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.
Following a commission from STA Travel Australia, director Rick Mereki, DOP Tim White and actor Andrew Lees, set off on an epic journey to shoot three short films. Themed around the basic elements of travel: moving, eating and learning, they somehow cleverly capture the enormity of their subjects, all within one minute of footage per film, quite some feat by anyone's standards.
Some of our escapees are appearing in Arch 21 - an exhibition which is showcasing great student projects in architecture and VFX. Carlos Lora is one of the team responsible for organising Arch 21 (Pictured in the very centre) and was a student on our VFX for Production course which finished in April this year. Congratulations to you Carlos, it's quite an acheivement already!
If you're interested in Architecture and VFX, you should definitely go and have a look at the work being exhibited. With over 50 architecture students, graduates and VFX artists presenting their most recent work, it promises to showcase some amazing talent. The exhibition is at Blackhall Studios in Shoreditch from the 3rd to the 14th of August 2011 and is open from 10am to 8pm daily with the closing night being held on Saturday 13th of August.
Both animation enthusiasts and novices alike, will be delighted by The Barbican Centre's brilliant animation show Watch Me Move. From Winsor McCay's 1914 classic Gertie the Dinosaur, to Steven Spielberg's T Rex in the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, the exhibition educates and entertains in equal measure.
We are proud to congratulate Helen Streeter on her new position as a runner at The Mill. Helen recently completed the character animation course at Escape Studios, and worked hard on putting together a showreel demonstrating her animation skills. The Mill is one of London's leading VFX houses and recently re-opened its film division following strong successes in commercials and music videos. The biggest hurdle in visual effects is always getting that first job and we couldn't be more pleased for Helen - congratulations.
Starting out in VFX can be difficult for junior artists, but the best place to start is your showreel. It needs to be compelling and to demonstrate all the technical skills that you possess.
A great artist died yesterday and whilst his death has nothing whatsoever to do with the world of CG and VFX, I thought many of you would be mourning the death of this great artist.
His films certainly divide modern critics and audiences alike, which is perhaps no surprise. In a Hollywood saturated with formulaic product for multiplex audiences, his films are an anomaly, breaking from a conventional narrative and featuring extended, languid shots of the natural world that often serve to emphasise his character's - and therefore Man's - insignificance in the face of events.