Roy Trosh (Head of Technology at The Mill) must be feeling pretty proud of his son James, Television Production student at Bournemouth University. He's the first person in the UK to attach a Go camera to a helium weather balloon and...a toy Robot! The project was initiated as part of a music video but produced some amazing footage of the earth’s curvature, the best bit is that it's being screened on tube station platforms as part of ‘Smile for London’; a campaign to brighten up the commuter's journey to work. James explains: “We attached the rocket and robot to a helium filled weather balloon with a GPS unit and mini HD camera to track and film the flight. The balloon then popped and fell down to earth with a parachute, where we found the robot and camera 11 miles away in a farmer's field.”
At last, we have good news for graduates in the UK. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) have just released figures indicating that the number of graduate vacancies is actually on the increase for the first time since the recession started.
We've had lots of questions about how our Mentored Training works and we thought it would be great to give people a guided online tour. We'll take you through what you'll learn on the course but more importantly, how you'll learn on this course - demonstrating our unique e-Learning platform.
We're never prouder than when our escapees get the recognition they deserve. This usually comes in the form of a first job with a top post house or commendation from the professional community for a perfectly executed shot, so when we found out that some of our escapees made it to the Autodesk 2010 Education showreel, we were beaming.
Sometime, I just come across stories that make me laugh out loud. This one is just one of them.
As the end of 2010 approaches we're filling up fast for our next round of courses in January 2011. The last spot on our Compositing course has just gone, so the next seats available for that are now in April. We have also just filled our Character Animation course with Alex Williams so we now only have a few seats left on the two Visual Effects Production courses, taught by Mark Spevick and Dan Shutt.
Here's a great piece of animation which illustrates something I care deeply about, the education system.
Few of you will have missed this morning’s headlines about yesterday’s violent student protests in London. Taking to the streets is not something that comes naturally to British people – unlike the French, who view student protests almost as a right of passage. So, having 50,000 of them marching in London shows the level of discontent over the government’s recent decision to increase tuition fees.
VFX escapee, Jacob Flint has just bagged a job at The Mill which as you can imagine he's pretty pleased about. The truth is, we are too. Having studied with us for 12 weeks on our VFX Production course, Jacob learned all of the vital skills that he needed to get started in the industry right away. He was pretty nervous during his interview but ultimately his skills shone through.
The coalition government released last week a whole host of new measures aimed at universities in a bid to make these institutions more transparent. You can read the full story published in the Telegraph here. I for one fully applaud the sentiment behind these measures, but if you'll allow me a cliché, "the devil is in the detail".
When Nik Illingworth came to an Open Day last year, he was brimming with CG enthusiasm. He knew that he wanted a career in VFX but didn't really know how he was going to make it happen. After studying for 12 weeks with us, Nik was up and running. He finished his course, was offered his first job at Frametore and accepted it, then a short while later he decided to come back to us for 6 weeks of final professional training. He's now Effects Technical Director at MPC and still has the same love for the industry that he started off with. Nik's is one of many stories of CG enthusiasts who come to study with us and that's why we wanted to share his case study with you - getting a career in VFX off the ground really is easier than you think.
I spent of lot of my time helping escapees find their first job. As part of this is, I maintain a network of contacts to help students get their foot in the door. We all know how important it is to know the right people and belong to the right network - something that not every student does enough of, but could help them land their dream job.
We recently had a chance to catch up with Ognyan Zahariev an aspiring games artist and Escape Studios graduate. Ognyan is heading to Codemasters to start his career next month and has taken some time to share his thoughts on life after Escape Studios and joining the workforce in the games industry.
It’s always great to find out how escapees get on after their training and enter the world of work. Last week, we met up with ex-student Robert Holmes out at SIGGRAPH. Since his time at Escape, Rob’s gone on to work on some amazing projects at The Mill. He took time to tell us how he got his break and what’s needed to be successful in this industry.
Meet our new animation tutor, Alex Williams who comes from a rich tradition of 2D animation. With over 20 years of industry experience that includes work as a storyboard artist, character designer and animator on more than 20 feature films for Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Fox, DreamWorks and Sony, his film credits include animated masterpieces such as 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?', 'The Lion King' and 'The Iron Giant'. His most recent work includes animation for the Oscar-winning 'Monster House', as well as 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince'.
This month's free tutorial is part of a series that discusses alternative methods of recreating naturalistic lighting in an exterior environment. Taken from our Advanced Lighting with Maya and Mental Ray course, this tutorial concentrates on optimising raytrace shadows within a manually lit scene, and will teach you how to add ambient shadows via a custom occlusion shader. This tutorial will give you the production level skills expected of a junior lighting artist.
Then take a look at Escape Studios’ Graduate Survey. If you’re a student or have graduated from a UK university we’re keen to hear how you got on finding a job, and how well you think your university prepared you for the world of work.