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.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

How Can You Tell if Our Course is For You?

free 3D software
A career in animation and visual effects is not for everyone. A lot of what we do day to day involves solving software problems, trying to make stuff work on a PC or a Mac, and cursing our computer when it doesn't. Being a digital artist isn't for everyone. One way of finding out if this is something you would like to do for a career is to do a couple of tutorials online. A great place to start is with the 3D software Blender - it's completely free, and there are many free tutorials out there to get you started.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Sarah Smith talks about her new London animation studio "Locksmith"

Good news for animators in the UK! A new studio is coming to town, bringing with it the prospect of jobs, creative success, and - at last - a proper animation studio in London. In this interview a few days ago at awn.com, Locksmith Animation founder and director Sarah Smith talks about her new animation venture, which is backed by London VFX house Double Negative, and supported by entrepreneur Elizabeth Murdoch. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

What questions should you ask a client when you start work on your first freelance job?

What questions should you ask a client when you start work on your first freelance job - or indeed any freelance job? It's your job as a professional to keep everything on track and deliver what you promised. All projects start off full of optimism and excitement, but the scope for misunderstanding is great, and the risk of things going wrong is considerable. So it's worth asking the right questions up front, to ensure that the job goes well and your happy client comes back for more. Below is a list of useful questions to get you started.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bucks lecturer Alex Williams talks about his work on the Harry Potter films

Bucks lecturer Alex Williams worked on the last three Harry Potter films, while employed at the London VFX house Cinesite, in London's Soho. We asked him to talk about what he did on this very popular films series which help to transform the scale and quality of visual effects work being done here in the UK.

Friday, 15 August 2014

What's inside our new course at Bucks?

Our new Animation and VFX course that was launched in September 2013 wasn't just a re-branding of the Animation Games and Interactive Media course at Bucks.  It is a whole new course, aimed at training animators and VFX artists to work in Soho, in games, in advertising - in any media that involves creating and animating characters and creatures. Our course has been validated by Framestore, one of London's leading VFX houses, and we have gone to great lengths to try to make sure that we are teaching the very latest animation skills and software.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Bucks Animation & VFX Demo Reel 2014

We present our latest demo reel showcasing our students' best work from this past academic year. Among the students whose work is featured here include Monika Dzikowicz, Anton Alfimenko, James Hatton, Jack Strood, Georgia Nicholls, Tosin Oluyadi, David Wheeler and Stacey Houston. Music is by Bucks graduate Kris Allen. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to this latest selection of work done here at Bucks. We're proud of what all our students have achieved, and we look forward to seeing even more ambitious and challenging work in the future.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Get ready for September - The History of Animation

From pencils to Pixels by Alan Yentob

From Pencils to Pixels - In this excellent 2003 documentary, Producer Alan Yentob tells the story of how animation went digital. It's very thoughtful hour-long introduction to the medium by one of the BBC's most experienced Producer-directors. If your knowledge of the History of Animation could use a little polishing, this is a great place to begin. Don't forget that most animation studios are well-staffed with enthusiasts who seem to know everything about animation - including what Walt had for breakfast. Knowing the history of the medium helps single you out as a fellow animation fan, someone who has a good bit of knowledge of how the industry came to be the way it is today. All of which will help you at your next job interview.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Why Framestore backed our new Animation & VFX course at Bucks

Right behind us
Last year Head of Animation at Framestore Kevin Spruce signed off on our new Animation & Visual Effects course at Bucks, acting as what is known as "an external examiner". Being an external examiner involves vetting a course to make sure it is fit for purpose. In our case, that means preparing our students to be able to animate animals and creatures to a professional level, and making sure that our graduates are capable of finding work in the expanding animation and visual effects industry. Framestore are one of London's leading VFX houses, a world leader in visual effects, and the people who brought you the astonishing digital work on Gravity.