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!
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.
If you’ve been thinking of entering CG Whiz 2011, but haven’t submitted your showreel yet, then there is still time. But you’ll have to be quick – the competition closes on Saturday. The standard of this year’s entries is incredibly high, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. Our judges are looking for your potential and creativity, not just good technique. If you think you’ve got what it takes -whatever your talent or specialism- then head to our Facebook page and follow the instructions to upload your reel.
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.
I must admit that I had read too many negative reviews about 3D cinema's second coming, to risk the disappointment of ruining my night at the movies. I now bitterly regret doubting James Cameron by seeing Avatar on the small screen, but I had to break this cycle of negativity sooner or later, and figured the dream team of Spielberg, Jackson and Hergé would be a smart bet. After all, if these masters of cinematography and story telling could not deliver - then no one could do.
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.
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.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
Due to unprecedented demand for our 12-week Visual Effects Production and 18-week Visual Effects Professional courses, we've just announced a new course date for February 2012. Our two January courses our now full, so if you're interested in joining the February course please contact us as soon as possible as we expect it to fill quickly too.
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.
IKinema are a relatively young company based in the UK with a very special product that is improving the workflow among VFX departments. For anyone lucky enough to have worked with this programme they will know that the IKinema technology is a powerful plug-in and a real asset to any project working with motion capture and animation. It’s an incredible tool with advanced solver settings and a flexible constraint system. It's no wonder Framestore, one of the top VFX companies in Europe, are taking full advantage of this tool by integrating it into their motion capture pipeline.
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.