Monday, 30 October 2017

Why Animation Recruiters Live at LinkedIn

VIEW panel. From left: Amy Smith, Giorgio Xhaxho, Alex Williams, Tiffany Feeney, Angie Wojak
What do Animation recruiters look for from recent graduates?  How do they find fresh talent? At last week's VIEW conference in Turin I sat on a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA) with two recruiters, Amy Smith from Framestore and Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Both of them had a lot to say on the subject of student demo reels, websites and how to be easy to find online. But most of all, recruiters want just one thing from animation graduates:

Friday, 27 October 2017

Star Wars - The Last Jedi - 14 December

Our Star Wars Student Event is happening again this year; Student Experience at Escape Studios are  hosting a screening of Star Wars - The Last Jedi at the Rich Mix cinema in Shoreditch, on Thursday 14th December.

All our students; short course, post-graduate and undergraduate, are invited, and our staff will be there too.  We're excited to welcome our students to this event - a great opportunity to see the latest VFX blockbuster, and also a chance for our students to find out about how the movie got put together.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

ILM, Star Wars, & Virtual Reality

Vikki Dobbs of ILMxLAB
At the Turin VIEW conference this week, Vikki Dobbs Beck from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) talked  about her company's newest venture - ILMxLab - a virtual reality pioneer that "invites audiences to step inside the world of our stories".

ILMxLab is all about "immersive experiences". Their challenge as a startup venture within ILM was to "leverage their in-house talent and create new experiences".

As Vikki put it, we are "entering an age of experiential storytelling". To create this new reality, ILMxLab needed to "take risks, to learn, explore and discover new ideas".

Kim White Reveals Secrets of Pixar Lighting

Kim White, Director of Photography on Cars 3
At this week's VIEW Conference in Turin, Cars 3 Director of Photography Kim White talked about what is involved in lighting a Pixar film.

As you'd expect, lighting a Pixar movie isn't just about technical skill - it's about helping to tell the story, supporting the narrative and solving visual problems along the way.

As Pixar movies get more and more realistic in their visualisation, the lighting department has had to draw on sophisticated reference and resources to make their work believable.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Lee Caller Teaching at Escape Studios

This week Escape Studios welcomed animation tutor Lee Caller, who is teaching our second year students character and creature animation. Lee is an animator who combines technical skill with a strong story-telling element - the perfect ingredients for a great animation performance. You can see his excellent dinosaur animation - "Tokyo Rex" - above. Lee is at Escape this week helping our second year students complete their first assessed animation exercise - an entry into this month's Eleven Second Club.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Harry Potter at the British Library

Harry Potter fans (and isn't that all of us?) will rejoice that the British Library is currently hosting a "History of Magic" exhibition, running until February 2018. One of the great advantages of studying animation and visual effects at Escape Studios in London is the access our students have to the extraordinary range of cultural resources in our city. The British Library is a short walk from our Holborn campus, and we encourage all our students to attend events like this one.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

11 Second Club - October Contest

This week at Escape Studios our student animators are polishing their character animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators compete to win prizes 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.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

UCAS is Now Open

UCAS - time to apply
Thinking of applying to Escape Studios to study the Art of 3D Animation, Games or Visual effects?  The UCAS applications system is now open, and we are welcoming applications for the third intake of our integrated BA/MArt in Animation, Games and VFX - first launched in September 2016.

Below are some good reasons why we believe we are building one of the best animation courses in the country, and how you can get started on your new career as a digital artist. Best of all - you will study in central London, a short walk from the centre of the industry, and learn from industry professionals with extensive experience.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Queen's Counsel wins CAT Award

Last week Queen's Counsel, the cartoon strip I've drawn in the Times since 1993, was awarded "The Cartoon Art Trust Award for Strip Cartooning" at the annual CAT Awards. The Cartoon Art Trust supports the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, hosting the CAT Awards Dinner to raise funds for the museum and keep its doors open. At the dinner were some of the finest cartoonists in the UK - Matt Pritchett, Mac of the Mail, Nick Newman (who co-writes Private Eye), and plenty of politicians and lawyers to dig deep into their pockets to support the good cause.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Visual Storytelling with Buster Keaton

This week at Escape Studios our second year animators are completing a pantomime shot; creating a fun, entertaining piece of animation without words or dialogue. It's harder than it sounds. Without dialogue, you have to use camera, body language and facial expressions alone to communicate your story.  Of course, the masters of silent comedy faced the same problem, which is why animators can learn so much from the silent comedy stars like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.  In the eight minute video above you can see why Keaton was a master of the visual gag.  Why should animators study this stuff? Because animators are actors, and we have to make our acting work on a visual level.  If your scene doesn't work with the sound turned off - it isn't working.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Big Hero 6 Character Design Secrets

How do our favourite animated characters get designed? Character design on a feature film is often a long and complex process, involving a team of artists. In this excellent Disney video, Big Hero 6 Character designer Shiyoon Kim talks about how the characters in the film were created.  Watching videos like this is a window into the workflow of some of the most talented designers in our industry, and how they come up with original, fresh material.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

16th Annual VES Awards - Student Entry

The 16th Annual VES Awards are now taking entries. Here at Escape Studios we encourage all our students to enter Category 23: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project. 

The award is sponsored by Autodesk, who make Maya, the leading animation and VFX software, and is a great opportunity for any ambitious student to kick-start their career.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Escape Technology Short Film Challenge

Time to enter the Escape Technology Short Film Challenge.
Can you make a short film in six weeks?

Escape Technology have teamed up with Definition magazine, Boston, Adobe, Wacom, PNY, and AV3 to bring you our first ever Short Film Challenge.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Rigging Starts at Escape 14th May 2018

Learn from the man who rigged Smaug
We're excited to launch a new evening class in character rigging, starting at Escape Studios on 14th May 2018.

Come and learn rigging from Michael Davies, the man who rigged Smaug and also The Minions. As well as his industry work, Michael also has plenty of teaching experience teaching; so we can't think of anyone better qualified to lead this class. 

This 8 week course is designed as an introduction to rigging, to help 3D artists broaden their skillset, and also to introduce students to some of the automated rigging systems currently available.

You’ll learn all the basics of rigging in Autodesk Maya (an understanding of Maya basics will be helpful) and what character riggers do in the animation and VFX industry.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Steven Lall Studio Assistant at Escape

Steven Lall
Many congratulations to Escapee Steven Lall who has recently started work at Escape Studios as a studio assistant, helping our second year undergraduate animators to polish their skills.

Becoming a studio assistant at Escape Studios is a great way to launch a career in animation and VFX -  our studio assistants invariably move on to careers in industry, after working and studying here, perfecting their demo reels and developing industry contacts.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Fred O'Rourke Storyboarding Children in Need

Many congratulations to Escapee Fred O'Rourke who has recently started a new position as a storyboard artist working on a feature film for Children in Need.

Fred took our evening class in Storyboarding earlier this year, and polished his portfolio during the aftercare stage of the course. We asked him a few questions about the project, how he got the job, and what advice he might offer other students hoping to break into storyboarding.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Festivus is Back on Thursday 5th October

Festivus 5th October
Festivus is back! London's regular animation networking event is an opportunity to get to know people in the animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The latest Festivus event takes place on Thursday 5th October at The Comedy Pub in London from 6.30pm

There will be a number of guest speakers, including guests from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's leading animation studios.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Time to Enter the British Animation Awards!

British Animation Awards
It's time for our students to get ready for the British Animation Awards 2018. The awards come around every two years, and this year the ceremony will take place on March 15th 2018, at the BFI Southbank.

The British Animation Awards (BAA) invites all kinds of animation submissions, from student work to commercials, children’s entertainment, short films, experimental films, music videos and new technologies.

If you've done some animation, there's a category for you. And yes, there is a category for student films, and admission is free.  But don't wait - the looming deadline is friday 13th October.

Monday, 2 October 2017

2018 VFX Festival 6-8 Feb - Save the Date!

The countdown to Escape Studios' 2018 VFX Festival is on.  Just like last year, we'll be showcasing the best of VFX, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics.

There is no better way to find out about the latest trends in our industry, who is hiring, and what skills are in demand.  We strongly encourage all our current, past and future students to attend. Come and find out what the future holds for our industry.