Thursday, 21 December 2017

Rigging with Michael Davies - Course Outline

Learn rigging from the man who rigged Smaug
We're getting ready for our newest evening class, starting on 14 May and running for 8 weeks until 9 July, all about the dark art of character rigging, and taught by the very talented industry veteran Mike Davies.

Mike's rigging credits include the Minions (for Illumination) and even Smaug (for The Hobbit), so we can't think of anyone better qualified to teach this class.

We've been working on a rough outline of this 8 week class, so that our students will have a better idea of what to expect on the course.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Challenges of VR - by Rewind

At the Blue GFX Expo this year we heard about some of the Challenges of Virtual Reality in an excellent talk by Oliver Kibblewhite, Head of Special Projects at Rewind, a creative agency based in LondonOliver Kibblewhite, Head of Special Projects at Rewind, a creative agency based in London.

VR is something of a "Wild West" right now, a potentially huge field that has yet to be explored. It's not yet clear how VR will become commercially viable, or even in what medium. But it is surely clear that, at some point in the (not so distant) future, VR will be a huge part of the entertainment industry. So, what (according to Rewind) are the challenges of VR?

Monday, 18 December 2017

SIGGRAPH Now - War for Planet of the Apes

"War for the Planet of the Apes" is surely one of the most impressive VFX films of 2017 - and a likely contender for best visual effects in the 2018 awards season.  To see how the sophisticated motion capture was done, go behind the scenes with Weta Digital VFX in this video by SIGGRAPH Now. Weta Visual Effects Supervisor Anders Langlands explains how body and facial performance capture systems were used to create the film's stunning VFX work.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Producing Animation is back on 5 June

Animation Production is coming back to at Escape Studios on 5th June 2018. Our 8 week evening class (plus aftercare) starts at our Shepherd's Bush campus.

The class is led by Ultramarines producer Bob Thompson, an experienced industry veteran with a long and successful track record of producing animated feature films, commercials and VFX projects.

The course is designed to prepare producers to the challenges of pitches, budgets, spreadsheets and all the commercial knowledge that underpins our industry. And, of course, the creative side of the business - because every blockbuster project starts with a great idea.

So, what can students expect from this course?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Free Horse Rig by Mothman TD

horse rig by Motorman TD
We're liking this horse rig available for free download from the Mothman TD website.

It's an excellent choice for animating quadruped locomotion, a useful alternative to the (also very good) Rhett the Clydesdale rig.

So, how can our students (who have spent the last 4 weeks working on animal and creature locomotion and behaviour) get the most out of this rig?

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Dinosaurs by Sebastian Kuder

We've been animating dinosaurs this past week at Escape Studios; the video above is a particularly successful example of dino locomotion by second year animator Sebastian Kuder. It's a great piece of work because it combines technical skill - the ability to bring a fantasy creature to life convincingly - with a compelling performance, making the piece fun to watch and entertaining for the audience. Congratulations to Sebastian on a great piece of work. To see more of the animation being done here at Escape Studios by our talented students, check out our YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

bhPathAnim for Creature Animators

The very talented Brian Horgan has just released a new path system for animal and creature locomotion.

At $30, bhPathAnim isn't free, but it is priced attractively and should be on any creature animator's wish-list from Father Christmas.

So, what is bhPathAnim (snappy name!) and what can it do?

Friday, 8 December 2017

Wolfdog Rig

We're liking this Wolfdog rig, available for free download from Wolfdog is loosely based on the character Balto from the movie, and has a good range of controls and even facial expressions.

The rig does have some limitations, especially in the way the wrists and feet have been rigged, but you can get some really nice character work out of Wolf dog.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VFX Festival 2018 - Who's Coming?

The countdown to Escape Studios' 2018 VFX Festival is on.  As in previous years, we've got some great speakers coming to talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.

Below are some of the VFX, games and animation companies we're welcoming in February.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Storyboarding is Back: New Class 6 June 2018

Storyboarding will be coming back at Escape Studios in 2018.  Our next evening class in storyboarding starts here in Shepherd's Bush, on 6th June 2018.

This 8 week class meets one night a week each wednesday, and is led by the very talented Francesca "Chess" Adams,  a story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses.

Chess brings her experience of working on shows like Digby Dragon and The Go Jetters, reflecting the huge increase in animated content being created right here in London in recent years.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Animal Locomotion for Animators - Free!

Animal Locomotion for Animators is a free eBook by paleontologist and animal locomotion expert Stuart Sumida, which you can download from his website here.

The book is an excellent resource on animal locomotion, and very useful right now for our students - who are currently tackling animal and creature locomotion.

Stuart Sumida is a paleontologist who also works in showbiz; he has acted as advisor to countless Hollywood films including Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, where he gave extensive talks to the animators (including me) on horse locomotion. To find the free download, follow this link. And to read more about Stuart Sumida's work, see this blog post.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Leopard Rig by Truong

We're liking this Leopard Rig by Truong, available for free download at Gumroad. It is an attractive, well-structured rig with simple controls, and it's pretty easy to figure out how to use it.

In order to get real-time playback in your viewport in Maya, you need to go into your Animation Preferences (bottom right hand corner of the screen) and then Under Settings/Animation/Evaluation change Evaluation Mode to Parallel.

So, how do students get the most out of this rig?