Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Google Meet and Sync Sketch

Google Meet
How do animators work remotely? As we move our classes online, we're all of us figuring out the best ways to interact online and keep our projects on track. Google Meet and SyncSketch are emerging as two of the best ways to keep things ticking along.

We are running our online classrooms at Google Meet - it allows many people to join a conversation and stream at the same time. We're combining this with SyncSketch to review student work in real time.

So far we've had good experience with the sound quality, and the system is working well.

Google Meet
Google Meet is a free video conferencing app that can be accessed through anyone's Gmail account. The app allows users to join pre-scheduled meetings from calendar events, choose a link, enter a meeting code and also dial in from your phone. To find Google Meet, click on the Google Apps icon in your Gmail account, and find Google Meet in the drop-down menu.  Google Meet then offers you the chance to join a meeting or start your own. It's easy to use in part because you already have access to the email addresses you need through your Gmail account.

Syncsketch
We're also finding Syncsketch very useful for running animation dailies. Our second year animation students are working on PR5001, a film-making module which requires collaboration to create short film projects. Syncsketch allows our students to work together at a distance, and review their work together as a group. We've been running animation dailies with Google Meet, and then using Syncsketch to review the latest animation edit.

As long as you have a laptop and a decent broadband connection, our students can continue to work remotely, following tutorials, working on projects and also working in teams on platforms such as Google Meet, Syncsketch and Facebook.

Facebook Classroom
We have Facebook Classrooms for all the animation classes. As an online classroom, these closed groups are already well-used forums where students post their work to get feedback,  and where we run animation dailies. Facebook is useful for posting queries, animation tests and test renders.

Online learning at Vimeo
We also have a range of tutorials hosted at Vimeo which teach the art and craft of animation, as well as related areas such as modeling, texturing and lighting. You can find the Vimeo channel here. You can learn a huge amount online. If there is a video you need, but can't find, let us know, and we'll get a video uploaded to the channel. 

Video Feedback
Our students will need detailed video feedback on their work. If you're a student at Escape Studios and need video feedback on your shot, send the Maya file to me or to your tutor (don't forget to include the audio file if there is one) at alex.williams1@pearson.com and I'll send you frame-by-frame video feedback. My videos are recorded using Camtasia, but there are many other platforms available for recording video feedback.

Toonboom Harmony - Free 30 Day License
One software company, Toonboom, are offering free 30 day licenses for students working from home at this time. To find out more, follow this link. This is a big benefit for our students studying on our Toonboom Harmony evening class.

Syncsketch Pro License
Syncsketch works on a fremium business model. Free for relatively low use, but you pay to have more uploads and storage. You can see the Pro pricing options here.

These are uncertain times. But let's focus on the positive, and find ways to keep all our projects moving forwards.

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 2020, follow this link.   To apply, visit the offical page here.

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