Friday, 29 April 2016

Meet Pixo Jr - Our Favourite Animated Lamp!

Pixo Jr - a great training rig for Maya animators
Meet Pixo Jr - a free Maya rig created in homage to Pixar's pioneering animated short - Luxo Jr. - the film that made the studio's name and proved that CG animation could connect emotionally with audiences.

We recommend Luxo for the early stages of learning animation - it's a great way to get used to the Maya animation controls without things getting too complex, too quickly.

Pixo Jr is an excellent rig, free for student download at highend3d.com.


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Essential Plugins for Maya Animators - The Tween Machine

The TweenMachine plugin is one of the most useful tools available to Maya animators.

Created by animator Justin Barrett, the Tween Machine helps animators to create breakdown poses in Maya on stepped curves.

It's a time saving tool that takes much of the labour out of breaking down your poses - once you are happy with the timing of the main blocking of your animation.  And best of all, it's completely free.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Blue Zoo Animation Lunch Club at FaceBook - "Graduates Special"

Blue Zoo, one of London's biggest and most inventive animation studios, has been doing a series of round table discussions on the craft of making animation and working in the industry.

The most recent "Lunch Club" Round table took place on Facebook took place at Facebook today, and can be viewed here.

In this video, Blue Zoo interviews some of its recent hires, to hear animation graduates explain how they broke into the industry. It's full of useful information and tips on how to make it in this fast-growing but very competitive field.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Do Animators Need a Demo Reel and a Website?

Who needs a blog or a website? Only everyone who is a freelancer. And, in the entertainment industry, we are all freelancers.  Jobs for life, if they ever existed, are long gone, and for most of us a gig that lasts a few years is a long one.

One of the biggest mistakes an animation student can make is not to finish their demo reel and then host it prominently at their own blog or website. Nowadays, employers won't wait for you to mail in a DVD of your work. They want to click on a single link and find out all they need to know about you.

Is your work suitable for the job they have in mind? Do you have industry experience? Is your site easy to navigate, and does it give producers the information they need quickly and efficiently? If your website doesn't deliver, jobs will go elsewhere.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Greg Woodcock Animator at 360 Studios

Escapee Greg Woodcock took our three month intensive animation course here at Escape Studios back in 2011, before launching his animation career in the Games industry. 

Since leaving Escape he has worked for a number of leading games companies including 360, CM, Mew Lab, MI, Easy Tiger and Serious Parody

We asked him to talk about his current projects and also to explain how he succeeded in breaking into the games industry - a rapidly expanding but highly competitive field.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Learning Animation? Meet Monty!

Meet Monty
One of the rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the Monty Rig, created back in 2007 by the very talented Raveen Rajadorai, and free for download at creativecrash.com

Monty is described by his creator as "a simple ball with legs. You can control his eyebrows, eyes and do squash and stretch on him".  We would also add that he's very cute, easy to learn, you can easily change his colour and he looks very nice wearing a hat.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Squirrel That Launched an Animation Career

The free "Squirrely" animation rig is an excellent cartoony rig that can be used for character animation. It was created by the very talented Josh Burton and can be downloaded for free at Creative Crash.

To see some excellent animation featuring Squirrely rig, check out this shot by Escapee Henry Fenwick below. It's an excellent dialogue shot, which is technically strong and also has a good story-telling element.

The audience gets what's going on here, and the action is entertaining and funny. Best of all, this shot helped Henry land a job with Jellyfish Pictures, one of London's leading independent animation and VFX houses.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

How To Be a Freelance Animator - Top Eight Rules For Survival

Lots of animators do freelance jobs. Even if you are working at a studio, you still have your evenings and weekends free, so why not expand your skillset by taking on freelance work?  Working with clients is not like working for an employer.  Things tend to be much less clearly defined, and you have to be much more proactive about giving the client what they want. Often, clients don't know themselves what they want. You have to lead, and also be led, which can be a tricky balance to strike.

But, when you're starting out on your animation career, taking on small freelance jobs can be a great way to get experience, build a client base, and earn some money doing what you love. Below are our Eight Rules for Freelance Success.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Check Out Our Student's Excellent Work!

What kind of style of animation do we teach here at Escape Studios? The answer is, a bit of everything. We want our students to be well-rounded animators, capable of tackling both character and creature work, so they can forge careers in the growing animation industry and also work in visual effects production.

To see the excellent work our students are capable of, take a look at some of the videos below. You'll see a broad range of work, from cartoony stuff to realistic visual effects animation.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Escape Studios at UCAS on Monday 18 April at the ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock

Escape Studios will be taking a stand at the next big UCAS event - the ExCel London, at Royal Victoria Dock on April 18th and 19th.

The event takes place at the ExCel exhibition space in East London. Come and see us at the Pearson College Stand.

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

3D Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios on Thursday May 5th

bring creatures to life
Come and learn about character and creature animation at Escape Studios on Thursday May 5th - we still have 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 begins here!

You will work with industry-standard tools: 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 your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Thursday, 14 April 2016

April Eleven Second Club!

Here at Escape Studios we encourage all our student animators to enter The 11 Second Clubthe 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 TV Series Psych.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How To Write a Story

Titles: Love Me Love Me Love Me by Richard Williams
Our student animators here at Escape Studios aren't just creative artists, they are story tellers. Why? Because animation is about film-making, which is really just a kind of visual story telling.

So how do you write a great story? You can't make a great film without one, and yet one of the most common mistakes made by novice film-makers is to start making the film before the story is figured out.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Should Freelance Animators Be Sole Traders or Limited Companies?

Part of the experience of studying 3D Animation on our new undergraduate courses will be learning not just about animation but about the business of animation. We want our graduates tohave a proper understanding of how the industry works, so that they can set up their own businesses, be entrepreneurs, and help engineer the future of the industry.

As a freelance animator, considering whether to set up a Limited Company or become a Sole Trader can be a tricky decision. There are many things to think about when identifying which route would be right for you.  So, what is the difference, and which route is best?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Making of Finding Nemo



Above is an excellent documentary on the making of the Pixar animated classic - Finding Nemo (soon to have a sequel - Finding Dory). YouTube is great source of material on the making of animated films, and watching documentaries like this is the perfect way for our students to educate themselves on how such films get put together. Of course, "making of" films like this also have a marketing function for the studios themselves, to promote the movies, so you can expect a certain amount of marketing and PR. But that's a small price to pay for a genuine and useful insight into how animated films get put together at a top studio like Pixar.  Curious to understand the animation pipeline? Look no further.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Blue Zoo Animation Lunch Club! Monday 11th April at 1.30pm BST

Here at Escape Studios we're big admirers of Blue Zoo, one of London's biggest and most inventive animation studios. So it's great to see Blue Zoo hosting a round table discussion and Q&A on the craft of making animation and working in the industry.

The "Lunch Club" Round table takes place on Facebook on Monday 11th April at 1.30pm, and it's completely free!

So, what exactly can Blue Zoo animation fans expect?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Book Now for FMX!

FMX is coming! Germany's annual FMX festival is the place to be if you want to break into the visual effects industry.

It takes place in Stuttgart every year - this year from April 26 to 29. It's a big, bustling, crowded congress of students and professionals who work - or want to work - in the global visual effects industry, getting together for their annual festival. Everyone shows up - and there are lectures, screenings and panel talks on every imaginable aspect of the visual effects process.

For students, it costs €150 to get in to the whole event (€75 for the day), plus you will have travel and accommodation to deal with. But as a window into the VFX world - there is nothing like it. It is the biggest event in the Europe. Below is a teaser to get you into the mood.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Escape Studios Goes To Annecy!

Beautiful Annecy
Escape Studios will be at Annecy animation festival this summer, attending the world's biggest animation festival to take a look at the current state of the animation industry, spot the latest trends and - most important of all - figure out what skills our graduates need in today's market, and who is hiring.

I'll be one of the speakers at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) panel at Annecy, sharing the stage with Pixar and Nickelodeon, and talking about the current state of the industry and how we can help our students to find jobs and kick-start their careers in the global animation industry.
 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Animation Tips - Top Twelve Rules For Animators

Part of the secret of having a successful career as an animator is learning how to be good and fast at the same time. Directors want quality, Producers want speed. You must please both.  Animation producers like animators who do the job well, finish on time, and are nice to work with. If you have all three of these qualities then you will have a long and successful career in the industry.

Below are our Twelve Top Tips for animating in Maya, to help you be both good, fast and reliable.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Animation Taster Day at Escape Studios on Thursday April 14th!

Learn about creature animation
Come and learn about character and creature animation at Escape Studios on Thursday April 14th - we still have 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 begins here!

You will work with industry-standard tools: 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 your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Friday, 1 April 2016

Where Should Animators Go To Break Into The Industry?

Annecy - home to the world's biggest animation festival
Where should animation graduates look for recruiters? Or, to put it another way, where do recruiters in the animation and visual effects industries go to find fresh talent?

There are many festivals and events around the world which focus on animation and visual effects, and many of them feature jobs fairs where recruiters will take a stand. So where should the ambitious student and recent graduate go looking for work? Here is our list of the Top Three Places to attend.