Friday, 20 September 2019

Bucks MA Academic Deadlines 2019-21

2019-2021 deadlines
Below is a list of deadlines for the online MA in 3D animation. This list is for our 2019 cohort of students, that is to say all our student animators who are joining us in September 2019, and will graduate "Master of Arts" in the summer of 2021.

This list of deadlines is a draft list only, and is subject to change. Students should always check the appropriate Module Guide and Assignment Brief to be certain of the correct submission date. And, of course, check with your tutor.

However, this list gives our students a broad idea of what to expect over the coming year and a half.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

DA701 - Animation Mechanics Starts on 30 Sept

DA701 PR1 "School Run" by Lee Caller
DA701 Animation Mechanics is the first module that our MA students will encounter at Bucks.

DA701 is taught primarily in Autodesk Maya, and deals with animation basics, such locomotion and mechanics.

It starts with simple actions such as a bouncing ball, and builds up to simple physical actions, such as jumps and throws.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Animation Reading List: Animator's Survival Kit

Classes at Bucks start on 30 September, so now is the time to get ready, and start doing some general reading about animation.

We recommend one key textbook - all our students should get a copy of  The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams.

The ASK was first published in 2002 as a book, and a few years later was released as a DVD set, and later as an iPad app.

Today the ASK is the leading resource for students wanting to learn animation.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Improv for Animators Starts on 7th October

Improv with Bruce MacKinnon and Framestore
Actor and comedian Bruce MacKinnon, (The Office, Guardians of The Galaxy, Bohemian Rhapsody, Inside No.9, Black Mirror) has teamed up with Ross Burgess, Head of animation at Framestore, to create a new acting improv course, specifically designed for animators, starting on 7th October in Central London.

The purpose of the class is to "push animators creatively and explore through workshop how actors approach character movement and comedic storytelling."

As we know, animators are actors, and we strongly recommend our students take acting classes in order to improve their acting skills and choices.

London is a short train journey away from our High Wycombe campus, and courses like this offer a great opportunity for networking and career development.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Get Ready for September

What kind of preparation should animation students do before starting with us at Bucks in late September?

It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

Below is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just one key books that we recommend for all our students.

We also recommend a number of free online resources to begin your journey into digital animation.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Lion King's El Suliman in London on 27 August

El Suliman, animation lead on The Lion King, is giving a talk in London on 27th August about his work on the film.

El works for MPC, the VFX powerhouse that did all the animation on the smash hit movie.

As ever, we recommend that all our students attend events like this one; they are a window into the animation production process and also great opportunities for industry networking. 

Monday, 12 August 2019

Animation MA Module and Grade Structure

Kiwi by Oliver Canovas
Our online MA in 3D Animation at Bucks New University is a unique course, still the only online MA in animation in the world.

Priced at just £7,200 for the full 18 months, it is a gateway to a career in the animation industry and also a passport to teaching animation at university level.

Inside the MA are five modules; four run consecutively throughout the year, and the final module runs for the full 18 months of the course.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Last Call for our Online MA in 3D Animation

Last call for applications for our online MA in animation; we still have a couple of spots open for September 2019.

This online MA is a unique degree which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

Students learn how to animate to a professional industry standard using Autodesk Maya, the industry-standard software, and also learn to engage with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

The Making of "Venom"

Venom
Troy Saliba, animation director at Double Negative, gave a talk in London earlier this year, to talk about his work on the blockbuster release: Venom.

Troy was my animation director on "Monster House", way back in 2005, so it was a pleasure for me to see him again, and welcome him to London, where he is now working for DNeg in Soho.

Troy's talk was a masterclass in how animators work alongside VFX artists on FX-heavy films, where the final result, with all the FX work added, can often look quite different to the animator's initial keyframe animation.

The result is that, on films like Venom, animation and FX are heavily interlaced, requiring careful collaboration between departments, and plenty of back-and-forth to get the right final result.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Animation Taster Day in London on 7th August

Eagle by Lee Caller
Interested in learning 3D animation, but not sure you want to commit to an entire course of study? I'm running an Animation Taster Day in London on 7th August, hosted at Escape Studios in Central London, for anyone who wants to try out the software and see if it's for them.

Taster Days are a great chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

You will learn how to use Autodesk Maya and get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques; the full day costs just £25, and by the end of the day you'll have your own piece of creature animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  No prior knowledge of Maya - or any software - is required.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Student Loans for Animation Master's Degree

The UK Government's student loan system for postgraduate master's degrees is now well established.  These low interest loans now provide students in the UK with access to postgraduate university courses - including our Online MA in 3D Animation.

This is very good news indeed for prospective students who would like to go on to do post-graduate study with us, who can borrow up to £10,906, if the course starts on or after 1 August 2019.  So, how does the system actually work?

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Nickelodeon Explains The Art of The Pitch

David Steinberg at Annecy
Animation veteran David Steinberg from Nickelodeon made a great presentation at this year's Annecy animation festival, on how to pitch animation ideas to Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon (known as "Nick") does most of its design and creation in house, but the "meat and potatoes" of animation is usually subcontracted out to other studios, often overseas, around the world.

Our animation students at Bucks don't just learn how to be competent, industry-ready animators. They also learn creativity, and how to generate ideas. After all, it's up to our students to create the next big thing - the next Peppa Pig or Bob the Builder.  Animation is about stories, characters, and creativity.  So, what does Nickelodeon ("Nick", for short) look for in an animation pitch?

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

What is The Animator's Resource Kit?

We're recommending this very useful animation blog - The Animator's Resource Kit, a useful one-stop-shop for lots of animation materials, including reviews of some of the best and most useful animation rigs.

It has plenty of information on subjects like links to animation forums, communities, animation competitions, Maya rigs, tools - and places to submit work.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Turin VIEW Conference

VIEW Conference 2019
We're recommending our students attend VIEW, the 20th International VFX & Computer Graphics Conference that takes place every year in Turin.

This year the conference runs from Monday 21st October until Friday 25th October.

I'll be there, participating in panel talks and also running a series of one-day masterclasses in Maya demonstrating character and creature animation techniques.

My class is aimed at complete beginners and requires no prior experience with Maya.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Introducing The 12 Principles of Animation



Starting with us in September, on either our BA in animation or our MA in animation? For our new starters, we are recommending this introductory video outlining the 12 Principles of Animation.  If you're studying animation for the first time, and starting to learn the basics, then this video is a very helpful introduction to the medium.  Unlock the secrets of Squash and stretch, Anticipation, Staging, Straight ahead action & pose to pose, Follow through & overlapping action, Slow in and slow out, Arcs & Paths of Action, Secondary action, Timing, Exaggeration, Solid drawing and Appeal.  Sounds like a long list? You don't have to memorise them all. Just be aware of the principles, and then gradually start to apply them in your animation.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Will Studying Animation at Bucks Get You a Job?

Will studying 3D animation at Bucks New University get you a job? This is a question we get asked a lot - understandably - and it is always a tough question to answer.

Our goal is to make every student job-ready by the end of the course, prepared to tackle a role as junior animator at a studio, ready to do excellent work on client-facing projects.

That said, Bucks cannot actually guarantee jobs for students, but we can do our very best to provide all our students - including animation students - with practical skills that prepare them for the workplace and help them to get hired.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

"Prepare to Board" by Nancy Beiman

There is a good deal of cross-over between animation and storyboarding. In the days of traditional 2D animation, many animators were board artists, and vice versa.

Even today, where most of the work we do is digital, traditional drawing skills are very useful for planning animation, by doing quick thumbnail sketches that set out all the key poses in the shot.

One traditional Disney animator who mastered both animation and storyboarding is Nancy Beiman, whose excellent book Prepare to Board! is the main book we recommend to our students.

It is an excellent book from a master animator, who now teaches at Sheridan College in Canada.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Lion King - Film Review

On Monday night the Empire Leicester Square hosted a preview of The Lion King for BAFTA members. I went along fully prepared to dislike the new film - how could anyone top the original? And why bother with a re-make of such a great movie, other than to please the Disney shareholders?

Of course, I am very biased, having worked on the original film back in 1993, so I was doing my best not to enjoy it, and to persuade myself that the original film would still be the One True King.

But MPC, the London VFX house that did all the animation, have raised the bar for animal and creature animation to such a level that it's impossible not to be impressed by the sheer skill of the digital artistry.

The Lion King is a triumph not just of technology but of great storytelling, as the film-makers kept most of the original film but wove in new elements to keep the story fresh.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Time to Enter the 2020 BAA

British Animation Awards
It's that time again - time for our students and recent graduates to get ready for the British Animation Awards 2020. The awards come around every two years, and this year the ceremony will take place on March 19th 2020 (coincidentally, the birthday of veteran animator Richard Williams), 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.

There is a student category, and admission is free.  The student entry deadline is 25th October.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

ILMxLAB Presents the Future of VR

Vikki Dobbs Beck
Vikki Dobbs Beck from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) was in London recently giving a talk  about her company ILMxLab, the 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 is to leverage their in-house talent and create new experiences, using VR to tell stories in a fresh, innovative way.

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".

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Cartoon Museum Re-Opens in London

For our undergraduate students, one of the great advantages of  studying at Bucks New University is our proximity to London, with its wealth of cultural events and experiences.

London's Cartoon Museum, which closed last year when rising rents forced it out of its former home in Little Russell St, is back - and better than ever.

Last week the Cartoon Museum re-opened at its new home at 63 Wells St in Fitzrovia, a roomy basement space dedicated to the history of British cartooning.