Thursday, 29 May 2014

Bucks animators collaborate with the Learning Development Unit to create a unique film project

A group of our awesome animation students have collaborated with the Learning Development Unit here at Bucks to create a unique film project - How To Write a Literary Review. The project is aimed at students who are struggling with the challenging process of carrying out a literary review before writing an essay or dissertation, and aims to simplify and de-mystify the process. We asked the students who worked on the project to explain what they did, and how they pulled it off.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bucks needs your vote to win £5,000!
Rebecca Rochon, Senior Lecturer in Education and Learning Development, has developed a new App called Unite, which allows students to connect with other students before starting university. The App has been entered in the JISC Summer of Student Innovation, and she needs your help to win £5,000 for Bucks! The App will need animators to work on it, so with any luck we can bring a little freelance work into our department.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Bucks New University's Polish Connection

Characters in Polish national dress by Monika Dzikowicz
Some of our most talented recent graduates in recent years from the Animation, Games and Interactive Media course here at Bucks have been from Poland. We are not sure why there has been a strong Polish presence here in High Wycombe but, whatever the reason, it is a connection that we are proud of and want to encourage in future.

Students from overseas help to give our course a more international and cosmopolitan flavour. In addition, many of our foreign students are highly motivated to squeeze everything they can from their experience at University, working hard out of hours and during the holidays to make the best use of their time here. Our students from Poland have been no exception, and they have done some of the best work to come out of our department in recent years.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Free Laptops for our new students in October!

Why do we offer free laptops to our freshmen students in October? The reason is simple: we want all of our students to be able to work equally as well from home as they do at university. One of the many career paths open to a skilled digital animator is to do freelance work from home, and the best way to do this is to master as many software packages as possible, allowing you you to take on small jobs even while you are still at university. So what kind of computer do our students actually get? Dave Creighton explains how it works.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Calling all animators - time to enter the annual Winston Churchill Design Competition

The Winston Churchill Design Competition has just been launched. The annual competition, delivered by Pentland Group PLC in partnership with The Churchill Centre and ARTS THREAD, seeks to encourage and uncover upcoming talent, who will create a unique piece of artwork that captures Winston Churchill's essence, making his life and work relevant for a modern audience.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

BBC Academy Career Shadowing Scheme: paid placements for visual effects artists

Calling all visual effects artists at Bucks: A new career shadowing scheme has been launched by the BBC Academy, offering paid placements in some of the UK's top visual effects houses, including Milk and Double Negative. Here is a chance to get real-life experience at a leading VFX house, and  get paid to do it as well.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Bucks End of Year Show 2014 - starts Friday 13th June

The Bucks End of Year Show 2014 is almost upon us. Come along to our High Wycombe Campus and see what our talented soon-to-be-graduates have been up to. The show will feature plenty of animation and digital artwork, but it also includes the work done by all the other creative disciplines which flourish at Bucks. Film, TV, Music, Design, Fine Art, Sound design, Dance and Performing Arts - we have everything you need to make creative media under one roof. The show starts on 14th June and runs until the 19th. It's also a great opportunity to take a tour of our campus and see the award-winning facilities available to our students.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

How do we judge a great piece of animation?

Guilty....of not knowing The Twelve Principles of Animation
What are the criteria to apply to judge a good piece of animation? How do we critique an animator's work? Below are some of the things that we look for at Bucks when giving feedback to our students on their work. We don't pretend that this is an exhaustive list, but we think it's a pretty good start. Well-read animators will notice that these criteria have a lot to do with the Twelve Principles of Animation set out by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnstone in their classic book - The Illusion of Life. Every student should own a copy, or at least check one out from the library.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bucks animation featured at

Today we're featured at, talking on the subject of student demo reels, and what goes into a great student reel. To see the full article, which sets out a 12-point plan to cut together a great reel, follow this link. Here at Bucks we think that a strong demo reel is the most vital thing that a student will end up with on graduation - far more important than the grades they got, or any other measure of the quality of their work. Studios will judge you on your reel, and it is your demo reel which (for the most part) determines whether or not you will get hired.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

What is is a website that every freelancer should know about. Why? Because it's a way of finding and hiring skilled freelancers, people you may never have heard and have never worked with before. If you're doing a job for a client that involves stuff you can't deliver yourself - no problem. Find someone online who can do the work, and you still deliver the whole, completed job to the client. Equally, you can post your own skills online, bid on jobs, and start to build a successful portfolio career as a freelance digital artist by doing work for other people. What does it put freelancers and jobs together. So, if you're serious about building a career as a freelancer - it's a great place to start.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

What goes into a great animation demo reel?

What goes into a great student demo reel? This is one of the most common questions we get asked by students – and for good reason. Putting together a great demo reel is the single most important thing a student can do in order to get hired. A great demo reel is a showcase for your best work, your virtual shopfront. At Bucks we spend a great deal of time working on our students' demo reels, because it is so important. So what goes into a great reel? We think that there are 12 rules for success.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Bucks Animation featured at

Bucks Animation is featured today at online magazine. theBigchoice is an online resource for graduates and school-leavers, with thousands of internships, jobs, and placements, as well as plenty of advice on how to get hired, in all sorts of different industries. Here at Bucks we believe in teaching our students practical, real-life skills that translate into successful careers in the animation and visual effects industries. To find out more, see the full piece here. Alternatively, copy this link in your browser:


(Editor's Note: For more practical advice on careers in animation and visual effects, read what Blue Zoo has to say about demo reels. See also advice from Disney, Sony Pictures Animation, and watch our video on how to create a great demo reel. Read about what our graduates had to say at the recent Graduate Panel. Check out this post on how to set up an small business. Also learn about your first client project, read out our post on Portfolio Careers, and read this piece on Survival as a Freelancer. Study the nuts and bolts of freelance life by reading our guide to invoicing clients, and our guide to freelancers and taxesFor more on careers in general, check out our guide to animation careers here, and also take a look at this map of digital studios - a great place to start your search for work in the business. Finally see our article on the jobs page at )

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What is Cartoon Forum, exactly? Deadline: 27 May

What is Cartoon Forum? Only Europe's biggest TV pitch-fest for animation. If you have a project in your head that you would like to submit to producers, business angels and broadcasters, Cartoon Forum is the place to be. The deadline to submit your TV project is 27 May. So, you have just under two weeks to sharpen your pencils and polish your pitch.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Typical errors when using perspective - and how to avoid them

the most common mistake
Traditional drawing skills still matter in animation, which is why we teach life drawing, storyboards, character design and visual development here at Bucks. The ability to express an idea simply and clearly on a piece of paper - or even on a napkin in a restaurant - is still one of the most powerful weapons in the animator's arsenal.

The ability to master the art of perspective, that most Renaissance of skills first developed in 15th Century Florence, is one of the more tricky parts of the designer's toolkit. Fail to learn perspective drawing and your designs will never speak with authority. Follow this link to a wonderful blog post that points to some of the most common errors in perspective drawing, and how to fix them.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

What does a visual effects supervisor do, exactly?

Matt Johnson (left) in Los Angeles on Beverly Hills Chihuahua
What does a Visual Effects Supervisor actually do – and how do you become one? Matt Johnson, veteran VFX supervisor on dozens of Hollywood hits, including World War Z, Into The Woods, V for Vendetta, X Men, and Chronicles of Narnia, explains what a Visual Effects Supervisor actually does for a living, and how an aspiring film-maker might become one.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Freelancing Workshop on Monday with Lydiah Igweh from Enterprise at Bucks

On Monday May 12th we welcome Lydiah Igweh, who runs the Enterprise at Bucks program, to introduce a freelancer's workshop for our Animation and Visual Effects Artists. As the long summer vacation approaches, we strongly encourage our students to take on small freelance jobs, do internships and work placements, and in general take advantage of the many opportunities to develop real-life work skills. Lydiah's workshop has been custom-designed for our digital artists, so this is a great opportunity to start thinking about how you might develop a freelance career.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Escape Studios Career Guide to success in VFX

Escape Studios is London's leading private provider of visual effects training. Among the many resources they offer students is their annual Careers Guide, an invaluable handbook for any aspiring visual effects artist - including animators. Escape Studios go to a great deal of trouble to track the latest trends in the digital market, focusing especially on the skills that are currently in high demand. After all, their goal is to place their students in well-paid work in the best visual effects houses in Soho. We recommend that all of our students at Bucks sign up for a copy. Best of all, it's absolutely free.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Student Showcase - David Wheeler takes on Premier nappies

David Wheeler is one of our talented third year students at Bucks, building a portfolio of work to start looking for freelance work and employment in the digital arts. He has developed some excellent skills in digital design and illustration, doing a good deal of design work on group film projects. He is especially proficient with Adobe Illustrator, which led to a recent freelance job for a manufacturer of baby-related products - Premier nappies. We asked him how the job went, and what he had to do to complete it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

UK Premiere - Director's Cut of the Thief and The Cobbler - A Moment in Time

On June 1st , the British Film Institute in association with the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences is screening the UK and European premiere of "The Thief and the Cobbler: A Moment in Time".

BFI will be screening a new digital version of the reconstructed work-print at the BFI/Southbank in London. Richard Williams will be in discussion with veteran film critic David Robinson following the screening. BFI members can buy tickets now and tickets go on sale to the public on May 13th:

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bucks Graduate Mike Swan lands job with Architectural Visualisation leader ThinkBDW

Mike Swan recently graduated from the animation, games and interactive media course at Bucks, and since then has forged a successful freelance career, doing excellent 3D work for a variety of private clients. Gradually building up a solid portfolio of digital artwork, he recently landed a full-time job with ThinkBDW, a company that describes itself as "The UK's leading property marketing agency". Mike told us how the job came about, and what he had to do to get it.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Animals and Creatures Reel from Animation Apprentice

Here at Bucks we are committed to training animators not just in character animation but also in creature work, doing the kind of animation that is in high demand at Soho visual effects houses like Framestore, MPC, Double Negative and Cinesite. Our second year animators will devote at least a quarter of their time just to the business of animating animals and creatures, preparing them for a successful career in visual effects.

I teach animation not just at Bucks but also at my online school at, founded in September 2012. Animation Apprentice is still a very young animation school, but we have just put together the first compilation of animal and creature work, showcasing some of the best work done by the students.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Escape Studios to host free webinar on careers in VFX - 2 July 2014

Escape Studios
Escape Studios are hosting a free webinar on careers in the visual effects industry on 2 July 2014. The guests are Anna Swift, Recruitment and Talent Development Manager for film at Framestore, and Ben Owen, Global Head of Recruitment at MPC. Framestore and MPC are two of the biggest hitters in visual effects in the UK, so this is an event which we highly recommend all of our students sign up for.