The tour continued with a whirlwind week of talks. Firstly I met with a small group of the Games Development students at the University of Westminster. They have a number of interesting courses there as well as some interesting research projects - I hope we can build on this initial meeting and I'll be able to tell you more about what they are up to in the future!
Over the past couple of weeks we've been busy working on our online learning system. "Really? I haven't noticed any difference", I hear you say... Well, it is true that most of the work carried out has been "under the bonnet", so you might not have noticed anything. The reason for sharing this with you today though, is that this work is enabling us to bring to you a number of new features and enhancements.
If you are a freelancer or a professional working in post-production, you can save on our courses with funding from Skillset. The level of funding you receive depends on whether you're employed or work as a freelancer, and could see you save as much as 80% on our online self-directed courses.
According to Nintendo’s president, low priced mobile phone games are one of the biggest risks for the games industry as they are giving the impression that all games should be cheap. Last night I had a fantastic gaming session with my son, not on a Wii, PS3 or xbox but on my iPhone and it cost me 59 pence. The success of the Wii is something that Sony also encouraged with eye toy, casual gaming that is fun and accessible for all kinds of people not just hardcore gamers. It strikes me as a little naive to think that the app generation is the biggest threat to the games industry. Though, the cost of a ds game is huge and takes a child ages to save up their pocket money
The iPhone has opened the Market to small developers, provided a fantastic opportunity for people to break into games and because it is so easy to use, has opened up the world of videogames to a whole cross section of society. My children and I get just as much fun from an iPhone game as well as a ds for a fraction of the price. Epic has produced an amazing looking game for only a few pounds and created a version of their awesome engine specifically to embrace this exciting platform. The biggest threat to the games industry is the CEOs not listening to gamers - they should be encouraging development every where creating internships and fostering talent.
The makers of angry birds have opened an academy, not bad for a little throw away game. Come on Nintendo Sony and Microsoft, get your act together! Speaking of internships one of our games students Chris Chorley is doing a six month internship at veemee. You also only have to look at the success of Portal to see that Valves approach to internships pays huge rewards.
I'm really pleased to announce a new addition to our full-time classroom courses - Compositing Professional. This course builds on the amazing success of our 12 week compositing for production course and adds an additional 6 weeks of advanced training. This extra time will give students the opportunity to develop skills to really set them apart from other juniors looking to enter the industry - covering subjects such as compositing for stereoscopic and the advanced techniques needed to work with high end 3D visual effects. Part of the course includes a dedicated project week where you'll be able to work on your showreel and make sure that it really stands out from the crowd.
Please getting in touch with training team or come along to one of our open days to find out more.
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.