Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Roger Rabbit Reunion at Disney

Doy, Alex, Nik Ranieri, Ross Anderson, Burny Mattinson, Max Howard, Charles Fleischer, Andreas Deja
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in the summer of 1988, making the movie 31 years old this year.  Last week at Disney in Los Angeles we had an informal reunion with some the people who worked at the film, hosted in the Rotunda Building by Disney marketing head Howard Green.  Lead animator Andreas Deja was there, as well as Burny Mattinson, officially the longest serving employee of The Walt Disney Company,  Producer Max Howard, Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit, Ross Anderson, who has written the history of the film, animator Nik Ranieri, and me.

Monday, 2 December 2019

The VFX Festival is Back: 16-18 March 2020



The VFX Festival is back. The annual festival hosted by Escape Studios is returning to London from 16-18 March 2020.  As in previous years, the festival hosts industry speakers to come and talk about the latest developments in Animation, Games and VFX.  In 2020, the festival will focus on discovering and developing new and emerging talent.  Two parts of The VFX Festival 2020 - EDU and Emerging Talent - will take place on 16 - 18 March at the Southbank Centre - the UK’s largest arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Animators Always Start With a Story

Animators are story tellers. Every animation should have an idea behind it, one that tells a story.

Junior animators focus on learning technique - and technique is very important. But it is also important to think carefully about the story behind your shot.

Who is your character, and why are they doing what they are doing?  What is the scene about? What do they want, and what do they fear?  These things are important because if your shots forms part of an interesting story, it will be much more interesting to watch.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Dream On, Silly Dreamer



Dream On Silly Dreamer is a film that should be watched by anyone interested in the history of the Disney Studio. Like "Waking Sleeping Beauty", the film that closed out this year's CTN Expo, it chronicles the rise - and eventual fall - of 2D animation in the 1980s and 1990s.  The story is told through interviews with the artists involved, including Disney legends such as Andreas Deja, the creator of Disney characters such as Scar (Lion King) and Jafar (Aladdin).

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Royce Wesley and the Pixar Workflow

Incredibles 2
Pixar animator Royce Wesley was in London recently, talking about his experience working on Incredibles 2, and also explaining his own personal animation workflow.

Royce is an experienced character animator whose animation credits include Brave, Coco, Robots and Inside Out. He visited us in London to mentor our animation students and help make sure we are hitting the highest levels of quality in character animation.

Understanding how to plan your work is one of the key parts of the animator's skill set. Every animator has their own unique approach, and it's important to develop a workflow that you can rely on to get your shots approved without too much stress.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Blue Zoo and Real Time Rendering with Unreal

Blue Zoo's Tom Box at BlueGFX Expo
Blue Zoo's Tom Box explained the Blue "real-time animation pipeline" at the recent BlueGFX Expo in London, exploring new ways to speed up the animation process.

Tom described Blue Zoo as a studio that, since its inception, has "refused to accept industry standards", and has forged its own path in the industry.

Recently Blue Zoo have been pioneering the use of real-time rendering using Unreal Engine - trying to find ways to make the production process faster and more efficient. 

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Tribute to Richard Williams on Saturday

CTN Expo in Burbank, Los Angeles, is hosting a tribute to my father, the animator Richard Williams on Saturday November 23rd.

The tribute is titled "Life is on Ones", and the panel is being hosted by my old friend and colleague Tom Sito, who is an animator, director and professor - as well as the author of many books on animation. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

How to Get Ahead in Animation - Tonight

Tonight in London the Royal Television Society (RTS) are hosting a free event titled "How To Get Ahead in Animation".

A panel of animators will discuss the wide variety of options open to those with a passion for animation.

Members of the panel during this event will share stories of their careers, the highs points (and the low points) and how to land that crucial first job in the industry.  To book your free place visit https://rts.org.uk/event/how-get-ahead-animation for more details.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Stratostorm Studios in London Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night in London the founders of Stratostorm are making a presentation about the creation of their award-winning animation company.

The event takes place at Escape Studios, and is completely free. As always, we recommend our students attend events like this one; it is a great opportunity to find out how the industry works and also develop industry contacts.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Secrets of the Spider-Verse at VIEW

Peter Ramsay at VIEW: Into the Spider-Verse
One of the main highlights of the recent VIEW conference in Turin, Italy, was a talk by Peter Ramsey, co-director of Spiderman – Into The Spider-Verse.

Ramsay's talk was sub-titled “What Story are You Telling?”, and he showed the audience how the answer to that question informed every frame and every pixel of the Oscar and BAFTA winning movie.

Spiderman – Into The Spider-Verse re-invented the Spiderman franchise, and achieved a unique comic book-style look for the world of Spiderman.  How did they do it?

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Walks, Character Walks, and the ZigZag Walk

ZigZag walk from The Thief & The Cobbler
This month our students studying on our online animation masters' degree are tackling the first animation module DA701 - locomotion and mechanics, in which they must master motion cycles such as walks and runs.

Learning to animate a successful walk cycle is one of the fundamental skills any animator must master, in much the same way that a musician must learn to play scales on a piano. 

One of the most challenging jobs I had to do on The Thief and The Cobbler was to animate the Zig Zag walk, a complex piece of animation that introduced the villainous grand vizier.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Adobe Premiere For Animators

At some point every animator needs to learn the basics of video editing.  Premiere Pro, made by Adobe,  comes bundled as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.

Animators need Adobe Premiere mainly to cut (and re-cut) their demo reels and - of course - to make short film projects.

Premiere is also needed to create movie files from a batch render of images. Let's say you are lighting and rendering your scene with Arnold, the ray tracer that is currently bundled with Maya. Arnold will not render out a movie file (such as a avi or mov) directly; instead, you must render still images in a sequence.  To turn those still images into a movie file, you need Premiere (or some other editing software). Here is how to do it.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Submit Your Film Idea to Cartoon Movie

Our student animators at Bucks New Uni are film-makers as well as animators, and many are developing their own ideas for original films and TV Series.

Of course, financing idea projects isn't easy, but the annual Cartoon Movie event in France is a good place to begin. The deadline to submit your project to Cartoon Movie is 20 November.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

El Suliman on The Making of The Lion King

El Suliman
Recently MPC lead animator El Suliman was in London talking about his work on the Disney blockbuster "The Lion King".

El was speaking at Escape Studios, at one of their regular "Evening With" events.  El Suliman was an animation lead on The Lion King, and he animated many of the key shots on the film.

El explained how the animators approached the animation on this hugely complex and ground-breaking movie, which raises the bar for creature animation

Friday, 1 November 2019

Why Animators Need to Be on LinkedIn

Tiffany Feeny, Ted Ty, Alex Williams, Jan-Bart Van Beek
How do animation graduates break into the industry? At this week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts, hosted by SVA's Director of Career Development Angie Wojak.

Also on the panel was the recruiter Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.

Tiffany's big message to recent graduates looking for work?  "Be on Linkedin".

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Bucks New Uni Animation Showcase 2018-19



Check out the latest Bucks New Uni animation demo reel; this one is a compilation of the best work done by our undergraduate animation students at Bucks between 2018 and 2019.  Congratulations to all our animators on their excellent work; standards keep rising at Bucks and this is very encouraging; as we strive to help more and more of our graduates break into careers in the animation, games and VFX industries. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Bucks Welcomes Back Sydney Padua

Bucks New University is delighted to welcome back new veteran animator and graphic novelist Sydney Padua who, following a year's absense to work on Disney's The Lion King, is back at Bucks.

Sydeny is a lecturer in animation on the undergraduate animation course at Bucks. Her animation career includes a roster of Hollywood hits, animation classics such as The Iron Giant, and many visual effects blockbusters.

Sydeny has also published the award-winning graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.  So, some very good news then for animation and VFX students at Bucks.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

"Funny Fail Stories" in London Tonight

Funny Fail Stories is back in London tonight - book your seats for tonight, Tuesday 29 October for tales of failure from the world of animation and VFX.

Hosted by animator and director Simone Giampaolo, this event takes place at Zigfried Von Underbelly at 11 Hoxton Square, London N1, just a 5 minute walk from Old St Tube station.

Speakers bringing tales of disaster and near-disaster in the animation and VFX industry include Alina Bopele from Studio AKA,  Sabina Janetzka from Cinesite, and Stefano Marrone from Nucco Brain.

The event is also supported by the London chapter of SIGGRAPH.  Tickets are free and you can book them here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Welcome to our new MA students!

Welcome!
A very warm welcome all our new post-graduate students who are starting their journey with us on our online MA in animation, in partnership with Animation Apprentice.

The online MA started on 30 September 2019 and lasts for 18 months, with the final assignment being due in May 2021, and degrees awarded in the summer of 2020.

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.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Moby Gratis - Free Music for Animators



Mobygratis.com is a great free resource for independent film-makers. The American musician Moby has released tons of free tracks for use in independent film projects, including student demo reels.  Moby's site is an excellent resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Blue GFX Expo in London on 12th November

Blue GFX Expo 2019 taked place this year in London on Tuesday 12th November.

As ever, we strongly recommend that our students attend, so that they can catch up with latest in animation, VFX & Games.  The all-day event takes place near Waterloo on London's South Bank, and you can buy student tickets for just £15 here.