Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Industry Panel at the VFX Festival - What Does The Future Hold?

Industry Panel discussion at the Escape Studios VFX Festival
The Industry Panel at the VFX Festival was hosted by Escape Studios Director Ian Palmer, and interviewing panel members (from left) Hector MacLeod (Glassworks), Kevin McDowell (Creative Assembly), Anna Hollinrake (Climax Studios), Dave Throssell (Fluid Pictures and Rob Holmes (The Mill) - all about the future of our industry.

So, where is the industry going, what skills are demand, and what does the future hold?

Monday, 27 February 2017

Meet The Bouncing Ball!

Bouncin' Ball 1.0.0
It's week 1 of Animation Core here at Escape Studios for our undergraduate VFX students, and also the first week for our short course animation students. Both groups are tackling the infamous bouncing ball exercise.

Why start with a bouncing ball? Well, pretty much every animation course on the planet starts with a ball. It's where students first encounter the concepts of timing and spacing, and also how to use important tools such as the Graph Editor.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Quentin Miles to Teach Animation at Escape

Quentin Miles
Escape Studios is excited to welcome our latest animation tutor - industry veteran Quentin Miles, whose movie credits include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), Clash of the Titans (2010), Golden Compass, and World War Z.

Quentin will be teaching our students animation mechanics - and later quadruped locomotion and performance - on our animation short course, which starts on Monday.

To see Quentin's roster of film work, check out his IMDB page here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

How Do You Get An Animated TV Series Off The Ground? Giles Pilbrow Reveals The Secrets

Giles Pilbrow
On Wednesday 1 March Escape Studios is hosting another "Evening With...", this time with Giles Pilbrow: cartoonist, animator and one of the writers of the UK's longest-running satirical magazine, Private Eye.

Giles also brought the Horrible Histories to TV, and is the creator of the CBBC series Scream Street.

So come along on March 1st at our High Holborn Campus and find out how you might get your own animated TV series off the ground.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

VFX Recruitment Panel - Where are the Jobs?

Careers and Recruitment Panel 2017
The Careers & Recruitment Panel at the recent Escape Studios VFX Festival is always well attended. Where are the jobs? Who is hiring? What skills are in demand right now?

This year we had Andy Brassington from Escape to host the panel.  Guests included (from left) Harriet Finney from the Creative Industries Federation, Amy Smith from Framestore, Tom Box from Blue Zoo, Paul Wilkes, recruiter for MPC advertising, Jill Wallace from Axis, Henry Bull from The Mill, and Clare Norman from Milk FX.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Dave Novis Studio Assistant at Escape

Dave Novis Animation Reel from David Novis on Vimeo.

Escapee Dave Novis, who took our animation short course last summer, joins Escape Studios as a studio assistant this week, getting ready to help out with our next cohort of animation trainees. Dave is an excellent animator who combines a thorough understanding of Maya and the 3D animation tools with a great sense of entertainment and comic timing.  Becoming a studio assistant is a great way to start off a career in animation and VFX - our studio assistants all move on to careers in industry.  We congratulate Dave on his new job, and welcome him to the Escape Studios team.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Meet the Simple Bot!

Simple Bot. Cute and Funny.
One of the many rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the SimpleBot Rig.

SimpleBot was created back in 2009 by Alex Puente and can be downloaded at highend3d.com. He is a two-legged robot character, perfect for learning animation. Below is some very nice Simple Bot animation done by one of our first year undergraduates, Fabrizio Bergamo.

Like most rigs, SimpleBot has his quirks and foibles. So how can our students get the very best out of SimpleBot?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A Blue Zoo Animation Masterclass

At last week's VFX Festival, Blue Zoo's Tom Box introduced one of their animation directors to give a Masterclass in Cartoony Animation. Blue Zoo does all kinds of different styles of animation, trying "not to get known for just one style", but much of their work is done for TV format, where schedules are punishing and animators have to work fast.

Blue Zoo have to be creative, efficient, and find ways to stay competitive - even in a high-cost city like London, where rents and wages are much higher than overseas.

They also encourage their staff to get involved creatively, developing in-house projects which can be brought to the screen, and also doing short films - BZ Shorts - within the studio, developing new styles of animation and experimenting with new ways of doing things.

Since Blue Zoo will be mentoring our next group of student animators, we need to know - what are their secrets for a fast, efficient animation workflow?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

How Framestore Created "Fantastic Beasts"

At the VFX Festival last week, Framestore's Christian Manz talked about "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", explaining how Framestore brought these amazing digital creatures to life.

The address followed on from a packed recruitment talk also given by Framestore - both events were standing-room only.  Framestore is one of London's leading VFX houses, one of the reasons why London is a global hub for high-end visual effects work.

So, what were the secrets behind this remarkable film, and how did Framestore bring photo-realistic goblins and other fantastical creatures to life?

Monday, 13 February 2017

Framestore Recruitment at the VFX festival

Frame Store
At last week's VFX Festival, the recruitment talk by Framestore - the London VFX house that brought you “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them" - was a full house.

Recruiter Toyah Dunningham talked about what Framestore do, and how to find work with the company.

So, what is the secret of getting a job with one of London's oldest and most successful VFX houses? And how can Escape Studios help our students to break into the world of VFX?

Friday, 10 February 2017

Secrets of The Jungle Book Revealed by MPC

The Secrets of The Jungle Book were revealed at the Escape Studios VFX Festival, with MPC's Ben Jones (CG Supervisor) explaining how the London VFX house brought the characters and creatures of this classic tale to life, re-imagining one of the best-loved of the Walt Disney Studio's animated films.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Star Wars Rogue One at the VFX Festival

The making of "Star Wars Rogue One" was - for obvious reasons - one of the most popular events at the Escape Studios VFX Festival yesterday.

John Galloway - compositing supervisor, and Steve Ellis, CG Supervisor, were there to introduce the "Star Wars Rogue One" story, one of 2016's most successful VFX movies.

So, how did the London ILM team help to create such an impressive film, and how did they meet the expectations of the legions of Star Wars fans?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Animator's Checklist

The Animator's Checklist
Here's a link to an excellent animation blog, "The Animator's Checklist", which gives a really useful introduction to some of the key principles of animation.

The website is hosted in Spain (but written in English), and has some really useful resources for learning animation.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Escape Studios Logo - 1980s Restyling

Two of our first year undergraduate students, Bjarke Freemand Frid and Sebastian Kuder, have re-invented the Escape Studios logo with a 1980s twist. This motion graphics project was done as part of a brief for one of our first year mini-modules, where students engage with ideas about design and branding.  Freemand and Sebastian came up with a funny and inventive take on the Escape logo - using 3D graphics that look both stylish and - at the same time - very, very dated. Congratulations to both of them on an entertaining and inventive piece of work.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Friday, 3 February 2017

Student Showcase - Undergraduate Artwork

"Little Red Riding Hood" by Gioia Varago
One of the early briefs we introduce to our first year undergraduates here at Escape Studios is to create an idea for an animated TV Series.

The final presentation includes a classroom pitch, complete with supporting artwork, character designs, and a clear underlying premise.

As with all good pitches, the idea is to throw out a hook and get your audience interested in the idea.  If they like it, they will want to know more. And who knows? They might invest in your project!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The History of Pixar

Above is an excellent short film about the history of the Pixar studio. It's a promotional piece, but also a great introduction to the history of the modern medium, the second "Golden Age" of animation. Among the impressive insights into the story-telling process at Pixar are John Lasseter suggesting that "every Pixar film at one point in time was the worst motion picture ever made". Why? Because "it's a process". In other words, it's not the doing of the thing, it is the re-doing of it that really counts.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What Do Our Students Think?

What Do Our Students Think of our new undergraduate courses here at Escape Studios? Above is a short video we've cut together with some comments by our students about their experience so far. If you'd like to study with us, find out about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2017.  To apply, visit the official page here.