Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Tracked Plates for Animators

We're liking this website that offers tracked plates for animators.

VFX artist Dietrich Magnus has built a library of tracked plates which he has filmed and tracked himself, allowing animators to experiment with animating in a VFX environment for a low entry fee of £25.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Demo Reel Tips from Blue Zoo

What should go in a an animator's demo reel? It's a question that gets asked by almost every animation student, as they start to polish their shots, cut a demo reel, and start to look for work.

To see our 12 steps to craft a great demo reel, follow this link.  However, it's always good to get multiple points of view, and recently a Blue Zoo director posted his tips on what to put  (and what not to put) in an animation demo reel.  We agree with all of it, especially his advice on keeping it short, and his key observation that your work as an animator is "only as good as the worst thing on your reel".

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Why NDAs Really Do Matter

23 year old digital artist Joel Butcher was recently sued for contempt of court by the Soho-based VFX house Double Negative. Butcher, like all VFX artists working for the company, signed an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) stating that, among other things, he would not upload confidential materials to the internet.  Unfortunately, Butcher shared some of the footage he was working on with a friend who - apparently without his knowledge - posted the footage online.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Why Animators Must Back Up Data

Hard Drive - full of moving parts
There are few things more depressing than being told by a student that their hard drive has died, and they have lost all their work.

This means essentially starting afresh, back to the beginning to start again the long, slow slog of building up a demo reel.  It's hard to over-stress the importance of backing up your data. It's a pain in the neck, and it takes time, but never forget that a hard drive is a delicate piece of technology filled with vulnerable moving parts.

Hard drives don't last for ever and, like all tech, will (eventually) let you down. The secret is to back up your data. But how best to do this? We take a quick look at some of the options.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Why Animators Need to "Progress the Action"

Brer Fox - copyright Disney
One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is not progressing the action in their animation. In other words, making animation that is too static and immobile.

Progressing the Action is a concept developed in the Animator's Survival Kit, in which Williams describes it as the "secret of lipsync". But what does progressing the action really mean? And how does it work in practice?

Friday, 19 January 2018

Animation Taster Day Friday Jan 26th

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Friday January 26th.

Animation Taster Days are all about helping prospective students learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. You will work with Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25!  By the end of the day you'll have your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Why Thumbnails Need Facial Expressions

Copy an Emoji
3D animators don't necessarily need strong drawings skills (I know many excellent 3D animators who don't draw well at all), but an ability to draw at least a little bit does help, especially for creating rough thumbnail sketches to plan out your animation.

One of the most common mistakes made by student animators is to leave out the facial expressions on their thumbnail sketches. You'd think that it would be obvious to include facial expressions, but many students don't - probably because faces can seem hard to draw.

In fact, adding rough facial expressions doesn't need to be that difficult. Think of the emotion you want to convey, and then copy an emoji. Is the character happy? Sad? Angry? There's an emoji online for every expression.

Monday, 15 January 2018

50 Ways to Sit by Kevin Parry

50 Ways to Sit by Kevin Parry follows on from 100 Ways to Walk, an inventive and clever imagining on the many different ways in which people move, and what this tells us about their character and personality. 50 Ways to Sit takes the same idea, and shows how much variation there in the way that different people might carry out a normal, simple action, like sitting down. It also shows how important it is for animators to get used to acting out their shots, filming themselves, and then using the footage as reference for their work. It's one of the most important, and least well understood, parts of the animation process.

Friday, 12 January 2018

"Bring Your Own Animation" Monday 22 January

Calling all London-based animators - "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place on Monday 22 January, hosted by Kate Gabriel, 3D Artist at MPC.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London, generally on a Monday night. This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel, bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street; there is often useful intel like - who is hiring?

Friday, 5 January 2018

Get Ready for January 8 Class

The book all animators need
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our January classroom, starting on January 8th?  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. 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.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Why Animators Shouldn't Break the 4th Wall

Don't look at the camera
One of the most common mistakes made by student animators is to have their characters talk directly to the camera.

Inexperienced animators often do this, at least at first. We pose out our character and we think - who is she talking to? I know - she's talking to me! But in a film, or a play, or a TV Series, the camera (ie the audience) is almost always an observer, never a participant.

Part of the so-called Willing Suspension of Disbelief is that the characters acting for us don't know we are there.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Six New Year's Resolutions for Animators

Happy 2018
What should an animator's new year's resolutions be? Animation is a growing business with many opportunities, especially in our home town of London where VFX, film and animated TV series continue to expand. My inbox is full of requests for skilled animators, so the future is bright for those with the right training.

That said, the world of animation and vfx is a competitive one, and good animators need to be smart to stay on top of their game.  So, apart from eating less, or going on a post-Christmas diet,  what are some simple ways to maintain your edge in 2018?