Saturday, 29 November 2014

Lyuboslav Angelov explains what it's like coming from overseas to study at Bucks

From Bulgaria to High Wycombe
Lyuboslav Angelov is one of our first year animation students, having made his way to High Wycombe from Bulgaria to start with us on the second year of the new Animation and Visual Effects course this past September. We asked him to talk about what it was like coming to study in the UK, how he is finding the course so far, and what some of the challenges have been.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bucks lecturer Alex Williams talks about his work on Paddington

Paddington Bear comes to the big screen in November
Bucks animation lecturer Alex Williams contributed some early design work for Paddington, the new feature film about the much-loved bear created over 50 years ago by author Michael Bond. We asked Alex to talk about what he did on the film, which is released in theatres in the UK today, and how he managed to work on a major motion picture while lecturing on animation at Bucks.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Today - Jobs Fair at Bucks!

Gateway Building
Today is the annual Bucks Jobs, Careers & Volunteers Fair at Bucks! Over 80 employers, charities and other organisations looking to recruit are coming to our High Wycombe Campus. The event takes place in the Gateway Events Hall between 11am-3pm today.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Free Laptops are Coming!

Lenovo ThinkPad - coming soon
Free laptops are coming at last to our first year students; slightly delayed due to some procedural glitches in the procurement process - but now fortunately on their way.  Our students will be getting a Lenovo ThinkPad T540P, with a 2.5Ghz i7 processor,  4Gb of Memory, and a 500Gb hard drive. It also has a full HD screen and a dedicated games card. These laptops should be well able to cope with pretty much anything our students throw at them for the next three years. It means our animators will be able to work from home, on the train, in the library - anywhere they find themselves wanting to get on with their studies.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Industry Panel at Bucks on Wednesday December 3rd To Launch New BBC Partnership

BBC comes to Bucks
The BBC is coming to Bucks, introducing an industry panel on Wednesday December 3rd from 12.30pm in Gateway Lecture Theatre, and launching a new partnership between Bucks and BBC Introducing, the part of the BBC that encourages new musical talent.

Bucks students have been filming live music performances for some years now and have gained a bit of a reputation for doing this to a high level of professional skill.  Hence the new partnership, supporting the BBC's remit from government to promote new music and find new, yet undiscovered bands.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Bucks Animators Design Virtual Set for Watford Hornets

Hornets Show - Watford's online magazine
Bucks Animation and VFX students are in the process of designing a new virtual set for the Watford Hornets. Watford FC's involvement at Bucks New University includes working on the Club's online magazine programme, The HornetShow, with students studying BA (Hons) Film & Television Production; Audio & Music Production; and Animation & Visual Effects. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Last Chance to Register for Cartoon Business!

Cartoon Business
Cartoon Business is the finance and business counterpart to Cartoon Movie and Cartoon Forum. If you are interested in the business side of producing animation, but don't know how to assemble, package and sell an animated TV series or feature film, then Cartoon Business is the place to learn. Supported by MEDIA, the EU fund for the creative industries, and backed by the French Government, Cartoon Business will walk you through all the steps needed to bring your ideas to the market. And you don't even need to speak French - the event is conducted in English, the international language of media and animation.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How to Create a Great Animation Pitch

Learning to pitch is an important skill for any artist. Sooner or later you will be called on to persuade a client that you have a great idea to sell their product, or perhaps try to sell your own idea for a TV series or feature film to a network or production company. Either way, you're going to need to learn how to pitch your ideas. Pitching is not just about standing up and delivering a persuasive summary of your awesome idea, it's also about what should go into it in the first place. How much character work and design do you need to do? How well thought out does your story need to be?  In this excellent blog post, Disney designer Chris Oatley explains what goes into a great animation pitch and bible.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bucks Animation Student Kalim Momen is Rusty - For a Day

As everyone at Bucks knows, Rusty is our official university mascot, the big furry character with antlers who welcomes you to our University Open Days and to Freshers’ Week. This week we did some filming for a short video about life at the university, and we needed someone to play Rusty. Fortunately, Kalim Momen, one of our 2nd year animation students, was game to try out the Rusty suit, and see what life is like as a loveable cartoon deer.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Bucks Animators Go to Blue GFX

Blue GFX

Last week Bucks New University students went to the Blue GFX Expo in London – a massive annual visual effects event sponsored by Autodesk, and a great opportunity to find out about the latest developments in our industry. There were presentations about Autodesk Maya, 3D Studio Max, a chance to try out the latest Cintique tablets, and best of all a talk by Framestore about the work they did on Gravity, a film that looks and feels like a live action movie, but is entirely animated. OK, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock were real – but the rest is CG magic.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Should Freelance Animators Set Up a Limited Company?

A freelancer at work
Part of our job at Bucks is to teach our students to be working professionals, which includes not only the ability to do excellent work at a high level of professional skill,  but also the ability to run a small business and tackle freelance work. Almost all digital artists take on freelance work of one kind or another, and we help our students out by bringing in small commercial projects at our virtual online studio at, giving our students paid experience on live briefs. Being a freelancer involves learning a lot of new business skills, and one of the most common questions asked by students is: "Do I Need to Set Up a Company before I become a freelancer?" The short answer is "no", but it's not quite as simple as that - it all depends on your personal circumstances.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Jobs, Careers & Volunteers Fair at Bucks on Thursday 27 November.

Welcome to the 2014 annual Bucks Jobs, Careers & Volunteers Fair! We’re looking forward to welcoming over 80 employers, charities and other organisations to the High Wycombe Campus to attend this year’s Jobs, Careers & Volunteers Fair in the Gateway Events Hall between 11am-3pm on Thursday 27 November. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Best Free Rigs for Learning to Animate in Maya

Morpheus - endlessly flexible
We do not design and build our own rigs here at Bucks - there are just too many excellent free rigs and sets provided by Maya enthusiasts for student use. We point our students to the very best freeware rigs from the web and show you where to find them. In the end though, it is up to our students to find the rigs that they most enjoy animating with. There are so many; all have their strengths and weaknesses. Below is a list of some of the best, and where to find them.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wednesday 19th November - Come to Our Next Open Day at Bucks!

Wednesday 19th November is our next Open Day at Bucks. Open Days are a great way to meet the Course Leaders (for Animation & VFX - that's me and Dave Creighton) here at Bucks, find out about our courses, and also explore our campus.

We're sure you'll be impressed by the state-of-the-art technical equipment we have in the brand new Gateway Building; the result of a £40m investment program completed just a couple of years ago, aimed at turning Bucks into a creative hub for media production of all kinds.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Secrets of Great Character Design Revealed

BoxTrolls - designs by Luis Grane

How do animators break into character design? Character design is one of the most fun and the most desirable jobs on an animated film, entitling the artist to give free rein to their imagination, come up with great ideas - and even get paid to do it. We asked Luis Grane, an animator and character designer whose work can be seen on dozens of animated films including Prince of EqyptHotel Transylvania, Ratatouille, and Open Season, to talk about this work and how he broke into the industry. Most recently Luis did character design work for The Box Trolls, recently released worldwide in theatres. So what is involved in working as a character designer at a big studio - and how do you get there in the first place?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Free External Hard Drives For Our First Year Students!

Free External Hard Drives! Yay! Image: Wikipedia
Many of our new freshmen students don't know that, as part of the Bucks Big Deal, they are entitled to a free 1TB USB 3.0 external hard drive. All our animation & VFX students get an automatic 5GB of storage on their local network here at the Uni, but this space tends to fill up fast, especially once you start rendering high resolution images and large movie files. With that in mind, a free external hard drive is a great way store everything you need for your three year journey at Bucks. And, with a whole terrabyte of storage, the chances are you will never run out.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

How to Use Sound Files in Maya - a Guide for Animators

Sine wave. Image: Wikipedia

Maya is a wonderful piece of software but its audio tools are not especially sophisticated. You only get one audio track, and it will only accept certain kinds of audio files (wavs and iffs).  So, how exactly should an animator approach the use of audio files in Maya? Below is our handy guide which should answer most of the vital questions.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Activities Week Comes to Bucks! - Monday November 17th

Activities Week at Bucks
Monday November 17th is the start of Activities Week at Bucks - a chance to explore the many and diverse aspects of life at the university, and tackle something new, exciting and different. It's all organised through the Bucks Student Union and forms part of the Bucks Big Deal - which aims to offer our students great value for money, making sure you're not confronted with unexpected costs or extra expenses. Best of all Activities Week is a chance to try your hand at stuff you've never done before.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The Morpheus Rig - and How To Use It

There are plenty of free rigs available these days for the use of students. One of the best is Morpheus, created by the prodigiously talented Josh Burton. It is used extensively by trainee character animators hoping to polish their skills and get better at their craft. Morpheus is an excellent rig but, like all free rigs (and, frankly, like all rigs), it does have a few quirks. Below is a guide for animators to some of the main problems that we have come across, and how to fix them.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Animation at BFI in London - Raw Shorts on Saturday November 22 - Just £6!

The British Film Institute (BFI) is running a session on animation titled "Raw Shorts" for aspiring animators and film-makers, on Saturday November 22nd in London, at 12.30pm. There will be lectures, workshops and Q&A panels on all aspects of animation production. We highly recommend that our students attend - at just £6 per head this is the perfect way to learn about the industry and maybe even meet some movers and shakers in the business.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

What Makes a Great Animator? Mike Nguyen Explains

Korean Goshawk - animation by Mike Nguyen
Mike Nguyen is a veteran animator who has worked on many classic Hollywood feature films such as "Beauty and The Beast" and "Space Jam".  He was a lead animator on Brad Bird's classic "The Iron Giant" and also on "Osmosis Jones", and has been working for a number of years on his own independent animated feature film  "My Little World".  Here he talks to Bucks about what makes a great animator.

Monday, 3 November 2014

VFX Festival on January 28th hosted by Escape Studios

Escape Studios VFX Festival 2015
Escape Studios are running their latest VFX Festival on January 28th at the VUE Cinema in London's Shepherd's Bush. To find out more, and sign up, follow this link. The event is an excellent way to find out about careers in animation and visual effects, what jobs are out here and how to break in to the industry.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

What is The Future of Media? Find Out at Bucks on Monday November 17th

Industry Panel at Bucks
Every November we stop lectures for a week and run a series of activities and industry-related events. This year the Department of Media Production is joining up with the business school and computing and technology courses to run ‘The Future of Media’ Day on Monday November 17th. Part of this will be a speakers’ panel Run like The BBC Question Time programme.

Previous speakers at other events have come from companies such as Mediacom, Burson Marsteller, Millward Brown, Dare, Rapp, BBH, Dun Humby, ITV, Shell and Ford.  The audience will be students, alumni and clients. The panel session would be in the afternoon, runs for about an hour, from 14.00 until 15.00.