Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Animating Walks for DA701 PR1

"Monty" by Bucks graduate Neil Whitman
Our MA animation students' first assessed animation exercise, the assignment brief for DA701 PR1 (the first practical assignment for the first animation module), is to create a scene based on character walks. 

Character walks are one of the most important parts of the animator's toolkit. Using the online materials at Animation Apprentice, students learn how to take a basic walk cycle and, with just a few tweaks, completely change the character's mood and personality.

The students' first assessed brief is to take these character walks and turn it into an entertaining scene. 

Friday, 23 October 2020

Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition

The Young Cartoonists of the Year Competition is back. 

Hosted by the Cartoon Museum, which has at last re-opened after its long Covid-19-slumber, the annual competition seeks to reward rising cartoon talent. 

Judges include leading cartoonists such as Martin Rowson (The Guardian), Christian Adams (Evening Standard), Banx (FT), Peter Brookes (The Times), Nick Newman (Private Eye), and Matt from the Daily Telegraph. 

If you can think of a more eminent list of cartoonists, I'd like to see it. 

There are two categories: Under 18 and Under 30; the deadline is 23 November 2020, and entries should be mailed in (old school Royal Mail) to the Cartoon Museum.  

Friday, 16 October 2020

Webinar with Emmy-Award-Winning Animator Rich Jeffery on 26 October

Rich Jeffery
We're recommending our students sign up for this free animation webinar on Monday 26 October at 10am with Emmy-award-winning animator Rich Jeffery

Rich will be talking about his career in animation, what it has been like working on the Australian TV series "Bluey" , which won an International Emmy at the 8th International Emmy Kids Awards this year. 

Rich was animation director on "Bluey" Series One, and director on the Series Two. Rich will be sharing his insights into the animation industry, how we got where he is today, and what students and graduates need to do to succeed.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Why Animators Should Walk on a Treadmill

Our new MA Animation students are learning the art and craft of human locomotion in their first module, DA701, which teaches basic mechanics, including walks, runs and jumps. The module builds up to a character walk performance, which is due in mid-December.  Animating walk cycles can be tricky; it can be especially troublesome to get the character's feet moving backwards at a steady speed, without bumps or wobbles. This is especially true for animators animating a walk cycle "on the spot", where the body stays in place but the feet move backwards underneath the body. To help solve the problem, it makes a lot of sense to import a treadmill into the shot. The treadmill helps to clarify the mechanics of shot, and allows the animator to visualise what is going on when the feet travel backwards.

Friday, 25 September 2020

"Charlie & Yip" Best Trailer at CFIFF

"Charlie & Yip" - winner at CFIFF
Bucks New Uni animation tutor Alex Williams' short film "Charlie and Yip" has won an award for

Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, which turns out to be a bad idea.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for Alex's indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.  Recently the short won "Best Trailer" at the Lisbon Monthly Film Festival, Best Trailer at the Halicarnassus Film Festival, and Best Film at the Film One Film Fest in July.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Paul Amiras Lead Layout Artist at Brown Bag

Paul Amiras
Many congratulations to Bucks animation graduate Paul Amiras on his new position as a lead layout artist at Brown Bag Animation.  Brown Bag is one of the UK's leading animation studios, responsible for numerous well-loved TV series projects. 

Prior to working at Brown Bag, Paul worked as a Layout Artist TD at Double Negative, one of the Soho's leading animation and visual effects companies, and now a global brand, with offices in Vancouver, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Chennai, Montréal, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Goa.

3D Layout is one of the first interesting and challenging parts of the production process, working closely with the director to establish the cinematic look and feel of the project.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

"Charlie and Yip" Best Trailer at Lisbon Film Fest

"Charlie & Yip" wins Best Super Short at the Lisbon Film Fest
I am pleased to announce that my short film "Charlie and Yip" has won "Best Trailer" at the Lisbon Monthly Film Festival.

Charlie and Yip is a short film about a kid who takes his pet to school for Show and Tell, which turns out to be a bad idea.

The short is really a teaser/trailer for my indie feature film project "My Haunted House", which is still in development.  Recently the short won Best Trailer at the Halicarnassus Film Festival, and Best Film at the Film One Film Fest in July.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Can You Do Our Online MA and Work Full-Time?

One of the most common questions I get asked about our Online MA in 3D Animation is this: Can I take the MA and also hold down a full-time job? The short answer is yes, though the MA is a rigorous degree and it does involve a fair amount of work. That said, the whole point of doing a part-time degree online is that it fits around life, work and families; when we set up the Online MA at Bucks five years ago in 2015, it was designed to be as flexible as possible. Watch the short video above to find out more.

How to Find an Internship in Animation

How do animation students find summer internships and placements in the industry? Jobs in the entertainment industry have always been highly competitive, and even unpaid internships can be hard to find, So how do you track them down? There are many ways - official jobs postings, word of mouth, rumours in the pub, personal contacts, even cold-calling - all of these can be effective ways to find a summer placement in the business. Below are the seven key rules we think are vital for success.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Welcome to Bucks!

It's time for our new students at Bucks to start learning the art and craft of animation. Below are some Joining Instructions for our students starting with us on the Online MA in 3D Animation.  There is a fair bit to do to get started, but once you're underway you should find the course a well-oiled machine. If you have problems, email me at and I'll get back to you right away.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Why Time Zones Don't Matter for Our Online MA

One question we often get asked at Bucks is this: "I'm in a different time zone to the UK, can I still do the Online MA in 3D Animation?" The answer is yes.  For the past five years we have taught students all over the world - on every continent except Antarctica. The MA course relies mainly on pre-recorded videos and learning materials, and therefore avoids the need for hard-to-schedule live delivery.  Wherever you live in the world, you can take our MA - as long as you have a decent laptop and a good broadband connection.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Last Call to Apply: Online MA in Animation

Transformer animation by BNU Masters' student Amedeo Beretta
Last call for applications for our online MA in animation; we still have a couple of spots open for September 2020.

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.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Do You Need a BA to Apply for an MA?

One question I get asked a lot at Bucks is this: "Do I need a BA in order to apply for the MA in animation?". The answer is yes, but also no. Ideally, candidates for our Online MA in 3D Animation will already have a BA in an arts-related subject. However, those without a BA can still go through what is called the APEL process.  APEL stands for "Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning", and is the formal recognition of prior learning by UK universities. APEL is the means by which students who do not have an undergraduate degree can gain entry onto a masters' level course, such as our master's programme in 3D animation.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Joining Instructions - Online MA in 3D Animation

It's time for our new students at Bucks to get started on their animation journey. Below are some Joining Instructions for our students starting with us on the Online MA in 3D Animation.

There is a fair bit to do to get started, but once you're underway you should find the course a fairly well-oiled machine.  If in doubt, send me an email at and I'll get back to you right away.  To find out more about how the course works, see this blog post. And also read this welcome page.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Welcome to Our New MA Animation Students!

A very warm welcome all our new post-graduate students who will soon starting their journey with us on our online MA in animation, launched in 2015 in partnership with the online animation school Animation Apprentice.

Teaching on the online MA in 3D Animation starts on Monday 28 September 2020 and lasts for 18 months, with the final assignment being due in May 2022, and degrees awarded in the summer of 2022.

This is a unique degree - the first of its kind - which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Animation Jobs in the Corona Economy

How do our animation graduates at Bucks find work in the animation industry? It's important not to be too worried by Covid-19.  The virus has certainly changed the jobs landscape, but the good news is that animation continues to flourish. Unlike live action filming, animation can be done remotely, and there is a large and growing demand for fresh animation content.  Here in the UK, many animation studios are still actively looking for talent.  Remote working is booming - consider the case of one of my former students, Dominic Rayner, who took the online course at Animation Apprentice and is working remotely in the UK for a studio in Ireland.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Why Animators Still Need to Draw

Fast sketches to capture a pose
In the old 2D days, life drawing was an essential skill for animators. Today, 3D animation is a blend of creative and technical skills, and life drawing is less important than it used to be.

However, it still helps to be able to draw to a basic level of skill, especially for creating thumbnail sketches which can be used to plan animation.

Nowadays there are many opportunities to learn animation online, at sites such as pixelovely and promo. You can also draw friends and family - models don't need to be nude, and gesture drawing clothed models is just as useful for animation, and in some ways more practical, as most animated characters tend to be wearing clothing.

So, how do animators learn the basics of life drawing?

Sunday, 23 August 2020

DA701 Locomotion & Mechanics Starts 28 Sept

Zombie Walk by Amedeo Beretta
DA701 Animation Mechanics is the first module that our new MA animation students (those starting with us in September) 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 more complex physical actions, such as jumps and throws. There are two assignments due: DA701 PR1, and DA701 CW1.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

"Flame" Wins Best Animation at LISFF

Best Animation LISFF
Many congratulations to BNU animation student Amedeo Beretta, whose short film "Flame", has won Best Animation at the London International Student Film Festival (LISFF).

"Flame" has won multiple awards in recent months, including Best Editor at the "We Make Films Festival" in London and a Five-Star Award at the British International Amateur Film FestivalFlame was directed by Cherelle Owusu, produced by Carolina Xavier, and overseen by Amedeo Beretta.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Module DA704 Starts September 2020

Amedeo Beretta - CG Animation Reel - VFX, Cine, TV from Amedeo Beretta on Vimeo.

Our Master's Degree animation students will soon start their final animation module: DA704. Their final animation assignment, DA704 PR1, is titled "Demo Reel and Final Project" and students are expected to do a piece of character or creature animation, showing the skills they have learned over the last 18 months, and also cut a demo reel that will help them to find work in the animation industry.  The demo reel above is by Bucks New Uni MA animation student Amedeo Beretta.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Webinar with Disney Writer Evgenia Golubeva

Evgenia Golubeva
Join me on 13th August at Noon for an animation webinar titled "From Animation Student to Disney - How Evgenia Golubeva became a writer at Disney TV Animation".

In this free webinar I'll be asking my former student Evgenia Golubeva some questions about her remarkable animation career.

Evgenia is an award-winning animator, writer and director who is currently working as a writer at Walt Disney Animation in London.

Evgenia has forged a career as a writer and independent film-maker, entering her animated films in festivals around the world and winning international prizes for her work. You can sign up for the webinar here.