Saturday, 11 July 2020

Evgenia Designs "Mia's Magic Playground"

Many congratulations to Escapee Evgenia Golubeva, whose latest TV Show Mia's Magic Playground will be broadcast on Sky Kids here in the UK.

Evgenia designed all the characters in the Magic World - including the Ice Cream Bear, the Rainbow, the Watermelon Cat, the Leaflings - and everyone else.

Evgenia also helped out with the backgrounds, creating concept art for the trees, bushes, underwater and space environments.

Friday, 10 July 2020

AN5001 "Computer Animation Pro" Starts on Monday 14 September

"Hotel Aloha" 
Module AN5001 Computer Animation Pro starts on Monday 14th September.

That seems like a long way off, but it's a good idea for our students to keep practicing animation over the summer break.

AN5001 is the first animation module that our undergraduate students encounter in their second year of studies.

In September we hit the ground running - our animation students will tackle character actions, pantomime, acting, performance and dialogue.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

"Seeker" Best Director at Prague Film Fest

Many congratulations to Rassoul Edji, director of  the VFX film "Seeker", which has won "Best Director - Runner Up" in the "Super Short Film" category at the Prague Monthly Film Festival.

It's a well deserved award for a film which has also been selected as a finalist in this year's Rookies competition.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Ricardo Ferreira "Catch Up With Alumni" on 14th July at 6.30pm

Ricardo Ferreira 14 July 2020 at 6.30pm
Join us on Instagram on 14 July 2020 at 6.30pm for the first of our "Catch Up With Alumni" events, with special guest and Escapee Ricardo Ferreira.

How do you land that crucial first job in industry? Ricardo will talk about his career journey after leaving Escape Studios, and will take questions from our students and graduates on what they can do to launch their own careers, even in these difficult times. 

Ricardo has worked on many award-winning films, including Interstellar, Ex Machina and Gravity.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

"Stewart" Walk Tutorial with Marc Stevenson

We've uploaded a new Walk Cycle Tutorial, part of our series of online animation tutorials, to support our students' online learning.

The tutorial, recorded by Escape Studios tutor Marc Stevenson, uses the Stewart rig, which is free for download.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Escape Studios Summer Showcase 2020

Check out the Escape Studios Summer Showcase, a collection of the best work completed by our Animation, Games and VFX Students.

Most of the films you can see by clicking on the "showcase" tab at the top of the blog, but the Escape Studios Summer Showcase is a "One Stop Shop" for all of our graduating students' latest work.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Weight Animation Tutorial with "Heavy"

We've uploaded a new animation tutorial to our growing Vimeo Tutorial Channel, showing how to animate a character lifting a heavy object.

The purpose of the tutorial is to show students how to create the illusion of weight. With CG animation, we get nothing for free, and it is easy for animation to feel floaty and weightless.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

"Offcut" Rookies Finalist: VFX Film of the Year

Congratulations to all our students whose films have been selected for the finals for "VFX Film of the Year" in The 2020 Rookies, which have just been announced.

Three of our students' films were selected for the finals: "Offcut", "Seeker" and "The Lost City of Aztlan", all three of which are currently also in festival competition. 

Friday, 3 July 2020

"Flour Sack Suicide" Tutorial at Vimeo

We've uploaded a new tutorial series to our growing Vimeo Tutorial Channel, showing how to animate a leaping flour sack.

The purpose of the exercise is to learn how to simulate weight, and create an entertaining performance with a simple, basic Maya rig. You can find the flour sack video tutorial here.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Escape Studios' Industry Beginners Guide

One of the most useful resources provided by Escape Studios for prospective students is our Industry Beginners' Guide, an invaluable source of information for understanding what's involved in the animation, VFX and games industries, and how to acquire the skills needed to break in.

Escape Studios track the latest trends in the job market, focusing especially on the skills that are currently in high demand.

Our goal is to place students in well-paid work in the best animation, games and visual effects houses in London and overseas. We recommend that all of our students download a copy.  Best of all, it's absolutely free.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Foxy Tail Tutorial with Marc Stevenson

We've uploaded a new tutorial on animating overlapping action to help our students working from home. Escape Studios animation tutor Marc Stevenson explains how to approach the challenge of animating overlapping action, using a simple bouncing ball character with  a flexible tail - in this case a low poly fox rig.  The trick is to break the process down into simple steps so that the principles can be applied easily.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Escape Studios Animation Reel Summer 2020

We're proud to present the Summer 2020 Escape Studios Animation Demo Reel.  This latest edit of our best shots showcases the finest work our animation students have put together since we cut our last reel.  Our students keep doing better and better work, setting higher and higher standards for what can be achieved; all of the work shown is taken from the various short films which are being entered into festivals, many of them collaborations between different departments at Escape Studios. As ever, we have had to make some hard choices this time around, leaving out much excellent work from this latest selection of our best character, creature and short film animation.

Monday, 29 June 2020

"Monty" Run Tutorial with Marc Stevenson

"Monty" run tutorial with Marc Stevenson
We've uploaded a new run cycle tutorial to our Vimeo Channel, part of our expanding series of online animation tutorials.

The tutorial, recorded by Escape Studios tutor Marc Stevenson, uses the Monty rig, free for download, and can be found here

Run cycles are part of the foundation of the study of animation. Animating a run cycle introduces student animators to the basic principles of human locomotion.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

The Making of "Death From Above"

"Death From Above" is a teaser/trailer created by director Jordan Coles and a group of second year animation students, working together in Module PR5001 to deliver a group project. The teaser is currently in competition for a number of festivals, and Jordan was asked by Will and Rowena at Escape Studios to talk a little about the making of "Death From Above". In this interview, Jordan explains where his inspiration came from, what the challenges were, and how the team worked together to complete the project.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Animation Showreel Clinic 23rd July

Passion Pictures will give us industry feedback
The Demo Reel Doctor is back!  Our next Animation Showreel Clinic takes place on 23rd July with a special guest from Passion Pictures.

The event is all about animation demo reels: how to make them, how to perfect them, and how to use them to land your first job in the industry.

If you're working on your animation demo reel and you'd like to make your reel the best it possibly can be - join us on 23rd July.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Scorpion Animation Tutorial at Vimeo

Artwork by Lee Caller
We've uploaded a new animation tutorial to our large and growing collection of video tutorials at our Vimeo Channel.

The tutorial shows how to animate a six-legged creature; in this case a robot scorpion.

The tutorial takes a superficially complex action - a multi-legged creature - and shows how to break the motion down into simple components. Animators can create a successful outcome with just one or two animation curves.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

The Lost City of Aztlan

The Lost City of Aztlan from Mariam Hussein on Vimeo.
What secrets lie within The Lost City of Aztlan? Directed by Mariam Hussein and produced by Michael Vodden, this short film about a long-hidden Mayan civilisation was created by our VFX students as part of their final graduation project. Filmed on location in Chislehurst Caves in South East London, the film was completed under Lockdown and is now being entered into international film festivals.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

"Ask Me Anything" with Pixar's Mike Makarewicz on Wednesday July 1st at 6pm

Mike Makarewicz
We're delighted to welcome Pixar animator Michal Makarewicz for an exclusive webinar with our animation students at Escape Studios on July 1st at 6pm.

Mike is a 17 year veteran animator at Pixar Animation Studios, and Co-Founder of the Animation Collaborative in Emeryville, California.

Mike has generously agreed to give up an hour of his time to talk to our students about animation, breaking into the industry, and what it's like to work on a Pixar film. All questions are welcome.

Monday, 22 June 2020

Introducing "Seeker"

Seeker - A VFX Short Film from Rassoul Edji on Vimeo.

Meet "Seeker", a short VFX film combining live action and animation, completed by our final year students at Escape Studios. "Seeker" is a film about a giant robot seeking out its victim in a quiet suburban setting. The project was directed by Rassoul Edji and produced by Tosin Ogunleye, and overseen by supervising tutors Jonathan McFall and Allar Kaasik.  "Seeker" has already been accepted for two film festivals, despite only having been entered into competition a few days ago.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Sign Up Now For The Summer of Animation

The Summer of Animation has just been launched; it is a programme of free activities for 13 to 18-year olds in the UK, all about creating your own animation, hosted by Access VFX and supported by Escape Studios.

Over the summer students can access a series of free videos to show how to create each step of the 3D animation film making process. Each video has an exercise linked to it, where you can download templates to give it a go yourself.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

"Witch & the Baby" Winner at Flatpack Festival

Many congratulations to Escapee Evgenia Golubeva, whose short film The Witch & the Baby has recently won the Audience Choice Award at the Nenagh Children's Film Festival.

Evgenia studied with us on our animation short course, and has since forged a career as an independent film-maker, entering her animated films in festivals around the world and winning international prizes for her work.  Evgenia is a writer at Walt Disney Animation, where she brings her talent as an animator and storyteller to the commercial world of TV animation.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Bouncing Ball Tutorial with Marc Stevenson

Start with a bouncing ball
All animation courses begin with a bouncing ball. The Bouncing Ball Tutorial introduces animators to the basic concepts of timing and spacing, weight, paths of action and also squash and stretch.

A ball can be bounced well or badly, and the exercise - although superficially simple - can be done with skill and sophistication.

In this tutorial video, hosted at our Vimeo Tutorial Channel and aimed at junior animators, Escape Studios tutor Marc Stevenson shows how to make a ball bounce convincingly.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Introducing "Reach"

Escape Studios proudly presents "Reach", the short film directed by third year VFX student Matteo Balduzzi, and completed as part of the third year animation Module PR6001,  a Studio Project worth 60 Credits.  In this module our animation and VFX students join forces to produce a visual effects (VFX) project, with three months to take the project from initial pitch to final render.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Helicopter Airship Animation Tutorial

Airship Animation
We've uploaded a new tutorial on animating a helicopter airship in motion. 

The videos are the latest addition to our rapidly expanding Vimeo channel.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we explain how to approach the challenge of animating a helicopter/airship in motion. The airship has a flexible caboose, which must be animated so that it overlaps the main action and settles in a naturalistic and believable way.

The purpose of the tutorial is to learn the principle of flexibility and overlapping action, one of the original 12 Principles of Animation.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Storyboarding MasterClass with Chess Adams

Francesca "Chess" Adams teaches our storyboarding evening class at Escape Studios. Chess recently recorded this excellent video for the "Summer of Animation", the summer outreach program for 13-18 year olds which is hosted by Access VFX and supported by Escape Studios. It's a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn the art and craft of storyboarding for animation, and is completely free.

Monday, 15 June 2020

"Flame" and "Offcut" Winners at WMF Fest

"Flame" wins Best Editor
Many congratulations to the makers of "Flame" and "Offcut", which have both won awards at the recent "We Make Films Festival" in London.

"Flame" won Best Editor, and "Offcut" won Best DOP (Director of Photography).  The awards are a welcome addition to both films' trophy cabinet, which already include a number of festival prizes.

Flame was directed by Cherelle Owusu, produced by Carolina Xavier, and edited by Victor Andreas Lopez"Offcut" was directed Petroc Menuhin, with cinematography by Clement Gharini.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Meet "Over Under"

Meet "Over Under", a short film project created by our third year graduating class of student animators. At over seven minutes, "Over Under" is our most ambitious animated film project so far. Directed by Lucy Harris and produced by Aidan Lonergan, "Over Under" includes some very stylish set design and confident character animation. The film is currently being entered into film festivals, and we wish it and the team every success.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

What Does an Animation Editor Do?

The Film Editor is one of the most important and creative roles on any production. The animation editor is involved in every process of planning and production, from the earliest stages, including cutting and editing the storyboard animatic.

Making an animated film is a collaborative effort and is almost always completed with a team of people; the editor is one of the key creative roles on any production.

We encourage all our students at Escape Studios to try their hand at film editing, it's an important job and one of the most interesting seats to occupy on any production.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Introducing: "Hat Shop"

Meet "Hat Shop", a short film written and directed by Stevie Stedman, one of our MA students studying Storyboarding and Previsualisation at Escape Studios. "Hat Shop" is a short story set in a futuristic robotic world.

Like "Moon Rockz" "Street Ratz" and "Animal Lover", the film was a collaboration between students on our Master's Degree in Storyboarding & Previsualisation and undergraduate students studying the Art of Computer Animation - something we have tried this year for the first time.

Collaborations between departments are not (of course) unusual in industry. Getting our storyboarding students to work together with undergraduate animators is one of the many ways in which we prepare our students for the realities of working in industry.

"Hat Shop" was completed entirely under Lockdown. It is currently being entered into film festivals, and we wish the team every success.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Why Animators Need Colour Grading

What is colour grading, and why do animators need it? In film-making, colour grading - sometimes called colour balancing, or colour timing - is the process of adjusting the colour of every shot in a film to harmonise the overall look and feel of the film, and make sure that each shot flows seamlessly into the next. Colour Grading is an essential final step in the post-production of a short film, ensuring that every shot has the right colour balance. We're recommending this short video above which shows how to do successful colour grading in Adobe Premiere.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Introducing "Animal Lover"

Short Film-Animal Lover from Priya Shah on Vimeo.

Meet "Animal Lover", a one-minute animated short created at Escape Studios and inspired by director Anastasia Gurova's childhood experiences growing up in rural Russia. Like "Street Ratz" and "Moon Rockz",  the film was a collaboration between students from our master's degree in Storyboarding & Previsualisation and undergraduate students studying the Art of Computer AnimationAnimal Lover was produced by Priya Shah, who also produced the short film "Nefertiti".

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Storyboarding, Previs & Anim Fair June 29

Bear animation by Amanda Costa
We're hosting a Storyboarding, Previsualisation and Animation Fair on June 29th at 4pm.

The event takes place online via Zoom, and is an opportunity for prospective students to find out about our courses in Animation, as well as Storyboarding & Previsualisation.

To book your free place, register on Zoom.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

The Schlussel Show is Back on 10th June

Framestore's Andrew Schlussel
Join us on Wednesday 10th June for a free webinar with Andrew Schlussel, Director of Global Talent Development at Framestore, one of the world's leading animation and VFX houses.

On "The Schlussel Show", this week's theme will be "Presenting to Employers" - how can graduates make the best impression when applying for work?

Despite Covid-19, the animation industry continues to thrive, and opportunities remain for those with a polished demo reel and the determination to succeed. 

Friday, 5 June 2020

Meet "Street Ratz"

"Street Ratz" is a teaser/trailer written directed by Austin Hill, a graduate student at Escape Studios studying for his MA in Storyboarding & Previsualisation.  The film was a collaboration between storyboard MA students, undergraduate students in the final fourth year of our BA/MArt in the Art of Computer Animation, undergraduate animators in their second year of studies, and the Pearson College Business School.  The project, which involved by far the most ambitious cross-discipline collaboration we have attempted so far, was produced by Jack Wright and overseen by animation tutor Amedeo Beretta and Storyboard tutor Iliana Franklin.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Quarantine Chorus Double Award Winner

Winner: "Best Animation"
"Quarantine Chorus", the short film recently completed by our second-year animation students at Escape Studios about life under the Corona Lockdown, has already won two awards: Best Animation at the Berlin Flash Film Festival, and also Best Super Short Film at the Prague Monthly Film Festival.

This is a great result for a film that was only entered into film festivals for the first time last week.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Meet "Moon Rockz"

"Moon Rockz" is a short film made at Escape Studios, written and directed by Molly Babington, who is studying for her MA in Storyboarding and Previsualisation.

"Moon Rockz" is a unique film project at Escape Studios in that this was a collaboration between students on our master's degree in Storyboarding & Previsualisation and undergraduate students studying the Art of Computer Animation.

The film is a short story about the moon landings - as told from the Moon's point of view. It's a charming and funny film, in which students at Escape Studios successfully worked together across different departments to pull off a stylish result.

"Moon Rockz" is currently being entered into film festivals, and we wish it every success.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Film Credits: Thanks and Special Thanks

Last week our second year animation students raced for the finish line on their final year projects, putting together lists of credits, including various people to thank.

Credits are important to get right. Leave people out, spell their names wrong - there are all kinds of ways to annoy your fellow film-makers (and even make enemies).  One area where students get confused is over thanks and special thanks - whom should you thank, and when?

The key thing to remember is that thanking people costs you nothing; it is a free way to earn goodwill.  So the general rule is this: thank often, widely and generously.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Meet "Quarantine Chorus"

Quarantine Chorus from Nickoel Izharudin on Vimeo.

Meet "Quarantine Chorus", a one-minute film created by our second-year animation students at Escape Studios, about life under the Corona Lockdown. Set in Italy and inspired by a real-life love story from Verona, Italy"Quarantine Chorus" is a short story about the persistence of the human spirit under difficult circumstances.  Directed by Edoardo Sartori and produced by Nickoel Izharudin, the film was based on an original idea by Tequila Mason.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Beyond Lockdown - What Will Happen in September?

For the past eight weeks our students have been working from home, just like the animation industry has done, moving our classrooms online and working remotely. The results have been stunningly successful; our second year animators now have six films in festival competition - five more than this time last year.  Of course, we don't yet know what things will look like come September, but we can count on some kind of blend of online and (hopefully) a return to classroom learning.  Watch the short video above to hear from our Deputy Dean, Saint John Walker, on how we've adapted to teaching online, see some of the great work created by our undergraduate students, and find out what the future holds.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Escape Studios in Unreal 2020 "Sizzle Reel"

Just like last year, Escape Studios is once again proud to have our students' work featured in the Spring 2020 Unreal Engine "Sizzle Reel". The VR Escape Room The Order Of Quadrivium was featured in Unreal Engine Student Showcase, Spring 2020, further evidence (if any were needed) of the very strong work being done by our games students at Escape Studios. Congratulations to them all on making the cut, and on another stellar year of games design.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Animation Thrives Under Lockdown

"Trolls on Tour" earned $100m on streaming devices
According to a recent piece in The Guardian, the animation industry is thriving despite the Corona Lockdown. 

Unlike live action shoots, which have been shut down due to Covid-19, the animation industry is expanding, as programmers scramble to replace live-action content with animation. 

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Why Animators Must Test Their Pipeline Early

Test Render from "Animal Lover"
Part of the process of making an animated film is to test your pipeline thoroughly, so that you can rely on it to render out all your shots on time.

Rendering, as our head of Games, Simon Fenton, memorably puts it: " when everything starts to go wrong".  At Escape Studios, just like on production, we have deadlines, and those deadlines must be adhered to.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

What Are CBBs? (Could Be Better)

"Could Be Better"
What Are CBBs? In film-making, CBB stands for "Could Be Better". Towards the end of any production, you must final your shots in order to hit the deadline - the film must be finished on time.

But, the director may not be completely happy with all of the shots, and he or she may ask for extra improvements that may impact the production schedule. When this happens, you need a CBB list.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Why Must Animators Check their Hookups?

Jerich0 - excellent shot continuity
As our second year animation students get ready to submit their film projects for Studio Module PR5001, it's important to remember that animators always need to check their hookups.

What does this mean? In animation terms, hookups are nothing to do with Tinder, or online dating. Hookups are about shot continuity, and making sure that one shot "hooks up" with another.

On a film project it is the animator's responsibility to make sure that their shot joins up seamlessly with the shots on either side of theirs.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Last Call For Storyboarding on 1st July

Francesca "Chess" Adams
Last call for our evening class in Storyboarding with Francesca "Chess" Adams, veteran story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses, which returns on 1st July 2020.

This evening class in storyboarding is scheduled to be taught online, and runs for eight 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.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Last Call For Character Design on 29 June

Artwork by Andrea Torrejon
Last call for our Character Design Evening Class, which is returning to Escape Studios on 29 June 2020.

Character Design is an eight week evening class taught by Andrea Torrejon, an experienced character designer whose recent work includes the Disney TV Series "101 Dalmation St".

Like all of our courses, this class is taught by a working industry professional; Andrea will guide students through the principles of character design, building up to a live industry brief.

Learning character design isn't just about drawing cool characters; it is also about learning what the industry actually needs from a character designer - turnarounds, model packs and an animation "bible".

Friday, 22 May 2020

Industry Feedback from DNEG

Santiago Colomo
Yesterday we were fortunate to welcome DNEG animation supervisor Santi Colomo and Dara McGarry, Artist Manager at Double Negative, for online industry feedback with our students.

Santiago Colomo is an animation supervisor at DNeg, with 16 years experience in the industry.  Santiago and Dara joined us online via Google Meet and Syncsketch to offer feedback to our animation students on their short film project "Moon Rockz", directed by Molly Babington, which is nearing completion.

Industry feedback is at the heart of what we do at Escape Studios; it helps our students to connect with the commercial world and make sure we're teaching industry-relevant skills.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Why Animators Need "Rig Wrecking"

Rig concepts from "Jerich0"
What is "Rig Wrecking"? Rig Wrecking, more commonly known as rig testing, is the process of testing your character rigs to make sure they can do everything you need them to do.

Sometimes known as stress testing, this process involves testing out all the controls to make sure everything works as it should, and all the geometry deforms correctly.

Rig testing is a necessary production step; it involves letting animators loose on the rig to do test animation. Skip this step and you will almost certainly find many problems cropping up during the animation stage of the production.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

What Does an Animation Producer Do, Exactly?

What Does an Animation Producer Do, Exactly? In this 20 minute webinar, hosted at the Escape Studios YouTube Channel, veteran animation producer Bob Thompson explains what the role of an animation producer is, what they do, and how artists can best work with producers. Producing animation is a growing part of what we do at Escape Studios, with a number of recent Escapees going on to fill production roles at animation and games studios such as Sony Playstation and Framestore.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Escapee Evgenia Golubeva Writer at Disney

Evgenia Golubeva
Many congratulations to Escapee Evgenia Golubeva, an award-winning animator and director who is currently working as a writer at Walt Disney Animation in London.

Evgenia studied with us on our animation short course, and has since forged a career as a writer and independent film-maker, entering her animated films in festivals around the world and winning international prizes for her work.

Evgenia starting working in January 2019 as a writer at Blue Zoo Animation, bringing her talent as an animator and storyteller to the commercial world of TV cartoons, before making the leap to Disney.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Producer Bob Thompson Consults on "Jerich0"

Bob Thompson
Veteran Animation Producer Producer Bob Thompson is consulting with the makers of the award-winning film "Jerich0", which has recently returned from a virtual trip to Stuttgart, home of Animation Production Days (APD).

APD is an international forum to bring together animation talent with potential co-producers, broadcasters and distributors of original creative content.

"Jerich0" has proved itself a festival winner; the next step is to take it to a wider audience, with the potential for broadcast and distribution through commercial channels.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Previs & Story MA - September Reading List

Our MA in Previs and Story returns on 30 September 2020, and some students have been asking us what books they should read before class begins.

A good book is still a great place to start learning and exploring the world of storyboarding and previsualisation, and there are many excellent resources available.

Below are some of the best books we recommend on the subject.

Prepare to Board! by Nancy Beiman
Top of our list is Prepare to Board! by Nancy Beiman, an excellent book from a master animator and board artist who now teaches at Sheridan College in Canada.

Friday, 15 May 2020

We Have Lift-Off! VFX Festival Goes Online

The VFX Festival is back. Hosted by Escape Studios, the VFX festival is a celebration of visual effects, animation, games and motion graphics.

For the last seven years the festival has been hosted in London, most recently at the South Bank Centre, but now, for the first time, the VFX festival is going virtual, with online talks and panel discussions.

Next week we're hosting two free events, part of the Virtual Series for Schools and Colleges. First up is We Have Lift-Off!: Your first steps to a career in VFX, Animation and Games, which takes place on Tuesday, 19th May at 2pm.  To sign up for the event, follow this link.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Animation Webinar: "The Making of Jerich0"

In this webinar, hosted at the official Escape Studios YouTube Channel, Escapee and animation director Sarah Andrews explains the process of making her short film Jerich0, which has been winning awards in multiple film festivals, including being short-listed for a student BAFTA.  In this 20 minute video, Sarah explores the production pipeline, how the film was made, and some of the hurdles and challenges which the team had to overcome.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Toonboom Harmony is Back on 7 October

Harmony animators at Escape Studios
Our popular 2D Animation evening class in Toonboom Harmony is returning on Wednesday 7 October 2020.

The class runs for 10 weeks, one evening a week (Tuesdays), and is an introduction to animating in Toonboom Harmony, one of the leading software packages for the creation of 2D animation.

Harmony animators are much in demand, as 2D animation experiences a significant revival, both in the UK and overseas.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Introducing "Birds Connect Our World"

We're proud to present the short film "Birds Connect Our World", written, directed and animated by Escapee Wing Lan Lilian Fu.  Lilian took our evening class in animation in ToonBoom Harmony, taught by Plamen Ananiev, and she applied her new skills to make this short film, commissioned by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP).  The film, which was made entirely under the Corona Lockdown, tackles the challenges faced by migratory birds in Asia, and what can be done to protect them and their natural habitats.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Escape Students Win Awards at Sci-On Fest

"Joe" wins Director's Choice Award
Many congratulations to the makers of Adam & Eve Mk II and Joe, which have both won the "Director's Choice" award at the Sci-On film festival in Reno, Nevada.

Adam & Eve Mk II is a modern re-telling of the Genesis story; Joe is a short story about a cleanup robot that goes wrong.

Despite the challenges caused by the Corona lockdown, and many festivals cancelling or moving online, our student films continue to experience growing festival success.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

"Evening With..." Robert Valley 14 May

Artwork by Robert Valley
On Thursday 14th May, Escape Studios welcomes Oscar-nominated Director, Animator and Character designer, Robert Valley to one of our regular "Evening With..." events.

Robert Valley is an animator with a remarkable career that includes hits such as Aeon Flux,Tron: Uprising, Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots and ‘Zima Blue’.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Why Animators Need Mood Boards

Mood Board for "Animal Lover" 
Mood Boards are an important part of the process of making an animated film.

Mood Boards allow the director and art director to get a feel for what a film will look like, long before the animation and lighting is complete.

Mood Boards are essentially a research project, at this stage you are not creating original artwork, just finding useful references of what sort of visual style and influences will inform the look of the film.

Friday, 8 May 2020

Students - Download Your Free Maya License

For newcomers to the animation industry, and especially for our students starting with us this September, it's important to remember that Autodesk, who make the software Maya, offer an education copy of Maya for free, which can be downloaded from the official Autodesk site.

Autodesk Maya has been the dominant software package in 3D animation for over 20 years. I first used Maya 1.0 on "The Iron Giant", back in 1998. And today it remains the most powerful package for the creation of 3D animation, still by far the most widely used in industry.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Animation Summer Reading List

What books do we recommend that animators read before starting our BA/MArt in the Art of 3D Animation in September?

A good book is still a great place to start learning and exploring the world of character animation, and there are many excellent resources available.

Below is a brief list of some of the best books that we recommend.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

"Evening With..." LinkedIn's Steve Vasko 7 May

We're hosting a virtual "Evening With..." event with Steve Vasko from LinkedIn via Zoom on Thursday 7th May at 5pm.

Steve Vasko is the Manager of Customer Success at Linkedin and has over 20 years of experience in high tech industries.

Prior to LinkedIn, Steve worked at Autodesk, focused on the Media and Entertainment industry in marketing and supporting products such as Maya, Flame and 3ds Max. In this webinar Steve will explain how to build your personal brand at Linkedin - something we recommend all our students do.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Escape Students Win Awards at the LSSFF

"Draw" - Highest Commendation
Many congratulations to the makers of "Draw""The Golden Acorn", Home Sweet Home"Jerich0", "Flame" and "Vivi Ossa", all of which have won awards at the London Seasonal Short Film Festival (LSSFF).

"Draw", "The Golden Acorn", and "Home Sweet Home" won laurels for "Highest Commendation".

In addition, Sarah Andrews BAFTA-shortlisted "Jerich0" received an "honourable mention", and "Flameand "Vivi Ossa" both received a "Special Mention".  Despite the challenges caused by the lockdown, our student films continue to enjoy growing festival success.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Industry Feedback with DNeg on Monday

Dara McGarry
We're delighted to welcome back David Prescott, Senior Vice President of Creative Production at Double Negative, and Dara McGarry, Artist Manager at Double Negative, for some online feedback with our students on Monday 4 May.

David and Dara will be joining us online via Google Meet and Syncsketch to offer feedback to our second year animation students on their film projects.

Industry feedback is at the heart of what we do at Escape Studios; it helps our students to connect with the commercial world and make sure we're teaching industry-relevant skills.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Free Animation Taster on Wednesday 6 May

Lee Caller
We're running a free online Animation Taster at Escape Studios on Wednesday 6 May at Noon, taught by veteran animator Lee Caller.

Taster Classes are a great chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

You will learn how to use Autodesk Maya and get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques. No prior knowledge of Maya - or any software - is required.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Industry Feedback with Shelley Page 6th May

Shelley Page
Animation industry veteran Shelley Page will be giving our students industry feedback on Wednesday 6th May.

Shelley has been working in feature animation since 1986, with credits including "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", "Shrek 1-4", "Shark Tale", "Madagascar", "Kung Fu Panda", and "How to Train Your Dragon".

As always, engagement with industry is at the heart of what we do at Escape Studios. What skills are in demand? Who is hiring? And how do we prepare our students for the industry as it will be in two or three years time?