I have found that there are many advantages to studying at Escape Studios. Aside from the obvious vast amount of knowledge that you acquire, you also get to visit and meet some very cool places and people. Last Friday we had the pleasure of visiting Framestore for a presentation with Ben Frost and Chas Jarrett to hear about their experiences working on the second Sherlock Holmes movie - A Game of Shadows. In particular, they discussed with us the typical hurdles and constraints they came across and what we as VFX artists may expect to experience working in the VFX industry.
The current VFX Professional class were assigned The Mill as part of the ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme, which is a new initiative for us here at Escape Studios. The main idea behind the scheme is that we invite established post-production houses in Soho to mentor our students as they prepare to enter the industry as VFX artists. The VFX Professional course is our more advanced course for students who have completed the VFX Production course or artists already in the industry who are looking to further their knowledge in the field. For these students, getting advice from professionals working in the industry is golden, helping them prepare better for what is to come. Emmy Castelain was among the group during this visit, and this is what she had to say about their time at The Mill…
A recent venture undertaken here at Escape was to invite established post production houses in Soho to coach our students, to offer them direct feedback on their work here at our studio, and subsequently helping them prepare for what is expected once they enter the industry. On Thursday, 12th April 2012, the alumni class of Studio 5 attended the final coaching session with Framestore commercials, where they got to present their ‘end of course’ project to the VFX producers for feedback. Charles Downman was among the group presenting work that day, and here’s what he had to say about the experience...
So we have a new class of students for the Visual Effects Production course and I thought I’d quickly run through what this class has been up to recently and where they’re at now in their studies. We are currently on week four and they have just started their first major project after covering the ins and outs of Maya (the industry go-to package in VFX). So far, we have covered modelling, UV’ing, texturing, some lighting and rendering and a bit of Photoshop just to mix it up a bit. To put all they have learnt into practice, they have been asked to create a CG object, integrate it into a backplate and to make it look photo-realistic.
When it comes to catching recruiters’ eye, it’s all about looking good. And this is when only the best showreels will cut the mustard. You have 10 seconds to impress and there is no room for error or work that you're half hearted about.
Being relatively new to CG and to Escape Studios I am still astounded by the standard of work that comes from our students. Despite studying Media Production at University, where I majored in Scriptwriting, I never knew the actual amount of effort that goes into creating CGI. It gives me a completely new perspective on everything that I watch in the cinema and at home on TV.
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.
I was pretty shocked last week when the Coalition Government reversed its position in their dramatic Budget announcement. The UK government has declared its intention to establish a nationwide games tax break policy, in a manoeuvre that leaves the British sector in shock and jubilation. They stated: "Following consultation on the design, the Government will introduce corporation tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013, subject to State aid approval," read the official budget report.
There are so many useful apps on the market and I have found a couple of super useful and cool iPhone apps for the VFX artist and digital photographer. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing these with you in a series of blog posts.
We have been hard at work planning our next set of video tutorials for you all to enjoy but right now, we are very keen to hear directly from you what sort of tutorials would help you most. Since we understand that you are all busy, we have put together a super quick, super simple 5 question survey, and all those who fill it in will get a chance to win a free Maya Essentials online course or a ZBrush for 3D Artist online course.
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.
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.
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.
As Escape’s Recruitment Manager, it’s my job to know exactly what employers are looking for when they’re hiring candidates. The thing to remember is that it’s different for every company – you have to tailor your showreel and CV to the position and company you’re applying for (Tips you can check out here). We place lots of escapees and freelancers at The Mill and last week, I caught up with Claire Anderson their Talent Manager, who explained exactly what it takes to cut it at their company. For those of you eager to secure a position, pay attention and check out the interview.
As some of you may know, we recently launched a new course called "Visual Effects Animation Professional". Well, our first group of students from the courses have been handing their projects in and I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase a fantastic piece of work by Hyeon Joon Kang. His work clearly shows how the VFX pipeline works and if we retrace his steps, we can take a closer look at each part of the process. Joon's project is a great illustration of what we teach in this new course and what you can achieve in just 18 weeks with us.
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.
After a busy year of new course launches, we now have Visual Effects and Compositing training to suit everyone, whether that’s Classroom Training or Online Mentored study. We know what you need to learn but also understand that everyday life can sometimes make this difficult. This is why we’ve tackled this head on and ensured that our training is flexible and works for you.