Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Anifest is Back! Deadline: 30th September 2014

 The Canterbury Anifest Short Film Competition returns for 2014. Submissions are now open for animated shorts under ten minutes in length with entry closing on Tuesday 30th September 2014. Entries will then be considered by the Anifest judging panel, which includes Andy Frain, Producer of the cult classic Japanese animated film Ghost in the Shell, and Michael Arias, Director of Tekkonkinkreet.

Monday, 15 September 2014

James Chiang Explains What Makes a Great Animator

The animator who brought you surfing penguins
Animator, Director and artist James "JC" Chiang has worked as an animator on many feature films including Robots, Ice Age - The Meltdown, Surf's Up and Open Season, and was animation director on the 2008 Veggie Tales movie. He teaches animation, and is a also an accomplished fine artist in his own right. We asked him to explain what, exactly, makes a great animator.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Farewell to Poland

School expo at the beautiful Technical University Warsaw
We're leaving Poland today, it's time to go back to work in High Wycombe to get ready to welcome our new animation and visual effects students, who start with us in just ten days. It's been huge fun talking to students here about the opportunities available to study overseas. Poland has almost 100 secondary schools with a specialism in the visual arts - a benevolent legacy of the Communist era and something that is quite unknown in the UK, where the visual arts barely gets a mention at many secondary schools, and is almost never given the same classroom time as the sciences, languages and the humanities.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What is Studia w Anglii?

Janusz Dargiewicz ("Yanoosh Dargyayvitch") is a Polish educator who founded Studia w Anglii (“Stoodiavangly”) in 2006 to help and encourage Polish students to have the opportunity to study in Britain. Since then, he has helped over 500 students from all over Poland to make the journey to enroll at universities in the UK, most notably here at Bucks. We caught up with him in Poland and asked him to talk about Studia w Anglii and how it all works.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bucks New University Animation & VFX Goes to Poland

Bydgoszcz ("Bidgosh"). Image: Wikipedia
This week I am touring schools with a specialism in art and design in Poland, talking to students about the possibility of studying in the UK. There are many schools and colleges in Poland which train students in the visual arts, and many talented students who probably don't realise what a great career they could have in digital media. The animation and visual effects industry is not yet well developed in Poland, but it is a growing industry, and Students from Poland have the right to work anywhere in the EU, including the UK.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Open Day at Bucks on Saturday 11th October

Saturday 11th October 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.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Finding work at animationjobs.com


Nowadays there are lots of great websites to check for the latest news on who is hiring in the animation industry.  One of the best new sites that every animator should be aware of is www.animationjobs.com. The clue is in the name, and they have plenty of listings for the latest vacancies. Best of all, you can sign up for an email altert, and have them let you know what's new. So polish your CV/Resume, make sure your demo reel is up to scratch, and get out there and start applying.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

RSA Student Design Awards Launched. Deadline: 4th March 2015

The RSA Student Design Awards (SDAs) is a competition that challenges designers at University level to tackle design briefs focused around pressing real-world issues. They have eight briefs this year – each is focused around a different social, environmental or economic issue. The challenges range from designing sustainable toys to designing ways of connecting people to their heritage. For the first time in recent history they are launching an animation brief titled ‘Moving Pictures’, which provides two exclusive audio files from the RSA Events programme, and asks students to produce an accompanying animation to energise and illuminate the content.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Does Education Encourage Creativity - or Kill It?

Sir Ken Robinson. Photo: Wikipedia
Sir Ken Robinson is an educator who believes passionately in the importance of teaching creativity in our schools. In an interview on Radio 4 yesterday morning, he talked about why he thinks our system of education is broken and needs fixing. Robinson argues that creative thinking and creativity are a vitally important - and widely neglected - part of our education system. Dance, he says, should be as important as Maths, of equal value and time in the curriculum. If you missed him on the radio, you can watch his fascinating (and very entertaining) 2007 TED talk below.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Secrets of Independent Film Finance Revealed

How do you finance an independent animated feature film? And what is Gap Finance? If you are trying to raise funds for a movie, gap finance is something you need to understand. In brief, it's the point in the funding process where you bridge the gap between what you have been promised, and what you actually have in the bank to start making your picture. At the European Media Forum Closing the Gap, Ian Hutchinson of Silver Reel partners explained what Gap Finance is, and how it actually works.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Where can you find free rigs for animation?

There are many free rigs available to Maya animators hoping to practice and learn their craft. Norman, Max, Morpheus - all excellent rigs available at no charge and 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 will drive you crazy at first. Fortunately for us, The Eleven Second Club Resources Page has helpfully provided a page pulling together many of the best free rigs most commonly used for character animation.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Zahra Dowlatabadi Explains How to Produce Animation

Zahra Dowlatabadi is an animation producer who literally wrote the book - "Producing animation" - co-authored with Catherine Winder and edited by Tracey Miller-Zarneke. In this recent interview  at our sister blog FLiP, Zahra talked about her book and what lies behind a good producer of animation.

Bucks student wins prize for animated short

One of our first-year animation students recently won a prize at the Bristol Festival of Football Ideas, for a short film created here at Bucks.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Timo Vuorensola, director of Iron Sky, explains how to crowd fund your feature film

Timo Vuorensola, director of Iron Sky, gave a lecture at Closing The Gap, a European conference on film financing, explaining how to crowd fund an independent feature film. Iron Sky was initially funded through online sources, and later on secured more conventional funding on the back of the crowd-sourced contributions. Timo explained how he pulled off such an ambitious and successful project by starting an online fan base to help make his film.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bucks Graduate Designs Poster for Award Winning Animated Short

Charlie & Yip by Monika Dcikowicz
Bucks animation graduate Monika Dzcikowicz has designed a poster for the award-winning animated short, Charlie and Yip, which won Best Animation at the British Animated Film Festival this year. Since leaving Bucks, Monika has developed a successful freelance career working for a variety of commercial clients. She has also been directing projects at Nano Films, our small film co-operative that makes short animated films for commercial clients.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Can You Make an Animated Film in a Single Day?

Hold Me Clothes by Evgenia Golubeva
Everyone knows that animation is slow, expensive and time-consuming. However, with a bit of determination and good planning, it is possible to make an animated film in a single day.  Evgenia Golubeva is an animator and film-maker who put together a short film titled "Hold Me Clothes", a stop-motion film written by her and animated in just one day at a film festival in Italy.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

How Long Does it Take to Become a Great Animator?

Canadian animator Norman Maclaren at work. Photo: Wikipedia
Animation is a complex craft and it takes a long time to master.  I have been teaching animation since 1996 and I have spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what should go into a really good animation course. How does a school get its students to a professional level of skill within the shortest possible period of time?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Jobs Page at Cartoon Brew - Just Launched!

Cartoon Brew has long been the most-visited blog for animation news, but just recently they have expanded their remit to include jobs as well. Nowadays graduates need to focus more time and effort than ever in the course of finding that elusive first job in the industry, and part of this involves keeping an eye closely on the jobs advertised online. To find the jobs page at Cartoon Brew, visit this page: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/site-news/introducing-the-cartoon-brew-job-board-102640.html

Friday, 22 August 2014

STILL not too late to apply for September!

A Level results are in, August is waning, and September is fast approaching.  Too late then, to apply to study Animation and Visual Effects at Bucks? In fact, it is still not too late to apply. We have picked up one or two talented students recently, but we still have a couple of spots available on our new course. At this stage of the academic year, the application process is called Clearing. So what is Clearing and how does it all work? Our guide below will help you figure it out. Remember: it's not too late!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

When Should an Animator Animate on the World Control in Maya?

When Should You Use the World Control to Animate in Maya? The short answer is: "never". But, as with most rules, real life is not quite as simple as that, and there are exceptions to the rule. Since this is an area of some confusion for animators learning to to use Maya, here's a brief outline of what the rules of World Control Etiquette really are.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Nickelodeon Announces 2014 Student Animated Shorts Program: Deadline Monday Sept 15

Nickelodeon has announced their 2014 Student Animated Shorts Program, and the deadline for submission is Monday Sept 15th. You don't have to pitch a finished film, just an idea in concept. You will need an idea, characters, a setting, a story, and some storyboards. This is an opportunity to have your idea for a TV series picked up by a major US network - time to sharpen your pencils and start brainstorming.