Just over a week ago, our students were treated to a visit by the extroadinarily talented Shelley Page, of Dreamworks. Shelley has been involved with some of the most memorable animation to come out of Dreamworks - titles like 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?', ‘The Prince Of Egypt’, ‘Antz’, and ‘Shrek’.
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!
I'm really honoured to have been asked to join a panel of speakers for a session on Continual Professional Development (CPD) Education and Training at the International Animation Festival (LIAF) in London.
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.
We are proud to congratulate Helen Streeter on her new position as a runner at The Mill. Helen recently completed the character animation course at Escape Studios, and worked hard on putting together a showreel demonstrating her animation skills. The Mill is one of London's leading VFX houses and recently re-opened its film division following strong successes in commercials and music videos. The biggest hurdle in visual effects is always getting that first job and we couldn't be more pleased for Helen - congratulations.
If you want to create a seamless finish for your CG scenes, this is the video tutorial for you. This month, I've created a tutorial that explores how paint effects can be used to embed models into backplate environments simply and easily.
What's in this Tutorial?
First off, we'll take a look at paint effects and will explain how you can paint onto geometry. In order to do this, you’ll need to understand the importance of an object's UV which we will discuss as well. You'll then learn how to access a host of preset paint effect brushes that you can find in Maya.
If you want to replicate the complexity of real world objects, you need to create materials that mimic them and this month's free tutorial will show you exactly how to do that. A car body is made up of lots of materials or layers, like metal and paint. If you want to create a rusty car you'll need more materials to create the common signs of deterioration. Many Maya users will be familiar with the 'layered shader' and 'layered texture' nodes. This tutorial asks what happens if you are using the MIA material and rendering in Mental Ray.
The Animation Festival ‘Annecy’ invited me to give a talk about my career as an animator and to lift the lid on a few Animation Mysteries as well. As much as I love working at Escape Studios, it was great to talk about my life as a freelance animator and some of the jobs that have shaped my career like ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and ‘The Lion King’. It was also nice to see that people were interested in this too!
There are some key compositing concepts that every artist just starting out in the industry should know about. That’s why I have decided to put this webinar together. I will walk you through those concepts, concentrating on a shot that involves Roto, Paint and Rig removal. This is something that I cover in great detail in the Compositing for Production Course that I teach at Escape Studios. I teach about all the techniques that our students will be required to use when they get a job in the industry. This practical knowledge is essential and my aim for this webinar is to give you a taste of these techniques helping you to stand apart from the competition.
When I see students go from first day newbies to fully-fledged VFX artists I can’t help but feel that they absolutely deserve it. After weeks of rigorous training learning how to create believable CG, the moment comes when they start looking for a job. And that’s exactly what happened to Pasquale Riefoli and Maria Busco who have both secured jobs at Double Negative!
A few weeks back, CWJobs spoke to our Recruitment Manager, Garreth Gaydon about the best way of getting a job in the VFX industry when you're first starting out. The feature which you can read in full here discusses the high demand for jobs in the VFX industry and the kinds of first jobs that will enable you to get your foot in the door and make it as a VFX artist. It’s a tricky industry to enter because it is both highly creative yet technically very demanding which requires a serious amount of skill and creative ability.
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.
If you're reading this blog, then chances are you're like most of us here at Escape Studios and love blowing things up and putting them back together again. So this month's free tutorial should be right up your street because we're going to teach you how to demolish a brick wall using nCloth.
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!
It’s such a great feeling when you attend a packed out event and the people pouring in turn out to be our former students. And that’s exactly what happened a couple nights ago. I attended a PFTrack event organised by our Technology Team, and it was a storming success. The room was packed with over 50 people – all craning their necks to get a better view of the speaker.
Lots of the attendees at the event were escapees who we didn’t just train but placed in their current jobs. It was great to catch up with Jacob Flint who studied our VFX Course last year and so refreshing to hear that he’s just as excited about working at The Mill today, as he was when we first placed him there. That’s a pretty rare thing these days.
Job satisfaction is massively important, and if you are not entirely happy with what you are doing, then I would encourage you to ‘shop around’ and find out what’s out there. Doing so doesn’t have to be that taxing either. If you follow us on twitter or use our RSS feed you’ll be first to hear about new jobs, daily. Because we work with nearly all of the major names in the industry, most of the jobs that are out there come through us.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut, or just fancy a change, we might just have the right thing for you.
Most of you will remember that I ran a webinar last month called "Entry Level and Junior Roles for Compositors", which focused on what you can expect as a junior compositor in the industry.