Saturday, 30 November 2019

Introducing "Jelly Cars" by Lee Caller

Escape Studios animation tutor Lee Caller has recently completed his short film Jelly Cars, a short story about perseverance in the urban jungle.   

"Jelly Cars" is an inventive piece of film-making;  it's a charming story, entertaining and fun - and beautifully animated. 

Lee took a simple exercise - animating a vehicle in motion, (in this case, animating a cartoon car, using the free yellow Beetle rig by Aaron Parker), and turned it into a short film, which has already been accepted into its first film festival - the annual KRAF film festival in Croatia.

Congratulations to Lee on his excellent work; we wish him every success in film festivals around the world.

Friday, 29 November 2019

DreamWorks Animation Comes to London

DreamWorks Animation
Jeffrey Katzenberg may have left DreamWorks animation, the studio he founded back in the late 1990s, but the old place feels much the same, and just as busy as ever.

I was there this past week visiting Stuart Sumida, the paleontologist-turned-movie consultant, who has advised on the science behind animal locomotion and behaviour since The Lion King back in 1993.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

VFX Festival 16-18 March 2020



The countdown to Escape Studios' 2020 VFX Festival - the 8th edition - is on.  As in previous years, we've got some great speakers coming to talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.  In 2020, the festival will focus on discovering and developing new and emerging talent.  Two parts of The VFX Festival 2020 - EDU and Emerging Talent - will take place on 16 - 18 March at the Southbank Centre - the UK’s largest arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Escape Studios in Golden Nugget Fest 3 Dec

GNFF - Leeds, 6 December 2019
Many congratulations to our student animators - our short films The Good Old DaysHome Sweet Home, Jericho, Flame, Vivi Ossa, Adam & Eve Mk II and Reece have all been selected for the Golden Nugget Film Festival

The festival takes place in Leeds on Tuesday 3rd December 2019, and you can buy tickets here.

We're delighted to have no less than seven student films in the competition, and we're encouraging our students to attend, vote in the audience award, and offer applause and support

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

MA in Previs and Story Starts 28 Sep 2020

Iliana Franklin
Our Master's Degree course in Previsualisation and Storyboarding starts a new class on 28 September 2020.

This new degree, first launched in September 2019, is the first-ever master's degree in Previsualisation & Storyboarding.

Developed in consultation with industry, and formally validated by the University of Kent, this degree is a unique opportunity to learn industry-level skills and also earn an internationally recognised academic qualification.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Marc Stevenson to Teach at Escape Studios

Marc Stevenson
We're delighted to welcome the newest member of our animation team - veteran animator Marc Stevenson will be joining us at Escape Studios early next year to teach animation basics - AN4001 - to our first year undergraduate students.

Marc has credits on many Hollywood hit films including Fast & Furious 6, Avengers, Age of Ultron, Moon, and Victor Frankenstein.

I worked with Marc on a number of visual effects projects at Cinesite, including Underdog, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and Marmaduke, and can personally testify both to his skill as an animator and to his unflappability even in the most extreme client situations.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Andreas Deja, Lion King and Animal Animation

Andreas Deja and Alex Williams outside the Disney Animation Building
Yesterday at Disney in Los Angeles I met up with Andreas Deja, Disney lead animator and the man responsible for bringing "Scar" to life.

I was lucky enough to work on Andreas' team on Lion King back in 1992, when he took me under his wing and helped train me as a Disney animator.

I got to animate a few memorable shots on Scar, but it was Andreas who designed the character and, working with actor Jeremy Irons, gave him life and personality, creating one Disney's most memorable villains.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Tribute to Richard Williams - Tomorrow

The Creative Talent Network (CTN) Expo in Burbank, Los Angeles, is hosting a tribute to my father, the animator Richard Williams tomorrow, Saturday November 23rd.

The tribute is titled "Life is on Ones", and the panel is being hosted by my old friend and colleague Tom Sito, who is an animator, director and professor - as well as the author of many books on animation. 

Duncan Guymer Studio Assistant at Escape

Duncan Guymer - Studio Assistant at Escape Studios
Many congratulations to Escapee Duncan Guymer, who has recently started work at Escape Studios as a Studio Assistant, helping to support the teaching of our student animators.

Duncan took our evening class in 3D animation, and learned so quickly that we brought him on board as a studio assistant, helping to teach our short course animation students.

The secret of Duncan's success? Plenty of practice, and in particular effective use of our online resources, especially the Vimeo channel to which all our students and Escapees have access.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Previsualisation Webinar on 27 November

Iliana Franklin teaching at Escape Studios
Escape Studios is hosting a free webinar on previsualisation, taught by Iliana Franklin, our storyboard and previs tutor, on 27th November.

Iliana's webinar is titled "An Introduction to the Previs workflow: combining 2D and 3D techniques", and takes place on Wednesday, November 27th at 6:00 PM.

The webinar is an introduction to the craft of previsualisation, or "previs", one of the fastest-growing areas of the animation & vfx pipeline.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Chrissy Metge Teaches Pitching at Escape

Chrissy Metge
We're delighted to welcome back animation & VFX producer Chrissy Metge to Escape Studios on Monday 25th November.

Chrissy will teach a class on "Pitching for Animators" to our second year undergraduate animators at Escape Studios, helping them to perfect their pitching skills. 

Chrissy is an experienced producer, and also creative director at Fuzzy Duckling Media and Duckling Publishing.  She has worked in the animation film and TV industry for 18 years, and has film credits on many movies, including VFX blockbusters The Hobbit, Ironman 3 and Hunger Games 2.  You can see Chrissy's full list of credits at her IMDB page here

An Evening With... Stratostorm - Tonight

Join us tonight for one of our "Evening with..." events at Escape Studios on Wednesday 20th November as we welcome animators and entrepreneurs Helena Hilario and Mario Pece for a talk about the creation of their award-winning studio Stratostorm.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Introducing "Flame"



Congratulations to our MA animation students who have recently completed their short film project: "Flame", which is now being entered into international film festival competitions.  On a dark night in the desert, Flame is born, but she soon realizes that the storm that brought her life is now a threat to her survival.  Flame was directed by Cherelle Owusu and produced by Carolina Xavier, under the supervision of MA supervising tutor Amedeo Beretta.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Kevin Richards to Teach Dinosaur Animation

Kevin Richards Teaches at Escape Studios
Animator and Escapee Kevin Richards will be coming to Escape Studios on Wednesday and Thursday to teach our 2nd year animators.

Kevin is a traditional 2D animator who took our short course in animation at Escape Studios, and successfully made the transition to 3D animation in Maya, working as an animator on "Shane the Chef" at Cloth Cat animation in Cardiff.

Kevin will be teaching our students dinosaur locomotion, showing how to use live action reference of birds and reptiles to create believable dinosaur animation. 

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Concept Art Returns on 8 January 2020

Concept Art Student Work
Concept Art Returns on 8 January 2020, taught by industry veteran Cenay Oekmen.

Concept Art is a part-time evening class, taught one night a week, running for eight weeks.

Concept Art introduces students to the many techniques and skills that go up to make a well-rounded concept artist, including 3D and 2D software.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Storyboarding is Back on 22 January 2020

Francesca "Chess" Adams
Our evening class in Storyboarding with Francesca "Chess" Adams, veteran story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses, is back early next year.

Our next evening class in storyboarding starts at our central London campus at 190 High Holborn on 22 January 2020 and runs for 8 weeks.

Chess brings her long 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, and the growing trend towards digital storyboarding tools such as Panel Forge, which speed up the process and help to bridge the gap with 3D Layout.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Aaron Hopwood Animates Edgar The Dragon



Many congratulations to Escapee Aaron Hopwood, who worked on this year's John Lewis commercial, as a VFX artist and animator. Aaron is an animator at Untold Studios, one of London's newest VFX houses; he did the previs animation, and also animated a number of shots of Edgar the Dragon and the Snowman.

Aaron graduated from Escape Studios with a first-class degree in  the Art of 3D animation this summer, having led a number of successful animation projects during his time at Escape Studios. 

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Blue Zoo's Real Time Animation Pipeline

Blue Zoo's Tom Box at BlueGFX Expo
At the BlueGFX Expo event on Tuesday, Blue Zoo founder Tom Box explained how Blue Zoo are transitioning to a "real-time animation render pipeline" this year, exploring new ways to speed up the animation process.

Tom described Blue Zoo as a studio that, since its inception, has "refused to accept industry standards", and has forged its own path in the industry.

Recently Blue Zoo have been pioneering the use of real-time rendering using Unreal Engine, in much the same way that we have been doing at Escape Studios - finding ways to make the production process faster and more efficient. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

BA/Mart in 3D Animation Starts Sept 2020

Escape Studios' students interviewed at the BFI, October 2019
Escape Studios is now taking applications for our four-year BA/MArt in computer animation, recruiting for September 2020.

Applications are done through UCAS, and you can find out more about the course at the official site here.

Our BA/MArt in animation was launched in 2015, and our first group of animation students graduated this summer, winning awards and prizes for their work at international festivals.  We're proud that all 18 of our graduating class participated in an award-winning film this past year.  The makers of Home Sweet Home and Jericho won multiple awards and even had their films screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Escape Animators 3rd & 4th in 11 Second Club

Paloma Zhu and Eilin Berrio Pena
Many congratulations to Paloma Zhu and Eilin Berrio Pena who have been ranked 3rd and 4th in the October 11 Second Club Competition, in which over 180 animators from around the globe tested their skills.

The 11 Second Club is a 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. 

It's a monthly free animation competition. Participating animators can share their progress with one another and critique each other's work - just like in a real animation studio.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Mock Interviews with Industry Today at Escape

"Interview"by the Animation Workshop
Today at Escape Studios we're running a series of mock interviews with some of our industry partners and mentors, who have kindly offered their time to give our undergraduate students an idea of what a job interview is actually like.

Learning how to survive an interview is an important part of preparing our students for a career in industry.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Character Creation Evening Class Returns 6 Jan

Character Creation is back: we're delighted to announce a new 18 week evening class in Character Creation, which is returning to Escape Studios on Monday 6th January 2020.

This unique evening course will teach students how to create their own character designs and bring them to life. Over 18 weeks you will design, model, texture, rig and animate your own character.

The course is taught by Philip Meredith, veteran of Playstation's Overlord Minions and the Silent Hill franchise from Climax Studios.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Quadruped Transitions by Maria Robertson

Free tiger rig from Truong
We're adding more animation tutorials to our Vimeo channel, including now a full series on how to use the Time Editor in Maya to animate locomotion transitions.

The tutorials were created by Escapee Maria Robertson, and build on Maria's existing tutorials on quadruped locomotion, such as walks, trots and runs.

Maria's transitions tutorial explains how different gaits can be combined using Maya's Time Editor.

Students who want to learn how to animate transitions should first learn to create a successful quadruped walk, trot and run cycle, before attempting to combine them into one piece of animation.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

AN5002: Advanced Anim Starts This Week

Creature animation: "Planet Mars"
On Monday 4th November our 2nd year undergraduate animators started a new module: AN5002: Advanced Computer Animation.

In this module, worth 30 credits, students get to grips with animating animals and creatures.

The module started on Monday 4th November and lasts six weeks. It finishes on Friday December 20th,  just before Christmas.

In AN5002 students develop their skills in animal and creature animation, including quadruped locomotion and performance.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Chrissy Metge Teaches Producing at Escape

Chrissy Metge
We're delighted to welcome a new animation tutor to Escape Studios; animation & VFX producer Chrissy Metge will teach a class on "Producing for Animators" to our second year undergraduate animators at Escape Studios tomorrow, Thursday 7th November.

Chrissy is an experienced producer, and also creative director at Fuzzy Duckling Media and Duckling Publishing.  She has worked in the animation film and TV industry for 18 years, and has film credits on many movies, including VFX blockbusters The Hobbit, Ironman 3 and Hunger Games 2.

You can see Chrissy's full list of credits at her IMDB page here

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Facial Rigging at our Vimeo Channel

Michael Davies teaches at Escape Studios
Escape Studios tutor Michael Davies has recorded a new series of videos on facial rigging for our Vimeo channel.

The Facial Rigging tutorial builds on the existing character rigging tutorials, and is designed to help students develop their skills in character rigging.

You can find the facial rigging tutorial here, along with hundreds of other video tutorials, available to our students and Escapees.

Monday, 4 November 2019

What is "The Escape Method"?

Framestore's Oz Gani reviews student work
What is the Escape Method? The Escape Method is the way we teach animation at Escape Studios. It has five main pillars: Intensive classroom teaching, online tutorials, constructive feedback, industry engagement, and group projects.

All our students at Escape Studios study intensively, with daily personal tuition from industry-trained tutors, combined with online tutorials, regular, intensive feedback, and engagement from industry.

Our BA and MA courses also have a strong focus on group work, known as "Studio Projects" in which students work together in teams, learning the "soft skills" of working in groups, mirroring the actual processes of a live studio project.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

UCAS Deadline January 15 2020

UCAS - time to apply
It's that time of year again; time to start thinking about your UCAS application. If you're thinking of applying to Escape Studios to study the Art of 3D Animation, Games or Visual effects, it's time to think about UCAS. 

The relevant UCAS deadline is January 15th 2020.   We are welcoming applications for the fourth intake of our new integrated BA/MArt in Animation, Games and VFX - launched in September 2016.

One of the most common questions I get asked by prospective students is: "should I wait to apply until I have finished my portfolio?" The answer is no.  Get your UCAS 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.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

12 Week Animation Course Starts 17 Feb 2020

Escapee Chan Sagoo worked on Lion King (2019)
Our next animation short course - three months of intensive training in 3D animation - starts on 17th February 2020.

Our 12 week course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of 3D Animation in Maya, and aims to take students to a professional level of skill, making them studio-ready talent.

Taught by veteran animation tutor Lee Caller, our animation is designed to help our students find employment in the rapidly expanding animation and VFX industry.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Carse & Waterman Animation Visits Escape

Gary Carse and Daniel Waterman
Daniel Waterman from Staffordshire-based animation company Carse and Waterman Productions visited Escape Studios this week to give a talk to our MA Animation students.

Daniel explained to our students, who are studying the business of animation, about the functioning of development funds, capital funds, and tax credits, with practical examples on how to access them.

Daniel also discussed his own first iteration at business and how it evolved over time, his approach to managing growth, and how to find a niche in the animation industry.