Thursday, 21 September 2017

Access VFX in London Next 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 taking place at Framestore, Double Negative, MPC, Jellyfish Pictures, ILM, Blue Zoo Animation, Union VFX, Escape Technology, and UK Screen Alliance.

We're encouraging our students and recent graduates to attend these events; you can book your free tickets online through

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Why Does Maya Batch Render Too Dark?

Utah Teapot
Lighting your scene using Autodesk Maya can be a tricky process. You get your lights to look just the way you want them to, and when you render out a single frame, everything looks fine.

But then, when you come to do a Batch Render of your final frames, Maya gives you a very different result - the images look much darker. Which is not what you wanted at all.

So why does Maya do this - and what is the solution?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

How To Get The Classic Graph Editor Back

New look Graph Editor
Not everyone is a fan of the Maya 2017 interface. In particular, the new-look Graph Editor isn't necessarily as easy to use as the old version.

Fortunately, it isn't difficult to get the Classic Graph Editor back.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Bring Your Own Animation Monday 18 Sept

Calling all Bucks animators - "Bring Your Own Animation" is taking place in London on Monday 18th September.

BYOA is an animation event that takes place every month at a London pub, generally on a Monday night. This month the event is taking place at The Lukin pub in Fitzrovia.

If you are a student who is working on a shot or an updated reel (aren't we all?), bring your work on a USB or hard drive and get feedback from professional animators. You'll also hear the local gossip and find out the word on the street.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

100 Ways to Walk by Kevin Parry

Check out the excellent "100 Ways to Walk" 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 Bucks, 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.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Keyframe MP - Video Playback for Animators

Keyframe MP Overview from Chris Zurbrigg on Vimeo.

KeyFrame MP - Video Playback for Animators - is an excellent video playback tool that does the job that QuickTime Pro used to do - only even better.  Most free video players, such as Media Player, won't give you frame-by-frame playback, making them of limited use to animators.  KeyFrame PM is a video player specially made for animators, with super useful features like scrubbing (with audio), single frame advance - all the stuff you need as an animator to play your work back frame by frame and trouble shoot the mistakes. At $79, KeyFrame MP isn't free, but it's much, much better than most of the free stuff out there. And, since Apple has stopped supporting the cheap and cheerful Quick Time Pro, KeyFrame MP now fills a big gap in the animator's tool kit.

Monday, 11 September 2017

All About Our Online MA in Animation

Anyone following this blog knows that Bucks is the home of an animation world-first: the first online MA in animation.  Building on our thriving undergraduate course in Animation and Visual Effects, we launched this new online post graduate degree back in 2015, enabling students to get their MA from anywhere in the world. Our first graduates, many of whom travelled to High Wycombe from overseas for the graduation ceremony, hailed from the UK, Canada, California, Australia and Kenya. Above is a short video that explains what it's all about. Scroll down to see more information - and more detail - about this unique ground-breaking course.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Alexi Balian Animation Art & Design Academy

Alexi Balian was one of the first students to enroll in our Online MA in 3D animation at Bucks. He graduated last week, becoming one of the first-ever students anywhere in the world to receive his animation MA purely online.

Alexi has now made a career of teaching animation. In his capacity as Provincial and National Skills Canada Chair for 2D and 3D Character Animation, Alexi also runs workshops and seminars in Canada through his Animation Art & Design Academy.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bucks Graduates Make Animation History

Alexi Balian, Charlie Falconi, Tim Milson, Neil Whitman, Stephen Young. 
Today was Graduation Day at Bucks and our new MAs in Animation made a little piece of animation history.

Our first graduating cohort aren't the first animation MAs in the world, but they are the first to get their MA purely online.

And, despite living in far-flung parts of the world, many came to Bucks for the graduation ceremony, for the chance to wear a robe and a silly hat and - at last! - meet up in person for the first time.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Questions about our Online MA

I often get asked questions about the online MA in 3D Animation from prospective students, seeking to know more about what is actually involved in this unique degree. Which isn't surprising - after all, it's a big committment of time, money and energy to embark on an MA. I always welcome questions and do my best to answer promptly. Below is a list of some of the most common questions, with answers.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Animation Taster Day Sept 13 and 27

Learn to animate a bird in flight
Want to try computer animation, but not sure if it's right for you? Come along to an Animation Taster Day in London on Wednesday 13th September and Wednesday 27 September.

Animation Taster Days are a chance to learn about character and creature animation, and find out what an animator's job is all about.

The classes take place at Escape Studios in Shepherd's Bush, West London. You will work with Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Creative Suite, and you’ll get a hands-on introduction to 3D Animation techniques, all for just £25.  By the end of the day you'll have your own piece of animation uploaded to your YouTube channel.  So, how do you sign up?

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

"Arc the Dragon", from Josh Sobel Rigs

Josh Sobel is an excellent rigger and animator who has brought animation students a number of excellent rigs, including the excellent Kayla rig, and also the very useful (and free) Bonnie rig.

He has now released a completely new rig - "Arc the Dragon", which isn't free, but is priced at a very reasonable $18.

Arc is described as "a full quadruped with expressive facial control, intuitive body setup, full picker, pose library and limitless customization."

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bucks Animation & VFX Reel 2017

Check out our latest animation and VFX demo reel here at Bucks. This is our latest showcase of student work, and reflects the huge leap in both the quality and quantity of animation and visual effects work that has been going on at Bucks in recent years. Congratulations to all our graduating students, and to Rob Penhaligon and Sydney Padua for their sterling efforts to keep raising the bar at Bucks.  An animator's demo reel is never done. It is a constant work-in-progress, always being refined and updated to showcase your best work. Above is a compilation of some of the best animation that has been done at Bucks over the past year.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

About Animation at Bucks

Curious to know more about studying animation and VFX at Buckinghamshire New University? The video above gives a general introduction to the undergraduate course in animation and VFX at Bucks, including interviews with our tutors. To find out more about the experience of studying with us, search through the blog to see what we're all about. We highly recommend that prospective students come and visit us at one of our Open Days. If you can't make it in for a visit, don't forget to take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, and you can also check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Anton Alfimenko Animator at Bleacher Report

Anton Alfy | Showreel 2016 from Anton Alfy on Vimeo.
Chekc out the excellent demo reel of Bucks Animation graduate Anton "Alfy" Alfimenko. Anton graduated from Bucks last year, and immediately found work in the industry in London, securing a work visa as well as the start of a career in animation and VFX. Congratulations to Anton on his excellent work, and on his job working as a Motion Designer at Bleacher Report.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Stuart Penn Reveals Alien Secrets

Last night I was privileged to attend a talk in London 
by VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn, talking about his extraordinary visual effects work for Framestore, one of London's leading visual effects houses, and now a global company with locations in Canada and elsewhere.

Stuart, whose VFX work includes Avatar, The Dark Knight, Iron Man 3 Guardians of the Galaxy, was talking about his recent work as VFX supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant.
So, what were the secrets behind this most coveted of VFX roles - working for one of the greatest living film directors on this legendary film franchise?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

How To Prepare For Our Online MA In September

The best book on animation
What kind of preparation should students do before starting with us with our Online MA in 3D Animation in September? 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.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Blue GFX Expo 9th November 2017

Save the date! Blue GFX Expo is taking place in London on 9th November 2017.

Last year speakers included the folks from Blue Zoo, one of the UK's biggest TV animation company, Stuart Penn from Framestore, and experts from Autodesk showing the latest tools. Curious to know what's inside Maya 2018? Blue GFX Expo will be the place to find out.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Online MA in Animation - Our First Graduates!

Graduation Day at Bucks
Graduation Day takes place at Bucks on 6th September, and we are especially proud to welcome our new MAs in Animation.

Of course, the event is something of a formality - no-one actually has to turn up, but we hope that many of our online animation students will come and celebrate their achievement - graduating as Masters of Arts on the world's first online MA in Animation.

In a small way, everyone there will be making a little piece of animation history.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Stuart Penn Talks Alien Covenant on 3rd August

Stuart Penn
Framestore VFX Supervisor Stuart Penn will be talking about his work at a free event in London in two weeks, on Thursday 3rd August at 6.30pm.

Stuart's work includes the digital oil refinery "Hell's Gate" on James Cameron's Avatar, the Hong Kong sequence of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the development of the Extremis effect for Marvel's Iron Man 3 and the "Knowhere" environment for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

Stuart will be talking about his recent work as VFX supervisor on Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant. We encourage all our students to attend - and ask questions. This is a chance to meet a successful industry professional and ask him - how does a student artist break into this field?