Friday, 1 August 2014

Why are we handing out free laptops at Bucks? Have we lost our senses?

free laptops! Yay!
Why do we offer free laptops to our freshmen students in October? The answer is simple: we want all of our students to be able to work equally as well from home as they do at university. One of the many career paths open to a skilled digital animator is to do freelance work from home, and the best way to do this is to master as many software packages as possible, allowing you you to take on small jobs even while you are still at uni.  So, what kind of computer do our students actually get?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sound designer Scott Benson Explains How to Mix a Movie in 72 Hours, and How Sound Designers can work with Animators at Bucks

Bucks sound design student Scott Benson just recently finished mixing and editing the sound on a feature film  - all done within 72 hours. We asked him how he managed to pull of what looks like an insurmountable task, and also how our animators can get the best out of collaborating with sound designers to make great films here at Bucks.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Miracles and Inspirations by Bucks Graduate Monika Dzikowicz makes the Official Selection of the Festival de Cine de Madrid

Monika Dzikowicz graduated from Bucks last year, and recently completed her short film Miracles and Inspirations, which has been entered in to short film festivals all around the world. Most recently the film has been accepted for the Official Selection at the 23rd Festival de Cine de Madrid, taking place in Spain in October of this year.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bucks Animation Graduate Ben Chalk Launches a New Campaign for United Agency

United Agency
Bucks Animation graduate Ben Chalk works for the design agency United Agency, doing digital and social campaigns for commercial clients. We asked him to tell us about his latest work, how he got started, and what advice he can give to our students at Bucks in order to forge a successful career in the world of design, animation and motion graphics. He has just finished the design work for a new campaign, The Great Outdoors app for Thomas Cook and Brand USA, which launched this week.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Animator's Survival Kit for the iPad

The Animator's Survival Kit
As every student of animation knows, the best book for learning animation is The Animator's Survival Kit. For over a decade it has been the industry standard textbook. The only problem with the book is you can't see the animation - which is where the iPad version comes in. It's like having both the DVD series and the book rolled into one, because it doesn't just tell you how to do stuff - it shows you how to do it as well.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Bucks Graduate Jack Strood talks about his new job at Firebird Films

Jack Strood recently graduated from the Animation Games and Interactive media course at Bucks, and right away found work at the Swindon based animation studio Firebird Films, where he is working on a number of new projects. We asked Jack to tell us about his job, and how he managed to start his career in animation so soon after leaving Bucks.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Summer Pleasures for our Freshmen Students - and a Reading List

Not that we want to spoil your summer. Photo: Wikipedia
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in September at Bucks? Needless to say, we don't want to spoil your summer, especially given the glorious weather that we are currently enjoying. Still, it's worth casting half an eye forward to September, and thinking about some of the things you might do to get ready for your studies. Here's a checklist of stuff to get you started. It's not comprehensive, and 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 here at Bucks.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bucks Lecturer Allen Stroud introduces Lave Revolution

Lave Revolution by Allen Stroud
Bucks lecturer Allen Stroud is a man of many talents. Among his many duties at Bucks, he teaches our first year animators Flash, the 2D animation software that can be used to create excellent animated films. He also has a number of media projects in development, including Lave Revolution, based on the pioneering early 1980s video game. We asked Allen to talk about his work inside and out of the university.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Bucks lecturer Alex Williams introduces "Queen's Counsel", and a new book of cartoons

The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus - 20 years in The Times
Bucks animation lecturer Alex Williams initially trained as a barrister, and since 1993 he has published a weekly cartoon strip Queen's Counsel in the law pages of The Times. Recently he published a new book, The Queen's Counsel Lawyer's Omnibus, a compilation of his favourite cartoons printed in the newspaper over the past 20 years. We asked him to talk a little about the book, and also about how a lawyer became a cartoonist and an animator.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Illusion of Life - the Original Animation Bible

The original animation bible
The Illusion of Life was first published in the 1970s. It caused a sensation among animators, because it represented for the first time in print the accumulated wisdom of the Disney studio - set out in detail for anyone who cared to learn. The 1970s were a lean time for animation; Walt Disney was dead and the revival that would come with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Little Mermaid was still far in the future.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Max Howard Teaches our Students How to Produce a Hollywood Movie

Max Howard and Bucks animation students. From left: Felix Deacon, Ellouise Benjamin, James Hatton, Jack Copley, Max Howard, Kalim Momen, Alex Williams, Georgia Nichols, Anton Alfimenko, Ben Gray
Earlier this year Producer Max Howard came to Bucks to talk about how to produce an independent animated film.  He talked in detail about how films get financed, walking our students through all the steps necessary to get a film off the ground and into theatres. With a wealth of experience at major Hollywood Studios, and also with a number of independent animated features under his belt (plus one coming out this year - The Hero of Colour City - there are few producers better qualified to explain how the system actually works.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Still time left to apply to start our course in September!

Not too late to apply!
It's high summer, and September is fast approaching. UCAS applications have long closed, and most folks have decided by now where they want to go to Uni and what they want to study, and have probably accepted a place. Too late then, to apply to study Animation and Visual Effects at Bucks. Or is it? In fact, it’s not too late to apply. We still have a couple of spots available on our new course, so don't despair. 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!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

"Charlie & Yip" wins Best Animation at the British Animation Film Festival

Charlie and Yip
"Charlie & Yip", a short film directed by Bucks animation tutor Alex Williams, and animated by Tumblehead Animation in Denmark, has just won Best Animation at the 2014 British Animation Film Festival. The short was screened on June 8 in London at the Empire Leicester Square, competing with dozens of other shorts in three successive screenings over the course of the day.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Calling all Bucks graduates - become a Jedi in Singapore

Lucasfilm are looking for Jedi masters to serve an apprenticeship in Singapore. Their "Jedi Masters Program" offers talented digital artists "the chance to learn from the masters in a variety of creative disciplines -- from visual effects on live-action films to animated feature films."

I worked myself in Singapore a few years back and can personally recommend it. The Singapore Government is highly motivated to bring in international talent, so acquiring a work visa is rarely a problem. And once you are there, you have the chance to explore South East Asia on your weekends, or just hang out at the Raffles Hotel in downtown Singapore and pretend you're Ernest Hemingway. Plus, it's nice and warm all year round and the local cuisine is seriously delicious.

Friday, 18 July 2014

How to Use our Animation Tutorials at Vimeo

Tutorials are hosted at Vimeo - just login!
Here at Bucks we believe in giving our students the best possible experience, and that means having plenty of video content to supplement the classroom sessions. Animation takes time to master, but by carefully going through our video tutorials, hosted at Vimeo, all our students can take the time they need to master this complex craft. Here's how it all works:

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Meet our tutors - Alex Williams

Alex Williams
Alex Williams has been teaching at Bucks since September 2012 when he first joined the animation team. Alex has spent 25 years working in the animation industry, and his arrival at Bucks has led to an increased emphasis on the art and craft of animation at Bucks - hence the change of title of the course from "Animation, Games and Interactive Media" to "Animation and Visual Effects". We asked Alex to talk about the changes going on at Bucks, and what students can look forward to.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

One Day Only - Story Masterclass with Frank Gladstone on 16th August - just £6!

Lupus films are running a one day masterclass with animation industry veteran Frank Gladstone on August 16th in London - for just £6. Anyone who is serious about story telling in animation should attend - I'll most likely be there myself. Frank is a world-class talent whose credits include some of the biggest hits in animation history. Full details below:

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Do you need to study at university to learn animation?

The TAAFI Education Panel
On Monday 16 June TAAFI - the Toronto Animation Art Festival International - hosted a panel talk on the subject of  “An Animation Education”. The sub-title of the talk was “Do you need to go to university to learn animation?”. In other words, given all the opportunities now available to study online, should  students still commit to the expense and time of a full undergraduate education?

On the panel to discuss the question were Richard Arroyo – head of Games at,  Mark Jones, chair, School of Creative Arts, Aubrey Mintz, Head of Animation, California State University Long Beach, Brooke Keesling, Manager, Animation Talent, and Tony Tarantini, Sheridan College Professor of Animation. The first question was this:

Monday, 14 July 2014

The neuroscience of animation - how your brain's wiring makes you like cartoons

Your brain, but animated
At this year's SAS (Society of Animation Studies) conference in Toronto, a number of presentations focused on the subject of Animation and the Mind - The Neuroscience of Animation. This field of research tries to look at animation from a neuroscientific point of view, asking what it is about the design and structure of our brains that influences how we watch and enjoy animation. It's field that asks not just which cartoons we like, but why we like them, on a level that digs deep below our subconscious.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

T Dan Hofstedt explains The Secret of Animation

T. Dan Hofstedt - animation supremo
My old friend and former kumrad at Disney animation, T Dan Hofsted, recently posted at Facebook a reply to a student asking how to become an animator. T Dan is one of the best animators I know, a veteran of countless Disney hits including The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules and Mulan, so he ought to know a thing or two about how to make it as an animator. Here is what he wrote:

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Free conference on careers in creative industries on Wednesday 23 July

Clearhead: a digital creative agency
Confused about how to develop a career in the creative industries? The creative agency Clearhead are hosting a free conference for people hoping to forge their own way in creative media. Interested in a creative career? Come along to their Careers day on Wednesday 23 July and find out how to make it happen.