Time’s up! Escape Studios’ CG Whiz competition 2011 is now closed. Our judges are starting work behind the scenes and boy, do they have some work to do! What a breath of fresh air this year’s entries have been! The standard has been exceptionally high and unbelievably inspiring. Not only are they technically accomplished, but they are also proof of the raw talent that continues to emerge. All, I'll say is that I’m glad I'm not judging the countless number of entries; they’d all get my vote!
Back in September, Escape Studios and The Foundry joined forces to run a series of free MARI tutorials. To start with, there were two training programmes on offer, but due to an overwhelming demand we scheduled in a third. The aim for the tuition was to introduce professional artists working in the industry to some key features available in MARI, that are fast becoming an integral part of the modern pipeline.
Character Animation can be a tricky business. The industry is full of talented, creative people who are passionate and dedicated about what they do and this means they often have lengthy careers at the same company they first started out at. So, getting your first break can be tough because when those job opportunities arise, standards are high and so are expectations. Your work really does have to stand out.
The more obsevant among you will have noticed that I didn't publish my round up for a couple of weeks - apologies for this, but I decided it was time to take a well deserved holiday. Still, I am back now, and here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.
This Friday, our Character Animation Tutor Alex Williams will be presenting a talk at the Aesthetica Short Film festival. Aesthetica Film Festival is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine a respected voice in contemporary art and culture. The talk being given by Alex is called: Creating and Designing Memorable Animated Characters and its aim is to help you achieve just that! There is certainly no better man for the job. Alex understands exactly what it takes to get to the heart of characters, giving them their very own personalities and making them totally believable. If you don’t believe us, you should check out his CV which includes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King and The Iron Giant, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader.
SIGGRAPH is the worlds leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Each year they welcome thousands of artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academics to Vancouver from 74 countries around the world.
Are you a MARI user or have an interest in MARI, then you may be keen to know that a group of artists are getting together on November 24th in London, Soho for a few beers. The venue is currently top sectret but will be released soon.
Mingle and network with fellow MARI users over a drink. There are a few special gifts up for grabs too.
I've also heard that some of the MARI engineers should be attending, which is a great opportunity to ask those all important questions! Should be quite a geek fest.
There is a new VFX facility in town to have recently opened their doors for business. They are a trio of young visual effects professionals who have proven talents across a range of high profile projects both in the UK and US. This company is the Electric Theatre Collective, and we would like to congratulate them on a very impressive start up. We believe these guys are destined for great things as they venture into the sometimes uncertain territory of running their own facility and build a strong foundation around the name Electric Theatre. We wish Giles Cheetham, James Sindle, Daniel Stanhope Marum and their team every success in the years to come.
Yesterday afternoon The Foundry announced the release of KATANA 1.0, the much anticipated look development and lighting tool. In addition to this, The Foundry also shared the news that Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a Lucasfilm Company, have purchased a licence of this latest version with the hope to boost their production pipeline across their ILM and Lucasfilm companies.
The whole point of CG Whiz is to give talented aspiring artists the kind of exposure necessary to kick-start their career, and there’s no better example of that than the first ever CG Whiz winner, Adam Droy. Following his 2009 success, Adam completed a twelve-week training course with Escape Studios, and now works as a 3D Artist at CG Whiz sponsors The Mill, at its UK studio in Soho, London.
A Softimage UGM in the UK has been a long time coming, something that Autodesk are very aware of. So, we've partnered up with Autodesk to make it happen. We are delighted to announce that Jason “Chinny” Brynford-Jones, Softimage product manager and demonstration guru, is making the trip to London to chair this meeting. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. A blast from the past for some of you, “Chinny” has been with the Softimage family for 15 years. He started out as a demonstrator in London and has since gained a reputation as being the cheerful face of Autodesk Softimage. He has been working in Product Management for the last 8 years and is now a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk in Montreal.
Once again we are going to be running a couple of course specific Open Days for those would like to find out more about our courses and the sort of training we offer here at Escape.
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.
Here at Escape Studios we are constantly fine-tuning our courses to give our students the best possible balance of skills.
Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.
BT Vision (a TV-on-demand service from British Telecom) has just been through a re-branding excersise which was carried out by ManvsMachine in collaboration with Proud Creative. ManvsMachine were tasked with creating the idents, while Proud Creative worked on the graphic design elements of the newly created identity.
We’re delighted to announce that CG Whiz 2011 is now open! We’re accepting entries from today for the competition, with the winner receiving a 12 week classroom course at Escape Studios and a 12 week placement with The Mill in either its London or LA offices. This is a once in a life time opportunity that could kick start the career of one talented young artist. If you don’t believe us, see what past winners Stu Schwartz and Adam Droy say about what winning has meant for them.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Character Animation course that I teach at Escape studios is the lesson where the students invent, design and pitch an original animated character to myself and the rest of the class. The purpose of the exercise is to get students thinking not just about the technical side of character motion and action but also to think inventively and creatively. Can we invent characters as well as animate them? The visual effects industry is often demanding in terms of time and energy, and one of the best antidotes to the problem of "burn out" is to keep the creative spirit alive. After all, we all went into the arts to invent and create, not just to polish other people's ideas.
My cousin - David Itzcovitz - went to Israel last month and he took a series of photos, which he then processed to give this strange look. The process he mimicked in After Effects is called tilt-shift and is usually achieved by using a tilt-shift lens (lensbaby). This puts the focal plane at a strange angle to the film and as a result, you get this strange depth of field effect which makes big things seem like miniatures.