Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dennis the Menace at the VFX Festival

Jellyfish animation is one of London's leading animation studios, specialising in TV work such as the new Dennis the Menace series.

At the recent VFX Festival in Shoreditch,  Jellyfish's lead animator Denis Jose Francois introduced the series, and talked about some of the challenges faced by Jellyfish in bringing this well-loved comic character to the small screen.

And, at the end of his talk he also offered some useful tips on what Jellyfish looks for in an animation demo reel.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Do Animators Still Need Business Cards?

At the recent VFX Festival in London's Shoreditch a number of our students were meeting with recruiters from some of the big VFX houses such as MPC and Framestore. I asked the students - have you brought business cards?

Almost none had. In this digital age, you might think that business cards might be a little old-fashioned, but actually, they're still an important part of the jobs toolkit.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Animation Producer Steve Burch to Visit Escape

Animation Producer Steve Burch
Escape Studios is welcoming Animation Producer Steve Burch to our High Holborn campus on wednesday 28 February to deliver a workshop on Producing Animation.

Our second year animators are working on their first group project, a short film - and one which simulates as closely as possible a live client brief.

Steve will be helping our students to navigate some of the challenges involved in successfully completely their first animation production. After all, being a successful animator isn't just about being good at animation; you also need to understand how group projects work, and learn how to collaborate with other artists in a studio environment.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Introducing The Eleven Rig

Meet the Eleven Rig, available for free download at the Resources page of the Eleven Second Club.  Eleven is one of the most popular rigs used by our students, and can be used to create some great character animation.

Eleven is also very good for lipsync, body poses, and facial expressions, and is also relatively easy to learn.

Eleven does, however, have a few quirks. So, what are they and how can we navigate around them?

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Enter the 2019 Rookies - Deadline May 31st

This year at Escape Studios we are encouraging all of our students to enter The Rookies Awards, the international competition for young creatives.

The Rookies was founded in 2009 to "showcase the most talented student designers, illustrators, film makers, animators, developers, digital artists, and launch them into the career of their dreams." This year entries open on March 7th, and the deadline is May 15th, so there is plenty of time to start crafting a great project.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Aaron Hartline Explains The Line of Action

Aaron Hartline, front row, on right
Pixar animator Aaron Hartline visited us recently, mentoring our student animators, and generally helping to make sure we're hitting the highest possible standards in the teaching of character animation.

Aaron started his day with our students talking about some of the important principles of animation, including the Line of Action - a concept first developed by Disney animator Preston Blair, who published one of the first books on animation back in the 1950s.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Creative Workshops at Escape Studios

If you have applied for one of our undergraduate Animation, Games or VFX courses, for entry in September 2018, you've probably had a letter by now inviting you to attend a Creative Workshop here at Escape Studios, and you might be feeling a bit worried.

Don't panic! A Creative Workshop is really a chance for us to get to know you, and for you to find out more about what we do at Escape Studios.  So, what specifically are our Creative Workshops all about?

Monday, 19 February 2018

Michael Davies Teaches Rigging at Escape

Michael Davies
This past week our animation guest tutor was 3D Artist and rigging specialist Michael Davies, who has worked on many VFX blockbusters such as Batman vs Superman, Doctor Strange and Thor Ragnarok.

Michael came in to visit us at our High Holborn campus for two days and gave our undergraduate animators a fast-paced introduction to the art of rigging

Friday, 16 February 2018

Michael Morgan Teaches Character Animation

Michael Morgan visits Escape Studios
Last week our second year undergraduate students welcome another Guest Tutor, the very talented Michael Morgan, whose work includes Guardians of the Galaxy, Beauty and the Beast, and also the recent much-anticipated release Black Panther.

Michael gave the class a number of ins​​ights into his personal Character Animation process, including the importance of filming your own live action reference and acting out your own shots.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Time to Enter the Character Design Challenge!

Calling All Escape Studios Character Designers - the monthly Character Design Challenge competition is now open.

The CDC is a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for the art and craft of character design. The competition was launched in 2015 and already has over 25,000 thousand members. Entering the CDC is a chance to raise your game and get your work noticed.

This month's design challenge is Alice in Wonderland.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Stuart Sumida Comes to Escape Studios

Stuart Sumida
Paleontologist and animal locomotion expert Stuart Sumida was at Escape Studios yesterday; we hosted over 60 artists from Framestore at our Shepherd's Bush campus as they attended a masterclass in animal anatomy.

Stuart's lecture to our visiting animators and VFX artists was all about how to make more believable and authentic animals and creatures in film.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Acting for Animators Wednesday 21st Feb

Sarah Perry of Shapes in Motion is returning to Escape Studios on Wednesday 21st February and thursday 22nd February to teach our animation students a practical, physical workshop in "acting for animators".

Of course, everyone knows that animators are actors - but what does that really mean in practice?

Sarah's workshop will help our animation students explore acting methodology, and help them to become better actors. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

An Evening With... Francesca Adams 22nd Feb

Blue Zoo storyboard artist Francesca "Chess" Adams is our guest for our next "An Evening with..." event. Every month we have a guest speaker from industry to come in for a talk, followed by a short Q&A with our students, past present and future.

It's a chance for students to catch up with industry professionals, find out how the industry works, and also - of course - enjoy some free beer and pizza.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Framestore and the Making of Paddington 2

One of the most anticipated talks at the VFX festival this week was the presentation by Framestore on the making of Paddington 2.

Lead animator Liam Russell presented some superbly edited breakdowns of a number of the key sequences in the film, including the prison sequence and the train - two of my favourite sequences from the movie.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Steve Lall Teaches MoCap at Escape

Our Second year animation students welcomed another guest tutor last week, and this time it was our very own Studio Assistant Steven Lall.

Steve was teaching the class about Motion Capture, now often known as Performance Capture.

MoCap is a growing part of the animation industry and something our students need to be able to work with effectively in order to graduate with a more diverse and technically up-to-date demo reel.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Character Design Returns to Escape 14 May

Character Design is coming back to Escape Studios, starting on 14th May.  It's an 8 week evening class, running until 9th July. The free video above is a brief introduction to the art and craft of character design, a webinar that I recorded a few months back. It's about the general principles of character design, and also shines a light on the creation of the many characters in the Queen's Counsel cartoon strip, a weekly satire on law and lawyers that I have been writing and drawing in The Times newspaper since 1993.  The webinar was fun to do; we had a great audience who asked lots of questions, so it's a pretty interactive talk, with lots of ideas being bounced around.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

MPC Recruiting at the VFX Festival

Sara-Laila Francis
The VFX Festival kicks off today, and for our students one of the many benefits of being there is the talent recruiters in attendance.

Among many companies, MPC's Sara-Laila Francis is there, talking to students and graduates about opportunities with MPC, one of London's leading VFX houses.

Talk to recruiters, and you become a real person, not just another CV in a pile in HR. So come along, and get to know the people who actually make hiring decisions at the big animation and VFX houses.

Escape Studios Drawing Club Starts 14 Feb

Life drawing is returning to Escape Studios, as we launch a new Drawing Club for students to practice their drawing skills.

​All students and all skill levels are welcome. Even if you're just a beginner, and can barely draw a stick figure - come along and get stuck in.

Our Studio Assistants will be on hand to lead the class, presenting drawing challenges such as quick gesture drawings to capture a fast pose.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Storyboarding Evening Class Starts 6 June

Storyboarding is coming back to Escape Studios on June 6th 2018, taught by the very talented Francesca Adams, a storyboard artist at Blue Zoo in London.  It's an evening class, one night a week each wednesday, designed to fit around life, jobs and families. To get an idea of what's involved in the art and craft of storyboarding, watch our free video webinar above, which offers a brief introduction to the basic principles of storyboarding and what it's all about.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Pixar's Aaron Hartline to Visit Escape

Aaron Hartline, Pixar
Veteran Pixar animator Aaron Hartline is coming to Escape Studios next week. We're excited to welcome Aaron as mentor for our next group of animators, who started their animation journey in January this year.

Bringing Aaron to London is all about making the experience of studying animation as industry-relevant as possible. And who better to mentor our students than an animator from the world's most successful animation studio?

Our next group of trainee animators will receive personal feedback from Aaron, who will also be giving a talk about his work at Pixar on the morning of Thursday February 8 at the 2018 VFX Festival.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Michael Morgan Teaching Acting at Escape

Michael Morgan
Next week Escape Studios will host a special guest tutor: animator Michael Morgan, an animator with an extensive list of credits in video games, TV Commercials and Feature films.

At one of our recent "Evening with...." events, Michael shared his experience of working on projects such as Star Wars - The Clone Wars, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Planet of the Apes.  In particular, he talked about how to get "From the Classroom to the Studio".

Next week Michael will be teaching our 2nd year animators the secrets of acting and character performance.