Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Introducing Andy

Meet Andy! Andy (short for "androgynous") is a very flexible rig for character animation, and one that we recommend for student use here at Escape Studios

Andy is useful for both male and female character roles, and can be easily customised.  To get started, you can download Andy for free here at Creative Crash.

Friday, 22 July 2016

An Evening with Grant Gilbert - Thursday 28th July

Grant Gilbert
Grant Gilbert, Creative Director and founder of the multi-award winning design agency DBLG, is coming to Escape Studios to talk to our students about his work.

Gilbert and DBLG have worked for clients such as Channel 4, MTV, Nike and Studio Canal.  DBLG is a global leader in motion design work. In fact, don't take it from us - watch their reel here.

We're excited to welcome Grant Gilbert to Escape Studios - the latest in a long line of talented speakers to come to Escape and talk about the latest cutting edge techniques used in industry.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Introducing Heavy from Team Fortress

One of the rigs we recommend for learning animation here at Escape Studios is the Heavy Rig, based on the Team Fortress character, and free for download at Heavy is particularly good for learning the early stages of animation - locomotion and mechanics.

Heavy is a relatively low poly and hence will almost certainly give you real-time playback in your view port. So, no hanging around waiting to playblast. The controls are simple and easy to use, the textures all work, and all the curves are in logical places. It's also a very stable rig and tends not to cause Maya to crash.

But, of course, all rigs have their quirks and foibles.  So, how can our students get the best out of Heavy?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

"Acting for Animators" Coming to Escape Studios

Acting and Movement for animators
We're excited to be welcoming Sarah Perry of Shapes in Motion to teach our students a workshop in "acting for animators" here at Escape Studios.

Everyone knows that animators are actors - but what does that really mean in practice? Sarah's workshop will help our animation students unlock the secrets of acting methodology, and help them to become better actors themselves.  So, what can our animation students expect?

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Book Recommendation: Prepare to Board!

Prepare to Board! by Nancy Beiman is the main book we are recommending to our students of storyboarding here at Escape Studios. This is an excellent book from a master animator who now teaches at Sheridan College in Canada.

Nancy was a supervising animator at Disney (most notably on Hercules) and (like many 2D animators) she does storyboards and character design as well as animation.

Our 8 week storyboarding course here at Escape Studios started off two weeks ago and is already off to a flying start, with immediate and visible improvements being made in all our students' work in a very short time.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Meet Franklin!

We're excited to get to know Franklin, a new free character rig from Franklin is aimed at students learning animation and is offered for free download on a royalty-free license.

Franklin joins the growing ranks of free character Maya rigs available to students of animation, allowing them to practice their craft on a wide variety of different characters and creatures.

Franklin isn't fully road-tested yet (at least, not by us), but as with all character rigs it's a good idea to test him out first to see what he can (and cannot) do. To see a walk-through of what Franklin is capable of, watch the video below.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Character Walks by Houman Sorooshnia

Above is an excellent video of walk reference by animator Houman Sorooshnia, who has done a whole series of different live action character walks.  It's a great resource, and it looks like he had a lot of fun acting them all out.  Right now our student animators at Escape Studios are tackling character walks. Creating interesting walk cycles is a great way to learn the craft of animation and also a very good way to dig into character.  After all, how someone walks tells us a lot about who they are, and what kind of mood they are in.  If you can convey to an audience the personality and character of someone just by the way they are walking - then you are well on your way to becoming a professional animator.

Friday, 8 July 2016

What Kind of Sound Files Can You Use in Maya?

Maya has long been the leading 3D animation software, but it does have its limitations. In particular, Maya's audio tools are relatively unsophisticated. You only get one audio track, and it will only accept certain kinds of audio files.

So, how exactly should an animator approach the use of audio files in Maya? In theory the process is quite straightforward, but in practice there are quite a few pitfalls.

Below is a guide to many of the common problems - with some helpful solutions.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

BB-8 From Star Wars - Now Available for Maya Animators!

BB-8. Copyright Walt Disney
We're excited to see what our students will do with this new Star Wars BB-8 rig - just recently released at Creative Crash.

Like any fan art, the creator of this rig obviously doesn't own the copyright - that is owned by the Disney corporation, who now own the Star Wars franchise. But that doesn't mean we can't use BB8 to do some great animation - it just means we have to respect the owners and not do anything silly with it (like, say, try to make a profit from it).

There are in fact two versions of this rig. The image to the left is an improved and updated version 3 (with extra lights and stuff) - which you can download here

Below are some tips on how to use the BB-8 rig:

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Finding Dory Directors in London Monday 11 July!

Come and grab your free chance to meet Andrew Stanton and the rest of the team behind Finding Dory, Pixar's new sequel to the original Pixar classic - finding Nemo.

It's not that often that Pixar royalty make it to our shores - so don't miss this chance to meet some of the greatest animation film-makers of our age.

The event is at the Apple Store in Covent Garden on Monday 11 July at 6pm.

So what's stopping you? Book your place now!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Technical Briefing: How to Load 3DS Max Files into Maya

Visit a website like Turbosquid and you will find plenty of cool stuff, much of it free, to help you with your animation. You might want to download a set, or a prop, something to make your shot come alive, and quickly - you don't want to waste precious animation time modelling complex props and sets.

But what if the only available file type for download is a 3DS Max file? Max is a popular platform for learning animation and, while is it much less widely used in industry than Maya, there is lots of great free content out there in the 3DS Max format. So, what we need is a way to import 3DS Max files into Maya.  Fortunately, it's pretty easy when you know how.