juniors by getting them to do thumbnail sketches of sacks of flour, to see if they could get an emotional and interesting pose that communicated an idea clearly.

The idea was, if you can get a great pose out of a sack of flour - you can do it with anything.

Friday, 4 December 2015

MPC Software Developer Marco Romeo Creates a Better Facial Rigging System with Fabric

At the recent BlueGFX Expo at London’s South Bank, Moving Picture Company (MPC) Software Developer Marco Romeo talked about some of the recent work done by MPC on the film Terminator Genisys.  In particular, he described how MPC painstakingly rebuilt a digital version of the young Arnold Schwarzenegger, using a better facial rigging system with Fabric, and using new facial simulation research.

We encourage all our students to attend events like BlueGFX Expo; not only are they often free for students to attend, they are an excellent window into where the industry is heading, and what the latest techniques are that make up the digital animation pipeline.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

How Framestore Brought "Pan" To Life

At the recent BlueGFX Expo on London’s South Bank, students of animation and visual effects were treated to a wide variety of lectures and workshops - all of of which were completely free.

One of the most interesting talks was by Stuart Penn from Framestore, where he explained how the visual effects house pulled off the exceptional challenges of creating the animation and VFX work for Warner Bros’ latest blockbuster fantasy adventure: Pan.

Events like BlueGFX are a great way for students to get a deeper understanding of how the industry works, and to stay on top of the latest trends and technology.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

December 11 Second Club Competition Now Live!

Here at Animation Apprentice we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Club, the 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 (or sometimes singing) a line of dialogue, which is provided every month by the club.  This month's theme is a musical number from the hit film "Les Miserables".

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Cinematography of The Incredibles - at Floobynooby

In this excellent blog post at Floobnooby, the Cinematography of The Incredibles is explored in detail, showing how the camera was used by director Brad Bird to facilitate the story-telling and bring the characters to life.

Cinematography is an art form in itself; too big for us to explore in great detail at Animation Apprentice.  But we can't ignore it either; every time an animator sets up a shot, we make choices about what the camera is doing. And those choices inform how our shot works - or doesn't.

We highly recommend all our students take ten minutes to read this post and get educated on Cinematography by the master - Brad Bird.