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.
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.
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.
Shapes In Motion was founded in 2010 by Sarah Perry who is not just an actor but an acting and movement coach. Having met Sarah recently at Escape Studios I wanted to tell you more about the interesting coaching work she does with animators. Sarah has been working in the visual effects industry in various tutoring/coaching capacities on a freelance basis since 2008, with recent clients including MPC and Double Negative.
Since the introduction of HD to our television screens, we’re starting to see a huge push from a number of channels to deliver a broader range of quality viewing in HD, and the BBC are no exception. Their latest project Planet Dinosaur aired on BBC ONE from September 14th and is an exceptionally ambitious six part series, exhibiting the findings from dinosaur research over the past decade. Each episode is entirely computer generated, and it was one lone company based in London that produced this work completly in house. The company I’m referring to is Jellyfish Pictures, and we at Escape Studios were involved with kitting them out in preparation for this difficult project. Jellyfish now have a completely up to date system, and are in a great position to offer future clients the very latest software and hardware, putting them ahead of the rest for a couple of years.
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'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.
Evgenia Golubeva recently finished our Character Animation course with us and has very quickly landed a commercials job at Partizan Lab in Soho on the strength of her excellent demo reel. She has also recently put together a short film titled "Hold Me Clothes", a stop-motion film written by her and animated in just one day at a recent film festival in Italy.
Last night I caught up with Stuart Howard, the Managing Director of a start-up VFX studio that’s doing some great work.
So an Iconic mascot after 4 decades has finally become a CG character. Having done this myself with the first CG Tony the Tiger I have to wonder whether this will work. The British public being such a fickle bunch! CG Tony was to be a furry character but was squashed at the last moment by Kellogg's in the States as going to far away from the 2D character of Tony (shame he was so cool furry).
Step Seventeen - Right Arm.
Step Sixteen - Left Arm.
Step Fifteen - Feet.