Thursday, 20 July 2017

Stuart Penn Talks Alien Covenant on 3rd August

Stuart Penn
Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn will be talking about his work at a free event in London in two weeks, on Thursday 3rd August at 6.30pm.

Stuart's work includes the digital oil refinery "Hell's Gate" on James Cameron's Avatar, the Hong Kong sequence of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the development of the Extremis effect for Marvel's Iron Man 3 and the "Knowhere" environment for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Stuart will be talking about his recent work as VFX supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. We encourage all our students to attend - and ask questions. This is a chance to meet a successful industry professional and ask him - how does a student artist break into this field?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Bring Your Own Animation Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
One of the great advantages of studying animation and VFX at Bucks is our close proximity to London and the expanding industry in our capital city.

One event we highly recommend our students attend is - "Bring Your Own Animation". The monthly event takes place tonight, Monday July 17th.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Virtual Reality UK Today!

VR UK is at Ravensbourne today and tomorrow
The UK Virtual Reality Festival is taking place today and tomorrow, 6th and 7th July, at Ravensbourne in London. Sponsored by the Arts Council and the Lottery Fund, this event looks to be a great opportunity to break into the fastest-growing part of our industry - Virtual Reality.

Want to be an expert in a field that no-one really understands yet? Get yourself to Ravensourne. For our undergraduate students, being near London and the many opportunities to attend events like this one is one of the great advantages of studying at Bucks. For details, follow this link.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

What's Inside our Online MA in 3D Animation?


What's inside our Online MA in 3D Animation? It's a question we get asked a lot; after all, anyone signing up for 18 months of study wants to know what they're actually committing themselves to.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Marcio Leiria Animator at Ampetronic

Marcio Leiria
Many congratulations to Bucks MA student Marcio Leiria who has just got a 3D animation job with Ampetronic, an engineering company who are "world leaders in the design and manufacture of audio induction loop systems". 

Mario's new job is a reminder that the animation industry is much more broad and diverse that it used to be, and that there are new opportunities in surprising places. 

We asked him a few questions about how he got the job.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Animation Taster Day Monday 24th July.

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Monday 24th July.

Animation Taster Days are a chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Festivus is Back!

Festivus is back!  – with special guests! The Festivus animation event is an opportunity to get to know people in the London animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The event takes place on Thursday 13th July at The Comedy Pub in London.

There is a guest speaker from Animation UK, and Blue Zoo will also be there.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Endless Reference for Animators - at YouTube

Using live action reference to inform your animation can be one of the best ways to get started as an animator.

I have used live action reference many times on many films, especially movies with human characters, such as The Road to El Dorado and Spirit - Stallion of the Cimarron, and especially on action shots where the motion was complex and hard to get right.

Monday, 19 June 2017

BYOA Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
One of the great advantages of studying animation and VFX at Bucks is our close proximity to London and the expanding industry in our capital city.

One event we highly recommend our students attend is - "Bring Your Own Animation". The monthly event takes place tonight, Monday June 19th.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Mental Ray Is Back - And It's Free!

Mental Ray is back! 3D Render by Amaru Zeas
Mental Ray is Back! NVIDIA, makers of the classic ray tracer - it used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya - have now released a version of their software which is free for student use.  This is great news for animation students, because Mental Ray has a number of advtantages over its successor Arnold.  In particular, you can achieve some very quick and attractive lighting setups in Mental ray using Physical Sun & Sky, the closest thing Maya has to a "Make It Look Cool" button.  So, how can our students get a free copy of Mental Ray?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Government Loans for Post-Grad Study

Government help is available
The UK Government's student loan system for postgraduate master's degrees is now up and running.

These low interest loans now provide students in the UK with access to postgraduate university courses - including our Online MA in 3D Animation.

This is very good news indeed for prospective students who would like to go on to do post-graduate study with us.

So, how does the system actually work?

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Animal Logic - What's in a Demo Reel?

The folks who brought you Lego Movie
At a recent talk in London Patricia Kung, head of Recruitment at Animal Logic, explained what Animal Logic look for in an animation demo reel. 

Animal Logic is one of Australia's leading animation and VFX companies, responsible for global box office hits like the Oscar-nominated The Lego Movie. Other movie credits include Babe, Mouse Hunt, Face Off, The Matrix, Moulin Rouge, House of Flying Daggers, 300, The Great Gatsby, Happy Feet, Legend of the Guardians, and Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.

So, what is life like down under for animation and VFX graduates, and (most importantly) how can our animation graduates start their careers at Animal Logic?

Friday, 26 May 2017

Animation Taster Days 30th May & 14th June

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? I'm running two Animation Taster Days in London on Tuesday 30th May and Tuesday 14th June, so that animation students can learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. 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?

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Great Free Animation Rigs at Mothman TD

Here at Bucks we're pleased to recommend the superb Mothman TD website, packed with excellent free rigs for use by Maya animators.

Probably the single most useful rig for our students at Animation Apprentice is the horse, excellent for studying quadruped locomotion, but there are many other free rigs which are very useful for learning different aspects of character and creature animation.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Bucks Animation: YouTube and a New Website

Where can you find examples of our students' work? At our YouTube channel, of course! 

At YouTube you'll find plenty of student work, including work done by undergraduates, studying animation and visual effects at our High Wycombe campus, and our MA students, who are learning the craft of animation entirely online, working from remote locations all over the world.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Bucks Animation Showcase 9-15 June

Bucks show 9-15 June 2017

It's time for our summer show! Buckinghamshire New University's School of Arts & Creative Industries End of Year Show is about to launch.  Come and visit our High Wycombe campus and see the fantastic work done by our students. This year Bucks is showcasing and celebrating the work of our final year students within the Departments of Art & Design, Media & Creative Industries and Performance & Dance. The show runs from June 9 to Jne 15. To find out more, follow this link.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Online MA Starts September

The world's first online MA in animation
It's not too late! We're still accepting applications for the September 2017 intake of our online MA in 3D animation.

The online MA is a unique degree - the first of its kind - 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.

Monday, 15 May 2017

BYOA Tonight!

Lukin pub, Fitzrovia
One of the great benefits of studying animation at Bucks is easy access to London and the growing animation and VFX industry.  The monthly event "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place tonight, Monday May 15th.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London. Tonight the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Michael Morgan on Making it as an Animator

Our students at Bucks are fortunate in being so close to the thriving animation and VFX industry in London.  Last week animator Michael Morgan spoke at an event at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London, where he talked about how animators can break into the industry.

Michael is an animator with an extensive list of credits in video games, TV Commercials and Feature films.  At the talk, Michael shared his experience of working on projects such as Star Wars - The Clone Wars, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2, Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast and Planet of the Apes. 

In particular, he talked about how to get "From the Classroom to the Studio".

Specifically, how do graduates break into the animation industry? What are the secrets of success?

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Blue Zoo Animation Internships

Applications for Blue Zoo's summer internship roles are now open. The 6-8 week paid placements are "like a real job but without the demands & expectations, allowing participants to develop and learn how a big animation studio works and real projects are run".

Friday, 21 April 2017

Virtual Reality Show in London

Virtual Reality Show
The Virtual Reality Show is coming to Islington, North London, this weekend. With an impressive array of attendees and speakers, this could be the perfect event to find out the future of VR and - crucially for our students - who is hiring talent, and what skills are in demand. What software will you need to learn to join the VR Revolution?

One of the many benefits of studying animation and VFX at Bucks is the chance to pop down to London for events like this. London is a global hub for new technology and we strongly encourage our students to attend events like this one whenever possible. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Meet Willy!

Our online MA animators are digging into dialogue and lipsync this week, and one of the rigs they are using is Willy - an excellent free rig, created by Matthew Moore, and free to download for use by Maya animators.

Willy is a broad, flexible and cartoony rig, very simple to use and great for the early stages of learning animation - especially dialogue and lipsync.

However, like all animation rigs, Willy has his quirks. So, how can our animation students get the most out of Willy?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Bring Your Own Animation Tuesday 18th April

One of the many advantages of studying animation at Bucks is close proximity to London, a world centre for animation and visual effects.

So we encourage our students to attend events like this one - "Bring Your Own Animation" on Tuesday 18th April. BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a pub in London.

This month the event is being organised by the London branch of SIGGRAPH, at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or a reel (isn't everyone?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from Professional Animators.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

How to Get Ready for September

The best book on animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us as undergraduates at Bucks in September? Or, equally importantly, as post-grad students doing the online MA in 3D animation?  It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

BAFTA Scholarships for Post-Graduate Study

Want to do our online MA in 3D animation - but short on cash? Why not apply for a a BAFTA scholarship?

BAFTA has opened applications for its scholarship programmes, worth up to £12,000. So what's stopping you? Apply now!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Henry Badgett in London on Wednesday 5 April

Meet the man behind Games of Thrones
One of the many advantages of studying at Bucks is the chance to pop into London for talks and events in the animation and VFX business.

This week, Escape Studios is hosting another of their free "Evening With..." events, this time on Wednesday 5 April  at their Shepherd's Bush studio, with Henry Badgett.  Henry is a VFX Supervisor at BlueBolt, and one of the original supervisors on Games of Thrones.

Friday, 31 March 2017

London Animation Club Tuesday 4th April

Calling all Bucks animators! Why not come to the next London Animation Club meetup on Tuesday 4th April 2017?

The LAC will be screening a little known animated film titled "Know Your Europeans", in honour (or not) of the UK triggering Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March and announcing its intention to leave the European Union.

More importantly, informal societies like LAC offer the opportunity to meet other London-based animators and find out the latest news and gossip. There isn't a better place to find out who is hiring animators than in the pub over a pint of London Pride.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Enter the Character Design Challenge!

Character Design Challenge!
Calling all Bucks Character Designers! There are just two days left to enter this month's Character Design Challenge!

The CDC is a bit like the Eleven Second Club, but for character designers. It launched in 2015 and already has over 25,000 thousand members.

This month's design challenge is .....Carnival of Venice! So what are you waiting for? Let's get designing!

Friday, 24 March 2017

How Do You Stop The Feet Sliding When You Animate a Walk Cycle?



How do you stop the feet sliding when you animate a walk cycle? It's a question often asked by animation students and, since the answer is a little technical, here is a free video which explains how to tackle the problem. It runs about 10 minutes, and should help explain how to get it right first time, and stop those feet from slipping around.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Apply for Our Online Masters Degree

The world's first online MA in animation
We're currently taking applications for the September 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
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?