The quality of work that our students create during their Visual Effects Production course is always awesome and there's no doubt it's getting better and better. When you consider that every student doesn't just attend their daytime lessons. They have to find, track, model, light, texture, render and composite a shot in just 6 weeks that shows the extent of their ability. One of our former students and now Studio Assistant Ashley Miles remembers how stressful it can get.
When Sue Rowe, Cinesite’s senior VFX Supervisor on John Carter, came in to talk to our students it was like a breath of fresh air. Reassuringly, despite having masses of technical and creative responsibility, her fundamental joy is much the same as the students studying with us – that blowing stuff up is what still excites her.
IKinema is a UK based company with a great technology for quick full-body solving and animation. Their flagship product, IKinema Action, is a plug-in for Maya that enables artists to rig characters as well as stream, retarget and record motion capture data, in less time. It is also a very cost effective solution.
Last night, Thursday 29th March, was the Art of 3D Visualisation event at the Barbican Centre, and we’re delighted to report it was a great success. To start with, the setting was spectacular. The Barbican is an inspiring setting for architectural design. The event kicked off in the conservatory terrace, a hidden treasure in the heart of the Barbican and a lavish space with a back drop of decorative tropical plants. This time was spent wisely, arming ourselves with a cold drink the proceedings moved to Cinema 3 where we and our guests were treated to four presentations from five fantastic speakers.
Pixomondo, an international visual effects company with eleven facilities worldwide, have a very talented team right here in London. Based just off Old Street, the London facility opened in 2010 and is one of the more recent additions to the Pixomondo global network. The company is currently growing from strength to strength, and is working on some very highly anticipated projects such as Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spiderman, and the new series of Game of Thrones. Over the past five years, Pixomondo has provided VFX production and supervision for over thirty high-concept feature films, including popular titles like Hugo, Red Tails, Sucker Punch, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Super 8, Fast Five, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2012, to name just a few.
HP has partnered with DreamWorks since the beginning, helping the business mature into the well-oiled animation machine we know today. HP is responsible for the hardware platforms at the very heart of the company, with a storage infrastructure that allows the team to share data quickly and easily over a global network, as well as state of the art workstations and monitors for creating detailed and realistic effects. In the video above, the team at DreamWorks discuss how HP technology has contributed significantly to the company staying on the cutting edge and how this technology brought to life the 2011 production of Puss in Boots.
On Thursday 29th March, Escape Studios are hosting an event at the Barbican Centre that will discuss the art of 3d visualisation. Joined by four industry speakers this is an opportunity to discover how professionals in film and other media create stunning as well as captivating animated visuals. The event is aimed at anyone working in the business of 3d visualisation, whether that’s in architecture, design, engineering or media and entertainment. We would like to invite you all to this exclusive event as we expose the creative side of this visual form.
Around half an hour into the demonstration, after setting up the HUD and preferences, Jeff turned to the group and said, "Now, select your cube, and press the 'Fireball' button, then press play!"
Here is my usual jumble of news to start off this week. There are tutorials, news of various software releases, a cool "Making of Rango", and really sweet advert for Twinnings tea, and lots more. Feel free to add anything I may have forgotten.
The fifth week of the Maya Core evening course is equivalent to day five of the intensive day time class, so we have now covered one week of the comparable daytime course. The advantage of the evening course is you have more time to soak in the deluge of information showered onto you, but the daytime class are constantly thinking in Maya so perhaps absorb it more thoroughly.
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.
It's the time of the week when I share with you the news that picked my interest over the last seven days. This time, there are the following goodies on offer: a cool making of from Framestore, some great new tutorials, a trailer of Pixar's "Brave", a new trailer for Spiderman and lots of education news related to Michael's latest announcements regarding education reforms.
After last week’s fruity frolics and forays into furniture, we began week four of our Maya Course finishing the seat cover of our poly modelled chair. The back row gang was complete again as our comrade James returned as he was unable to attend last week’s lessons. He was gutted to miss the chair making exercise, because he’s a budding furniture designer now hoping to get an internship at a London studio, and believes learning Maya will boost his creative potential.
After an absence of a week, I am back again with my usual digest of news. This week, we have some great showreels from the likes of Pixomondo, a great trailer from Spiderman and even some tutorials.
I was sitting in the front row, next to Rodrigo from Brazil, on Monday night, as our class made an effort to complete the exercise of modelling fruit in NURBS, before we moved on to making a chair in Polygons. I felt a little more confident, after practicing my Primitive Man Online tutorial last weekend, and I looked forward to shading and texturing my wonky apple. But before I got to that moment there was a NURB banana skin, waiting for me to slip on.
This was hardly surprising news, but the positive spin put on this stat by Universities UK, was that the drop wasn’t as great as predicted. However, a decrease of 8.7% is significant, and demonstrates prospective students are unable or unwilling to pay the increase in fees imposed by the current government.
There were more women than men applying, but the biggest drop is not amongst school leavers, down only 3.6%, but from older students over 21 which were down significantly.
However, there was also a slight increase in overseas students applying here, and conversely more UK students are applying abroad, for example, Maastricht University forecasts 600 applications.
It’s not rocket science figuring out that fees of £9000 p/a over a three year degree, plus all living costs will be a considerable sum to repay, and for a non-vocational degree, it will require serious thought to justify. After all, if the degree studied will not guarantee a job at the end earning you X amount, then being saddled with that kind of debt is a hefty burden to bear.
Even the prospect of the student idyll and those first tastes of freedom living away from the parents, in the life of Riley, may now seem a little indulgent.
In our sector, Animation and Computer Graphic degrees are wide ranging and extensive, but this can be both their strength and their weakness. Yes, you may learn a wide range of skills, direct your own mini movie masterpiece, and if you’re exceptionally talented and hardworking, this film may lead to a job winning Showreel.
The reality is too often we see films that are either strong in one discipline but severely lacking in others, so making the overall effect disappointing. Or either, so many students have worked on one jaw dropping movie, that it’s hard to see exactly how much of a role any one individual played in the overall execution.
If getting a job is your top priority, fair to say it’s better to study an in-depth industry specific course, such as we offer here at Escape Studios, rather than something less focused.
Flipbook, the Manchester based animation and VFX boutique studio, are celebrating a second year in business this week. Quite literally two years ago to the date (February 8th 2010) they took on their very first job. Since then Flipbook have grown from strength to strength, and look forward to a prosperous future as they make some significant upgrades in the company’s workflow.
If you’re an aspiring VFX artist, knowing Maya inside out is an absolute must. On our VFX course, I make sure that every student has a good understanding of Dynamics and linking objects kinematically which are an integral part of the VFX pipeline. Not knowing these just isn’t an option. They form part of a basic skillset which post houses will expect you to know. That’s why, this month, I’ve created a tutorial which will give you two new skills you can add to your showreel. Being able to use Dynamics fluently will demonstrate to potential employers that you understand the key techniques in VFX and are ready to take your first steps in the industry. So what are you waiting for? Log on to our eLearning platform and add these skills to your existing toolset.