Thursday 5 October 2023

Lighting in Arnold - Beginner Tutorial

In this simple tutorial, for Autodesk Maya beginners, we explain how to achieve a super basic lighting setup in Arnold using the settings in Physical Sky. This is as simple a setup as it is possible to achieve in Arnold, and gives good results for an outdoor scene with just a few clicks.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Maya Beginner Tutorial - Texture Dice


In the free video tutorial above we tackle a super simple modelling and texturing exercise - how to create a die (single of dice), bevel it, texture it, and download a free texture map from the web.  The tutorial is aimed at complete beginners who have never used Autodesk Maya before. In addition, you can follow the steps outlined below, including - for extra sophistication - how to add a bump map (not covered in the video above).

Tuesday 12 September 2023

MA 3D Animation for Professionals Starts 25 Sept

"Journey of Life" by Robin Herrmann
Our pioneering online MA in Animation has now been fully re-validated, and re-launches this month as the MA 3D Animation for Professionals.

Our online MA in animation was launched in 2015 and was the very first of its kind - the first online MA in animation which could be undertaken by students anywhere in the world.  

Our MA 3D Animation for Professionals continues to partner with the online animation school, ensuring that all our MA Students graduate with industry-level skills. 

Friday 8 September 2023

COM7021 Starts 25 September 2023

COM7021 - Animation Locomotion is the first module that our new animation students will encounter at BNU on the MA 3D Animation for Professionals.

COM7021 starts on 25 September 2023, and is taught primarily in Autodesk Maya. The module deals with animation basics, such as walks, runs and jumps.

It starts with simple actions such as a bouncing ball, and builds up to more complex physical actions. There is one assignment due: COM7021 PR1. COM7021 PR1 is due on Friday 8th December 2023 at 2pm. 

Monday 4 September 2023

Tuesday 8 August 2023

150 Animation Exercises to Improve Your Skills

150 Exercises to boost your skills
We're liking this list of 150 animation exercises created by independent animation artist David Mattock at his website Animator Artist Life

David Mattock has created a wide variety of exercises for any animator to tackle, from simple tasks like animating a vibrating telephone or a falling leaf, to complex character animation.  It's a great list, super useful for any animator who might need a little practice or inspiration for what to animate next. 

Tuesday 20 June 2023

DA704 Starts 11 September 2023

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

Our Master's Degree animation students start their final animation module, DA704, on Monday 11th September 2023.  The final animation assignment, DA704 PR1, is titled "Demo Reel and Final Project" and students will create a piece of character or creature animation, showing the skills they have learned over the last year, 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. DA704 PR1 is due on Monday 4th December 2023 at 2pm.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

Animal Anatomy for Animators

Above is a short video on animal anatomy, a general introduction to how animals are put together, and how and why anatomy matters for animators.  Animal and creature animation can be technically demanding; the use of live action reference is very important as a starting point for how to bring animals and creatures to life. 

Friday 12 May 2023

IK-v-FK: Which is Best?

IK - v - FK - which is best?
One question that often confuses student animators is "IK vs FK" - Inverse Kinematics (IK) vs Forward Kinematics (FK).  The IK -v- FK debate is a bit of a techie question - it's not immediately obvious what these terms even mean, let alone how to explain which option you should choose.

IK -v- FK is really about hierarchies - usually shoulders, arms and hands.  If a character's hand controls are set to IK, then you are controlling the hands from the bottom of the arm hierarchy, from the hand control.  If you set the controls to FK, then upper arm, shoulder and body is in control of what the hands do.

In a walk cycle, you usually set arms and hands to FK, because the arms are swinging, controlled from the shoulders. But if you were to animate a sword fight, where the position of the hands is key, then you would likely choose IK.  For a bit more visual clarity, watch the short video below.

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Bio Motion Walker - How to Animate a Walk

Bio Motion Walker

All student animators must learn how to animate a walk cycle, creating a successful biped walk and then giving it character and personality.

One very useful resource is the Bio Motion Walker from the Bio Motion Lab, located at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

The Bio Motion Walker allows animators to move a range of sliders showing how to make a walk cycle feel masculine or feminine, heavy or light, anxious or calm, happy or sad.  

Animators study live action, and then incorporate - and exaggerate - real life in their work . The Bio Motion Walker is a useful tool for analysing how people walk and move in different ways.  

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Mark Masters Ranks No 3 in March 11 Sec Club


Many congratulations to BNU Animation Master's student Mark Masters on his successful entry into the March 11 Second Club - you can watch his animation "Visitor in Nature" above.  Mark's entry was ranked no 3 in this month's 11 Second Club (out of 126 entries) - a very impressive result.  "The 11 Second Club" competition is a monthly contest in which animators compete to animate the most inventive and entertaining take on a piece of dialogue.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Cartoon Forum Welcomes Back UK Animation

Cartoon Forum - Toulouse 18-21 September 2023
The European film agency "Cartoon", organisers of "Cartoon Forum" and "Cartoon Movie", has announced that UK animation will return to Cartoon Forum this year in a special initiative titled "Animated UK Meets Europe", led by Animation UK, and supported by the BBC, Disney, and other major UK Partners. 

Saturday 8 April 2023

BNU Animator Ranks No 4 in 11 Second Club

Many congratulations to BNU Animation Master's student Marc Stevenson on his successful entry into the March 11 Second Club - you can watch his animation "Horsin' Around" above.  Marc's entry was ranked no 4 in this month's 11 Second Club (out of 126 entries) - a very impressive result.  "The 11 Second Club" competition is a monthly contest in which animators compete to animate the most inventive and entertaining take on a piece of dialogue.

Thursday 6 April 2023

UK Introduces 39% Tax Relief For Animation

One less-reported aspect of the Chancellor's Spring budget here in the UK was an increase in the tax relief granted by HMRC for UK animation to a generous 39%

This appears to be in response to lobbying by the UK creative industries, who have long argued that the tax credit encourages UK animation production, and nurtures domestic talent and creativity.

Here at Bucks New University we are delighted that the Government is supporting the UK animation industry, and we welcome the news, which will surely boost UK animation production, and create a jobs pipeline for animation graduates in the UK. 

Wednesday 29 March 2023

What is the Future of AI and Animation?

In the Ted Talk above, DNEG Animation's Andrew Schlussel explains why, even though AI can now automate many jobs - such as concept art - we should not fear it.  Andrew explains how changes in animation and vfx technology over the years have increased the size of the industry - not shrunk it.  He suggests that AI will be no different, and that the "net sum" of jobs in the Creative Industries will continue to increase, even though certain processes can be done by machine learning.  What should we do with AI instead? - embrace it, and use it

Wednesday 25 January 2023

2023 BNU Animation Demo Reel

Above is our latest edit of the best work done by animation students at Buckinghamshire New University, specifically those enrolled in our MA in 3D Animation, delivered in partnership with the online school Animation Apprentice. Many thanks to all our students on their excellent work.

Tuesday 24 January 2023

Why Our Students Need "The Rookies"

We're encouraging all our animation students at BNU to create their own page at The Rookies, now one of the leading platforms for connecting students to the creative industries. 

Creating an individual page at The Rookies helps our students to showcase their work to the wider VFX and animation community, with a view to maximising their future prospects and employability.

Being visible to industry, easy to find, and easy to hire, is one of the core professional skills learned by our students at Escape Studios.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Online MA in 3D Animation Returns Sept 2023

"Journey of Life" by Robin Herrmann
We are now taking applications for our online MA in Animation - recruiting for September 2023.

Our online MA in animation was launched in 2015 and was the very first of its kind - the first online MA in animation which could be undertaken by students anywhere in the world.  

Our MA in animation partners with the online animation school

Sunday 1 January 2023

2023 New Year's Resolutions for Animators

Fuochi d'artificio
Happy New Year to all our staff and students at BNU!  The New Year brings new challenges but also opportunities - the animation and VFX industries continues to thrive, with remote working now fully established as an alternative to the traditional in-house model. 

This year, top of our list of New Year's Resolutions, is to experiment with the new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as  OpenAI and MidJourney.  AI is changing the face of the animation and vfx industries in a way that challenges everything we do, offering new opportunities - as well as threatening to make obsolete many of the traditional ways of doing things.