Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Getting Ready for September

September will soon be upon us, and our new cohort of animation undergraduates will join us in a few short weeks.

What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us on our BA/Mart in Animation in September?  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.

Animation library at Escape Studios
Key Textbook
We recommend that all our animation students buy a copy of  The Animator's Survival Kit, by Richard Williams; now the standard textbook for animators and easily the most comprehensive book available for learning animation.

We have two copies in the animation library here at Escape Studios (we also have dozens of other books on animation and digital film-making), but they are often out on loan so it's a good idea to get your own copy.

Buy a Laptop
If you can afford it, buy a laptop computer; this will enable you to work from home and make it easier to for you to work outside studio hours.  Computer specs change all the time but here is a useful guide to buying your own machine.

Install Maya
The next thing to do is install your free copy of Autodesk Maya. Maya is the main software we animate with, nowadays it's the industry standard. You can find a free educational license here.

Watch some Free Tutorials
Start to learn the Maya interface. We offer our students a free playlist that introduces students to the basics of the Maya tools, to get you started.
Maya is complex, and it's a good idea to get familiar with it early on.

We also recommend Mike Hermes' Maya tutorials at YouTube. Mike Hermes offers tutorials in Animation, Modeling, Texturing, Lighting and Rendering.  His video tutorials are short, easy to follow, and clear. The playlists are well organised and they all completely free.

Keith Lango - Free Animation Tutorials
Keith Lango YouTube Channel
Animator and teacher Keith Lango has recently made his animation tutorials free for everyone to learn online.

Keith's animation tutorials include animating a James Brown dance, rigging and skinning animation, and how to approach the business of animating a scene.

It's a great resource, and a very useful supplement to the growing body of online resources available for learning animation.

If you do some or all the things on this list - you will have a great head start! We look forward to meeting you in September!


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MArt starting in September 2020, follow this link. We train all our students with practical real-world skills, to give them the best possible chance of a career in industry. To see some of our animation success stories, follow this link.

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