Friday, 31 March 2017

London Animation Club Tuesday 4th April 2017

Calling all animators at Escape Studios! Why not come to the next London Animation Club meetup on Tuesday 4th April 2017?

The LAC will be screening a little known animated film titled "Know Your Europeans", in honour (or not) of the UK triggering Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March and announcing its intention to leave the European Union.

More importantly, informal societies like LAC offer the opportunity to meet other London-based animators and find out the latest news and gossip. There isn't a better place to find out who is hiring animators than in the pub over a pint of London Pride.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Time to Enter the Character Design Challenge!

Character Design Challenge!
Calling All Character Designers! There are just two days left to enter this month's Character Design Challenge!

The CDC is a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for character designers. It launched in 2015 and already has over 25,000 thousand members.

This month's design challenge is .....Carnival of Venice! So what are you waiting for? Let's get designing!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Meet the Yellow Beetle - Free Maya Rig!

Yellow Beetle by Aaron Parker
Our animation students have been having fun animating with this free Yellow Beetle rig created by Aaron Parker - and available for free download at

Like most free rigs (and, indeed, like most rigs) it has some flaws and quirks, but you can do some really fun animation with it.

So how does this rig work, and how should our students get the most out of it?

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Abstract Animation by First Year Games Students

One of the animation projects completed by our first year undergraduate students is a short piece of abstract animation set to music. Students are invited to use a variety of different animation tools, including keyframing, blend shapes, dynamics and simulation to create a piece of imaginative animation timed out to a musical sound track.

Monday, 27 March 2017

How To Find Your Crashed Maya Scene File

Autodesk Maya may be the leading 3D animation software package but it can also be a tricky beast, with a nasty tendency to crash when you least expect it, usually just before the client comes in to check your work.

But fear not, even when Maya crashes, all is not lost. It is (sometimes) possible to find your scene file, even when Maya goes down. Below is a short video put together by Escape Studios VFX undergraduate student Jack Wright, which explains how to hunt down and (hopefully) find your recovered scene file.

Friday, 24 March 2017

We're Hiring a New Animation Tutor!

Escape Studios is expanding and we're looking for a new animation tutor!

We're searching for a skilled animator with good industry credits, someone who is a good communicator - and ideally with a fair bit of teaching experience.

Teaching software can be a dry business so we're also hoping for someone who can make the classroom experience fun and engaging.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

London Games Festival 30 March to 9 April

The London Games Festival is back. The Festival "champions and showcases the cultural power of interactive entertainment". This year's London Games Festival takes place between Thursday, 30 March and Sunday, 9 April and will reach more than 50,000 attendees. To find out more, visit the official site here. As always, we recommend our students take advantage of events like this, showcasing the latest in games technology and - crucially - shining a light on where the jobs are, and who is hiring fresh talent.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Escape Labs is Back! Thursday March 23 at 190 High Holborn

There are just a few places left at our Escape Labs Software session on Thursday, to be held at our new campus at 190 High Holborn.

Come along tomorrow, Thursday 23rd March at 6pm for a "focus on 3D Software, with super users and artists joining us for an in-depth panel discussion to debate the pros and cons of Maya, Houdini and Cinema 4D, followed by a Q&A session, demonstrations, drinks and canapés". The event is free, and we even throw in free drinks and nibbles!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Escapee Raphael Obaro Animator at Muslim TV

Congratulations to Escapee Raphael Obaro - who has started a new animation job as an animator at British Muslim TV.

Muslim TV is a new channel, which describes itself as "a fresh and exciting TV channel, bursting with a range of educational and entertaining content".

The channel is starting up a new animated TV Series that revolves around a family - an animated comedy,  aimed at the UK Muslim community.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Meet Raa!

One of the rigs that we recommend for learning creature animation is the Raa Spider Rig.

Raa is free, and can be downloaded at  He is an eight-legged arachnid, perfect for learning creature locomotion.

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

Friday, 17 March 2017

How Do Animators Stop Feet From Sliding in a Walk Cycle?

How do you stop the feet sliding when you animate a walk cycle? It's a question often asked by students starting out at Escape Studios. The answer is a little technical, so here is a video which explains how to tackle the problem. It's about 10 minutes long, and explains how to get it right first time, and stop those feet from slipping around.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bring Your Own Animation - Monday 20 March

The Lukin - BYOA!
"Bring Your Own Animation" (BYOA) is an animation event that takes place every month in London, usually on a Monday night.

This month it is being held on Monday 20 March at 6.30pm at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come along for drinks.  If you are a student, or a professional who's working on a shot or a reel, bring your work and get feedback from Professional Animators.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

ILM's Mark Bakowski to Escape Studios on Thursday 16th March

Meet the man who made Avengers
This Thursday 16th ILM VFX Supervisor Mark Bakowski, the man who supervised "Age of Ultron" (among many other VFX box office blockbusters) will be giving a talk for our students at Escape Studios.

It's a bit like one of our  "Evening With" events, but in the afternoon. So, expect tea and cake instead of beer and pizza.

Mark has had a stellar career in the VFX industry; few individuals are better placed to shine a light on how the industry actually works, and - of course - how to break into it.

The event will take place tomorrow at our 190 High Holborn campus at 4pm, and is (of course) free for all our students. Prospective students and applicants are also very welcome.   

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Python Short Course at Escape Studios

Escape Studios has just launched a new Python Short Course.  Wikipedia describes Python as a "widely used high-level programming language for general-purpose programming, created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991."

Most importantly for our students, Python is part of the architecture of Maya and Nuke, and an ability to master Python is a super-useful part of the digital artists' tool box.  Python is being taught at Escape Studios West (Shepherd's Bush), for five weeks from 12 June 2017.  It's a part-time course and costs £995.  To find out more, follow this link.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Meet Bonnie!

Bonnie is a free character rig from Josh Sobel, creator of the excellent Kayla rig which can be downloaded for just $12.  Bonnie by contrast is absolutely free, and is an excellent rig for learning character performance and dialogue.

Josh Sobel describes Bonnie as "a free legacy rig. Bonnie has been downloaded and animated over 20,000 times, and though she's a bit dated, you can still pull a decent performance out of her for the low, low price of free".

Bonnie can be downloaded for free from Josh Sobel's website. We're recommending her to all our students for character performance and dialogue animation.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Learn Gesture Drawing at YouTube with Proko

Gesture drawing is an important skill for animators - it helps us learn how to capture a pose, and to master the art of visual storytelling. After all, planning your animation with quick thumbnail sketches that tell a story is still one of the core skills of the 3D animator - it's why we still need to know how to draw - at least just a little bit.  Here at Escape Studios we're recommending this series of videos by Proko, all hosted for free at his YouTube channel. There are lots of great videos but the particular playlist we're interested in is titled "Figure Drawing - How to Draw People". You can find it here.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Kevin Richards Animator at Cloth Cat

Congratulations to Escapee Kevin Richards who has just started a new job as an animator with Cloth Cat animation in Cardiff.  Kevin is a traditional animator who took our three-month intensive animation course last summer, to convert his 2D skills to digital 3D animation in Maya.  Kevin worked hard on his demo reel (see above), coming in to Escape Studios regularly and taking advantage of the equipment, software and studio assistant support to make him job-ready, even after the formal teaching part of the course was over.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Free Chameleon & Leopard Rigs from Truong3D

Chameleon by Truong 3D. Animation by Dave Novis
Check out this great 3D artist's website - with some lovely rigs that we're recommending for student use here at Escape Studios.

Truong is a Vietnamese CG artist and short film maker, who has released a number of Maya rigs that are free for student use.

We're particularly enjoying seeing some very nice results from students using the chameleon and leopard rigs - both of which have great functionality.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Meet Kayla!

Kayla Rig by Josh Sobel
Kayla is a great Maya character rig we're recommending for our students. Kayla isn't free, but who can argue with $12 for a fully functioning Maya rig?

Kayla is a great rig for learning animation, and with a full range of facial expressions she can be used for dialogue and lipsync shots.

Kayla even has an aging function so you can scale her older or younger according to the context of your shot.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Chess Adams To Teach Storyboarding at Escape

Francesca Adams
Storyboarding is back at Escape Studios! We're running a class in storyboarding here in Shepherd's Bush, starting on 21 March 2017. It costs £995 and it's a part-time course, designed to fit around jobs and families.

The class will taught partly by me, but mainly by the very talented Francesca "Chess" Adams (see left), a Storyboard artist at London's Blue Zoo animation.

At the end of the course Francesca will give all our students a live industry brief, so that they get experience of what an industry storyboard job is actually like.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Schools Minister Nick Gibb Visits Escape

Minister Nick Gibb
Schools Minister Nick Gibb Visited our animation classroom at Escape Studios yesterday, and tweeted his delight in what he saw, announcing that Pearson College London is "where study is career driven".

During a one hour round-table the Minister talked about the importance of raising standards in education, and was particularly interested in the growth in the animation industry in the UK, and how we help our graduates to find work in the industry.

I explained how we use Facebook as a teaching tool, and also as a way of keeping in touch with our graduates, and helping them to find work. Studying animation isn't just about acquiring the right skills, it's about being job-ready when you leave Escape, and being ready to pounce on opportunties as they arise.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

MASH Tutorials by Haydn Roff

The first assessed exercise our first year animators have to complete is a short piece of sound-driven abstract animation - essentially an animated music video, using and exploring the different animation tools in Maya.

The assignment is a broad brief and the animators can use any techniques they like, including key framed animation, blend shapes, dynamics and simulations - and now MASH.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Giuseppe Candido Animator at Touch Surgery

Many congratulations to Escapee Giuseppe Candido on his new job as an animator at Touch Surgery, a London (and New York City) based company that specialises in medical animation - bringing surgical procedures to life, helping to teach the next generation of surgeons their life-saving skills.