Friday, 11 October 2019

Aardman Model Making Workshop on Saturday

Aardman animation are coming to London, bringing two model making workshops tomorrow, Saturday 12th October.

The workshops are one hour long and take place at 4pm at the Hackney Picturehouse (see flyer below) and at 3.45pm at The Ritzy in Brixton (see flyer left).

The workshops form a part of the Aardman Animation day, which includes screenings and activities for kids, starting at 10.30am.

The afternoon workshops are for adults only and will be led by Claire Cohen and Ellie Hugill, Senior Modelmakers at Aardman.

Claire and Ellie will give students an insight into stop-motion animation and what it is like to work at one of the UK's most enduring and well-loved animation houses.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Dinosaur Masterclass at VIEW October 24

VIEW is the 20th International VFX & Computer Graphics Conference that takes place every year in Turin.

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

On Wednesday October 23 at 2.30pm I'll be on a panel with SVA titled "Starting Your Animation Career: How to Get Noticed and Get Hired".

On Thursday October 24th I'll be teaching a one-day masterclass in Maya demonstrating how to animate dinosaurs, from 9.30am at Piazza Mestiere.

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

Friday, 4 October 2019

Notes on Academic Writing from Dr Fil

Fil Ieropolous
Dr Fil Ieropolous is the academic lead for our Online MA in 3D Animation.

Fil is the main point of contact for all academic questions on the course, and responsible for the delivery and assessment of the academic content.  Any questions about academic content or academic marking should be directed to Fil (He can be reached on fil.ieropoulos@bucks.ac.uk).

Below are some of Fil's helpful notes on some of the common problems with academic writing, and how to fix them.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Autodesk Launches Maya Indie License

Great news for all our animation students at Bucks - Autodesk has launched the "Maya Indie License", allowing students who have learned to animate using the free student version of the software to enter the marketplace at a much-reduced price.

This is great news for our graduates; Autodesk offers junior animators the chance to "become a pro at a price you can afford". No longer are digital artists and animators blocked from entering the market for making animated films in Maya by the high price tag for a commercial license.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Making of Lion King in London Tonight - Free

Tonight in Central London MPC artist Gabriel Arnold is giving a talk about the making of The Lion King, the recent Disney blockbuster that has become one of the most successful animated films of all time.

The event is one of a series of "Evening with..." events hosted by Escape Studios at their Central London campus.  As ever, we recommend that any of our students who can attend, do so, as this is a great opportunity to meet in person a lead artist from one of London's leading animation studios, and find out about the reality of the industry pipeline.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Bucks New Uni Online MA Animation: Who's Who

Bucks New University by Jeton Lakna
Who's Who on our Online Master of Arts in Animation?

For our new animation students just starting with us, there is a good deal of information to take on board, including who does what at Bucks.

There are a number of people involved in delivering our MA - the first (and still the only) online MA in animation in the world.

Below is a brief guide to help our new cohort of students figure who's who, who does what, and how to get in touch with the key people whose job it is to help our students get excellent results.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Education Charities and How to Find Them

One question we often get asked at Bucks is what kind of scholarships are available for study. We don't have a dedicated scholarship for studying animation at Bucks (perhaps we should) but there are many other ways to finance your studies.

As well as the existing system of loans and grants put in place by the Government a few years ago for the funding of higher education, there are also many other sources of charitable funding out there.

You'd be surprised how many charities and trusts provide grants for educational study.

One great place to look is the Guide to Educational Grants, published by the NUS (National Union of Students), and which is updated every year. 


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.