Friday, 17 March 2017

Still Time to Apply for Our Online Masters Degree

The world's first online MA in animation
It's not too late! There is still time to apply for the April intake of our online MA in 3D animation.

The online MA is a unique degree which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field.

You will not only learn how to animate, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bring Your Own Animation - Monday 20 March

The Lukin - BYOA!
"Bring Your Own Animation" (BYOA) is an animation event that takes place every month in London, usually on a Monday night.

This month it is being held on Monday 20 March at 6.30pm at the Lukin pub, 4 Conway Street in central London W1T 6BB.

Anyone can bring their animation or just come along for drinks.  If you are a student, or a professional who's working on a shot or a reel, bring your work and get feedback from Professional Animators.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Meet Bonnie!

Bonnie is a free character rig from Josh Sobel, creator of the excellent Kayla rig which can be downloaded for just $12.  Bonnie by contrast is absolutely free, and is an excellent rig for learning character performance and dialogue.

Josh Sobel describes Bonnie as "a free legacy rig. Bonnie has been downloaded and animated over 20,000 times, and though she's a bit dated, you can still pull a decent performance out of her for the low, low price of free".

Bonnie can be downloaded for free from Josh Sobel's website. We're recommending her to all our students for character performance and dialogue animation.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Learn Gesture Drawing Online at Proko

Gesture drawing is an important skill for animators - it helps us learn how to capture a pose, and to master the art of visual storytelling. After all, planning your animation with quick thumbnail sketches that tell a story is still one of the core skills of the 3D animator - it's why we still need to know how to draw - at least just a little bit.  Here at Bucks we're recommending this series of videos by Proko, all hosted for free at his YouTube channel. There are lots of great videos but the particular playlist we're interested in is titled "Figure Drawing - How to Draw People". You can find it here.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Anna Zielinska Animator at Touch Surgery

Bucks animation student Anna Laura Zielinska recently got a job as an animator at Touch Surgery, a London (and New York City) based company that specialises in medical animation - bringing surgical procedures to life, helping to teach the next generation of surgeons their life-saving skills.

Anna started our online Masters degree in September of last year, using the tutorial videos and bespoke feedback at Animation Apprentice to hone her skills. We congratulate Anna on the new job.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Inside The Jungle Book with MPC

The Jungle Book was one of the most impressive films of 2016, and its secrets were recently revealed at the Escape Studios VFX Festival, with MPC's Ben Jones (CG Supervisor) explaining how the London VFX house brought the characters and creatures of this classic tale to life, re-imagining one of the best-loved of the Walt Disney Studio's animated films.

So, how did MPC create this most extraordinarily ambitious movie?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

How Do You Get an Animated TV Series to the Screen? Giles Pilbrow Explains

Giles Pilbrow
On Wednesday 1 March Escape Studios in London is hosting another free "Evening With...", this time with Giles Pilbrow: cartoonist, animator and one of the writers of the UK's longest-running satirical magazine, Private Eye.

Giles also brought the Horrible Histories to TV, and is the creator of the CBBC series Scream Street.

We're hoping that many of our student animators will come along on March 1st and find out how you might get your own animated TV series off the ground.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Blue Zoo Animation Masterclass

At the recent VFX Festival at Rich Mix in London, Blue Zoo's Tom Box introduced one of their animation directors to give a Masterclass in Cartoony Animation. Blue Zoo does all kinds of different styles of animation, trying "not to get known for just one style", but much of their work is done for TV format, where schedules are punishing and animators have to work fast.

Blue Zoo have to be creative, efficient, and find ways to stay competitive - even in a high-cost city like London, where rents and wages are much higher than overseas.

They also encourage their staff to get involved creatively, developing in-house projects which can be brought to the screen, and also doing short films - BZ Shorts - within the studio, developing new styles of animation and experimenting with new ways of doing things.

So what are Blue Zoo's secrets for a fast, efficient animation workflow?

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Animator's Checklist

The Animator's Checklist
Here is a link to an excellent animation blog, "The Animator's Checklist", which gives a really useful introduction to some of the key principles of animation.

The website is hosted in Spain (but written in English), and has some really useful resources for learning animation.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Thursday, 2 February 2017

History of Pixar

Above is an excellent short film about the history of the Pixar studio. It's a promotional piece, but also a great introduction to the history of the modern medium, the second "Golden Age" of animation. Among the impressive insights into the story-telling process at Pixar are John Lasseter suggesting that "every Pixar film at one point in time was the worst motion picture ever made". Why? Because "it's a process". In other words, it's not the doing of the thing, it is the re-doing of it that really counts.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Meet Frame Store's Billy Butler on Thursday 2 February

Escape Studios in West London is hosting another free event for students - an "Evening With..." coming up on Thursday 2 February at their Shepherd's Bush studio, with Billy Butler,  Lead Modeler at Framestore.

Billy has a vast amount of VFX experience, having worked on hit movies such as Gravity, Animalia and Sucker Punch.

He will be showing students his demo reel and talking about his experience in the VFX industry. This is a superb event for any of our students who would like to find out more about 3D and VFX - and 3D modelling in particular. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Get Ready for Our Online MA in 3D Animation - Now Recruiting for April 2017

Our new online MA in 3D Animation, delivered in partnership with Animation Apprentice, is proving so popular that we've decided to open an April enrollment - giving our students much more flexibility.

The official webpage is still showing a September enrollment date, but this will be changed soon to reflect the new April intake.  After all, as an online degree, there isn't any reason why he have to be bound by the traditional September enrollment of the academic calendar.

So what kind of preparation should students do before starting with us on our online MA in 3D Animation in April?  It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Great Free Maya Tutorials by Mike Hermes

Here at Bucks we have a strong focus on the art of character and creature animation. Our course has a big VFX element - to prepare our students for the world of visual effects animation.

The London animation scene has a large emphasis on this kind of work, with studios like Frame Store and MPC being global leaders in super-realistic photo-real animal and creature work.

For students looking to apply to study with us, it's a great idea to get a taste of what 3D animation is like before you sign up for a full 3 year BA in Animation and VFX. For beginners, we're recommending Mike Hermes' videos at YouTube, which offer excellent short tutorials on pretty much every aspect of the Maya pipeline. They are short, easy to follow, and refreshingly free of unnecessary information.  The playlists are well organised and, best of all, it's all completely free.

Monday, 9 January 2017

London Mime Festival 9 Jan - 4 Feb 2017

The London Mime Festival is about to launch its 40th anniversary season in London.  Artists include acrobat-genius Mathurin Bolze (Cie MPTA), Charleroi Danses’ Kiss & Cry and Mossoux Bonté, German Mask-theatre experts Familie Flöz, and Gandini Juggling with a hugely expanded version of its glorious Pina Bausch tribute, Smashed.

But why should Bucks animators watch mime? Because mime is the basis of great animation. If you can tell a story without words or dialogue, then you have the makings of a great piece of animation. Our animators at Bucks have to master the art of body language and facial expressions long before they learn the dark arts of lipsync and dialogue.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Meet Norman! A Versatile and Free Animation Rig

There are many free rigs available to Maya animators hoping to practice and learn their craft. Norman, Max, Morpheus - these are all excellent rigs, easy to download, all free for non-commercial use.

But beware - all rigs are different and each one has its own quirks. All take time to get used to, and each one has its frustrations.  Norman was one of the first character rigs made available for student use, free on a non-commercial license. Norman is reliable, relatively simple to use, and highly customisable.

Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions For Animators

Happy New Year!
What should an animator's new year's resolutions be?

The animation industry is a huge and growing business, much bigger than it was just a few years years ago.

But the world of animation and visual effects is a competitive one, and good animators need to be smart to stay on top of their game.  So, what are some simple ways to maintain your edge in 2017?

Friday, 30 December 2016

3D Animation Taster Days on January 13 and 25

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Fancy trying out 3D animation for a day? I'm running two Animation Taster Days at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, London on January 13 and 25.  Taster Days are a great chance to come and learn about character and creature animation.

The purpose of an animation taster day to give future animators an idea of what it's like to work in the  industry, and find out if this is a career that's right for them.

You will work with Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25. By the end of the day you'll have your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

What is Redshift? - by Lyuboslav Angelov

Go to any animation or vfx festival and you will hear hair-raising tales of super-long render times, of waiting for days on end for a single frame or batch of frames to render.

In reality, CG artists need our renders to be as quick and efficient as possible.  Long render times increase our costs and take too much time to get things done.

Recently, Bucks animation undergraduate Lyuboslav Angelov has been getting great results from Redshift, a new rendering tool - which has also been adopted by leading London studios such as Blue Zoo. We asked Lyuboslav to explain how Redshift works and how students can benefit from its speed and simplicity.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Bucks Animation Compilation Reel 2016

Above is the latest Bucks Animation Compilation Reel - 2016. Here we have featured a selection of the best work done by our students at Bucks over the past year. We're proud of the work our students are doing, raising the bar each year and trying to out-do the work done by past years' students. Congratulations to everyone whose work made it into this latest compilation of the finest animation and VFX work done at Bucks.