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.
Every so often, I come across something that makes me pause for a second. I did just that yesterday in one of my usual web trawls.
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.
There are some things at Escape Studios that we take very seriously. And pumpkin carving is one of them. The staff here have been furiously sculpting this weekend in an attempt to take top prize for ‘Best Pumpkin Carver’ and we really do have some very talented contenders. We were very impressed with all of the guys here for proving their skill and dedication however; our Software Manager Graeme Pitt might be disqualified for his attempt, blowing up an orange balloon with a scary face and then calling it a carved pumpkin. Now, we appreciate modern art as much as the next person but really, even we think this is a step too far. Judging is taking place this evening by students who have a very artistic eye – so let’s see who they crown king.
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.
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.
What relationship if any, a nineteenth century impressionist painter has to today's CG artists is an interesting question, and one that occurred to me whilst at the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Degas and the Ballet examines in detail the redoubtable French artist's devotion to his favourite subject, placing it in context alongside the then nascent, new media of film and photography.
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.
A few weeks back, I presented a webinar on the ‘Key Concepts in Compositing’ and lots of you asked when the video was going to be made available online. Well, now it is and you can watch it here. If you’re not registered on our website, you'll need to sign up first and then log in to watch the video.
We just caught up with Stu Schwartz—last year’s CG Whiz winner. Here’s what he had to say about the experience and knowledge he’s gained and, of course, a few tips for this year’s submissions:
I learned a lot this last summer at Escape Studios as a student and intern but one of the most important things I want to make sure students and aspiring artists know is that I found out how important networking can be. The more you get out there and meet people, the more opportunities will present themselves. Escape is located right near the heart of countless studios and is always putting on events and connecting with other studios and industry professionals. It's been a great environment for meeting other artists and potential employers. So keep that in mind as you move forward in your careers.
Following on from last week's announcement about our Weekly Round-Up of news, here are the 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.
Most of you who keep up with industry news will know that compositing skills - in particular NUKE skills - are in very high demand at the moment. There are more jobs out there than candidates, and we have never had so many compositing students studying with us.
On Tuesday the 30th of August Twitter streams of digital artists across the globe were buzzing with news of Wacom's new baby - the #Inkling. Everyone who currently draws digitally using the Wacom tablet, will be familiar with its advantages over the mouse, however, if the Inkling lives up to its anticipated hype, it will make creating digital drawings easier, more immediate and vitally speed up your workflow.
I'm really honoured to have been asked to join a panel of speakers for a session on Continual Professional Development (CPD) Education and Training at the International Animation Festival (LIAF) in London.