Friday, 10 April 2020

Maya Educational License

For newcomers to the animation industry, it's important to remember that Autodesk, who make the software Maya, offer an education copy of Maya for free, which can be downloaded from the official Autodesk site.

Autodesk Maya has been the dominant software package in 3D animation for over 20 years. I first used Maya 1.0 on "The Iron Giant", back in 1998. And today it remains the most powerful package for the creation of 3D animation, widely used in industry.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Storyboarder - Free Storyboarding Software

Now more than ever, animators need to be able to source the best (and cheapest) animation software for home use. 

We're recommending this free Storyboard Software from developers WonderUnit. Titled simply "Storyboarder", it works on both a Mac and a PC and is free to download for everyone.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Autodesk Certified Instructor

Recently I got an unexpected present in my Inbox - a badge of accreditation from Autodesk, the makers of Maya, as an official Autodesk Certified Instructor.

The badge of accreditation is a recognition of many years experience both using Maya on film productions (I learned to use the very first version, Maya 1.0, on Brad Bird's The Iron Giant) and also decades of experience in the classroom.

So thanks Autodesk for the vote of confidence, and the official accreditation - it is much appreciated.

Monday, 6 April 2020

How to Use Studio Library for Maya

Now that all our animation students at BNU are working remotely, it's more important than ever for our students to be aware of the many free plugins that are available to help them work from home in Autodesk Maya.

One of the weaknesses of Maya is the difficulty of copying and pasting your animation from one character rig to another, and Maya also lacks a user friendly interface for saving out and re-using your character poses.  To solve this problem, the free Studio Library tool offers Maya animators a Python script for managing poses and transferring animation in Maya.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

How to Animate "Eye Darts"

Eyes - Window to the Soul
"Eye darts" are fast moving micro-changes of eye direction. Eyes are the window to the soul - it's the thing the audience will look at most, and one of the most common mistakes made by junior animators is fail to pay enough attention to their character's eyes.

Our eyes are very expressive, and the eyes are what we look at when we watch a character on the screen.  When we talk, we seek signals for how another person is thinking and feeling - we watch their eyes, and we often dart from one eye to another.  So, how does an animator animate eye darts?

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Flame Wins "5 Stars Award" at BIAFF

"Flame", the short animated film produced by Bucks New Uni MA student Amedeo Beretta, has won an "Five Stars" award at the British International Amateur Film Festival.

"Flame" has been competing into multiple film festivals, but this is its first festival win.

Flame is a short film produced by BNU student Amedeo Beretta, currently studying for our online MA in 3D Animation.  On a dark night in the desert, Flame is born, but she soon realizes that the storm that brought her life is now a threat to her survival.

Amedeo is an animation tutor at Escape Studios in London, and Flame is a project completed by his students, carefully overseen by him, and is an excellent example of the superb work being done by our online students at Bucks.

Friday, 3 April 2020

ASIFA Animation Scholarship

ASIFA Hollywood has launched an animation scholarship for animation students; the deadline this year is June 1st 2020.  To find the application form, visit the Animation Educators Forum.

ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Educators Forum (AEF) provides a valuable link between the animation industry and animation students, and will provide well-deserved scholarships to students in their journey towards membership in the global animation community.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

"Jelly Cars" Wins Award at the BAIFF

Many congratulations to Bucks New University MA student Lee Caller, whose short film "Jelly Cars" has won an award at the British Amateur International Film Festival.

Lee Caller created the short film while studying at Bucks; submitting his film as one of the formally assessed modules on the Online MA in 3D Animation.

"Jelly Cars" has been selected for a number of animation festivals, but this is its first award.

Today, Lee teaches animation classes at Escape Studios in London and, assuming all goes well, he will graduate from Bucks this summer with his MA in 3D Animation.

You can see more of Lee's work at his website here.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Meet Sam and Amy - Two New Maya Rigs

Amy and Sam
We\re liking two new Maya rigs - Amy and Sam, made by Freelance 3D Generalist Gabriel Salas, and released to the animation community. The rigs are not free but are priced competitively for student use at $15.

Sam and Amy are Asian-American characters through which Gabriel hopes to "balance the limited choice in terms of race that animators have when picking a character rig, so that they have the tools to generate more racially diverse content in their animation exercises".

The rigs include diffuse textures for the body and shoes, and you can find them on Gumroad.  Sam is available here and Amy can be purchased here. Both rigs are priced at $15, and are for educational use only. 

So, how do our students get the most out of Amy and Sam?

Friday, 27 March 2020

Rookies Deadline June 1st 2020

At Bucks New Uniiversity we encourage all of our students to enter The Rookies Awards, the international competition for young creatives, which opened on 7th March, and closes on 1st June.

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 the deadline is 1st June 2020, so there is plenty of time to start crafting a great project.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Free Motion Graphics Webinar on April 1st

Learn to animate client storyboards
Now that our students are studying and learning from home, it's important to take advantage of all the opportunities available for online study.

Next week, Escape Studios is hosting a free Motion Graphics Webinar on April 1st.  In this free webinar, students will learn how to animate client-approved storyboards; Adam will explain how to import storyboards into Adobe After Effects and create a rough animatic, before moving onto final animation.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Anchor Transform Tool Stops Feet Sliding

Anchor Transform by Robert Joosten stops feet sliding
As we move all our animation teaching online, including at undergraduate level, it's important to remember how many tools can be accessed online by our students working from home. 

Sliding feet can be a problem when animating a character walk or a walk cycle. Fortunately for Maya animators, Robert Joosten’s Anchor Transform Maya plugin offers animators a simple solution.

Rather than manually tweaking your animation to stop the feet sliding, rigger Robert Joosten has develped a free script that lets you anchor a transform for any given time range in your animation.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

OBS - A Free Tool for Online Delivery of Classes

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) offers a useful option for our lecturers and tutors at Bucks, who are switching to online delivery of our courses. OBS is easy to install and completely free to use, for Windows and Mac devices.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Maya Student License - Free Download

Now that our students are transitioning to online study, it's important to remember that Autodesk, the makers of Maya, offer free education licenses for teachers and students.

You can download the latest version of Maya from the official site here, in the education section.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Online Resources at BNU

Working from home
In these uncertain times it's important to remember that we have many online resources at Bucks New Uni, lots of ways of supporting our students who are currently working from home.

As long as you have a laptop and a decent broadband connection, our students can continue to work remotely, following tutorials, working on projects and also working in teams on platforms such as Facebook and Slack.

Our Online MA in 3D Animation already offers feedback and support to all our students via email, online classrooms, bespoke video feedback, and through our online learning resources with our partner school Animation Apprentice.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Online MA in 3D Animation - Business as Usual

Covid-19 may be causing a good deal of bother around the globe, but fortunately for our students studying the online MA in 3D Animation at Bucks, it's business as usual,

The Online MA is delivered entirely remotely, through our partner Animation Apprentice, with no bricks and mortar facilities to worry about.

For now at least, it's business as usual. Our students continue to work from home, and we will continue to send feedback and support our students in our online classrooms.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

"Flame" in Golden Nugget Film Fest 19 March

"Flame", the short film produced by Bucks New Uni MA student Amedeo Beretta, is in The Golden Nugget Film Festival "London Edition" next week.

The festival takes place on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8 PM – 11:30 PM in the Dreadnought Building, 30 Park Row Greenwich, SE10 9LS.

You can find more about GNIFF screening at the official Facebook Page, and you can buy tickets for under £5 (just £1 for students) at the Event Brite page here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

What Kind of Laptop Should Our Students Buy?

"What kind of laptop should I buy?" is a question that we are often asked at Bucks New University, both by our undergraduate students who want the flexibility to be able to work from home and - of course - by our online students, who will need a laptop of their own to complete the course.

It's a tricky question to answer, because computer specifications change all the time and - of course - it all depends on exactly what you want to use your laptop for.

But, let's say you want to buy a decent laptop capable of running Autodesk Maya, for computer animation and to render out your shots.  What sort of laptop should you buy, and how much do you need to spend? MA Animation student Amedeo Beretta offers some advice to other students at Bucks.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Meet "Flame"

Many congratulations to Bucks MA animation student Amedeo Beretta whose short film "Flame" is now being entered into international film festival competitions, with multiple acceptances and considerable success. Amedeo is an animation tutor at Escape Studios in London, and Flame is a project completed by his students, overseen by him, and an excellent example of the superb work being done by our online students at Bucks.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Fifteen Minute Rule at Bucks New Uni

What is the The Fifteen Minute Rule? It's something I encountered for the first time while working at Sony Pictures Animation, on Open Season. It's a simple rule, and a good way to keep production moving ahead.

The rule is this: if you get stuck on a problem, spend 15 minutes trying to figure out the solution. Google it, Read The Manual, check out online forums - whatever works.

But, if you still can't figure it out after 15 minutes, ask for help. Someone next to you might be able to solve the problem quickly and simply, and you don't want to spend a lot of time trying to fix a problem that has already been solved.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Getting Started in Animation

free 3D software - yours to try for free
How do you get started in animation? Fortunately for would-be animators, there are today plenty of inexpensive and even free resources to get started.

Today, animation is a mix of art and technology.  Animators work at the crossover point between creative skills and techie skills - a good animator has both.  Below are some tips on how to get started in animation, and how to prepare yourself for a potential career in the animation industry.