Monday, 20 November 2017

RIP Mental Ray

Mental Ray 3D Render
NVidia, makers of the once-ubiquitous ray tracer Mental Ray, have announced in a press release that it is to be discontinued.

Mental Ray used to come bundled free with Autodesk Maya and, until recently, have released a version of their software which is free for student use.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Pixar Colour Scripts

Finding Nemo Colour Script.
Colour Scripts are an important part of the animation process; they allow the director to get a feel for what the movie will look like, long before the animation and lighting is complete.

Sequence by sequence, and even shot by shot, colour stylists (i.e. painters) plan the mood and look of the film as part of the pre-production process.

To see the master designers at Pixar at work, follow this link to view the actual colour scripts used on hits like Finding Nemo.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Storyboard With Panel Forge Pro

At last week's Blue GFX Expo, Blue Zoo’s Tom Box announced that Panel Forge Pro, their new storyboard and pipeline tool, is now available for free for student use.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Animation Recruiter Secrets Revealed

VIEW panel. From left: Amy Smith, Giorgio Xhaxho, Alex Williams, Tiffany Feeney, Angie Wojak

What do Animation recruiters look for from recent graduates?  How do they find fresh talent? At last week's VIEW conference in Turin I was invited onto a recruitment panel hosted by New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA). Also on the panel were two recruiters, Amy Smith from Framestore and Tiffany Feeney of Talent Outpost, an independent recruitment agency based in Switzerland.  Both of them had a lot to say on the subject of student demo reels. But most of all, it turns out that recruiters want one thing from animation graduates...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Cristian Pall Animator at A.i. Solve

Congratulations to Animation Apprentice student Cristian Pall who has just secured a position as an animator with the games company A.i.Solve.

A.i.Solve describes itself as "an Artificial Intelligence Solutions provider bringing together the best in AI, VR & MR products and solutions".

We asked Cristian to tell us a little about the new position, what is involved, and how he secured that crucial first job in the animation industry. 

Monday, 30 October 2017

How To Get Ready For Our November Classroom

The book we recommend for studying animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us in our summer classroom, starting on Monday 6th November?  It's always good to do a little preparation and get a bit of a head start.

Below is a brief list of stuff to get you under way. You don't have to do all of it, but tick off a few of the things on this list and you will be a making a great start on your animation career.

First, here is a short reading list to get you started. We've narrowed it down to just two key books that we recommend for all our students.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Animation Apprentice Animals & Creatures 2017

Check out our latest Animals & Creatures Reel, featuring work by many of our talented students. Animators aren't just technicians, they are entertainers, and the job of the animator is not just to master the art of animal and creature locomotion, but to craft an interesting and compelling performance. Congratulations to Joris Van Laar, Lee Caller, Dave Novis, Celine Sakr, Ramakrishna Maccha and Victoria Bailey on their excellent animation.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

October 11 Second Club

Why not polish your character animation skills by entering The 11 Second Clubthe monthly character animation competition in which aspiring animators compete to win prizes and get their work noticed.

Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue, which is provided on the first day of every month by the club.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Queen's Counsel Wins CAT Award

Last night my cartoon strip Queen's Counsel was awarded "The Cartoon Art Trust Award for Strip Cartooning" at the annual CAT Awards - which are sort of like the Oscars for cartooning. The Cartoon Art Trust supports the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury, hosting the CAT Awards Dinner to raise funds for the museum and keep its doors open. At the dinner were some of the finest cartoonists in the UK - Matt Pritchett, Mac of the Mail, Nick Newman (who co-writes Private Eye), and plenty of politicians and lawyers to dig deep into their pockets to support the good cause.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

2018 VFX Festival - Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets for the 2018 VFX Festival in London are now on sale.  Just like last year, Escape Studios will be showcasing the best of VFX, Animation, Games and Motion Graphics.

There is no better way to find out about the latest trends in our industry, who is hiring, and what skills are in demand.  We strongly encourage all our current, past and future students to attend. Come and find out what the future holds for our industry.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Maya 2018 Transform Manipulator Problem

Maya 2018, like all new recent releases from Autodesk, can be a bit buggy.

Many students downloading this latest release of the 20-year old software package have experienced a problem selecting the Transform Manipulator on their character rig, meaning (in plain English) that you can't move your characters around.

Fortunately the solution is a simple one. So, how do we fix it?

Friday, 6 October 2017

Meet Tuna - Free Maya Character Rig

We're liking the free Tuna character rig, downloadable for free from He's relatively light, at just 9MB, and he should give you real-time playback in your viewport. So far we haven't uncovered any major flaws or weaknesses.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Festivus! Thursday 8th October

Festivus 5th October
Festivus is back! London's regular animation networking event is an opportunity for our students and recent graduates to get to know people in the animation industry, find out who is hiring, and where the jobs are.

The latest Festivus event takes place on Thursday 5th October at The Comedy Pub in London from 6.30pm until closing time.

There will be a number of guest speakers, including folks from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's leading animation studios.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Time to Enter the British Animation Awards

British Animation Awards
It's time for our students to get ready for the British Animation Awards 2018. The awards come around every two years, and this year the ceremony will take place on March 15th 2018, at the BFI Southbank.

The British Animation Awards (BAA) invites all kinds of animation submissions, from student work to commercials, children’s entertainment, shorts, experimental films, music videos and new technologies.

If you've done some animation, there's a category for you. And yes, there is a category for student films, and admission is free.  But don't wait - the deadline is friday 13th October.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Eamonn Butler in London on Wed 4th October

Eamonn Butler, head of animation at Cinesite, will be giving a talk at Escape Studios' High Holborn Campus in Central London on wednesday 4th October.

Eamonn is a director of Cinesite, one of London's major VFX houses, and a founder of the growing animated features side of the business. The event is hosted by Escape Studios and is free for anyone interested in studying with them (no commitment is required).

Here at Animation Apprentice we strongly recommend that all our students attend events like this one. This is a great chance to meet one of the major players in our industry.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Awesome Animation by Jinng Hwee Tan

JinngHwee Demo Reel 2017 from Jinng Hwee Tan on Vimeo.

Congratulations to Jinng Hwee Tan on his excellent animation demo reel, just recently released at Vimeo.  Jing Hwee Tan took our online MA in 3D animation in partnership with Bucks New University, where he continued to polish his animation skills, and of course developing a more academic approach to the medium.  One of his shots features in the latest Animation Apprentice compilation reel, an entry for the 11 Second Club competition which came out especially well. Many congratulations to Jinng Hwee for cutting a great reel - a beautiful body of work.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Access VFX in London this Week

Access:VFX events are taking place next week, at visual effects studios across Soho. Access VFX is all about promoting diversity and inclusion in our industry.

Events are being held at The Mill, Framestore, Double Negative, MPC, Jellyfish Pictures, ILM, Blue Zoo Animation, Union VFX, Escape Technology, and UK Screen Alliance.

We're encouraging our students to attend these events; they are great opportunities to network and meet working professionals in our business. You can book your free tickets online through

Sunday, 17 September 2017

100 Ways to Walk by Kevin Parry

"100 Ways to Walk" is an excellent video by Kevin Parry, a collection of walk cycles intended as inspiration for animators. The key point of the video is that the way we walk says a lot about who we are, how we are feeling, how our day has been. A great walk cycle is the entry point for character animation - can the animator describe a character simply by the way he or she moves? It's one of the first things we teach at Animation Apprentice, but a good walk cycle can remain elusive even for an experienced animator. Acting one out yourself, and filming yourself doing it, is a great way to get started.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Animation Insider's eBook - Free from Squeeze

Animation Insider's Ebook - free from Squeeze!
Get your free copy of the Animation Insider's eBook, downloadable from Squeeze animation studio in Quebec.

This free digital download describes the workflow of talented animators such as Mike Nguyen, Victor Navone and Jason Ryan.

It 's a remarkable insight into how experienced animators approach a shot, and very useful for students looking to develop their own animation workflow.