Saturday, 20 January 2018

Escape Studios in "Top 100" Animation Schools

We're proud to make it into the Animation Career Review rankings of the top 100 animation schools worldwide.

After all, our undergraduate course in 3D animation only launched 18 months ago - so it's pretty cool to make the cut when we're still the new kids on the block, and haven't yet had our first graduate show.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

"Bring Your Own Animation": Monday 22 Jan

Calling all London-based Escapees - "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?

Thursday, 11 January 2018

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?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Animation Taster Day on January 26th

Animate a bird in flight
We're running another Animation Taster Day here at Escape Studios on Friday 26th January.

Taster Days are a great chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

You will learn how to use Autodesk Maya and 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 creature animation - a bird in flight - uploaded to your YouTube channel.

So, how do you sign up?

Friday, 5 January 2018

UCAS Deadline - January 15th

UCAS - time to apply
Thinking of applying to Escape Studios to study the Art of 3D Animation, Games or Visual effects?  The UCAS deadline of January 15th is fast approaching.  We are welcoming applications for the third intake of our new integrated BA/MArt in Animation, Games and VFX - just launched in September 2016.

One of the most common questions I get asked at Open Days is "should I wait to apply until I have finished my portfolio?" - to which the answer is definitely "no".  Get your application in early, and worry about your portfolio later. You'll have plenty of time before attending one of our Creative Workshops to pull your portfolio together.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Animation Short Course Starts Monday

Paddington Bear - animated at Framestore in London
Now is the last call for our next animation short course - three months of intensive training in 3D animation - starting on Monday 8th January.

We still have a couple of seats left for anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D Animation in Maya. You might be a 2D animator wanting to break into 3D, or a graduate who didn’t get the right skills at university – or someone with no experience of animation who wants to make a career change. We teach all our students from scratch, and our goal is to make you job-ready by the end of the course.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Cenay Oekmen Talks Concept Art

Creature Concept Art by Cenay Oekmen
Cenay Oekmen is leading a new evening class in Concept Art, starting in March 2018 and digging into the skillset that allows digital artists to create stunning artwork and help shape the style and design of a project.

Concept Art sits alongside a number of other evening classes that we are now running, such as Storyboarding and Character Design, where we teach the skills that make up the pre-production part of our industry.

Production may get shipped to cheaper shores, but pre-production work tends to stay at home, and producers regularly complain of skills shortages in this area. We asked Cenay to talk a little about how he got into Concept Art, and how students can follow in his footsteps, and break into the industry.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Rigging with Michael Davies - Course Outline

Learn rigging from the man who rigged Smaug
We're getting ready for our newest evening class, starting in March 2018, all about the dark art of rigging, and taught by the very talented industry veteran Mike Davies.

Mike's rigging credits include the Minions (for Illumination) and even Smaug (for The Hobbit), so we can't think of anyone better qualified to teach this class.

We've been working on a rough outline of this 8 week class, so that our students will have a better idea of what to expect on the course.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Challenges of VR - by Rewind

At the Blue GFX Expo this year we heard about some of the Challenges of Virtual Reality in an excellent talk by Oliver Kibblewhite, Head of Special Projects at Rewind, a creative agency based in LondonOliver Kibblewhite, Head of Special Projects at Rewind, a creative agency based in London.

VR is something of a "Wild West" right now, a potentially huge field that has yet to be explored. It's not yet clear how VR will become commercially viable, or even in what medium. But it is surely clear that, at some point in the (not so distant) future, VR will be a huge part of the entertainment industry. So, what (according to Rewind) are the challenges of VR?

Monday, 18 December 2017

SIGGRAPH Now - War for Planet of the Apes

"War for the Planet of the Apes" is surely one of the most impressive VFX films of 2017 - and a likely contender for best visual effects in the 2018 awards season.  To see how the sophisticated motion capture was done, go behind the scenes with Weta Digital VFX in this video by SIGGRAPH Now. Weta Visual Effects Supervisor Anders Langlands explains how body and facial performance capture systems were used to create the film's stunning VFX work.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Producing Animation is back on 5 June

Animation Production is coming back to at Escape Studios on 5th June 2018. Our 8 week evening class (plus aftercare) starts at our Shepherd's Bush campus.

The class is led by Ultramarines producer Bob Thompson, an experienced industry veteran with a long and successful track record of producing animated feature films, commercials and VFX projects.

The course is designed to prepare producers to the challenges of pitches, budgets, spreadsheets and all the commercial knowledge that underpins our industry. And, of course, the creative side of the business - because every blockbuster project starts with a great idea.

So, what can students expect from this course?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Free Horse Rig by Mothman TD

horse rig by Motorman TD
We're liking this horse rig available for free download from the Mothman TD website.

It's an excellent choice for animating quadruped locomotion, a useful alternative to the (also very good) Rhett the Clydesdale rig.

So, how can our students (who have spent the last 4 weeks working on animal and creature locomotion and behaviour) get the most out of this rig?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Dinosaurs by Sebastian Kuder

We've been animating dinosaurs this past week at Escape Studios; the video above is a particularly successful example of dino locomotion by second year animator Sebastian Kuder. It's a great piece of work because it combines technical skill - the ability to bring a fantasy creature to life convincingly - with a compelling performance, making the piece fun to watch and entertaining for the audience. Congratulations to Sebastian on a great piece of work. To see more of the animation being done here at Escape Studios by our talented students, check out our YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

bhPathAnim for Creature Animators

The very talented Brian Horgan has just released a new path system for animal and creature locomotion.

At $30, bhPathAnim isn't free, but it is priced attractively and should be on any creature animator's wish-list from Father Christmas.

So, what is bhPathAnim (snappy name!) and what can it do?

Friday, 8 December 2017

Wolfdog Rig

We're liking this Wolfdog rig, available for free download from Wolfdog is loosely based on the character Balto from the movie, and has a good range of controls and even facial expressions.

The rig does have some limitations, especially in the way the wrists and feet have been rigged, but you can get some really nice character work out of Wolf dog.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VFX Festival 2018 - Who's Coming?

The countdown to Escape Studios' 2018 VFX Festival is on.  As in previous years, we've got some great speakers coming to talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.

Below are some of the VFX, games and animation companies we're welcoming in February.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Storyboarding is Back: New Class 6 June 2018

Storyboarding will be coming back at Escape Studios in the New Year.  Our next class in storyboarding starts here in Shepherd's Bush, on 6th June 2018.

The class is led by the very talented Francesca "Chess" Adams,  a story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses. Chess brings her experience of working on shows like Digby Dragon and The Go Jetters, reflecting the huge increase in animated content being created right here in London in recent years.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Animal Locomotion for Animators - Free!

Animal Locomotion for Animators is a free eBook by paleontologist and animal locomotion expert Stuart Sumida, which you can download from his website here.

The book is an excellent resource on animal locomotion, and very useful right now for our students - who are currently tackling animal and creature locomotion.

Stuart Sumida is a paleontologist who also works in showbiz; he has acted as advisor to countless Hollywood films including Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, where he gave extensive talks to the animators (including me) on horse locomotion. To find the free download, follow this link. And to read more about Stuart Sumida's work, see this blog post.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Leopard Rig by Truong

We're liking this Leopard Rig by Truong, available for free download at Gumroad. It is an attractive, well-structured rig with simple controls, and it's pretty easy to figure out how to use it.

In order to get real-time playback in your viewport in Maya, you need to go into your Animation Preferences (bottom right hand corner of the screen) and then Under Settings/Animation/Evaluation change Evaluation Mode to Parallel.

So, how do students get the most out of this rig?

Thursday, 30 November 2017

London Animation Festival 1-10 December

The London International Animation Festival (LIAF), the UK’s largest animation festival, returns for its 14th year with a series of screenings of the best shorts and features, both domestic and international, including children’s screenings and the Best of the Fest.