Monday, 31 August 2020

Working on "The Thief & The Cobbler"

One of my subscribers at my YouTube channel recently asked me what it was like working on "The Thief & The Cobbler" - the almost-completed animation classic sometimes described as "the greatest animated film never made".  I could write a book on the subject - and there is a very useful Wikipedia page on The Thief which explains in detail what happened to the film. Above is a short video giving my personal take on working on the film - which was one of the best experiences of my career in animation.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Dominic Rayner at Immersive VR Education

Dominic Rayner
Many congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Dominic Rayner who is working as Senior Animator at Immersive VR Education.

Immersive VR Education is a virtual and augmented reality company working in the field of training and education, based in Waterford City, Ireland.

Dominic is based in the UK, working remotely from England, where he has built a complete home office from where he is able to work for global clients.

Dominic's career is an example of the importance of flexible working in the post-Corona economy. The animation industry continues to thrive, but animators must be flexible and be prepared to work from home, managing their own tech support and working with their own equipment.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Why Animators Need To "Hit The Accent"

Hitting an accent - Animator's Survival Kit
Animators need to "hit the accents" in a line of dialogue.

By "accents", we're not talking here about a regional accent - say a Scottish or Welsh accent - we're talking about making it clear in the poses that the character is speaking the line of dialogue.

In this case an "accent" is the part of the line of dialogue that has emphasis, and need to be punctuated. Take a look at the example from the Animator's Survival Kit above and left.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Why Animators Need to Post at Facebook

Why do animators need Facebook? Because as a student animator, you need to be able and willing to show your work, and you need to learn not to mind about taking criticism.  We all tend to be shy about our work, especially when we are learning something new, and, when our work is criticised, that criticism can feel very personal. Learning to take criticism is one of the most important skills a student animator can learn.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Why Animators Still Need Life Drawing

Fast sketches to capture a pose
In the old 2D days, life drawing was an essential skill for animators. Today, 3D animation is a blend of creative and technical skills, and life drawing is less important than it used to be.

However, it still helps to be able to draw to a basic level of skill, especially for creating thumbnail sketches which can be used to plan animation.

Nowadays there are many opportunities to learn animation online, at sites such as pixelovely and promo. You can also draw friends and family - models don't need to be nude, and gesture drawing clothed models is just as useful for animation, and in some ways more practical, as most animated characters tend to be wearing clothing.

So, how do animators learn the basics of life drawing?

Monday, 24 August 2020

Why Don't Animation Graduates Find Work?

What is the Number One Reason why animation graduates don't find work in the animation industry? It isn't Corona Virus, it isn't that their demo reel isn't ready, and it isn't that they are not good enough or sufficiently qualified to find work. In fact, the No 1 reason why animation graduates don't find work in their chosen field the short video above to find out.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

The Importance of Being on LinkedIn

How do animation graduates break into the industry? At the VIEW conference in Turin last year I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts, hosted by SVA's Director of Career Development Angie Wojak.  Also on the panel was the recruiter Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Tiffany's big message to recent graduates looking for work?  "Be on Linkedin".

Friday, 21 August 2020

Animating "Ruber" on "Quest For Camelot"

One of my YouTube subscribers recently asked me to talk about what it was like animating "Ruber" on "Quest For Camelot".  I worked on "Ruber" on "Quest" back in the late 1990s, when the animation industry was booming, and there was a lot of optimism about the future of 2D animation. "Quest" was a great experience for me; I got to be a lead animator on the villain, which was a big role, and a really fun one to do. Plus, I got to work with Gary Oldman, and I was even invited to draw him delivering the lines in the recording booth - drawings which I was later able to use for key poses in the scenes I animated.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Animation Jobs and Corona Virus

Corona has cost many jobs across the globe, with plenty more layoffs still to come. However, the animation industry continues to thrive, so our message to all our students and recent graduates is a positive one - there are opportunities out there, for those who are diligent in the search for work, and can take advantage of the new remote-working economy. The animation industry is growing, because animation can be done remotely, and the world is still hungry for fresh animation content. Corona is costing many people their jobs, but it is also creating opportunities for animators who can work remotely and flexibly.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

How to Find Work in the Animation Industry

How do you find work in the animation industry? First of all, don't be too worried by Covid-19.  The virus has certainly changed the jobs landscape, but the good news is that animation continues to flourish. Unlike live action filming, animation can be done remotely, and there is a large and growing demand for fresh animation content.  Here in the UK, many animation studios are still actively looking for talent.  Remote working is booming - consider the case of one of my former students, Daniel Baidoo, who is working from home in Malta for an Italian Animation Studio on a British TV Series.  Truly, animation has become a global business.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Webinar: Animation Writer Evgenia Golubeva

Last week I interviewed one of my former students, Evgenia Gurova, who has become a successful writer at Disney Animation.  Evgenia is an award-winning animator, writer and director; she has also forged a career as a writer and independent film-maker, entering her animated films in festivals around the world and winning international prizes for her work. For anyone who missed the live event, watch the video above to find out more about Evgenia and her remarkable career.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Why Animators Need Treadmills for Walk Cycles

Animating walk cycles can be tricky; it can be especially troublesome to get the character's feet moving backwards at a steady speed, without bumps or wobbles. This is especially true for animators animating a walk cycle "on the spot", where the body stays in place but the feet move backwards underneath the body. To help solve the problem, it makes a lot of sense to import a treadmill into the shot. The treadmill helps to clarify the mechanics of shot, and allows the animator to visualise what is going on when the feet travel backwards.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Why Animators Need Thumbnail Sketches

The secret of good animation is in the planning, and good animators always plan their work.

The single most important skill that animators learn at Animation Apprentice is how to develop a reliable workflow for animation, so that our students can tackle any animation task with confidence.

One of the key tools our students learn is how to thumbnail their work. Thumbnail sketches are quick, expressive, simple drawings that are used to plan the action and tell the story of the shot in a few simple clear poses.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Why Animators Always Create a Shot Camera

One of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is to forget to create a shot camera, or to delay creating one until it's too late. If you were on a live action set, one of the first things you would do is set up your camera and decide what the shot was going to look like. But in Maya, because we get a Perspective View for free, animators often forget to create a shot camera. This is a mistake - watch the video above to find out why.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Webinar with Disney Writer Evgenia Golubeva

Evgenia Golubeva
Join me on 13th August at Noon for an animation webinar with Evgenia Golubeva, one of my former students, who is now a writer at Disney Animation.

In this free webinar I'll be asking Evgenia some questions about her remarkable career in animation.

Evgenia is an award-winning animator, writer and director who is currently working as a writer at Walt Disney Animation in London.

Evgenia took my animation course, and has since forged a career as a writer and independent film-maker, entering her animated films in festivals around the world and winning international prizes for her work. You can sign up for the webinar here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

How Much Should I Charge for a Freelance Job?

One of the most common questions I get asked at Animation Apprentice by recent graduates is this: "What should I charge for my first freelance job?".

First of all - congratulations! You have your first client. Now you have to figure out the scope of the work, and how much to charge.

Generally, at the start of your career, you want to keep your rates as low as possible. Work as cheaply as you can afford to in the beginning, do a good job - and your clients will come back for more. Before you know it, you'll be building up a portfolio career as a freelance animator.