Tuesday, 12 December 2017

bhPathAnim by Brian Horgan

bh_pathAnim Launch Video from Brian Horgan on Vimeo.

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 could be on any animator's Christmas wish-list. Brian Hogan describes bh_pathAnim as "a robust and flexible new tool for path animation in Maya". His goal was to make it "simple and intuitive", easy to "attach any rig, with any number of limbs and body controls, to a path and animate it walking or running along it". bh_pathAnim "will work for bipeds, quadrupeds, and insects". We haven't had a chance to road-test it yet, but it does look very handy. You can download the new tool from gumroad.com.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Wolfdog Rig from HighEnd3D

We're liking this Wolfdog rig, available for free download from highend3d.com. He 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

2018 VFX Festival Lineup

Escape Studios' 2018 VFX Festival is fast approaching.  As in previous years, Escape has got some great speakers coming to talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.

Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend our students attend events like this one. It's a great way to find out what's going on in our industry and, best of all, to meet the recruiters from London's leading animation and VFX houses. Below are some of the VFX, games and animation companies who will be speaking in February.

Monday, 4 December 2017

London International Animation Festival

The London International Animation Festival (LIAF), the UK’s largest animation festival, is now on, having returned 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.

Thursday, 30 November 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?

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Design (and Animate) Like a Rockstar

Eugene Riecansky, founder and CEO of Rockstar, a motion graphics company based in Norwich, East Anglia, gave a superb talk at the recent BlueGFX Expo in London titled "How to Design like a Rockstar". 

It was an excellent talk because it brought to life the extraordinarily fast-paced nature of doing video work for clients, working to insane deadlines to create unique video content for bands doing live gigs and performances.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Where Do Animators Find Live Action Reference?

Where can animators find useful live action reference? Reference is often a necessary starting point for producing believable animation. Of course, YouTube is a great resource, but it can be hard to find what you want, and you may need to dig within YouTube to find particular channels that specialise in what you need.  Below is a list of some of the best online resources that we are recommending to find the perfect live action reference.

Monday, 20 November 2017

RIP Mental Ray

Mental Ray 3D Render
NVidia, makers of the once-ubiquitous ray tracer Mental Ray, have announced in a press release that it is to be discontinued.

Mental Ray used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya and, until recently, have released a version of their software which is free for student use.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Pixar Colour Scripts

Finding Nemo Colour Script.
Colour Scripts are an important part of the animation process; they allow the director to get a feel for what the movie will look like, long before the animation and lighting is complete.

Sequence by sequence, and even shot by shot, colour stylists (i.e. painters) plan the mood and look of the film as part of the pre-production process.

To see the master designers at Pixar at work, follow this link to view the actual colour scripts used on hits like Finding Nemo.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Storyboard With Panel Forge Pro

At last week's Blue GFX Expo, Blue Zoo’s Tom Box announced that Panel Forge Pro, their new storyboard and pipeline tool, is now available for free for student use.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Animation Recruiter Secrets Revealed

VIEW panel. From left: Amy Smith, Giorgio Xhaxho, Alex Williams, Tiffany Feeney, Angie Wojak

What do Animation recruiters look for from recent graduates?  How do they find fresh talent? At last week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA). Also on the panel were two recruiters, Amy Smith from Framestore and Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Both of them had a lot to say on the subject of student demo reels. But most of all, it turns out that recruiters want one thing from animation graduates...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Cristian Pall Animator at A.i. Solve

Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Cristian Pall who has just secured a position as an animator with the games company A.i.Solve.

A.i.Solve describes itself as "an Artificial Intelligence Solutions provider bringing together the best in AI, VR & MR products and solutions".

We asked Cristian to tell us a little about the new position, what is involved, and how he secured that crucial first job in the animation industry. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

How To Get Ready For Our November Classroom

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 6th November?  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.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Animation Apprentice Animals & Creatures 2017

Check out our latest Animals & Creatures Reel, featuring work by many of our talented students. Animators aren't just technicians, they are entertainers, and the job of the animator is not just to master the art of animal and creature locomotion, but to craft an interesting and compelling performance. Congratulations to Joris Van Laar, Lee Caller, Dave Novis, Celine Sakr, Ramakrishna Maccha and Victoria Bailey on their excellent animation.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

October 11 Second Club

Why not polish your character animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators compete to win prizes and get their work noticed.

Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided on the first day of every month by the club.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Queen's Counsel Wins CAT Award

Last night my cartoon strip Queen's Counsel was awarded "The Cartoon Art Trust Award for Strip Cartooning" at the annual CAT Awards - which are sort of like the Oscars for cartooning. The Cartoon Art Trust supports the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, hosting the CAT Awards Dinner to raise funds for the museum and keep its doors open. At the dinner were some of the finest cartoonists in the UK - Matt Pritchett, Mac of the Mail, Nick Newman (who co-writes Private Eye), and plenty of politicians and lawyers to dig deep into their pockets to support the good cause.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

2018 VFX Festival - Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets for the 2018 VFX Festival in London are now on sale.  Just like last year, Escape Studios will be showcasing the best of VFX, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics.

There is no better way to find out about the latest trends in our industry, who is hiring, and what skills are in demand.  We strongly encourage all our current, past and future students to attend. Come and find out what the future holds for our industry.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Maya 2018 Transform Manipulator Problem

Maya 2018, like all new recent releases from Autodesk, can be a bit buggy.

Many students downloading this latest release of the 20-year old software package have experienced a problem selecting the Transform Manipulator on their character rig, meaning (in plain English) that you can't move your characters around.

Fortunately the solution is a simple one. So, how do we fix it?

Friday, 6 October 2017

Meet Tuna - Free Maya Character Rig

We're liking the free Tuna character rig, downloadable for free from Highend3d.com. He's relatively light, at just 9MB, and he should give you real-time playback in your viewport. So far we haven't uncovered any major flaws or weaknesses.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Festivus! Thursday 8th October

Festivus 5th October
Festivus is back! London's regular animation networking event is an opportunity for our students and recent graduates to get to know people in the animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The latest Festivus event takes place on Thursday 5th October at The Comedy Pub in London from 6.30pm until closing time.

There will be a number of guest speakers, including folks from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's leading animation studios.