Thursday, 30 April 2020

Online Story & Previs Taster Day May 13th

Iliana Franklin teaches at Escape Studios
We're running a free online taster day in previsualisation & storyboarding on 13th May.

Taster days are an opportunity for prospective students to get a feel for the content of our pioneering MA in Previsualisation & Storyboarding, which returns to our High Holborn campus on 25th September 2020.

Story board & Previs artist Iliana Franklin, whose production credits include The Tale of Despereaux, will teach the class; and the taster is free.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Rendering with Arnold - by Michael Davies

Since 2017 Arnold has been the principal ray-trace renderer that comes bundled with Autodesk Maya, replacing the old ray-tracer Mental Ray.

For our students who haven't yet become familiar with the process of rendering images in Arnold, animation tutor Lee Caller has helpfully put together a YouTube playlist of videos

In addition, UG programme leader and third year animation tutor Michael Davies has recorded his own Arnold tutorials, which you can find at our Vimeo Tutorial Channel here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Why Animators Need Colour Scripts

Finding Nemo Colour Script.
Colour Scripts are an important part of the animation process; they allow the director to get a feel for what the movie will look like, long before the animation and lighting is complete.

Our second year animation undergraduates are currently working on Studio Project Module PR5001, where students collaborate to work together on group projects.

Colour Scripts form an important part of the development of a short film.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Remote Working Webinar: Lee Danskin 30 April

Lee Danskin from Escape Tech
Now that we're all working from home, doing our best to manage the challenges of distance learning, Escape Studios is hosting a "Remote Working Webinar" with Lee Danskin, Chief Technology Officer at Escape Technology.

The free Zoom webinar takes place on Thursday 30 April at 12.30pm

What are the best ways and technologies to set yourself up for success? How do you stay focused and productive when working from home? And how do you keep your work life separate from your home life?

Saturday, 25 April 2020

"Evening With..." Scott Ross Thurs 30th April

Scott Ross
Escape Studios is proud to host a very special guest for our next Virtual "Evening With…" event: Scott Ross.

On Thursday 30th April at 5pm, we will be joined by this legendary pioneer of digital media and entertainment.

With a career spanning three decades birthing the compositing software NUKE, leading George Lucas’ ILM, and founding digital production company Digital Domain with James Cameron and Stan Winston, Ross has worked on a number of Academy Award winning films.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Animation Feedback with Producer Steve Burch

Animation Producer Steve Burch
Veteran animation producer Steve Burch will be joining us on Monday 27th April to give feedback via Google Hangouts and Syncsketch to our second year animation students, who are currently in the pre-production stage of three short films due for completion at the end of May as part of Module PR5001.

Steve, who has worked on animation classics such as The Iron Giant, Space Jam, and Osmosis Jones, is an experienced producer with a long list of industry credits.

Producing animation is an increasingly important part of what we teach at Escape Studios, as our students collaborate on short film projects, entering festivals and winning awards.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Webinar With Max Howard Tuesday 19th May

Max Howard
Escape Studios is hosting a free webinar with veteran animation producer and Hollywood studio executive Max Howard, on Tuesday 19th May at 12.30pm

Max will talk about some of the most important ingredients for a successful career in animation, such as the importance of understanding story, and the art of the pitch. You can sign up here.

Max will also discuss the state of the animation industry post-Covid 19. The virus is bad news for us all, but while live action shoots remain shut down, animation continues to flourish.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Jerich0 Winner at Leeds Young Film Festival

Many congratulations to the makers of Jerich0, which has won an award at Leeds Young Film Festival, the latest in a string of festival successes.

Jerich0 has won multiple festival awards; it won Best Animation at the Melrose Film Festival in Orlando, Florida, was shortlisted for a student BAFTA, and won Best Animation and Best VFX at the 2019 Nexus Film Festival.  Jerich0 also won an award in the 2019 Zero Budget Film Festival,  was selected for the BFI London Film Festival, and won "Best Animation" at the Golden Nugget Film Festival.

Monday, 20 April 2020

2020 Animation School Rankings: No 4 in UK

2020 Rankings - No 4 in UK
The 2020 Animation School Rankings are just in, and we're delighted to have moved up the UK and global rankings once again.

This year Animation Career Review have ranked us #18 for Animation Internationally, #10 for Animation in Europe, #4 for Animation in the UK.

Congratulations to all our students and staff on another stellar performance - not a bad show for an animation school that only had its first graduates last summer.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

How to Make Maya Run Faster

Tip Number 6 - stay low poly
One of the most common problems students encounter, especially when working from home, is their Maya scene slowing down so much that they can't animate anymore.

Or, not quite as drastic but almost as frustrating, their scene becomes so slow that animation becomes a burden. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to speed up your scene and make it run faster.  Below are our Six Tips to make Maya work at optimal speed.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

BBC Free Sound Effects for Film-Makers

For our student film-makers, an excellent resource for sound design and sound effects is the BBC Free Sound Effects for Film-Makers.

Around 16,000 BBC Sound Effects have been made available by the BBC in WAV format for free download for use under the terms of the RemArc Licence. The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Introducing "Nefertiti"

Nefertiti from Priya Shah on Vimeo.

Our second year animation students have just completed the first half of Studio Module PR5001, in which they collaborate together on short film projects.  Over the past seven weeks six students created the short film "Nefertiti", an animated action-adventure set in a mysterious ancient Egyptian tomb. The film was animated in Maya, rendered in Arnold, and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.  Directed by Eilin Berrio Pena, and Produced by Priya Shah, the film was edited by Jack Devereux, and was completed entirely from home during the Covid Pandemic. Our students collaborated remotely, animated and rendered their shots entirely with their own home resources.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Work Fit Townhall: Networking Part 2

Paul Wilkes - Technicolor
Tomorrow Friday 17th April at 12.30pm we're hosting another free "work fitness" webinar. The webinar, with a panel of six industry guests, will focus on networking in the animation, games and VFX industries, and we've got a great line-up of guests.

At "Work Fit Townhall: Networking Part 2" Escape Studios
will continue our conversation about making and nurturing professional networks.

Subjects will include soft skills, networking - and (of course) how to find work in the post-Covid era.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Introducing "Hotel Aloha"

Hotel Aloha from Nickoel Izharudin on Vimeo.
Our second year animation students have recently completed the first half of Studio Module PR5001, in which they collaborate together on short film projects.  Over the past seven weeks six students created the short film "Hotel Aloha", a romantic comedy set in a beach hotel in Hawaii.  The film was animated in Maya, and rendered in Arnold, entirely from home, using home equipment, completed on time in spite of the Covid Pandemic.  The film was directed by Paloma Zhu, produced by Nickoel Izharudin, and edited by Ross Green.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Andrew Schlussel: Future of VFX - 15th April

Framestore's Andrew Schlussel
Join us tomorrow Wednesday 15th April from 11:00am until 11:30am for a free webinar with Andrew Schlussel, Director of Global Talent Development at Framestore, one of the world's leading animation and VFX houses.

Covid-19 is causing a lot of trouble for us all these days, but during tomorrow's webinar "The Schlussel Show", Andrew will explain that "Crisis Creates Opportunity".  Registration is free.

Unlike live action shoots, which have ended entirely pending the lifting of the lockdown in the UK and Los Angeles, animation continues to thrive and flourish, even in these dark times.

Cartoon Forum: Deadline 6 May

Cartoon Forum 2020
Cartoon Forum is Europe's biggest TV pitch-fest for animation, and takes place in Toulouse, France, from 14 – 17 September.

If you have an idea for a TV series in your head, Cartoon Forum is the place to pitch it.

The deadline to submit your series project this year is 6 May. So, you have a little more time to sharpen your pencils, fill out some forms - and make your pitch perfect.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Introducing "Death From Above"

Death From Above - Official Teaser Trailer [HD] from Callum Wylie on Vimeo.

Our second year animation students have just completed the first half of Studio Module PR5001, in which they collaborate together on short film projects.  Over the past seven weeks, six students created Escape Studios' very first animated horror trailer: "Death From Above".  The film was animated in Maya, rendered in Unreal Engine 4, and edited in Adobe Premiere and After Effects.  Directed by Jordan Coles, and Produced by Callum Wylie, the project was edited by Daniel Brand-Sinyinza, and the CG supervisor was Edoardo Sartori. Storyboarding was by Niki Valera and Tequila Mason. You can find Death From Above at the IMDB here.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Eamonn Butler Scholarship at Escape Studios

Eamonn Butler
One of the principal ways we are able to support undergraduate students at Escape Studios is through our scholarship program. We offer a full fee scholarship to a talented student to help them realise their dreams of becoming an Animator. The "Eamonn Butler Scholarship" is named after one of the world's leading animators, currently Head of Animation at Cinesite in London.

If you’re passionate about working in the industry, this scholarship will help you fund your studies at Escape Studios and launch your career in the creative industries.

Amedeo Beretta Teaches L7 Online

Amedeo Beretta 
Like all our animation tutors, Amedeo Beretta has moved his teaching online since the start of the Covid-19 Crisis. Amedeo currently teaches our Level 7 students, who are working to complete their integrated Master's Degree in Animation, Games and VFX.

Currently the L7 students are working on two large projects; one a teaser/trailer for an upcoming movie and the second a games project. Both projects still require a good deal of work to take them to completion, and both are now being carried out entirely remotely.

In this blog post, Amedeo explains how he is continuing to run his online classes.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Jerich0 at APD on 5 May - Attending Remotely

One animation event that hasn't been cancelled this year is the animation pitch-fest Animation Production Days ("APD"), which takes place in Stuttgart from 5-8 May.

Earlier this year our short film "Jerich0", directed by Sarah Andrews, was accepted for APD, and we were concerned that Covid-19 would cause the event to be cancelled, like so many other animation events.

Fortunately APD will continue this year, with remote interviews set up by the APD team. You can see Jerich0's listing here at the official APD site, under the heading "Talent Projekt 2020".

Congratulations to the makers of Jerich0 - we wish them every success.

Friday, 10 April 2020

An Evening With… Kevin McDowell on 16 April

Kevin McDowell
Our doors may be closed for now, but teaching continues, and our "Evening With..." events are still carrying on - now as online webinars. We can't serve beer and pizza, but we can still host events with the most talented and interesting stars of our industry.

On April 16th Escape Studios is proud to host an "Evening With... Kevin McDowell".

Kevin McDowell has been the Art Director for SEGA’s Massive PC strategy game series “Total War” for the past 20 years and has been working in video games for 23 years.

Kevin's games have sold over 27 million copies, and in 2012 he won a BAFTA for Total War: Shogun 2.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Iliana Franklin Moves Story Teaching Online

Iliana Franklin
Like all of our animation tutors, Iliana Franklin has moved all her teaching online.  Iliana teaches our MA in Storyboarding and Previsualisation, and has been successful in moving the class away from the traditional bricks-and-mortar approach.

In this blog post, Iliana explains how the Story & Previs MA is now running smoothly from online platforms, and how students can best access the available resources.

Storyboarding Is Back on 1 July 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 on 1st July 2020.

Our next 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.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Escapee Rich Jeffrey's "Bluey" Wins Emmy

We're proud to congratulate Escapee Rich Jeffrey whose new Australian TV series "Bluey" recently picked up an International Emmy at the 8th International Emmy Kids Awards. Rich was animation director on series 1, and director on the 2nd series of "Bluey".

Rich said: "It is hard to put into words how wonderful that felt but there’s no doubt it’s down to the hard work of an incredibly dedicated team that I’m proud to be a part of and to the creative genius of Joe Brumm. Big thanks to Charlie, Sam, Daley, Joe and our amazing crew. This one’s for you!"

Free Music for Film-Makers from Mobygratis



As our second year animation students put the finishing touches on their film projects, it's important to remember the importance of sound design - audio is fifty percent of the audience's experience. Fortunately for our students, there are many free (and royalty-free) resources out there to help with student film projects. One newcomer is the musician Moby, whose website mobygratis.com is an excellent free resource for independent film-makers.  Moby has released many free tracks for use in independent film projects, including student demo reels. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

BAFTA Scholarship Open: Deadline 27 May

BAFTA is now taking applications for three UK based post-graduate scholarships in film, TV and Games (and animation, of course) worth up to £12,000 each.

The BAFTA scholarships are supported by Warner Bros and the Duke of Cambridge, and include a work placement and also free access to BAFTA events.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Escape Studios E-resource Hub Now Live

Escape E-resource hub
The Escape Studios E-resource Hub is now live.  This web page has much of our online content in one place, including information and links to register for our online events, webinars, video resources, links to Escape blogs and links to all of our downloadable guides.

As we continue to do more virtually, it's a useful tool to help us make our content and events more accessible to current and prospective students.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Michael Davies Teaches on Discord & Shotgun

Michael Davies
Like all our animation tutors at Escape Studios, Michael Davies is now teaching his classes purely online.

Using Discord and Shotgun for remote interaction with his students at Escape Studios, Michael continues to manage the ambitious third year Studio Project currently being completed by the third year animation students.

In this blog post, Michael explains what tools he is using to make the move online, and how his students can get the best out of the new working environment. 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Marc Stevenson Moves L4 Teaching Online

Marc Stevenson
Like all our animation tutors, Marc Stevenson has moved his teaching of animation basics to purely online delivery.  To communicate with his students, Marc is using a combination of Google Meet, SyncSketch and Facebook, and has in addition created a new animation tutorial channel at YouTube. 

In this guest post, Marc explains what's involved in teaching the fundamentals of animation from an online platform, and how his first-year animation students can make the best use of the resources available. 

Friday, 3 April 2020

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Talent Development & Networking April 3

Chair: Andrew Brassington
Escape Studios are hosting an online panel discussion on Friday April 3rd, on the subject of Talent Development and Networking in the animation, games and VFX industries. 

The panel will be hosted online on Friday from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, and is chaired by Andrew Brassington, Head of Talent Development at Escape Studios. 

Industry guests include Amy Smith, Head of Talent at Framestore, and Simon Devereux, Head of Learning and Development at The Mill and Founder of Access VFX.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Animation Software Q&A with Michael Davies

What kind of software do we teach at Escape Studios? It's a question we often get asked by prospective students.

In this blog post, Escape Studios animation tutor and undergraduate program leader Michael Davies offers his thoughts on some of the most frequently-asked questions about the use of software at Escape Studios.

Most important of all for our students is the growing availability of free student licenses for home use.