Thursday, 30 June 2016

Business Skills For Animators - How To Invoice a Client

One of the essential business skills that animators and digital artists need to learn is the ability to get paid.  When you are first starting out, cash flow is likely to be one of your biggest challenges.  So, as a freelancer, you need to know how to invoice a client.

Invoicing, like many life skills, may seem obvious to those of us who have been doing it for years.  But it's only obvious when you know how.  So how do you draft your very first invoice, and what should go in it?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Our Next Webinar - Demo Reel Clinic! 13 July at 5pm

The Demo Reel Doctor is back!  Our next webinar at Escape Studios is on Wednesday 13 July at 5pm, and it's 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 you animation demo reel (aren't we all?) and you'd like to make your reel the best it possibly can be - sign up now for our webinar.  Best of all - it's completely free!

Friday, 24 June 2016

Animation Short Course Starts on Tuesday!

Escape Studios, Shepherd's Bldg
It's still not too late! There is still time (just!) to grab a spot on our animation short course starting on Tuesday.  Our three month intensive animation course begins on Tuesday June 28 and runs until the end of September.

Below is a brief list of things to do to help get ready. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career. And remember that the animation business is booming. Here in London, our home town, business is up 300% over the past three years. Well trained animators are in demand.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

2016 Student Showreel!

Check out latest student work! We've just cut our 2016 showreel, featuring a selection of the best shots done by our students here at Escape Studios. This new edit features some memorable VFX work and, most promisingly, a notable contribution from our students on the new Games MA, taught by games veteran Simon Fenton.  Feast your eyes on what our students have achieved in just three months of hard work.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Loop De Loop - The Bimonthly Animation Competition

Here at Escape Studios we're excited about Loop De Loop, a bi-monthly animation challenge that's a bit like The 11 Second Club, but with a loopy twist.

Loop De Loop seeks to create "a community of creative folks working together for the greater good of looping animation".

So, how do students get involved with Loop De Loop? And what's it for anyway?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Escape Studios at Kent and Medway UCAS Fair Tomorrow!

University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham
Come and meet us at the Escape Studios stand at the Kent and Medway UCAS convention tomorrow, Monday 20th June.

The event is being held at Chatham in Kent, in the University of Greenwich's Medway building - formerly Royal Navy officers' quarters.

Come and find us at the Pearson College London Stand. Got questions about how we can help you become a professional animator? We have the answers.

Friday, 17 June 2016

"Putting Your Best Foot Forward" - Animation Careers Advice at Annecy

Annecy Panel "Putting Your Best Foot Forward"
Yesterday I got the chance to speak on a superb panel discussion organised by the School of Visual Arts (SVA), talking about how animation graduates can best find work in the industry.

The panel discussion was titled:  Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Animation Talent Search. On the panel were recruiters from Pixar, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It was fascinating to hear these representatives of top studios talk about what they are looking for in fresh talent.

So, what then are the secrets of breaking into the animation industry?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Escape Studios at Annecy

Raphael and Tom at the Escape Studios Annecy Stand
Escape Studios is at the Annecy animation festival this summer, attending the world's biggest animation festival.

One of the best things about being at festivals like this is to chance to show off our students' work - the quality of our demo reels speaks for itself.

The good news here is that animation industry is very busy, with a record number of attendees at Annecy (including many recruiters, looking for talent) and with a strong US presence as well.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

A Great Free Script for Maya Animators!

Here is a very useful script for Maya animators, developed by animator Justin Barratt, and one which we are recommending for all our students here at Escape Studios. It's a super-useful tool, used to rapidly and easily toggle the visibility of your animation rigs' control curves on and off.

All you have to do is paste the lines of script below in your script editor in Maya (under the MEL tab) and then save save it to a shelf in the usual way. Once you've done this, it should help to speed up your workflow and make you a faster, and better, animator.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Do Animators Need a University Degree?

The TAAFI Education Panel
The Toronto Animation Art Festival International ("TAAFI") recently hosted a panel talk on the subject of  “An Animation Education”.

But the real substance of the talk was “do you need to go to university to learn animation?”. In other words, should animation students commit to the time and expense of a full undergraduate education?

Here at Escape Studios we think the answer is undoubtedly "yes". But it's important to understand why a full undergraduate degree still matters in a digital online world.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Get Ready For Annecy! Thursday, June 16 at 2pm

Lake Annecy, in the French Alps
We'll be at the Annecy animation festival this summer, attending the world's biggest animation festival to take a look at the current state of the animation industry and spot the latest trends.  What skills do animation graduates need in today's job market, and who is hiring?

I'll be speaking at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) panel on Thursday June 16 at 2pm, talking about  how we can help our students to find jobs and kick-start their careers in the global animation industry.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Beach Volleyball! Sunday 12 June in Wimbledon Park

Beach Volleyball - Yay! Escape Studios is organising a "Beach Volleyball and BBQ Bonanza" for our students on Sunday 12 June in Wimbledon Park from Noon until 5pm. All students of Escape Studios (and even ex-students!) are warmly invited to come along and join the fun.

Where: Wimbledon Park

When: Noon until 5pm, Sunday 12 June.

How much does it cost?  £10.

More information at our Facebook Group here.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Two Seats Left On Tomorrow's Animation Taster Day, Thursday 9 June!

We still have two seats left for tomorrow's Animation taster Day at Escape Studios on Thursday 9 June. Come and learn about character and creature animation!

We're running this animation taster day as part of our contribution to Hammersmith and Fulham Arts Fest, to help give future animators an idea of what it's like to work in the  industry.

You will work with Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £5!  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?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Group Projects - Six Rules For Success

Group projects are something we take very seriously here at Escape Studios. Why? Because animation is a team sport - almost all of our graduates work along side other artists on group projects.

And developing the skills to work on collective projects is essential for success in our industry.  It's the feedback we hear regularly from employers - "we want team players, not soloists".

Monday, 6 June 2016

Meet Seed Animation!

At this year's Escape Studios VFX festival, one of the most interesting talks was given by Neil Kidney, founder of Seed Animation, a small animation company in the heart of London's Soho.

Neil's lecture was a fascinating insight into the workings of a small studio, illustrating both the benefits and the burdens of being small and nimble, but vulnerable to stiff competition and unexpected pitfalls.

So, what makes a small animation company like Seed really tick, and how can animation graduates hope to get hired by companies like Seed?

Friday, 3 June 2016

Cool New Stop-Motion Animation Rig - Stickybones

Here at Escape Studios we teach primarily digital skills, reflecting the needs of the industry we work in, where new technology creates its own demand for talent.

But old-school skills still matter, and anyone who wants to experiment with the craft of animation would do well to try stop-motion animation, a relatively low tech way to get started in the industry.  Now, a new rig has just been released - Stickybones - which makes the stop-motion animator's job much, much easier.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Meet Norman - The Animator's Best Friend

There are many free rigs available to Maya animators looking to practice and learn their craft. Norman, Max, Morpheus - all excellent rigs available at no charge and easy to download, all free for non-commercial use.

But beware - all rigs are different and each one has its own quirks. All take time to get used to, and each one has its frustrations.  Norman was one of the first character rigs made available for student use, free on a non-commercial license. Norman is reliable, relatively simple to use, and highly customisable.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Escape Studios at the Kent and Medway UCAS Convention on 20th June

University of Greenwich, Medway Campus, Chatham, Kent
Escape Studios will be at the next big UCAS event - the Kent and Medway UCAS convention on 20th and 21st June.

The event takes place at Chatham in Kent, in the University of Greenwich's Medway building - formerly the officer's quarters of the Royal Naval Barracks, a historic structure dating back to the golden age of the Royal Navy.

Come and see us at the Pearson College London 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.