Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Calling all Bucks Graduates! Your alma mater needs your help....

The Wheel of Fortune
Bucks New Uni is looking for help from our graduates on the subject of career progression following graduation, with a focus on "Exploring the role of unplanned events". In plain, English - the role of luck.  How important are luck and chance in guiding the progress of our graduates' careers?

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Student Showcase - Kalim Momen explains snow simulation using After Effects

Kalim Momen is one of our talented first year animation & VFX students here at Bucks. One of the first year modules that all our students must complete in order to graduate to the next academic year is Broadcast Animation, which tackles the part of our industry that used to be known (rather dismissively) as flying logos. By definition, Broadcast animation counts as animation, just as important as character animation, creature animation - or any other kind of animation. Broadcast animation is where many of the biggest modern digital VFX houses got their start. The brief for Kalim and the other students was to create a title sequence, using Adobe After Effects, for a famous movie - using titles, animation and design to create a sophisticated piece of work, something that could have been used for the movie itself.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Art of "Frozen" comes to London on 28 April

The Art of Frozen is being showcased by Disney in London on April 28th. For full information see this link here: Here at Bucks we strongly recommend that our students do their best to attend events like this if they can - you will always learn something new about the animation industry and - who knows - you might even meet someone looking to hire an animator.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Summer placements and graduate opportunities in the creative industries has published a list of Summer placements and graduate opportunities in the creative industries. You can find it here: Not all of these opportunities will be of interest to animators, but the list is long and there are many and varied positions available in creative media.

Take a look and see if any of them seem worth applying for. As ever, the process of applying for a position is invaluable in itself - even if you don't get the job. One of the most important skills you will learn at university is how to find work, and how to present yourself to a potential employer in a way that makes you attractive and employable.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

What is the best platform for animation in Maya - a Mac or a PC?


One question we get asked a lot at Bucks is this: "What should I use for animation - a PC or a Mac?" The good news is - you can use either one. The bad news is - you should really use a PC. Here at Bucks our classrooms have both PCs and Macs, but in general we recommend our students use a PC for several reasons.

Firstly and most importantly, the vast majority of animation and visual effects houses work on PCs. Secondly, a number of free (and very useful) Maya plug-ins will only work on a PC. In particular, the Parent Master plugin, which is seriously useful for attaching and un-attaching objects in Maya, does not work on the Mac. Finally, audio playback in Maya can be troublesome on a Mac. All in all, the PC wins because it is a broad-backed platform that will help prepare you for a successful career in the animation and visual effects industry.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hollywood Film Producer Max Howard coming to Bucks on Monday 19th May

Max Howard
Max Howard is a film producer with a huge wealth of experience producing hit Hollywood films for Disney and DreamWorks. He is responsible for classics such as Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, Space Jam, and The Iron Giant. He began his career working in London on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and now produces independent animated features such as the highly successful Igor. His latest film, the Hero of Colour City, is due out in October 2014. We are very lucky to have Max visit Bucks on 19th May to share the secrets of independent film-making.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Steve Burch Reveals the Mysteries of Producing Animation

Animation Producer Steve Burch
Animation Producer Steve Burch visited Bucks recently to talk to our students about the business of producing animation. It was an excellent talk, well structured and clear, and offered an insight into the challenges of successfully bidding on, winning - and delivering - freelance animation jobs.

Many universities talk about employability; here at Bucks we are trying to deliver on that promise by preparing our students not just to be employees but also entrepreneurs, working from home and in small groups on their own projects, and perhaps - who knows - even building the next big animation studio in the UK.

After all, Blue Zoo was founded by a group of animation graduates fresh from university - why shouldn't our students do the same?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

UK Cartoons Boom - good news for British animators

Calamity Island. Shipwrecks... and penguins
According to an article in today's Guardian, the British cartooning industry is booming as never before, thanks in large part to the tax credits put in place by Chancellor George Osbourne in April 2013. CBeebies, the UK's most popular broadcaster of animated children's content, is apparently doubling its output, and it is largely local talent which will reap the rewards of this new boom in UK cartoon spending.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bucks Animation & VFX course featured in the Bucks Herald

Our new Animation and Visual Effects course got more press last year than we had thought. Here is a piece from The Bucks Herald that was published around a year ago. According to the Herald, our new course is a "degree to get animated about". Naturally, we couldn't agree more.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Good news for UK animation - DNeg and Elizabeth Murdoch to open a new studio

According to Variety, Elizabeth Murdoch and VFX house Double Negative are opening an animation studio in the UK, known as Locksmith Animation. The venture is being piloted by Sarah Smith, who was the writer and co-director of the Aardman animated feature film Arthur Christmas.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Why animators should go to FMX on April 22

FMX is the place to be if you want to break into the visual effects industry. It takes place in Stuttgart every year - this year from April 22-25. It's a big, bustling, crowded, brain-boiling congress of people who work in the global visual effects industry, getting together for their annual shindig. Everyone shows up - and there are lectures, screenings and panel talks on every imaginable aspect of the visual effects process.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Periodic Review at Bucks - how can we do better?

On Friday March 14th we had Periodic Review at Bucks. Periodic Review is - as the name suggests - a review of the courses we run at Bucks, bringing in the views of our students, our academics, and external experts to give us all a reality check, and ask searching questions about what we are doing right - and what we are doing wrong. The process takes place every six years and, as it turned out,  friday was a surprisingly useful day, helping to shine a light on the way we do things at Bucks, asking questions about why things are the way they are - and how we might do things better in the future.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Thames Valley Student Film Competition - £200 cash prize

Connecting Thames Valley Tech (CTVT) is running a film competition open only to students at universities in the Thames Valley (including High Wycombe). The competition brief is to produce a video about the diverse range of technology companies that we have across the Thames Valley. The winner will receive £200 in cash and will appear as the featured “about us” video on the front page of CTVT for at least three months. The deadline is Midnight on 24th April 2014

Monday, 7 April 2014

Cinesite explains what they look for in a great student demo reel

One of the most common questions asked by our students at Bucks is: how do I get a job? The answer, of course, is to be really good at what you do, and have a great demo reel to showcase your talent. But what makes a great animation reel? After, all, different companies have different priorities, and everyone is looking for something a little bit different. Luckily, many companies, including Cinesite (which offers the excellent Inspire internship for budding visual effects artists) have posted a lot of information at their website about what, exactly, they look for in a graduate's demo reel.

Friday, 4 April 2014

How to blow a job interview in 9 easy steps

Interview, a short animated film by Mikkel Okholm and Mikkel Brons-Frandsen
By the time you get to being interviewed for a job, most animation and visual effects companies probably already want to hire you. Why? Because the thing that counts for most in getting hired is your demo reel. They are not hiring you for your good looks or charming conversation - they are hiring you for your skill and talent in digital media.

That said, interviews do matter. They are important mostly because this is the point at which many otherwise excellent candidates blow it, and throw a great opportunity away. How does this happen? Below are some of the most common reasons why candidates screw it up and fail to get hired. Read on and learn from other people's mistakes.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Can our students at Bucks make you a short animated film?

Here at Bucks we often get asked this question: Can your students make me a short animated film? The answer is a loud and enthusiastic yes. We love making animated films, and we love doing "live briefs" for outside clients. We have even set up a small film co-operative at especially to create short films. In practice, there are two ways we can go about making you a film. The best road to travel depends on the answer to this basic question: Do you have a budget?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

BAFTA offers scholarships worth £10,000 for post-graduate courses in film, television or games

BAFTA has now opened applications for its scholarship programmes. The BAFTA Scholarship Programme, which assists talented UK nationals in need of financial support to study a post-graduate course in film, television or games in the UK, is now accepting applications for the forthcoming academic year. The deadline for applications is Monday 16 June.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Viral Tap wants your videos - £1,000 prize!

Stephen Partridge, who runs the Media Production Department at Bucks, has brought in an exciting competition for all our talented students at Bucks, from a former colleague who is working on a new show for ITV2 titled Viral Tap.

Viral Tap is an panel show presented by Caroline Flack, which will showcase entertaining clips sent in by contributors. Viral Tap will be putting a weekly call out for clips and also wants weekly contributions to be filmed by members of the public - that means you and me.