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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone likes to make a saving where they can, that's why we offer all students paying their full course fee's three months in advance, an early-bird discount of £500.
Seems like August was a great month for many of our recent graduates, who were quite literally snapped up as soon as they finished their courses.
Giuseppe Candido is not only a recent character animation course escapee, but now also a very talented animator and a skilled Maya Generalist. He has put together one of the most charming demo reels we have seen here at Escape Studios. Giuseppe combined many of his student exercises into a circus project - creating a stunning short film in the process, and all completed from scratch in just six weeks.
I felt a little bit like an old-school headmaster last week, taking our latest set of compositing students to MPC where they were to have their work critiqued for the second time. Lots of worried faces trudged behind me - nerves apparent and laughter a little thin on the ground. As usual, all of their concerns were completely unfounded and they all actually left the place beaming and proud of their achievements. But I do understand how showing your work to a bunch of seasoned professionals can be very daunting - despite the team at MPC doing their best to make the experience a relaxed one for our students.
I have just finished a great week teaching MARI to our new Compositing Professional class. I took them through UVing in Maya, and then taught them how to get to grips with MARI. As part of the curriculum, I also included for the first time the brand new NUKE to MARI bridge which makes the process of taking camera projections from Nuke to Mari and baking projections to UV space much quicker and more flexible.
When I see students go from first day newbies to fully-fledged VFX artists I can’t help but feel that they absolutely deserve it. After weeks of rigorous training learning how to create believable CG, the moment comes when they start looking for a job. And that’s exactly what happened to Pasquale Riefoli and Maria Busco who have both secured jobs at Double Negative!
As promised here's another escapee reel. This time from Ben Revens, one of our recent VFX graduates. This is a great reel with good examples of work from two of our most popular courses. The violin and tank shots were produced during our 12-week Visual Effects Production course. The more elaborate and advanced staircases shot was produced during our 6-weeks Visual Effects Professional extension which Ben took straight after his VFX Production course.