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.

So, what can students expect from Animation Production?

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.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Live Action Reference for Animators

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 the particular kind of reference that you need.  Below is a list of some of the best online resources that our students have been using find the perfect live action reference for their shots.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Character Design is Back! 12 March 2018

Character Design by Andrea Torrejon
Our new evening class in Character Design has proved so popular that it is returning to Escape Studios on Monday 12 March 2018.

The course is an 8 week introduction to the art and craft of character design and, as with most of our evening classes, it's a part-time course, designed to fit around jobs and families, and taught by seasoned industry professionals.

Character Design is one of the most rewarding parts of our industry - and also one of the most competitive. As with everything we do here at Escape, the class will build up to a live industry brief, with the final project mapping as closely as possible to the experience of working in an industry environment.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Mike Davies - Rigging Smaug and The Minions

Minion by Mike Davies
Mike Davies is one of our newest tutors here at Escape Studios, leading an 8 week evening class introduction to rigging on 5 March 2018. Mike has a stellar industry track record, helping to rig Smaug from The Hobbit and the Minions from Despicable Me.

Rigging is a skill that every animator should know at least something about. Being able to open up a rig and tweak it, make adjustments and minor fixes, is an increasingly important part of the animator's toolkit.

We asked Mike to talk a little about how we got started in the industry, and what advice he might offer to students hoping to break into this most specialised of areas of the animation pipeline.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Mental Ray is Dead - Long Live Arnold

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, 22 November 2017

Concept Art Comes to Escape 7 March 2018

Concept Art by Cenay Oekmen
Concept Art is coming to Escape Studios on wednesday 7th March 2018, taught by the amazingly talented Cenay Oekmen. 

It's an evening class, designed to fit around careers and families, running for 8 weeks from Wednesday 7th March 2018.

The idea is to introduce students to the many techniques and skills that go up to make a well-rounded concept artist, including 3d and 2d software.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Character Creation at Escape Studios 7 March

Artwork by Jonathan McFall
Character Creation is coming to Escape Studios on wednesday 7th March 2018.

This unique evening course will teach students how to create their own character designs and bring them to life.

Over 12 weeks you will design, model, texture, rig and animate your own character.  It's a lot to learn in a short amount of time, but we'll be using smart short-cuts wherever possible to make the process of creating a character from scratch as smooth and automated as it can be.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

How to Design like a Rockstar

Eugene Riecansky, founder and CEO of Rockstar, a motion graphics company based in Norwich, East Anglia, gave a superb talk at last week's BlueGFX Expo 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.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

11 Second Club October 2017

Many congratulations to our 2nd year undergraduate animators at Escape Studios for their stellar performances in October's 11 Second Club competition. Out of 187 entries overall, five of our students placed in the top 30, and ten in the top 60. To see some of the best entries, scroll down and watch the videos below.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Storyboard with Panel Forge Pro for Free

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.

Panel Forge Pro, extensively tested at Blue Zoo on Miffy the Rabbit and Digby Dragon, makes use of 3D Layouts to save time in Storyboarding, allowing board artists to use low resolution 3D assets to help set up camera angles and layouts.  Good news then for storyboard artists, who can now learn to use this new software for free.