The lives of professional VFX artists, who during their working hours create amazing effects, are generally fuelled by a colossal coffee culture, which is almost as strong as the pub culture that exists after work.
We believe it's crucial for students to not just have a thorough knowledge of work flow and software, but also understand the VFX industry and pipeline where they will work. So during their course we invite established post production houses to coach them, this means they get direct feedback on their work from respected VFX supervisors.
When Amy Cuthbertson finished her degree in Music Technology, she didn’t expect to find herself starting a career in CG, but that’s exactly what happened. Wandering around a careers fair, Amy spotted the Escape Studios stand, got talking about her love of animation and the rest is history, as they say.
So many of our escapees succeed in getting jobs once they've finished a course with us, and it’s so good to hear that lots of them are very talented young women. As a result, we thought some congratulations were in order, starting with Evgenia Golubeva who accepted the role of Director at Animated Storyboards, a fantastic position and one which we want to wish her every success in!
With all the excitement of new courses starting here at Escape in 2012, we’ve not yet had time to share the work that last year's students put together at the end of their courses.
For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here is a great video that shows life behind the scenes at Dneg. It is a really good way to get an idea of what it would be like to work for a world class Visual Effects house like Double Negative. They are one of the fastest growing Visual Effects houses in the UK and one of the top Visual Effects houses in the world.
For anyone with an iPhone or an iPad here is a great app from our friends at MPC. If you are interested in entering the VFX industry, this is something which I would highly recommend. MPC's app shows the jobs they have available as soon as they are published, and is a great way of finding out about those entry level positions that aspiring artists are after.
I thought I would let you guys into something special... A look at the truly fantastic Christmas video from The Mill's 2D department. In between working on some of the world's best VFX for commercial spots, The Mill still finds time to make a departmental Christmas video to compete at their Christmas party.
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.
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.
Have you ever thought about taking your artistic talent and transferring those skills to VFX? Then the webinar that we’re running on November 10th could be the start of you doing that. For the industry to remain fresh and buoyant, it’s important that there are constant waves of creative and original talent. We always say that creativity is key – if you have that, learning the technical skills is the easy bit. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh talent. In this webinar I'll look at the potential routes a Fine Art graduate may take into the industry and the transferable, creative skills that will allow them to stand out from the crowd when making the move into this demanding and competitive industry.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
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.
Seems like August was a great month for many of our recent graduates, who were quite literally snapped up as soon as they finished their courses.
I felt a little bit like an old-school headmaster last week, taking our latest set of compositing students to MPC where they were to have their work critiqued for the second time. Lots of worried faces trudged behind me - nerves apparent and laughter a little thin on the ground. As usual, all of their concerns were completely unfounded and they all actually left the place beaming and proud of their achievements. But I do understand how showing your work to a bunch of seasoned professionals can be very daunting - despite the team at MPC doing their best to make the experience a relaxed one for our students.
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.
It seems that July was the month of good news for two of our escapees who have secured their dream jobs in the industry. Congratulations to escapee Andrew McGregor who has just landed a 6 month Camera Tracking Job at Framestore from August this year. Andrew studied our VFX for Production Course with tutor Mark Spevick and started working in the industry soon after as a modeller at Polar Media. He is now absolutely delighted to be part of the Framestore Team and can't wait to get started.
Some of you may have seen a series posts from students' 'coaching diaries' on our blog recently. For those of you who don't know, some of our students studying our classroom courses are being coached by the industry's biggest post houses; The Mill, Double Negative and Framestore. This week, compositing student Clement Roland shares his experience with us.
When I was picking my GCSE's and A levels I had to pick between two routes, Maths or Art. This I believe, is still the case, but I'd like to ask why?!
A few weeks back we told you about our classroom courses being coached by the Industry. One of our students, Alexander Kubinyi, told us about his experience at Double Negative and what it was like to have your reel critiqued by Alex ‘The baron’ Wuttke. This week, we catch up with another escapee who is studying our Compositing Professional Course and is being coached by The Mill. Here’s a snippet from Mary Lapena’s coaching diary.
Here is a question for you: just because we can make somthing in 3D, is it always the best approach?
It's almost time for the Lions Advertising Festival in Cannes and production companies and agencies alike will soon flock to this beautiful town in the south of France to network and talk about the work they have been doing during the previous year. It's also a great excuse for three days out of the office drinking wine in the sun.
A while back we told you all about our new ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme which some of our classroom students are fortunate to be part of. For those of you who don’t know, this basically means that some of the major post houses act as mentors for our students throughout the 12 or 18 weeks of classroom study that they embark on when they study with us in London. This means that they get professional feedback and expert industry advice relevant to the field they are going to work in. It’s no surprise to hear that our students are absolutely delighted with it. All of them are they working extra hard to impress but more importantly, they are getting front-line expertise. We caught up with escapee Alexander Kubinyi who told us what the experience was like in his own words.
It’s always good when people respond to the blogs we write. The one I wrote last week about the MTV advert animation got a great response when we tweeted the link, with @anthonygelatka pointing me in the direction of another great piece of animation.
Something fun for a Friday. I'm sure most of you have seen this by now as it has been shared on lots of social networking sites. For those who haven't, here is a cool short film by the directing duo Daniels - called Dogboarding. It's a quirky, original idea and great fun to watch.
If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming an animator, Tracey’s story should help you realise that your dream might be easier to attain than you think.
On Tuesday we, our Recruitment Manager, Garreth Gaydon, and I were let out of the office for the day to go and visit Aardman! I have to say, it was awesome! Based in Bristol, it's a bit of a trek but well worth the effort. They are such a brilliant studio and it's every bit as cool as you'd imagine.
Silent Studios are by no means a big company. As a team of four, they are a tight knit unit comprising a Creative Director, a Music Director, an Art Director/Designer and a Composer. However, they have certainly made some noise (quite literally) in the world of digital media. The Creative Director, Nathan Prince, came to Escape Studios to talk to our classroom students about digital media and how CG is playing a massive role in what they do every day. Liam described Silent Studios as a design and music partnership that blends moving image, creative direction, graphic design, installation and musical composition. A little bit of everything then.
If you're like me and often plan to go to art galleries but never actually make it, Google have introduced an amazing alternative. What's great about this new tool is that you get to see some of the great master pieces from all around the world, from the comfort of your front room. OK, so it's a little bit lazy but it does mean that you get to stay on top of what's going on in the art world. The 'Google Art Project' was only launched on Tuesday and brings over a thousand artworks by various artists to anyone with an internet connection.
I just wanted to point you towards this article which discusses the amazing title sequence for Scott Pilgram. When I was a student wanting to get into the industry I found out about Shynola (a collective group of visual artists who have collaborated on a variety of projects) when a brilliant but very strange music video was produced by Unkle called "eye for an eye". When I came across this article of how Shynola worked with the Edgar Wright the director of Scott Pilgram, I decided to have a look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Few VFX artists can claim to have as prestigious a career as Paul Franklin. From junior VFX artist to co-founder of Double Negative, one of London's most prestigious post houses, Paul has been on quite a journey. He's worked on some of the most memorable and successful films of recent times, titles such as Batman Begins, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Dark Knight. His work has brought him nominations for an Oscar and two BAFTAs along the way.