Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Graduation Advice from Pixar Animation Studio



Pixar have released a new video offering tips for animation graduates, including advice on how to break into the industry, and land that crucial first job.  Some of it is a bit fluffy (eg "take time to breathe" - who knew?) but there is also plenty of useful, practical advice, especially on the importance of reliance and toughness in a competitive world. .Among the most interesting comments from people at Pixar: "I applied....three times; friends and family told me to give up, saying, 'they're just not that into you'." (she made it in the end).  Another one says "Every time you get rejected...is an opportunity for you to improve yourself". And also "the learning didn't stop in college, there are still opportunities to improve yourself".  Great advice from some great talent. To see why animation graduates need to be the rhino, read this blog post.

Monday, 17 June 2019

How Do Publishers Work With Animators?

Bloomsbury, the London publishing house who brought the world Harry Potter, are hosting a special event for animators and video editors on 20 June at 6.30pm at their 50 Bedford Square HQ.

Step inside Bloomsbury, as they explain how publishers work with animators and filmmakers to create inspiring films about their books and authors.

If you're an animator interested in working with publishers, and using animation to create innovative publishing content, this could be the event for you.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Bucks MA Academic Deadlines 2018-2020

2018-2020 deadlines
Below is a list of deadlines for the online MA in 3D animation. This list is for our 2018 cohort of students, that is to say all our student animators who joined us in September 2018, and will graduate in the summer of 2020.

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. However, this list should give all our students a pretty good idea of what to expect over the coming year.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Free Animation Summer School 8-10 August

Getting experience in learning 3D animation for younger students can be tricky.

Fortunately, London VFX training facility Escape Studios is running a free 3 day Animation Summer School from 8-10 August to help get youngsters hands-on experience of 3D animation.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

The Making of Detective Pikachu

Detective Pikachu
At last week's VFX festival in London, Framestore's Jonathan Fawkner gave a talk on the Making of Detective Pikachu, a movie which was filmed in London and which used the talents of two of the UK's top VFX houses, Framestore and MPC.

It's the kind of talk that we encourage all our students to attend, because of the insights to be gained from understanding the challenges of the animation pipeline within a big VFX project.

One of the big challenges on the film was the take the original Pokemon 2D artwork, and create characters which could be fitted into a photoreal VFX environment.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

BAFTA Guru 14-15 Sept

Mark your calendars, BAFTA Guru Live is taking place on the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September.

We strongly encourage our students to attend at least some of the workshops; tickets are very inexpensive (just £6 for each masterclass) and are aimed at students and rising talent.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

ILM Explains How to Animate Dinosaurs

Fallen Kingdom
One of the highlights of today's VFX Festival at Escape Studios in London was the presentation by Jance Rubinchik, animation supervisor at ILM, on the making of Jurassic World, and Fallen Kingdom.

Animating animals and creatures is something that ILM has pioneered since the first Jurassic Park movie. Each new Jurassic film has sought to raise the bar for animal and creature work.

Animators who do this kind of work have to become experts in animal and creature locomotion, understanding how the animals would have moved, in order to create a believable performance.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Still Time to Apply for our MA in 3D Animation

"School Run" by Bucks student Lee Caller
There is still time to apply for our online MA in animation, currently enrolling 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.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

VFX Festival in London June 5-6

The VFX, Games and Animation Festival 2019 is back again, hosted at 190 High Holborn WC1 in central London, by Escape Studios.

This year the VFX festival has been split into three separate but overlapping events. All of the events are well worth attending, and we strongly recommend that any of our students in the London area attend.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Learning To Take Critique - at Facebook

One of the hardest skills for animation students to learn is how give and receive criticism.  We all tend to be shy about our work (especially when we are learning something new) and, when our work is criticised, that criticism can feel very personal.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

How to Plan Out a Creature Animation Shot

Kiwi by Oliver Canovas
Our master's degree animators are embarking on their third animation assignment, DA703 PR1, which involves the creation of a piece of animal or creature animation, combined with a performance.

Animal and  creature animation is among the most challenging work an animator can tackle, because it involves creating believable animation - usually based on live-action reference - and also an element of anthropormisation - making the animal or creature act in a believable way, perhaps including dialogue and lipsync.

So, how should our students plan out a piece of animal or creature animation? Start by watching the 10 minute video below.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Do Animators Need a Master's Degree?

Do Animators Need a Master's Degree? It's a question I get asked often, mainly by prospective students who want to know if the committment of time and effort that is necessary to complete an MA is worth the investment.

The simple answer is, it depends on what you want to do. Academia cares about academic qualifications. Industry cares about demo reels.

If your focus is purely on industry, and finding work there, you don't really need a masters' level qualification. But if you are hoping to teach, especially in higher education, a masters' degree is more or less a necessity.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Deadline for Cartoon Forum is 8 May

Most of our students at Bucks have an idea for an animated TV series in development; even if they don't know it yet. 

Our animation students are not just technicians, they are creators, brainstorming new ideas and concepts in animation, searching for the next Peppa Pig or Charlie and Lola.

But you can't do it alone - animation is a team sport.  A successful TV series needs co-producers, financing, broadcasters and new media partners. And where do you find those? Cartoon Forum is where. The deadline to apply for this year's forum is 8 May.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Marking The Animation Masters Degree at Bucks

How does the Marking Work on our MA in Animation at Bucks? Marking can be appear to be a rather opaque process, so it's helpful to clarify some of the basics for our students.

The Master's Degree at Bucks is worth 180 credits overall, and has two components, academic and practical, with a roughly even balance between the two.

There are five Modules in the MA, each worth 30 credits, apart from the 18 month long dissertation module which is worth 60 credits.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Second Marking with Niki Brodie

Nicola Brodie
Last week we did some second marking of the MA work done by our Master's Degree students at Bucks. Second marking at Bucks is part of the process by which we ensure that our academic standards are being rigorously applied. Was the marking fair? Is it reasonable? Were the correct criterial applied?

Looking at your students' work through the eyes of another is a valuable exercise; it is a reminder of how personal marking can be, and how important it is to apply rigidly objective criteria. We don't always get it right, which is why second marking - also known as marking moderation - is so important.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

How to Use The Morpheus Rig

This month our MA students are working on a piece of 11 second character animation, suitable for entering in the monthly 11 Second Club.

The 11 Second Club has a useful Resources page, directing students to a variety of character rigs which are reliable and well-supported.

One of these is the Morpheus rig, created by Josh Burton.  Some of our animators are using Morpheus for this month's competition, so we've created a useful guide to some of the main problems with the Morpheus rig, and how to fix them.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Keith Lango Animation Tutorials Are Now Free

Keith Lango YouTube Channel
Good news for animation students; veteran animator and animation teacher Keith Lango has now made his animation tutorials free for everyone to learn online.

Keith's animation tutorials include animating a James Brown dance, rigging and skinning animation, and how to approach the business of animating a scene.

It's a great resource, and a very useful supplement to the growing body of online resources available for learning animation.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Who's Who on our Online MA in Animation?

Bucks New University by Jeton Lakna
Who's Who on our Online Master of Arts in Animation? There are a lot 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 students figure who's who, who does what, and how to get in touch with the key people who's job it is to help our students get excellent results.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Meet Ron Penhaligon, Animation Course Leader

Rob Penhaligon
Meet Ron Penhaligon, Course Leader for our BA in Animation and VFX at Bucks and also our MA in 3D animation. Rob is an experienced 3D artist who headed up the animation department at Amersham & Wycombe College before coming to Bucks.

Rob teaches animation in both Houdini and Maya, and also carries out research into procedural modelling techniques, making him well qualified to head up both courses.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Why Animators Need Rhinoceros Hide

Animators need rhino hide
Why should animators be like a rhinoceros? Because rhinos have thick hides, and animators need thick hides too.

Applying for work in the animation industry requires persistence and the ability to shrug off the inevitable early failures that newly graduating animators will most likely experience.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Meet Mike Smith, MA External Examiner

Mike Smith
Meet Mike Smith, our External Examiner for our MA in 3D animation.  Mike is course leader of the BA (Hons) in Animation at Leeds Arts University, making him well qualified to keep an eye on our animation work here at Bucks New Uni.

External examiners ensure that standards are consistent across the animation sector. They check our grades, making sure we're awarding marks appropriately, and that our standards are consistent with other universities and colleges in the UK.

Of course, we also second mark all the grades at MA level at Bucks, but the role of the external examiner is to add a third layer of quality control to make sure everything is done right.