Wednesday, 21 November 2018

What's in the 1st Year at Escape Studios?

What's in the first Year of our undergraduate animation course at Escape Studios?

Our first year at Escape Studios is the same for all our undergraduate students, whether they are studying animation, games, or visual effects.

That means that in the first year of studies ("Level 4"), all our students study a broad, flexible curriculum, enabling them to understand the whole animation, games and VFX pipeline before committing to one specialism in their second year.

Why does everyone study the same curriculum in their first year?
Because it's a good, flexible system, which enables students to switch from one discipline to another in their second year of studies, should they want to change courses. It also makes sure that everyone gets a broad grounding in the overall digital pipeline, which is important if you want to understand how our industry works.

What exactly do our students study at Level 4?
The first year of study is known as "Level 4". At Escape Studios, this involves six consecutive modules, running one after another.

First year artwork by Ronnie Kaye
CR4002 – Creative Foundations Craft  (30 Credits)
Creative Foundations is, as the name suggests, a foundation course in creativity and creative thinking. Some software, such as Photoshop, is taught in this module; and students are encouraged to explore creative ideas and creative ways of thinking.  This module includes a number of "mini-modules":
  • Movement and Narrative, 2 weeks exploring the basics of creativity, storytelling, design and acting. This mini-module is taught by animation tutor Amedeo Beretta.
  • Photography and Composition Taught by Michael Hunter, this module explores traditional photography skills including an understanding of composition, lenses and the art of the still image.
  • Cinematography and Lighting. Taught by Clement Gharini, our in-house Director of Photography, this module introduces students to the art of moving cameras and green screen photography.
  • Art Foundation. Taught by Cenay Oekmen, this module explores artistic research, mood boards and art bibles.
  • TRAP - Teamwork, academic writing, and presentation skills. This mini-module is taught by Escape Studios Dean Ian Palmer.

PR4001 – Creative Foundations Project (2 week group project) (30 Credits)
In Creative Foundations - Project, students take the skills they have learned in Creative Foundations - Craft, and complete a team project. In the case of our undergraduate animators, their task is to create an animatic for a proposed animated TV series. For many of our students, this will be their first experience of a team project, working together in groups - just like in industry. You can see an example below:



"Alpha Lighthouse at Whale's End" Credits: Paloma Zhu: Director, story, concept art. Morgan Mda: Storyboards and concept art. Konrad Peczkowicz: Editor, sound design. Callum Wylie: Producer, post-production.

AN4001 – Animation 1 (15 Credits)
In this 4 week animation module, students explore the basics of animation, from a bouncing ball through to sophisticated motion. Assignments include walks, runs, jumps and the use of live action reference to animate complex action.  The software we teach is Maya, and the animation tutor is Amedeo Beretta. To see more detail about this module, take a look at this blog post.



GA4001 – Games (15 Credits)
This 4 week games module introduces students to the basics of creating 3D assets for games (using Maya), and integrating them into the game engine - Unreal Engine.  Core skills include modelling, texturing and lighting, skills which are also transferable to other disciplines, such as animation and also VFX. The module builds up to an industry brief - creating a "health pickup" for a game.

VX4002 - 3D for VFX (15 Credits)
This four week module introduces students to the basics of the 3D pipeline. Students learn 3D modelling, texturing and lighting in Maya for the 3D VFX pipeline, aiming at the kind of photorealistic style which dominates work in the visual effects industry.  

VX4001 - Compositing for VFX (15 Credits)
This four week module introduces students to the basics of compositing, using Nuke to combine elements in a visual effects environment.  Students learn a variety of skills including colour correction, 2D Nuke camera tracking and 3D projections to create a composited environment. This module is taught by Nuke and camera expert Clement Gharini.

Grand total: 120 Credits
The first year is worth 120 credits. However, though students must pass all the modules to progress to the second year, the first year grades do not count towards students' final degree classification.

Summary
The first year at Escape Studios is very varied and diverse, and offers our students many opportunities to practice their creativity and pick up new skills. By the end of the year, students will be ready to move into their specialist area, and dig deeper into their specialist skillset.

To see what's in the second year at Escape, follow this link. To see more about the third year, click here. And to find out more about our 4th and final year, read this post.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2019, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here.


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