Another week, another headline about English universities charging students over the odds: “University fees: Half opting for top fees”.
When Victor Perez finished our 12-week Compositing for Production course last year, we knew that he was destined for great things. Since completing the course he has worked for an impressive range of companies - most of the post houses in Soho in fact - and is absolutely loving it. Victor was born to be a compositor -it's just in his blood. He's been hooked since his early days watching Star Wars. For Victor being able to use his artistic and technical skills to tell a story is one of the most important aspect of what he does -he's definitely in the right job then!
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.
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.
Escape Studios is hitting the road this year undertaking a program of talks, presentations and master classes throughout the UK universities and colleges.
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.
You can really impress future employers by taking advantage of our two expert tutorials this month. Taken from our Character Animation Foundation and ZBrush for 3D Artist courses, they are designed to give you pro-skills in very specialised areas.
Last Wednesday, Escape Studios had the honour of having Christian Manz, VFX Supervisor at Framestore come into our studios and talk to our students about life in the industry. Christian discussed the bits about the job that are great (Like getting to see your name up on the big screen after arduous months of working on a project) and the bits which aren’t quite so good (Like the long hours). It wasn’t just our students who enjoyed it, we loved it too. Christian’s thirteen year career has been an epic one and his latest contribution to the industry as VFX Supervisor on the latest HP7 is particularly impressive. We spoke to Christian about the highs and lows of his career so far, and what it feels like to have been part of one of the biggest films of our recent times.
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.
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.
I find it really annoying when I find freebies that are ‘for a limited time only’, and it’s something we’ve been guilty of with our free tutorials. We’ve had some great feedback about them, and with that in mind we've decided to revamp the way our freebies work.
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.
Here's my final post showing some work from the courses which have just finished. These clips are from escapees who were on the Visual Effects Production course taught by Dan Shutt. Again these are 'work in progress' and need a little more polishing but you can see they are both great ideas that have been really well executed.
Chaos will be in London this July, and we have decided to team up with them to deliver a one-day V-Ray for 3ds Max Advanced Training Course.
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'.
At the Animation and Story Master Class which took place recently, we caught up with Matthew Luhn to get his thoughts on animation. He has worked on some of the biggest animated films produced, including Toy Story and Toy Story 2, Monsters’ Inc., Finding Nemo and Up. Prior to joining Pixar in 1992 Matthew worked on The Simpsons as an animator.
As you probably saw, the Chancellor has awarded the games industry its much deserved tax break. Following Wednesday’s budget, game developers that create profitable games will be able to use the relief to pay less tax on profits, while unsuccessful games will be awarded a cash tax credit to reduce losses – which must be a nice surprise for all you developers out there.