Sunday, 29 December 2013

Collaborating on Group Projects - how do you pick the right people?

Animators need sound designers
One of the most important aspects of studying any form of film-making,  whether it is animation or live action - or any other media - is learning to collaborate with other people. As a film-maker, you cannot possibly hope to become an expert in everything; you will always need help from other departments. Animators may need help from modelers, designers, texture artists - finding people with the skills you need to finish your film is all part of getting the job done.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

How do you pick the best place to study animation?

Life at University
One of the most important decisions that any of us will ever make is what to study at University, and where. How do you choose? Even if you know you want to study animation and the digital arts (good choice!), there are at least 80 courses in the UK to select from. So how do you pick the right one? The simple answer is - pick the best. But how you tell which courses are the best? There are a number of ways of making the right decision, but we think that there are two that are by far the most important.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

MPC is hiring!

One of London's leading visual effects houses, the Moving Picture Company (MPC), is hiring! They are looking for artists not just for Canada and Bangalore, but also for London, which thankfully suggests that Soho isn't quite finished yet.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Life Drawing Comes to Bucks! - Sign up with the Student Union on January 21st

Figure drawing - great training for animators
Animation is a blend of creative and technical skills, and a good animator needs both to survive. It is true that digital animators don't need to draw with the same degree of skill as they did in the days of hand-drawn animation, but good draughtsmanship still helps a great deal, not just for design work but for storyboards, thumbnails, visual development and all the other related areas that a good animator often gets called upon to do.

We've been working with the Student Union at Bucks to organise life drawing classes for our students, and we strongly recommend that everyone sign up. It's great skill to acquire and will help all our animators become better artists.

More storage space for our animation students!

Our new Animation & Visual Effects Course has been running for three months now, and we're still ironing out some of the kinks. Recently our students gave vent to their frustration at the rather stingy data allowance of just 750MB for personal storage, barely enough to run all the software we use, let alone store high resolution images and video.

Luckily, the Bucks IT department has come now to the rescue. From now on, starting in the New Year, all our students will get 5 gigabytes of storage; still not a massive amount - but a huge improvement, and enough to run all the software we use and also make some decent renders.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Bucks Animation & VFX Demo Reel

An animator's demo reel is never done. It is a constant work-in-progress, always being refined and updated to include your best work and weed out the less impressive material. Over the years a great deal of excellent work has been done by animators and digital artists here at Bucks.

One of the challenges of putting together a compilation reel of our best student work has been trying to track down all the films done in recent years. Here, for the first time, is a compilation of some of our students' best work, cut together by our first year animator Anton "Alfy" Alfimenko.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Breaking into the Creative Industries

We're famous again! Today the Daily Telegraph has run a piece on how students can muscle their way in to the creative industries, how to sustain a career in what is still a challenging job market, especially for recent graduates. It's a good piece, full of useful insights into what students need to learn in order to make it. Click here to read all about it.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

What Exactly Does a Visual Effects Producer Do?

Here at Bucks we teach the craft of animation and visual effects. One thing we don't teach (but perhaps should) is how to be a producer. Producers are vital to any production. They are organisers, leaders, people who make stuff happen. While the rest of us collect a paycheck, producers are out there beating the pavement, pitching, bidding, and raising money.

Below is an interview with VFX Producer Martin Gabriel, reprinted from Alex's blog FLIP. It's one of FLIP's most popular posts ever, probably because it explains the workings of a job that is, to non-producers, somewhat mysterious. So, if you've very wondered how the VFX industry really works, read on, and get educated.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Perfect Workstation - How to be an animator and not ruin your health

A student watches a tutorial on his iPad, and does the exercise a separate screen
A good workstation is not a luxury - it's a necessity. The dirty secret of the animation and visual effects business is that sitting still and clicking away at a video workstation all day long is very bad for your health. Carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury (RSI) are serious health problems which affect many, many people working in the industry.

Why don't we hear more about it? Because people don't like to talk about it. Employers don't talk about it because they don't like being sued. Employees don't talk about it because they fear if they admit to having problems they will lose their job and perhaps their career. So get educated, look after your health, and make sure it doesn't happen to you.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Counselling Services at Bucks - Help When it's Needed Most

Over the course of your three years at University there will inevitably be things that will go wrong. Personal problems, health crises, a crisis in the family - all sorts of things can derail the best laid plans and throw you off course. When bad things happen, you are not alone. The university provides counseling services free of charge and you will never be turned away if you need help, or just want someone to talk to.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Daily Telegraph ranks Bucks in top 14 Creative Universities

Art and Industry - what Bucks is all about
Recently the online magazine Huffington Post ranked Bucks in the top 12 Creative Universities in the UK. Now the Telegraph has weighed in, including us in a list of the 14 most creative universities in the UK.  So why are we in this list? The answer lies in the massive £40million investment made a few years ago in our shiny new Gateway media building - an investment that is now beginning to pay off handsomely.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bucks Animation featured in Digital Arts Magazine

We're famous! Today's edition of Digital Arts Magazine online has run a piece all about our new course at Bucks, focusing specifically on our revolutionary technique of "flipping the classroom", inspired by the work of American educator and entrepreneur Salman Khan. Click here to read all about it. We're at Computer World too!

Monday, 9 December 2013

How do you write a script? - five simple steps to a great story

Titles to Love Me Love Me Love Me by Richard Williams
Every film starts with a story. One of the most common mistakes made by rookie film-makers is to start making the film before the story is figured out. In fact, it's not just novices who fall into this trap - Hollywood does it all the time. But with a little forethought and planning, you can start off your project with a great story. After all, story is the most important part of any film. As John Lasseter often says, the three most important ingredients in a Pixar film are: 1. Story, 2. Story, and 3. Story. So, how do you make sure you get it right?

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Six Rules for a Good CV

Source: Wikipedia
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae - literally the story of your life. In the USA it's known as a résumé. Whatever the name, its purpose is to summarise your education, life history and skills as clearly and concisely as possible, and to put the best possible gloss on your achievements.  Employers will expect one, so it's worth spending some time on it to get it right. Once you've done it, all you need do is edit it regularly and update it.

Below are some rules for putting together a good CV.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

How Do you Research a Project?

The Library at Bucks - a huge resource
What is research and why do we do it? For animation students, working on animation and visual effects projects, research can seem like an exercise you are made to do just for the sake of it, part of the rite of passage to earn those magic letters BA (Hons). But there is much more to it than that. Research has a practical as well as an intellectual purpose. It's about figuring out what you are trying to do, by identifying artists whose work inspires you and then setting out what your own creative goals are. In short, it's about analysing and thinking.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

BAFTA Scholarships for graduate study - worth up to £20,000

 BAFTA has just announced a new post-graduate scholarship program for UK Nationals and Hong Kong residents, looking to study in film, television or games. The BAFTA Scholarship Programme in Hong Kong is the latest addition to BAFTA’s established scholarship programmes in the UK and the US for those in need of financial assistance, and is designed to support UK-Asia cross-cultural exchange.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Your First Client Project - 8 Rules to Ensure Success

OK, so you have got your first freelance job. You've pitched the idea, you've agreed a price for the job, the client is shiny-eyed with excitement about the amazing work you're going to do for them. Now all you have to do is deliver what you promised. What can possibly go wrong?  Plenty!

Below is our simple guide to getting it right and making sure that your first client is not only so happy that he or she comes back for more, but also tells everyone they know what a great job you did. Over the course of your media career, almost every job you get will come to you on the strength of a recommendation - it's how the business works.

Monday, 2 December 2013

How to adjust levels in Photoshop - making your artwork crisp and clear

Some of our students' early submissions have a common weakness - sketches and artwork which have been digitally photographed or scanned, but are not well presented. Out there in the real world, clients will expect any digital artwork you submit to look stylish, clear and attractive. Raw scans with grey shade pixellation or blurry edges just don't cut it.

The good news is, it is super easy in Photoshop to adjust the levels of your scanned artwork so as to reduce the greyshade and make your images look more crisp and professional.

Sunday, 1 December 2013 launches Student Film Competition - with a £3,000 prize have launched a student animated film competition titled ‘Filmed with Happiness’. Anyone who is studying or working in film making, animation or television is invited to submit a children’s short film based on the theme of "happiness".  The winner gets £3,000 in cash - and the chance to boost your profile with a little help from their PR agency.