Thursday, 28 March 2019

Pete Nicholson's Animation Job Tips

Pete Nicholson
Pete Nicholson graduated from Animation Apprentice a while back and, thanks to a strong demo reel and plenty of perseverance, he quickly found work in the animation industry, starting his animation career at Nano Films and later at King Bee.

Today he is working as an animator at Dead Ready Productions, where was recently involved in hiring a new After Effects animator.  What he discovered, going through the applications, was pretty striking.

You might think that the competition for animation jobs is intense - and it is. But you might also be surprised how many applications go into the bin because of simple, basic (and very easy to avoid) mistakes made by the applicant. 

Monday, 25 March 2019

How to Animate a Reaction Shot

Timing for a classic "take" with Monty
How do student animators approach the business of animating a Reaction Shot? Reaction shots are the bread-and-butter of junior animators.

On a feature film, once you have graduated from walk cycles and crowd shots, you get given reaction shots to test your mettle.

A reaction shot is where animators first start to get to grips with acting and performance. Just like live-action actors, animated characters on a screen must listen - and react.

Friday, 22 March 2019

What is the Best Free Editing Software?

Editing - how it used to be
What is the Best Free Editing Software? Animators need to understand editing, even if only to be competent enough to assemble a demo reel.

The most commonly used editing software these days is Adobe Premiere, part of the Adobe Suite of software and now available through the cloud at reasonable subscription rates.

But if you are on a tight budget and you need a very low cost option, there are a number of free alternatives.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

BAFTA Scholarships for MA Study Now Open

Interesting in enrolling on our MA in animation - but lacking funds? Why not apply for a BAFTA scholarship?

BAFTA has opened applications for its scholarship programmes, worth up to £12,000. The scholarships are open to UK nationals for both undergraduate and post-graduate study.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Keith Lango Tutorials Available Free

Keith Lango YouTube Channel
Animator and teacher Keith Lango has made his animation tutorials free for everyone to learn online.

Keith's animation tutorials include animating a James Brown dance, rigging and skinning animation, and how to approach the business of animating a scene.

It's a great resource, and a very useful supplement to the growing body of online resources available for learning animation.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Blue Zoo Animation Recruitment Tips

Blue Zoo's Bader Badruddin
Animation Apprentice students who attended the recent VFX Festival at London's South Centre had the chance to meet recruiters from Blue Zoo Animation, one of London's animation powerhouses.

Among the Blue Zoo staff looking for fresh talent was Bader Badruddin, one of their lead animators (pictured left).

Bader chatted to animators about the kind of work Blue Zoo is looking for, and to make things easier still the company have also put together a very helpful blog post titled "Top Ten Recruitment Stand Tips" for students and graduates hoping to impress the company at a recruitment stand.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Meet Dana and David - New Rigs from Artstation

Meet Dana and David
Meet Dana and David, two new character rigs created by Gabriel Salas and downloadable from

Dana and David were created by Gabriel to help create more diverse content for animation exercises in Maya.

Both rigs are attractive designed and visually appealing, and present a full range of facial expressions as well as body mechanics. There are a few glitches but these are fairly minor (see below for details).

On the whole we're recommending both rigs as a welcome addition to the growing range of reasonably priced character rigs for student use.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Importance of Anticipation

Anticipation - Illusion of Life
Anticipation is one of the 12 Principles of Animation, and it is one of the key principles that every animator must master.

Every action tends to have three components: an anticipation, an action, and a reaction. If you make the anticipation clear, then the rest should follow effortlessly.

Consider the anticipation drawing of Donal Duck on the left, taken from the classic Disney instruction manual "The Illusion of Life" - still a must-have book on every animator's shelf.

It's absolutely clear what Donald is about to do - even though he hasn't done it yet.

The trick with a good anticipation pose is that it is made so clear that the audience knows what the character is going to do, before he or she actually does it. 

Friday, 8 March 2019

Free Hare Rig for Maya

Hare by Arman Musovic
We're liking this free Hare Rig for Maya by Arman Musovic. It's a fun rig, available for free download from CGMeetUp, and can be used to create some entertaining cartoony animation.

Hare works best in a cartoony, Tex Avery world, and can be combined with other cartoony characters such as the free squirrely rig, or perhaps Keith Osbourne's excellent Mr Buttons rig.

You could also consider downloading a cartoony landscape, such as this one from Turbosquid, or one of the free landscapes created by Truong for cartoony animation.

To see what can be done with Hare, check out the animation by Animation Apprentice student Dave Novis below.

Friday, 1 March 2019

How to Build and Block a Scene

Mr Buttons
One of the biggest challenges encountered by student animators is how to block out a shot from scratch, starting off with nothing but a blank screen and a character rig.

In animation you get nothing for free. You start off with a digital puppet, usually in a stiff "T-pose", and you have to figure out the rest yourself.

In a new series of videos, we show how to take a reaction shot - a cartoony "take" - from zero to hero.