When we caught up with Maxwell Smith about his new position as a Matchmove Artist at Framestore, he wanted to make it clear that he owed a lot of his success to his tutors Gideon Corby and Dan Shutt. They were ‘his greatest influence’ while he studied here at Escape Studios and according to him are ‘Masters of their craft’. Max proved to be a very talented artist and once he completed his VFX Production course, he actually came to work with us as a studio assistant.
It turns out that our escapees are never prouder than when they are wearing an ‘escapee’ T-Shirt, as you can see in this photo of Mentored VFX Course student Ricardo Vianna. Whenever I’m out and about in Soho, I’m always surprised by how many escapees stop to tell me that they continue to wear their T-Shirt, even after we have placed them in jobs. Some have mentioned that they’ve even taken them on holiday. All of our Classroom and Mentored Course students get a T-Shirt and they are becoming a bit of a phenomenon – well, put it this way, it’s very easy to spot our graduates when out and about in the industry. It turns out that one of our students has a picture of herself standing outside the pyramids with it on! (Picture coming soon…).
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
Here at Escape Studios we are constantly fine-tuning our courses to give our students the best possible balance of skills.
A few weeks back we launched an internal competition at Escape Studios to get people’s creative juices flowing and find new budding literary talent. We invited people to write blog posts on anything they felt passionate about. It didn’t have to be CG related; it just had to be something which got under their skin enough to get them writing about it.
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.
Not many traditional artists ever imagine that they’d be able to transfer their artistics skills from the studio to the computer but in fact it’s quite the opposite. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh creative talent. Learning the skills is the easy bit; it’s the creativity that the industry is looking for and that really is something that you’re born with.
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.
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.
For some time now, I have been doing a weekly round up of news for our own internal use at Escape Studios. I never actually thought of sharing it more widely until someone pointed out to me last week, that actually, maybe it would be useful to the people who read this blog.
We currently have one final seat available on our hugely popular compositing evening course which is starting this week! This course has been booked up for some time but we have just had a late cancellation which has freed up a space. If you're interested, be sure to contact us straight away. But don't worry too much if you can't make this one, we do have a new round of evening courses starting October for compositing and Maya Core on October 10th.
Changing career is never easy. It takes lots of thought, and above all courage and commitment. But that's exactly what escapee Richard Sowerby did. He sudied multimedia at Cheltenham University and forged a very successful career as a systems/graphics analyst. It took him 7 years to pluck the courage to follow his dream of working in the VFX industry and start looking for courses in compositing. And boy, did his determination pay off!
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.
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 few weeks back I took my class to the Natural History Museum so that we could generate some new footage which they could camera track with. It was lots of fun as they not only got to film live-action footage, they knew exactly what they would have to work with when getting back to the classroom. For me, keeping things fresh is important - and so filming new footage for the students to work with is a must. As you can see from the video, we're all pretty excited to be out of the classroom!