Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.
I went to see Tintin in 3D a few days ago - in itself, there's nothing unique about that, but I am both a Francophile living in England and a die-hard fan of Tintin, so I thought I would write my views about this new take on my childhood hero.
When I created this tutorial, my number one objective was to ensure that whoever was learning could really use what they create and incorporate it into something that they might already be working on. That’s why this animation tutorial is so substantial and has been separated into two parts! This month, we will use a pre-created rig, which you can buy here and use to explore the mechanics of bird locomation. It costs just $5 and trust me, it’s worth it.
We are delighted to welcome Simon Jones from SR Partners to Escape Studios this week to present a visual treat 'Reasonance' to our students.
Time’s up! Escape Studios’ CG Whiz competition 2011 is now closed. Our judges are starting work behind the scenes and boy, do they have some work to do! What a breath of fresh air this year’s entries have been! The standard has been exceptionally high and unbelievably inspiring. Not only are they technically accomplished, but they are also proof of the raw talent that continues to emerge. All, I'll say is that I’m glad I'm not judging the countless number of entries; they’d all get my vote!
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.
This Friday, our Character Animation Tutor Alex Williams will be presenting a talk at the Aesthetica Short Film festival. Aesthetica Film Festival is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine a respected voice in contemporary art and culture. The talk being given by Alex is called: Creating and Designing Memorable Animated Characters and its aim is to help you achieve just that! There is certainly no better man for the job. Alex understands exactly what it takes to get to the heart of characters, giving them their very own personalities and making them totally believable. If you don’t believe us, you should check out his CV which includes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King and The Iron Giant, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader.
SIGGRAPH is the worlds leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Each year they welcome thousands of artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academics to Vancouver from 74 countries around the world.
The whole point of CG Whiz is to give talented aspiring artists the kind of exposure necessary to kick-start their career, and there’s no better example of that than the first ever CG Whiz winner, Adam Droy. Following his 2009 success, Adam completed a twelve-week training course with Escape Studios, and now works as a 3D Artist at CG Whiz sponsors The Mill, at its UK studio in Soho, London.
A Softimage UGM in the UK has been a long time coming, something that Autodesk are very aware of. So, we've partnered up with Autodesk to make it happen. We are delighted to announce that Jason “Chinny” Brynford-Jones, Softimage product manager and demonstration guru, is making the trip to London to chair this meeting. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. A blast from the past for some of you, “Chinny” has been with the Softimage family for 15 years. He started out as a demonstrator in London and has since gained a reputation as being the cheerful face of Autodesk Softimage. He has been working in Product Management for the last 8 years and is now a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk in Montreal.
Once again we are going to be running a couple of course specific Open Days for those would like to find out more about our courses and the sort of training we offer here at Escape.
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.
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.
Due to unprecedented demand for our 12-week Visual Effects Production and 18-week Visual Effects Professional courses, we've just announced a new course date for February 2012. Our two January courses our now full, so if you're interested in joining the February course please contact us as soon as possible as we expect it to fill quickly too.
IKinema are a relatively young company based in the UK with a very special product that is improving the workflow among VFX departments. For anyone lucky enough to have worked with this programme they will know that the IKinema technology is a powerful plug-in and a real asset to any project working with motion capture and animation. It’s an incredible tool with advanced solver settings and a flexible constraint system. It's no wonder Framestore, one of the top VFX companies in Europe, are taking full advantage of this tool by integrating it into their motion capture pipeline.
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.
It seems there is an abundance of technology conferences to choose from this year. For fellow technology enthusiasts out there, this is an exciting time, as we are treated to an ocean of updates, new releases and ground breaking developments. One conference we give a particular seal of approval to is the much anticipated CVMP (Conference for Visual Media Production), now in its 8th year running. This is a conference dedicated to the geeks of the visual media production industries, whether that is in film, broadcast or games.