Saturday, 25 April 2015

How Do Pixar Animators Plan Their Shots?

The secret of good animation lies in the planning, and experienced animators know that by drawing clear thumbnails to plan out their work, they can save a ton of time in executing their shots. I have always used thumbnail drawings to plan my work, but seldom (to my regret) have I saved my sketches - most of them hit the bin long ago.  But one animator who has saved a ton of his planning sketches is Pixar's Victor Navone, and you can see his thumbnail gallery here.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Nicky Brown Brings Compositing Masterclass to Bucks Today!

Compositing made easy
Bucks welcomes visual effects compositor Nicky Brown today to teach our students the secrets of Nuke, now the VFX industry's leading compositing software. Nicky has extensive experience working in the visual effects, animation and games industry, having worked on projects at the BBC, on Planet Dinosaur, and on app games such as Walking With Dinosaurs.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Bucks To Host Election Debate on 28 April - Chaired by Dr Who!

Colin Baker in the 1970s as Dr Who. Copyright: BBC
Bucks New University is hosting a General Election Hustings Debate, organised by the Bucks Free Press newspaper, in the Gateway Lecture Theatre at 7pm on Tuesday 28 April. The debate will feature Wycombe MP Steve Baker for the Conservatives; Jem Bailey for the Green Party; Steve Guy for the Liberal Democrats; David Meacock for UKIP; David Williams for Labour; and Independent David Fitton. Best of all, the debate will be chaired by local resident and former Doctor Who star Colin Baker.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Disney's Nine Old Men - Ollie Johnstone

Ollie Johnstone. Photo: Janke 
Walt Disney joked that his best animators were his "Nine Old Men" - and the nickname stuck. One of the nine was Ollie Johnstone, one of the best character animators at the Disney Studio and the man who breathed life into some of the studio's most enduring characters.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Is It Too Late To Apply To Study Animation at Bucks in September?

UCAS - still enough time left - but hurry!
Even if you missed all the UCAS deadlines to apply for our BA in Animation and Visual Effects at Bucks (starting in September 2015), it's not too late to apply.  We still have a few seats open for our fast-growing new course, with a view to launching our students' careers in this expanding industry. Below are some good reasons why we believe we are building one of the best animation courses in the country, and how you can get started on your new career as a digital artist. Why wait? Apply now!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Pixar Story Process Uncovered



Ever wondered how Pixar artists pitch their storyboards? In this excellent video, we see the awesomely talented Joe Ranft pitch the opening sequence for Toy Story. It's a great insight into how animated films get made, where sequences are worked over and re-worked in the story department long before animators get their hands on them.  When animators worked on paper by hand, many used to move fairly seamlessly between the story dept and the animation dept. Now that our tools are digital, this is less common, but being able to tell a story in pictures is still a great skill for any animator, digital or otherwise.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Saturday 25 April - Our Next Open Day at Bucks


Saturday 25 April is our next Open Day at Bucks. Open Days are a great way for prospective students to get a feeling for what it is like studying at Bucks. Come and see our campus, take the tour and see the state-of-the-art facilities that we offer. Meet the Animation & VFX course team, and find out what we can do to start your career in this most exciting, challenging, and rapidly-expanding industry. We'll even give you free coffee and muffins.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Don't Forget - FMX is Coming! May 5th to May 8th 2015


This is a reminder for all our animation and VFX students that FMX in Germany 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 May 5th to May 8th 2015. 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.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Steve Burch Brings Producing Animation Workshop to Bucks on Monday 26 May

Steve Burch
On Monday 26 May we again welcome Steve Burch visit Bucks for a lecture and workshop on Producing Animation.  Steve has 26 years experience in the industry, having worked on around dozen animated features in Hollywood and Europe, including Brad Bird’s modern classic The Iron Giant. His roles have included Special Effects Supervisor for Dreamworks and Warner Brothers feature films. Steve has worked with three Oscar winning directors and has produced and directed many commercials and animated shorts.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Walt - The Man Behind The Myth



Walt - The Man Behind The Myth is a 90 minute documentary about the life of the legendary animator who is, more than any single individual, responsible for the medium that we work in today. Why watch the documentary? Because it's important to know the history of our medium; we all stand on the shoulders of giants and no-one in our industry was bigger than Disney. Watching documentaries like this one helps all of us to improve our own work, by taking inspiration from the pioneers of animation, such as Walt Disney and the incredibly talented team that he put together.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Motion Graphics by Sham Salim



Recently our first year animators completed a motion graphics assignment with Bucks lecturer Rob Kelly, whose stunning Idents for BBC 2 and other channels can still be seen playing on broadcast TV today. The brief was to create an advert for a new product - a watch. Our students delivered some excellent work, most of which was done in After Effects, a piece of software that few had tried before. One of the most successful is the one you can see above, done by first year animator Sham Salim.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

How to Animate Lipsync




Above is an excellent video on how to animate lipsync, showing how to break the process down into easy sections. The idea is to make sure that your work starts off simple and gradually grows in complexity as you layer in the detail.  At its simplest, good lipsync is just about opening the character's mouth on the vowels, and closing it on the consonants. But, developing a system to keep it simple and at the same time get a sophisticated result, is all part of mastering the art and craft of animation.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Monday April 27 to Friday May 1 is Rigging Week at Bucks

Golden Companss - one of Karen's many film credits
April 27 to May 1st is Rigging Week for our second year animators at Bucks. We're welcoming master rigger Karen Halliwell to Bucks to get our students up to speed on the latest techniques for rigging in Maya. Karen has worked on hit films like Harry Potter, Rango, John Carter and Golden Compass. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Chuck Jones - Extremes and In-Betweens



Above is a wonderful documentary about the legendary Warner Bros animation director Chuck Jones. Chuck died a few years back but his influence on our medium is immense. His comic timing is hard to beat, and the characters he helped to create - Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck - still endure today.


Friday, 3 April 2015

RealFlow's Deliciously Viscous Student Challenge - Worth $3,000


Time to enter the RealFlow "Deliciously Viscous" Student Film Challenge! At stake is $3,000 in prize money for the winning submission. RealFlow is one of the newest and most exciting software packages for creating realistic fluid motion in an animated environment, and $3,000 of prize money is a worthy prize pot. So, how does it all work?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Simon Maddocks Brings Lighting Masterclass to Bucks on Monday 20th April


Visual Effects Lighting specialist Simon Maddocks will bring a Masterclass in Lighting for Animators to Bucks on Monday 20th April. We're excited to welcome Simon to High Wycombe; he is a highly accomplished veteran of London's visual effects industry and he brings a wealth of experience to our VFX classroom. Simon's visual effects credits include Godzilla, 300: Rise of an Empire, World War Z, Iron Man 3, John Carter, Moon, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, The Golden Compass, Underdog, The Omen, V for Vendetta, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, King Arthur, The Day After Tomorrow, Star Trek: Nemesis and, well, you get the general idea.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Learn The Art of Film at www.lavideofilmmaker.com


We live in an age in which it is possible to learn almost anything online. All you really need is the determination to concentrate - free of distractions - and dedicate enough time to learn the subject properly. Film is no exception to this, and one excellent site that we highly recommend is www.lavideofilmmaker.com, a free website with all kinds of excellent resources on how to make movies. Any serious student of film should navigate to it, bookmark it, and drink deep from the well.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Bucks Art Foundation Course Has Lift Off

Foundation course student work
One of the best things about studying at Bucks is the wide variety of creative work being done here at the university. Yesterday I was looking for a room on campus and I stumbled into the workshop of the Fine Art Foundation Course - where someone appears to be building a scale model of a WW2 biplane. How cool is this? It looks like someone is having a great deal of fun. In fact, the Foundation Course in Fine Art is one of our most popular and successful courses at Bucks, and a great way for a student to experiment in all different kinds of creative media. Which, apparently, includes building scale models of WW2 biplanes.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Bucks Animation Students Invited To Free Harry Potter Studio Tour on May 13th

Harry Potter Leavesden Entrance. Photo by Karen Roe
We're excited to announce that Bucks animation & VFX students will be taking the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden on May 13th! Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is a 80-hectare studio complex in Hertfordshire and a major film and media complex, used for filming the Harry Potter series of films. Obviously, this trip is purely about helping our students to learn about animation and visual effects, and has nothing to do with wanting to have fun at a movie theme park. We'll be working really hard, I promise.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Spartan Spear Throw by Jack Hubbard



Jack Hubbard, one of our first year animators, did this animation of a Spartan warrior throwing a spear as part of his first year animation module. The brief was simple - animate a character throwing something. As with all the best animation, the animator has here gone beyond the brief to give us a performance that isn't just technically impressive but also entertaining, in part by collaborating with one of our sound design students, George Jones. Congratulations to Jack and George on an excellent piece of work.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

How Our New Online MA in Animation Will Actually Work



We're excited to be launching an animation world-first here at Bucks - the first online MA in Animation. Building on our new course in Animation and Visual Effects, we're launching a new online post graduate degree which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world. It is a unique blend of practical training and Masters-level academic content. Above is a short video that explains how the new course will actually work in practice.