Thursday, 31 March 2016

Tonight at Escape Studios! Steve Begg on Spectre

Tonight at Escape Studios we are hosting a very special VFX event with Steve Begg.  Steve will discuss the visual effects work done on on Spectre, his fourth James Bond film and his third as VFX Supervisor.

With over 27 years' experience in the industry Steve Begg has taken the role of VFX Supervisor on titles such as Skyfall, Batman Begins, Casino Royale, The Golden Compass, Red Dwarf, and Aliens.

Events like this are one of the many ways that Escape Studios supports our students' learning with industry events, bringing leading figures in the VFX industry to give our students a glimpse into the way the business actually works.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Twelve Rules To Find Work in the Animation Industry
How do animation graduates find work in the animation industry? At Escape Studios we get asked this question a lot. There is no simple answer.

Jobs in the entertainment industry have always been highly competitive, and the supply of trained graduates competing for the best entry-level positions has never been greater.

Official jobs postings, word of mouth, rumours in the pub, personal contacts, even cold-calling - all of these can be effective ways to find work in the business. Below are the Twelve Key Rules that we think are vital for success.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

How To Animate Lipsync - The Easy Way

Above is an excellent video on how to animate lipsync, showing how to break things down into easy sections so as to make sure that your work starts off simple and gradually grows in complexity as you layer in the detail. At its simplest, good lipsync is just about opening and closing the mouth on the vowels, and closing it on the consonants. But, developing a system to keep it simple and at the same time get a sophisticated result, is all part of mastering the art and craft of animation.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Where Will Our BA/MArt Students Study? Central London!

High Holborn
We are delighted to announce that students accepted on to our four-year BA/MArt in the Art of Computer Animation starting in September 2016 - now formally validated by the University of Kent - will be studying at Escape Midtown - the Pearson College London building on High Holborn.

We were planning on taking some extra space in the Shepherd's building (the current West London home of Escape Studios) but we've been so impressed by the number and the quality of applications for our new undergraduate courses that we've decided to take a larger space in central London.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

"Toonz" Animation Software to Become Open Source on March 26

Toonz, The animation software used by legendary Studio Ghibli (The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away) is about to become open source. Which is to say, in plain English: free.

The new free software will be called OpenToonz, and will allow animators all over the world to make 2D animation at no charge.

This represents a big new democratisation of the medium of animation. Now, any animator can download Toonz, watch the software demo (see below) and start animating.

Of course, Autodesk has long allowed students to learn its 3D software, Maya, for free. But now, 2D animators are getting a big helping hand. Essentially, Toonz now represents a free pipeline for a short film, feature film or TV series.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios Friday April 1st!

Bring characters and creatures to life!
Come and learn about character and creature animation at Escape Studios on Friday April 1st - there are still a few places available.

We're running this animation taster day to give prospective students an idea of what it's like to study animation at Escape Studios. Your career as a 3D animator starts here!

You will working with industry-standard tools like Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25. By the end of the day you'll have a cool pice of animation uploaded to your very own YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Monday, 21 March 2016

Open Doors Event With Creative Skillset At Escape Studios

Open Doors with Creative Skillset. From left: Andy Brassington, Simon Fenton, Davi Stein and me
Last week Escape Studios hosted an “open doors” event with Creative Skillset – the UK body that supports the creative industries and helps get students the right kind of training. Skillset has an excellent relationship with Escape Studios because we specialise in preparing our students for industry, getting them the right skills, making them employable and job-ready.  Open Doors was an opportunity for aspiring animators and VFX artists to hear from our panel of experts about careers in industry, and also do some networking afterwards. Best of all, there was free pizza.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Where Can Animators Find Free Sets and Props?

Turbosquid. Free Stuff!
Where can student animators find free sets and props for animation? You don't always want to spend time modeling the things you need for your animation shot - sometimes you just need some free props in a hurry.

The best places to begin are and Both sites have plenty of free resources for animators to use; you can import sets, props, all sorts of useful items that will help bring your animation to life.

Of course, you should always give credit to the creators - professional artists always give credit where it's due.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Ten Ways to Stay Creative - by Blue Zoo Animation

Blue Zoo is one of the UK's most successful independent animation studios. Founded in 2000 by a group of university graduates, they have gone on to produce excellent commercials and TV Series, as well as some very creative independent short films.

But how does a studio like Blue Zoo stay creative, while at the same time managing the demands of a commercial pipeline, and getting their jobs done on time? At the recent Escape Studios VFX Festival, Tom Box explained how it's done.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Pixar's John Lasseter on the Art of Storyboards

John Lasseter is one of the co-founders of Pixar animation, and now the head of animation at the Walt Disney Studio. he's also one of the so-called "Class That Roared", the 1970s CalArts alumni who collectively transformed the animation industry, leading to the new "Golden Age" of animation. In the video above, John Lasseter goves an Introduction to the Art of Storyboards, explaining how Pixar animators tell stories in pictures - and how they pitch their work.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Why Study The Work of Edward Muybridge?

Edward Muybridge
Sooner or later all students of animation come across the work of Edward Muybridge.  Muybridge was a pioneering English photographer who spent much of his life in California, photographing studies of human and animal locomotion.

Muybridge's work, now in the public domain (i.e. the copyright has expired) is still of great importance to animators, despite having been done more than 100 years ago.

For almost any kind of animal locomotion, Muybridge is still very useful for life-action analysis, even in the era of YouTube. 

Muybridge was the first person to figure out the precise details of horse locomotion, proving that in a full gallop there was a period in the horse's stride where all four feet left the ground - something that was impossible to detect with the human eye.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Where Are The Animation Jobs?

How do you keep on top of the latest jobs in the animation industry?

Remember, animation jobs go fast, and you need to keep an eye on the right websites and Twitter feeds.

Cartoon Brew is one of the sites you should check regularly, as well as animated Nowadays graduates need to focus more time and effort than ever in the course of finding that elusive first job in the industry, and part of this involves keeping an eye closely on the jobs advertised online.

Friday, 11 March 2016

What Charities and Trusts Provide Grants for Educational Study?

The system of loans and grants put in place by the UK Government a few years ago for the funding of higher education in the UK is now well-established and well understood.

But lots of potential undergraduate students are not aware of the many other sources of funding that are out there. You'd be surprised how many charities and trusts provide grants for educational study.

These grants vary enormously, and they are often aimed at students from poorer backgrounds or from groups who are less-well represented at university or otherwise disadvantaged.  So, how do you find them, and how do you apply?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Eleven Second Club for March!

Here at Escape Studios we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Club, the monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators practice their skills 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.

This month the line of dialogue is taken from the 2004 smash hit comedy Mean Girls. The lines are spoken by the characters Mrs George, played by Amy Poehler, and Cady, who was played by Lindsay Lohan.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Escape Studios (Part of Pearson College London) at Guildford UCAS Fair on March 14 and 15

UCAS - the gateway to higher education in the UK
Escape Studios will be at the next big UCAS event at Guildford in Surrey on March 14 and 15 - come and see us at the Pearson College Stand!

We'll be showing off some cool animation tools and explaining how we can help our students become professional animators and visual effects artists.

Escape Studios is different from other university courses in 3D animation. We won't make you write long essays on animation - we recognise that practical, real-world skills are what students need to get hired in today's tech-driven industry.

Got questions about our BA/MArt in 3D Animation? Want to know what we do, and how we can help kick-start your animation career? Come and meet us at the Pearson College/Escape Studios stand!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Anim Fam Comes to Escape Studios Tomorrow!

Here at Escape Studios we're excited to be hosting the AnimFam (Animation Familiarisation) event with Film London tomorrow, March 9th.

AnimFam offers a forum for London’s top animation studios to pitch their work to visiting animation executives from overseas studios, and is one of the ways that Film London is helping to take advantage of the tax breaks which in recent years have led to a big expansion of animation production here in the UK.

The event is being hosted at our Pearson HQ at 80 Strand - one of London's most iconic and historic streets.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios on April 1st!

Bring characters and creatures to life!
Come and learn about character and creature animation at Escape Studios on Friday April 1st!

Our March 17th taster Day is sold out, so we're running an extra one to give students an idea of what it's like to study animation at Escape Studios. Your career as a 3D animator starts here!

You will working with industry-standard tools like Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25. By the end of the day you'll have a cool pice of animation uploaded to your very own YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Join Us for Our Free StoryBoarding Webinar on Wednesday 30 March at 5pm!

Our next free animation webinar on Wednesday 30 March at 5pm is on the subject of storyboarding, and we're taking the opportunity to demonstrate our latest shiny new piece of software - Redboard.

Redboard is a great new piece of kit, developed in London's Soho, that allows storyboard artists to combine the storyboard process with the 3D Layout dept.

It was created by animators who were frustrated by the problems caused when storyboard sketches got turned into actual shots in the 3D layout dept - and things began to go wrong.  Redboard is a way to control the storyboard pipeline from the start, making choices about camera and cinematography up front.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Will Studying Animation at Escape Studios Get You a Job?

Will studying 3D animation at Escape Studios get you a job? This is a question we get asked a lot - understandably - and it is always a tough question to answer.

My goal as head of Animation is to make every student job-ready by the end of the course, prepared to tackle a role as junior animator at a studio, ready to do excellent work on client-facing projects.

That said, Escape cannot actually guarantee jobs for students, but we can do our very best to provide all our students - including animation students - with practical skills that prepare them for the workplace and help them to get hired.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Sky Academy and Hiive Offer Arts Scholarships For Young Talent

Sky Academy Arts Scholarships, running in partnership with Hiive, are offering financial support and mentoring for five talented young artists (including animators!) aged 18-30 from across the UK and Ireland.

If you've every wanted to do a personal arts project, but lack the funding to make it happen - this might be for you.

The aim of the scholarships is to "give young people the time, space and money they need to develop their creative practice and unlock their potential".