Monday, 30 November 2020

How Long Should a Demo Reel Be?

How long should a demo reel be? This is a question I often get asked at Animation Apprentice. The simple answer to the question is, for a student reel, "about 30 seconds to a minute". But there is a longer answer, which is a little more complicated.  A demo reel is the single most important means of landing that crucial first job in the animation industry, so it's important to get it right. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

How to Fix a Floaty Walk Cycle

How do you fix a floaty walk cycle? Walk cycles tend to be floaty because junior animators often (make that usually) forget to add the "squash" or "down" position in which both feet are bearing the weight of the body. It's an easy mistake to make, especially if you are animating a walk "on the spot", on an imaginary treadmill, where the character's body stays still and the feet travel backwards.  In this ten minute video I show exactly what the problem is, and how to solve it. The solution is simple - but only when you know how to fix it. 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

How Much Do You Charge Your First Client?


One of the most common questions I get asked at Animation Apprentice by students and 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.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

How to Solve Technical Problems

Why doesn't it work? Technical problems are the bane of the animator's life - but inevitable whenever you are working with tech tools. In the video above I explain the best approach to solving technical problems; the secret is to get help, but make sure you ask the right questions, and provide the maximum amount of information so that others can help you. Below is a list of solutions to some frequently-encountered technical difficulties.  Remember that every technical problem, no matter how infuriating, has a solution. You are not the first person to face the problem - there is an answer out there somewhere. 

Friday, 20 November 2020

Live Action Reference with Pernille

A while back I was teaching a class at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark, one of Europe's best animation schools. Students are required to film themselves acting out a shot and then use the acting as reference for the animation. One of the best examples was this shot animated by Pernille Flyvholm.  Like all the students, Pernille filmed herself acting out the shot, filming multiple takes until she got it just right. The live action has some great detail in it - such as the little flip of the phone in the character's hand - an authentic detail that makes the acting feel believable. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Angelo Garrizone Animation Intern at King Bee

Angelo Garizzone
Many Congratulations to Animation Apprentice graduate Angelo Garrizone who has recently landed an animation internship with King Bee animation, based at the historic Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, just outside of London.

King Bee have worked on many animation projects, including music videos and TV series. They use Maya, Flash and Photoshop to do much of their work.

Angelo worked hard at building an animation demo reel, and also had to complete a test in Adobe Animate in order to secure the position.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Lee Caller "Special Mention" Award at ANSFF

"Jelly Cars": Special Mention at ANSFF
Animation Apprentice is proud to congratulate Lee Caller whose short film Jelly Cars has won a "Special Mention" Award at the Arte Non Stop Film Festival in Argentina. 

This is the second award for Jelly Cars; earlier this year the short won a "Five Stars" Award at the British International Amateur Film Festival.  Lee graduated from Animation Apprentice several years ago and now teaches animation at Escape Studios in London. 

Friday, 13 November 2020

How Feedback Works at Animation Apprentice


How do students get feedback at Animation Apprentice? I personally tutor all my students, who receive a weekly bespoke feedback tutorial on their work, showing how to fix mistakes and how to make it better.  In addition, we have a Facebook classroom where students post their work, receive positive feedback, and give creative criticism to others.  Being able to take criticism ("notes" in the industry) is part of the process of creating great animation. When you first show your work to a client, they will have comments, and they won't always love your first efforts. Whether you're working at a studio, or doing private client work, or just working on your own personal work, animators need to learn to incorporate criticism in order to make your work the best it can be.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Charlie & Yip Nominated Best Trailer Bucharest

I am pleased to announce that my short film "Charlie and Yip" has won an award nomination for Best Trailer at the Bucharest Film Festival.   Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, which turns out to be a bad idea.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.  Recently it won the "Scream Award" at the Berlin Flash Film Festival, Best Animation at the Flicks Film Festival in London,  Best Trailer at the Changing Face International's Film Festival (CFIFF) in Australia, "Best Trailer" at the Lisbon Monthly Film Festival, Best Trailer at the Halicarnassus Film Festival, and Best Film at the Film One Film Fest in July.

Saturday, 7 November 2020

Nine Questions to Ask Your Client

What questions should you ask a client when you start work on your first freelance job? Most projects start off full of optimism and excitement, but there is always a risk of things going wrong.  It's worth asking the right questions up front, to ensure that the job goes smoothly and well, and your happy client comes back for more. In this video I explain about the Nine key questions to ask your client before you get started.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Why Walk Cycles Need Sine Waves

Sine wave in Maya's Graph Editor
Animators like sine waves. Not because we are good at maths (it was my worst subject at school) but because in 3D animation, a sine wave typically shows that your animation is smooth and flowing, without bumps or mistakes.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Why Rejection is Information

In this short video, I explain why animators should not be discouraged by rejection. Not getting a job is always frustrating, but you should never be downhearted. Instead, consider why you didn't get the job, and ask what you can do better next time. Better yet, ask the company why you didn't get it; they are very likely to tell you (few bother to ask), and the information they give you can be very valuable. For example, they might be looking for expertise in a certain kind of software, in which case - download the trial version and start learning. Or, perhaps, they just weren't hiring after all - in which case you can re-apply. Whatever the reason, being rejected is never a reason to give up. The information you gain will help you to keep persisting until you land that crucial first job in the industry.