Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Escape Studios' Vimeo Tutorial Channel

We're proud to announce our Escape Studios Vimeo Tutorial Channel to support our students with online resources.

The Vimeo Tutorial Channel is a hub for our animation and VFX video tutorials, making it easier than ever for our students to find tutorials to support their classroom studies.  Tutorials begin with the basics, such as the bouncing ball, and progress through to complex character and creature animation.

Vimeo Channel
Online learning is part of making the best possible use of resources at Escape Studios; the goal being to provide more online digital support to supplement classroom studies. Digital tools such as video tutorials make it easy to catch up quickly and painlessly. The Vimeo Account is available all our students at Escape Studios, and can be used by undergraduate, post-graduate, short course, online and evening class students.  Below you can find the album links to the video tutorials. They are all password protected.

Available to Current Students and Recent Escapees
All the tutorials are free for our current students and recent Escapees (those who have taken a course with us within the last two years).

Maya Basics

Introduction to Maya
Maya basics by Michael Davies

Maya Basics by Escape Studios
A complete introduction to 3D basics in Maya in a series of 36 short videos, recorded at Escape Studios in Maya 2016, including modeling, lighting, animation and rendering.


Animation Basics

In Animation Basics, students learn the fundamental principles of character animation, such as timing, spacing and performance. Start with the Bouncing Ball and then move on to the Lamp Hop and Performance.

Bouncing Ball - Intro to Animation
Bouncing Ball by Amanda Costa

For more on the Bouncing Ball tutorial by Amanda Costa, read this blog post.

Bouncing Ball - Animation Basics
Bouncing ball animation by Marc Stevenson
For more on the Bouncing Ball Tutorial, see this blog post.

Luxo Lamp Hop
Luxo Lamp hop cycle and performance by Alexander Williams 
To find out more about character animation with the Luxo Lamp, read this blog post.

Locomotion - Walks & Character Walks

Many of our locomotion tutorials use the free "Monty" rig a green pea with legs. For a brief introduction to Monty, and how to get the best out of him, read this blog post.  There are two basic ways to animate a walk cycle, one is by advancing the character across the screen, the other is by animating a character walking "on the spot" as if on a treadmill. we recommend starting with the first method. To see more, read this blog post.

Basic Walk Cycle with "Ultimate Walker"
Basic Walk Cycle by Amanda Costa
For more on the basic walk cycle tutorial, read this blog post.

Basic Walk Cycle with "Monty" the Green Pea
Basic walk cycle with "Monty" by Alex Williams. 
This tutorial shows how to animate a walk, translating the character across the screen, taking two steps.
For more on animating a basic walk with Monty, see this blog post

Basic Walk Cycle with a Human Biped
Basic walk cycle, animated "on the spot" on a treadmill, with Heavy from Team Fortress. Tutorial by Alex Williams
For more on how to use the Heavy rig, see this blog post.

Walk Cycle with "Monty" by Marc Stevenson
In this short series of videos by Marc Stevenson, Marc explains his own approach to animating a walk cycle with Monty.

For more on Marc's approach to animating a walk cycle with Monty, read this blog post.

Walk Cycle with "Stewart" by Marc Stevenson
Walk cycle with "Stewart" by Marc Stevenson.

For more on Marc's approach to animating a walk cycle with Stewart, read this blog post.

Character Walks with "Monty"
Character Walks with "Monty" the green pea by Alexander Williams

For more on the character walks tutorial by Alex Williams, read this blog post.

Bringing a Walk Cycle to a Stop
Bringing a walk cycle to a stop with Marc Stevenson

For more on how to bring a walking character to a halt, read this blog post.

How to Stop Feet Sliding in a Walk Cycle
How to stop feet sliding in a walk cycle

For a discussion of how to stop feet sliding in a walk cycle, see this blog post.

Creating Turntable Animations
by Michael Davies
For more on creating Turntable Animations, see this blog post.

Locomotion - Runs & Jumps

Run Cycle with a Biped Primitive

Basic Run cycle with the "Ultimate Walker" biped primitive by Jasvinder Sahota https://vimeo.com/album/5605446

For more on the basic run cycle tutorial by Jasvinder Sahota, using the "Ultimate Walker" rig, see this blog post.
"Monty" Run Cycle with Marc Stevenson

Run Cycle with Monty by Marc Stevenson
Run Cycle with "Monty" the green pea by Marc Stevenson

For more on animating a run cycle with "Monty", see this blog post.

Run Cycle with Monty by Alex Williams
Animating a Run with Monty
For more on animating a run cycle with "Monty", see this blog post.

Run Cycle with Rocket Girl by Amedeo Beretta
Run Cycle with Rocket Girl, by Amedeo Beretta

For more on the Run Cycle with Rocket Girl, see this blog post.

Animating a Jump
Animating a character jumping, using the free Morpheus rig, with Alexander Williams

For more on animating jumps, see this blog post.

Maya Tools, Techniques Plugins & Best Practice

Setting Up Your Shot - File Referencing
How to Do File Referencing Right by Amedeo Beretta
For more on file referencing, read this blog post.

Maya Grease Pencil Tool
Using the Grease Pencil Tool in Maya - by Amedeo Beretta
Also read this blog post on the Grease Pencil tool.

Escape Studios' Animation Shelf
Learn how to install the Escape Studios' Animation Shelf, a special shelf put together by UG Program Leader Michael Davies.

Animation: Constraints, Attachments & Parenting

These videos focus on how to attach and un-attach objects in Maya. There are a number of different ways to do this in Maya.

How to install the ParentMaster Plugin (Maya 2019)
Installation of the PaentMaster Plugin by Alex Williams
To see how the ParentMaster works in detail, see this blog post.
Also download the  ParentMaster Plugin from HighEnd3D.com

Animating with Constraints by Marc Stevenson
Animating with Constraints by Marc Stevenson

Animation: Body Mechanics & Flexibility

Animating a Fox with a flexible tail
Animating a foxy character with a flexible tail by Alex Williams

To see how to use the "Ultimate Tailed" rig, read this blog post.

Fox Animation with Flexible Tail by Marc Stevenson
Fox Animation Tutorial with Flexible Tail by Marc Stevenson

For more on how to animate the Foxy Tail, and find the "Ultimate Tailed" rig, see this blog post.

Helicopter Airship with a flexible caboose
Helicopter airship tutorial with Alexander Williams
To see more about animating the helicopter airship, see this blog post.

Animation - Character Actions & Weight

Animating a Character Throwing a Box
Animate the character "Heavy" from Team Fortress throwing a box - with Marc Stevenson

To see more about how to animate a character throwing a box with Marc Stevenson, read this blog post.

Animating a Character Lifting a Heavy Object
Animating a character lifting a heavy object, using "Heavy" from Team Fortress, with Alex Williams.
To see more about how to animate a character lifting a heavy object, read this blog post.

Flour Sack Suicide 
Animating a Flour Sack in Maya with Alex Williams

For more on Animating a Flour Sack in Maya, see this blog post.

Animation - Motion Capture & Live Action Reference

How to Import Live Action into Maya 
Importing live action onto an image plane into Maya for use as reference, by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on the use of live action reference in animation

Using and Adapting Motion Capture
Animating with Motion Capture data by Steven Lall
For more on the Motion Capture tutorial by Steven Lall, read this blog post.

Motion Capture Retargeting
MoCap retargeting with Amedeo Beretta
For more on MoCap retargeting, read this blog post.

Animation: Quadruped Walks, Trots & Runs

How to Block Out and Plan Creature Animation
The theory behind blocking and planning creature animation by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on planning and blocking creature animation

Quadruped Locomotion - Walks, Trots & Runs
Quadruped Walks, Trots & Runs with a low-poly sabre tooth tiger rig, by Maria Robertson
Also read this blog post for more on quadruped locomotion.

Quadruped Transitions - Walks, Trots & Runs
Quadruped Transitions using the Sabre Tooth rig and the Maya Time Editor by Maria Robertson

Also read this blog post on animating transitions.

Horse Locomotion - Walks Trots & Runs
Horse Locomotion - Walks, Trots and Runs with Alex Williams
Also read this blog post about horse locomotion, with rig suggestions

Animation: Bugs, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Butterflies & Birds

Crab & Spider Locomotion
Six-legged crab animation by Maria Robertson
For more on the crab animation, see this blog post

Crab "Mating Dance" using live action reference
Six-legged "Xye crab" mating dance animation by Maria Robertson 
For more on the Xye crab animation tutorial, and where to find the parasite rig by Truong, see this blog post.

Animate a Scorpion
Animate a giant robot scorpion in motion with Alex Williams
For more on animating a scorpion in motion, see this blog post.

Dinosaur Locomotion
Dinosaur Walk Cycle by Alexander Williams

For more on dinosaur animation, read this blog post.
Also see this blog post on dinosaurs and the animation of Jurassic World.

Dragon in flight tutorial
Dragon in flight tutorial by Jamie Floodgate
The tutorial uses the free Jaemin Dragon rig by Truong, which can be downloaded here.

For more on how to animate dragons, read this blog post.

Butterfly Animation 
How to Animate Butterfies in Motion by Alexander Williams 

Also read this blog post on Butterfly animation.

Vehicle Animation Tutorial  
Cartoony Yellow Beetle tutorial by Alexander Williams

For more on animating vehicles, including rig notes, read this blog post.
Bird in Flight Animation Tutorial
Crow in flight tutorial by Alexander Williams
For more on animating birds in flight, see this blog post

Also see Brendan Body's web page on bird locomotion.

Character Animation: Planning Character Animation

Phone Booth: Planning & Blocking a Pantomime Shot
Planning & Blocking a Pantomine Shot with Alex Williams. How to create a series of poses on stepped curves that tell a story. 
Also read this blog post on Planning & Blocking a Dialogue Shot

Planning & Blocking a Dialogue Shot
Planning & Blocking a Dialogue Shot by Alex Williams, showing how to use live action reference to create character animation.

Also read this blog post on Planning & Blocking a Dialogue Shot

Using the Tween Machine to Break down Key Poses
Using the Tween Machine by Alex Williams
Also read this blog post on How to Use to Tween Machine

Character Animation: Reactions, Dialogue & Lipsync

Animating a "Take" with Monty
Animate a cartoon "take" with Monty, with Alexander Williams.

For more on how to animate a "take" with "Monty", read this blog post. 

Animating a "Take" Reaction Shot
Animating a "Take" by Simone Giampaolo

Also read this blog post on how to animate a "take".

How to animate "Head Muppeting"
Hitting the accents in lipsync animation, or "head muppeting", by Alex Williams
Also read this blog post on the purpose of Head Muppeting.

Animating Dialogue & Lipsync
by Simone Giampaolo 
For more on animating dialogue and lipsync, read this blog post.

Smear Frame Tutorial
by Simone Giampaolo
How to animate a "smear" transition in Maya

Character Animation: Animating Faces & Eyes

How to Animate Eye Darts
Eye Darts by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on Eye Darts and how to animate them.  

How to Animate a Blink - with Alex Williams
How to add a blink on a head turn 
Always add a blink on a head turn - by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on why we blink when we turn our heads.

How to Use the Eye Direction Controller in Maya
by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on Eye Direction in animation 

How to create a Face Camera in Maya
by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on creating face cameras to make facial animation faster and more efficient.

Character Rigging

Character Rigging
Introduction to Character Rigging with Michael Davies

Also see this blog post on character rigging

Advanced Character Rigging 
Advanced Character Rigging with Michael Davies
Also see this blog post on advanced character rigging 

Facial Rigging 
Facial rigging with Michael Davies (2 1/2 hours)
Also see this blog post on facial and character rigging 

Rigging Assets
Rigging assets for Michael's tutorials can be found here:


Introduction to Storyboarding with Francesca "Chess" Adams
Chess Adams introduces the basics of storyboarding, with a simple workshop

Technical Animation: nCloth, Muscle Systems & FX 

Technical Animation & Dynamics
Dynamics, Particles, nCloth and Hair with Michael Davies

How to animate grass waving in Maya
Animate grass waving with Alex Williams, using Paint Effects

Basic nCloth - flag waving
Basics of nCloth - how to animate a flag waving with Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on animating a flag waving in Maya

Active and Passive Rigid Bodies

Active and Passive Rigid Bodies Tutorial - Dice falling with gravity by Alex Williams
Also see this blog post on how to animate falling dice in Maya using Active & Passive Rigid Bodies

Ziva Dynamics - Muscle Systems
Ziva Dynamics (muscle simulation plugin used by Framestore, MPC and DNEG) with Michael Davies

Animation: Camera, Previs & 3D Layout

Camera Follows, Never Leads
Camera always follows the action, never leads, with Alex Williams
For more on why camera should follow the action, read this blog post.

Animation - Editing Techniques

Adobe Premiere Pro - Basics
How to export a series of rendered frames from Maya to Adobe Premiere and export a movie file, with Alex Williams
Also see this blogpost on editing with Adobe Premiere.

 3D Modeling Techniques

Modeling in Maya

Introduction to modeling tools with Michael Davies

For more on basic modeling with Michael Davies, see this blog post.

Introduction to NURBS modeling tools with Michael Davies 

Specialist Modeling Techniques

Introduction to specialist modeling tools with Michael Davies 

Introduction to Mudbox with Michael Davies 

Introduction to ZBrush with Michael Davies

UVs & Texturing in Maya and Substance Painter

UVs in Maya

Hypershade and Nodes

Using Texture Maps

3D Stereo
Stereoscopy in Maya:

Texturing in Substance Painter
Texturing in Substance Painter by Michael Davies

Lighting & Rendering

Materials, Lighting and Rendering:

Shadows and Lighting Effects in Maya:

Arnold Renderer

Learn the fundamentals of lighting and rendering with Arnold by Michael Davies.
Also see this blog post here

Render Layers and Render Passes:


Creating Physically Based Shaders in Arnold:

Substance Painter
Introduction to Substance Painter:

How to render animation "on twos"
Video tutorial on rendering animations to look like they were animated on 2's, by Michael Davies

How to use Qube, Escape Studios' Render Farm

Real-Time Render with Unreal Engine

How to use the Unreal Engine pipeline with Michael Davies
Also see this blog post on the use of Unreal Engine.


Compositing with Nuke

2D Tracking

Creating Toolsets

Premultiplication and Unpremultiplication

Using the Copy and Shuffle Nodes

Rendering with the Write Node

Mattes and Alpha Channels

Nuke - Rotoscoping

Nuke - Grading

Nuke - Merge Node

Many thanks to UG Animation Program Leader Michael Davies, who has kindly agreed to share his library of tutorials with our students.

The small print
All the tutorials above are free for our students and recent Escapees. By "recent Escapees" we mean Escapees who have taken a course at Escape Studios within the last two years.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2020, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here.


  1. Is the channel is also for ex-students, or only for current ones ?:))

    1. If you are a former student, email me at alex.williams1@pearson.com and I will be able to assist

    2. Thank You Alexander, yes i am! will drop You a line!