A couple of weeks ago we announced a reunion of the first Escape Pod from 2005, and last Friday we got them together. Pictured above are the Podi on their return to Escape, from whence they were jettisoned seven years ago.
After last week’s fruity frolics and forays into furniture, we began week four of our Maya Course finishing the seat cover of our poly modelled chair. The back row gang was complete again as our comrade James returned as he was unable to attend last week’s lessons. He was gutted to miss the chair making exercise, because he’s a budding furniture designer now hoping to get an internship at a London studio, and believes learning Maya will boost his creative potential.
With festival season starting to gradually rear her smiley face, a number of video teasers have been released online. This stunning movie, filmed by my former company The OMC, a freelance collective of creative media professionals based in Hackney Wick London, succinctly captures the essence of a good festival, and was shot at Outlook - Europe's largest Bass music festival.
Many of you will recognise Boston Limited for their range of bespoke IT and server solutions - we have mentioned them on this blog on a number of occasions. Boxx workstations, Quattro nodes and Igloo servers are products that have made a significant impact in their relative markets. What’s great about Boston is that they pay attention to the changing world of technology, and have a knack for keeping ahead by introducing the latest and greatest bits of technology into their products. This is exactly what customers want and in so doing they make new technologies more accessible.
After an absence of a week, I am back again with my usual digest of news. This week, we have some great showreels from the likes of Pixomondo, a great trailer from Spiderman and even some tutorials.
Last weekend I stumbled across an album cover with the VES (Visual Effects Society) logo on it. For those of you who don’t know, the current logo for the VES is the iconic image of the moon from the film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), a 16 minute black and white silent film from 1902. It was a revolutionary film for its time, being not only the first sci-fi but also using special effects that were very high tech at the turn of the century. Though the film was distributed predominately in black and white there was also a hand-coloured version that was thought to be lost for quite some time until the only surviving print was found in Spain in 1993.
I was sitting in the front row, next to Rodrigo from Brazil, on Monday night, as our class made an effort to complete the exercise of modelling fruit in NURBS, before we moved on to making a chair in Polygons. I felt a little more confident, after practicing my Primitive Man Online tutorial last weekend, and I looked forward to shading and texturing my wonky apple. But before I got to that moment there was a NURB banana skin, waiting for me to slip on.
Thanks to everyone who tuned onto our Houdini webinar today, what a great turnout! Seems that everyone found it really helpful especially as Houdini is such a hot topic at the moment. We didn’t have time to get around to all of your questions, so if there’s still something that you’d like to ask, don’t hesitate, just reply to this post and I’ll get back to you with as much information as possible. We’re also going to be posting a recording of the webinar on our website soon so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that. This is exactly the kind of stuff that we announce in our monthly newsletters so make sure you’re signed up to it.
The team at Avere have what looks like an impressive storage solution on their hands, and it’s great to see them taking the extra steps to make it the best it can be. Very recently they recorded a performance benchmark that could put the competition to shame - 1.56 Million IOPS with less than three standard equipment racks. It was 2.5 to be exact.
This was hardly surprising news, but the positive spin put on this stat by Universities UK, was that the drop wasn’t as great as predicted. However, a decrease of 8.7% is significant, and demonstrates prospective students are unable or unwilling to pay the increase in fees imposed by the current government.
There were more women than men applying, but the biggest drop is not amongst school leavers, down only 3.6%, but from older students over 21 which were down significantly.
However, there was also a slight increase in overseas students applying here, and conversely more UK students are applying abroad, for example, Maastricht University forecasts 600 applications.
It’s not rocket science figuring out that fees of £9000 p/a over a three year degree, plus all living costs will be a considerable sum to repay, and for a non-vocational degree, it will require serious thought to justify. After all, if the degree studied will not guarantee a job at the end earning you X amount, then being saddled with that kind of debt is a hefty burden to bear.
Even the prospect of the student idyll and those first tastes of freedom living away from the parents, in the life of Riley, may now seem a little indulgent.
In our sector, Animation and Computer Graphic degrees are wide ranging and extensive, but this can be both their strength and their weakness. Yes, you may learn a wide range of skills, direct your own mini movie masterpiece, and if you’re exceptionally talented and hardworking, this film may lead to a job winning Showreel.
The reality is too often we see films that are either strong in one discipline but severely lacking in others, so making the overall effect disappointing. Or either, so many students have worked on one jaw dropping movie, that it’s hard to see exactly how much of a role any one individual played in the overall execution.
If getting a job is your top priority, fair to say it’s better to study an in-depth industry specific course, such as we offer here at Escape Studios, rather than something less focused.
Last month we asked architects and designers to enter a competition to win an HP mobile workstation with V-Ray for 3ds Max software. The competition is now over, and we have to say we were really pleased with the response we had. It was great to see so many excited about the prospect of winning these two powerful technologies. A large number of you got all three answers correct but unfortunately there could be only one winner, and picked at random the winner is Simon Jennings of Jennings Designs, Nottinghamshire.
There are no Antipodeans in our class, but if there were we might use the Aussie slang phrase ‘We'll be apples’ (meaning it’ll be alright), as we started to understand the workflow, and make our first tentative steps at modelling fruit in Maya. For on Monday night Mark began our second week of tuition with an exercise in creating an apple, giving new meaning to Maya Core.
Flipbook, the Manchester based animation and VFX boutique studio, are celebrating a second year in business this week. Quite literally two years ago to the date (February 8th 2010) they took on their very first job. Since then Flipbook have grown from strength to strength, and look forward to a prosperous future as they make some significant upgrades in the company’s workflow.
If you’re an aspiring VFX artist, knowing Maya inside out is an absolute must. On our VFX course, I make sure that every student has a good understanding of Dynamics and linking objects kinematically which are an integral part of the VFX pipeline. Not knowing these just isn’t an option. They form part of a basic skillset which post houses will expect you to know. That’s why, this month, I’ve created a tutorial which will give you two new skills you can add to your showreel. Being able to use Dynamics fluently will demonstrate to potential employers that you understand the key techniques in VFX and are ready to take your first steps in the industry. So what are you waiting for? Log on to our eLearning platform and add these skills to your existing toolset.
Are you an aspiring CG artist who’s trying to get your CG career off the ground? Are you working in the creative industry and want to transfer your skills to VFX? We know how difficult it can be to make decisions and chose the right path, but that’s where our Careers Guide can help. By revealing the many opportunities that exist within the CG industry, the guide helps you overcome some of the hurdles you might face when you start making career choices.
There's all sorts of goodies in this week's edition of my News Round Up: we have free sofware from DAZ3D, some cool VFX breakdowns, the usual Oscar related stories, and lots of lots of news on the state of the UK education system. Hope you enjoy it, and as usual, I welcome your feedback.