Monday, May 28, 2018

CAA Careers: Rescheduled 'Tax & Getting Paid' Sessions / Tuesday 29th @ 10.30am - 3.30pm

Just a reminder that the cancelled Careers Advice class from last week has been rescheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday 29th May), kicking off at 10.30am in the CAA Baseroom.  Alison Branagan has agreed to extend the session too, so there'll be a bit of extra stuff after lunch.  Spread the word! Many thanks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

FAO CAA YEAR 3: todays AFTERNOON talk with Alison has been cancelled

Unfortunately, Alison's workshop at 2pm today has been cancelled due to emergency engineering works (trains heading to Rochester from St.Pancras have been cancelled). Alison sends her apologies. Todays talk from at 10am with Jan will still go ahead as normal.

CAA Careers: Upgrade your skills with free training webinars

Toon Boom are Canadian animation software makers, that have for the last 20 years, been 'changing the animation world one production at a time.'

The world’s leading 2D animation software will be hosting a series of free training webinars aimed at professional animators hoping to upgrade their skills in Harmony and learn tips and tricks from top industry experts like YouTube star Stylus Rumble, Tony Ross, Chris Cartledge and more.
From May 18 to June 08, Toon Boom’s webinar series will cover the fundamental skills in Harmony to help animators elevate their creative output, craft and careers. Among the topics are creating cut-out rigs, particle emitters, parameters and functions, drawing and transitioning from different software.
The first webinar  'Creating a Production Cut-Out Rig in Harmony Essentials' ran on the 18th, but you can catch up with it HERE.
The schedule for the remaining webinars is as follows - 

May 24th 
Particle Emitters in Toon Boom Harmony Premium

May 31st
Parameters & Functions in Toon Boom Harmony Premium

June 7th
Symbols to Pegs. The differences of animating in Toon Boom Harmony

June 8th
Drawing in Toon Boom Harmony Premium

The webinars all run from 2:00 to 3:00pm Eastern Daylight Time, so that means 09:00 our time... grab your coffee and breakfast, and listen along!

Full details can be found HERE

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Red & The Kingdom Of Sound - We're Finalists @ Redline International Film Festival!

Another day, another festival announcement!  We've just learned Red & The Kingdom Of Sound is a nominee at the Redline International Film Festival in two categories - Best Animated Short and Best Music (though we can't really take the credit for Britten's score!).  Congratulations to the whole team.   More updates as and when!

CAA Careers: KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival

Call for Entries! 

KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival is accepting entries up until the 1st June, or the 1st July for students.

'Looking for an opportunity to show your work to animation professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world? Submit your animation to our action-packed, edgy, international festival!'

No entry fee! 

Find out more HERE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Study Skills: Light summer holiday reading :)

I'm just browsing the shelves of the library (as you do!) and I have come across a really useful and accessible study skills book, that would be particularly useful for students that struggle with critical thinking, drafting essays and methods of analysis.

It is called 'Study Skills for Art, Design & Media Students' and is written by Stewart Mann (707.1 Mann) 
If you have struggled this year with the writing aspect of the course, I would encourage you to have a look at this book...There are currently 6 copies available, on the bottom shelf by the window! 

CAA Careers: Ars Independent Festival - CALL FOR ENTRIES!

Call for entries!

Ars Independent Festival in Katowice, Poland is now accepting submissions...will you win the coveted Black Horse (and 500 Euros!) ?

Animations up to 30 minutes in length - no entry fee! 

Find out more HERE

Entries close 31st May 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018

FAO CAA Yr 3: UCA Logo Assets @ myUCA/Major

I've uploaded UCA's official suite of logo assets for the credits of your films - some of you have been asking for these elements as a means of finishing of your opening/closing credits.  You'll find a zipped folder of assets on myUCA/Major.  Let your classmates know - thanks!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Which Computer Shall I Buy?


Q: Which software will I use on Computer Animation Arts?
A: Autodesk Maya 2018 & Arnold (included with Maya), Mudbox 2018, and the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, Animate/Flash, After Effects, & Premiere).

Q: What is Autodesk Maya, Arnold, and Mudbox?

A: Autodesk Maya is virtual studio / workshop that allows you to create 3D films. It is the same software that Disney, Dreamworks, and Pixar use to make animations, and it is the same software used to make VFX work like in the Marvel films. Arnold is a rendering ‘plug-in’s for Maya that transform basic 3D objects into the lit images you see on screen. Finally, Mudbox is a virtual ‘high poly’ sculpting tool, which allows you create detailed models.

Q: Can I get the software at home?

A: Yes. A free student version of Maya (with Arnold) and Mudbox are available to download once you have enrolled onto the course. The Adobe Creative Suite can be purchased as a subscription. These can be found here.

Autodesk Maya (with Arnold): Link
How to upgrade Maya 2018 to Maya 2018.4: Link
Mudbox: Link
Adobe Creative Cloud for Students: Link

Q: Do I need to buy a computer before I enroll onto Computer Animation Arts?

A: Yes, we would recommend purchasing an appropriate computer if possible. However, there are computers available for student use in the University. They are accessible Monday to Friday between 8am-8pm. Each computer contains the software and hardware necessary to create 3D work. 

Q: Shall I buy a laptop or desktop PC?

A: We would recommend that you buy a desktop PC and not a laptop for 3D work. The hardware required to process 3D software can be more expensive in a laptop. Due to space restrictions and the modifications needed to make it portable. Overall, you will get more for your money when buying a desktop PC. Making it more powerful, last longer, and easier to update in the future. Working on 3D (or concept art) on a laptop is not recommended either due to the reduced size of the screen.

Q: Shall I buy a Windows or Mac PC

A: A Windows PC. A Mac can be problematic / restrictive when using Autodesk Maya. 

Q: What standard of computer shall I buy?

A: You will need to purchase a Windows PC that works well with Autodesk Maya 2018. 

Autodesk’s minimum requirements for Maya can be found here.

The basic requirements are;

- CPU: 64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor with SSE4.2 instruction set. 
- Graphics Hardware: Refer to the following pages for a detailed list of recommended systems and graphics cards - Maya Certified Hardware (English)
- RAM: 8 GB of RAM (16 GB or more recommended)
- Disk Space: 4 GB of free disk space for install
- Pointing Device: Three-button mouse

One of the more expensive (but necessary) requirements on the list is an appropriate graphics card. This will make up most of the cost of your PC. Autodesk have a list of tested graphics cards on their website (link). If possible, buying an Nvida Quadro Card is recommended. A Quadro M2000M is a good intro option costing around £450 (currently, the top of the list of ‘Quadro cards’ is the GP100’ costing £7000.) An Nvidia Geforce card is another option, such as the GTX 680 costing approximately £250. In each case make sure that the card you purchase is on the Autodesk Maya certification list to ensure you don’t encounter any problems. 

Q: How much will a PC cost overall?

A: With a monitor a PC capable of 3D can cost anywhere from £1200 - £2000+.

Q: Where should I buy a computer?

A: Dell or HP (Hewlett Packard). Even though they may be slightly more expensive, both of these companies are experienced builders of ‘3D Workstations’, both for the animation and VFX industry. They also test their computers to ensure the components work together correctly. Staff will work with you over the phone to ensure you are buying the right type of computer and you can ‘spec’ a PC on their website to gauge costs. If you wish to buy from another seller you can use the spec generated by Dell or HP to make sure you know what you need first. We would suggest not buying PC’s from local seller such as PC World or similar. They will rarely have a PC that works well with 3D and they focus more on selling ‘Games PC’s’. These are different to the ones used to build 3D. 

Q: Which monitor should I buy?
A: A HD 1920x1080 monitor. Again, there are options via Dell and HP. 

Q: Shall I build my own PC / Shall I have a friend build my PC?

A: No. Try not to go down this route. Buying separate untested components can lead to problems. 

Q: I’m still confused?

A: Please feel free to email me (Alan) with any further questions at

You can download this as a PDF here.

Butch Auntie work experience meeting is ON...and slightly earlier!

I've heard from Pete, and he is going to be able to make it, but will be here a bit early, at around 4.30!
Leave a comment below if this will be a problem for you...

FAO Students doing work experience with Butch Auntie

Pete Wallace may have to cancel the meeting this afternoon at short notice due to a personal issue, so please watch this space - I'll try and let you know as soon as possible if he can't make it!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

CAA Careers: Calling all budding film-makers - MASSIVE film-making opportunity!

Calling all budding film-makers!

Alumnus Will Huntley has brought to our attention a super opportunity for any aspiring film-makers out there - the if24 London film festival, which includes a short film competition offering the chance to win a $2.4 million dollar budget to make your short into a feature film, with the support of a recognised film production company! 

The competition is open now for entries, and closes on 31st May, so grab your mobile phones and get filming! 

This is what the organisers have to say about the festival and competition...

'Welcome to if24, the first of its kind global competition that opens up the world of filmmaking to anyone and offers the ultimate prize along with an exciting free ticketed London film celebration.

Over a single, thrilling day of free screenings and Q&As with the great and good behind and in front of the camera we are celebrating the world of film with the if24 London Festival on Saturday 7 July 2018 at Picturehouse Hackney. Tickets will be free and available on a first come, first served basis in June. 

As one of the highlights of the festival, we will be hosting the London heat of just about the greatest filmmaking competition ever mounted. We are challenging the next generation of directors to make a short film that could become the inspiration for a feature film with global distribution and a $2.4 million production budget. The global competition will take place in four cities - London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Los Angeles, the four finalists from each city will be brought together for a premiere of their work in Los Angeles and the overall winner of if24 2018 will be announced.

Competition entries open on Monday 7th May - To enter the competition, anyone with a mobile phone, anywhere in the world can submit their short film. We challenge entrants to bring to life the theme of ‘24’ – whether it is the theme, the runtime, or a recurring motif. Twenty-four is the number of hours in a day and the frames per second that motion picture film is usually projected at. So get that phone charged to the max and get your writers hat on.

Submissions will be open for 24 days - May 7th to May 31st, the maximum runtime for all films is 2 minutes, 40 seconds and the budget for the winning project will be $2.4 million USD.'

Full details of the festival and competition can be found HERE and HERE

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Red & The Kingdom Of Sound - We're Finalists @ Le Petit Cannes Film Festival!

You may have read in the last Post With The Most that Red & The Kingdom Of Sound had made the official selection for Le Petit Cannes Film Festival and our animated adaptation of Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide Of The Orchestra had earned some laurels! We've just learned Red is a finalist in the festival's animation category - congratulations to the whole team!

CAA Careers: Work Experience Reminder- Pete Wallace visiting on Friday!

A quick reminder that Pete Wallace from Butch Auntie, is coming in on Friday 11th at 5pm, to talk to those students that are going to undertake work experience with him.

Make sure that you are in the base room by 4.50 at the latest, so that you are looking good and eager when he arrives!

FAO CAA YEAR 2: End of year exit tutorials

Year 2: End of year 'exit' tutorials Tuesday 22nd May.

To help you to prepare for your third year you are asked to attend a final 'exit' tutorial. In this tutorial we will discuss your progress during your second year, how your Premise project can become your Minor project, and how you can improve further in year three. The tutorials will take place after all of your work has been assessed on Tuesday 22nd May.


Jen 10.00am / Jess 10.15am / Laura 10.30am / Krissy 10.45am / Michael 11.00am / Ruth 11.15am / Michaela 11.30am / Alexis 11.45am / Rhia 12.00pm / Graeme 12.15pm / Almu 12.30pm / Aureo 12.45pm.


Noah 2.00pm / Polly 2.15pm / Rachael 2.30pm / Paris 2.45pm / Greta 3.00pm / Alex 3.15pm / Ellie 3.30pm / Jack 3.45pm / Anabel 4.00pm / Douy 4.15pm  / Anastasija 4.30pm / Karolina 4.45pm / Joe 5.00pm.

Note: If anyone is unable to attend their time slot (for a valid reason) please see me to rearrange your tutorial for another time. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

FAO : Year 01 : Animation Toolkit Checklist

Here are a few links with tips about putting your showreels together.

I'd like to see your best pieces tastefully edited together into a demo / showreel. I'd also like to have a compiled list in with your showreel post with links to all of the sessions from my classes so I don't have to try and search through all of your blogs looking for tasks that might or might not be there.

Below is a detailed checklist of your tasks through the year. On your blogs I'd like to see them clearly labelled with the session number and containing your final animations, breakdown shots / onion skin stills, reference footage (where filmed), and your written pieces describing the principles involved and how you found each task for your learning development.

01 : 22nd September 2017

Software induction
Morhping : Face – food – animal – back to face : Each held for 6 frames then 24 frame transition between.

02 : 29th Septmeber 2017

Timing & Spacing :
Coin x 2 – One evenly spaced, the other with ease-in and ease-out
Pendulum x 3 – One on a straight line to show why it wouldn’t look right, one on an arc evenly spaced, one on arch with ease-in and ease-out.

03 : 6th October 2017

Squash & Stretch, Arcs, Weight, Timing & Spacing :
-       Cartoon bouncing ball
-       Realistic bowling ball
-       Realistic Tennis ball
-       Realistic ping-pong ball
-       Animator reviews : Lotte Reiniger, Don Hertzfeldt

04 : 13th October 2017

Follow through, Secondary, overlapping animation :
-       X 3 : Add features, clothing, hair, tail, floppy ears, etc. to last week’s cartoon ball turning it into a character with secondary animation.
-       Animator reviews : Bill Plympton, Richard Williams

05 : 27th October 2017

Halloween scene using ALL of the animation principles used so far, plus interesting background layers.

06 : 10th November 2017

Simple walk cycle – march time

07 : 17th November 2017

Self Directed Study – Completing previous tasks.

08 : 24th November 2017

Silly walk cycle + reference footage + breakdowns / onion skin stills.

09 : 1st December 2017

Standard run cycle + onion skin breakdowns.

10 : 8th December 2017

 Jump with reference footage and breakdown images. 
-       Jump as high as you can to show anticipation, arcs, weight etc.

11 : 12th January 2018

Find a piece of audio from the 11 second club, use an x-sheet to plan out your audio and character action. Draw out your mouth shapes in time to the audio using your x-sheet as the timing guide.

12 : 19th January 2018

Add blinking, facial expressions, character and action to your 2D lip sync piece from the previous week.

13 : 26th January 2018

Exercise : without filming for reference, figure out the action of throwing a ball as far as you can, then animate this using straight ahead animation. The purpose of this exercise is to show the importance of using pose to pose animation and how straight ahead probably won’t give you the best results when trying to animate certain types of things.

14 : 2nd February 2018

Abstract visuals to music using straight ahead animation. This exercise is to give you an example where straight ahead animation can work well. Use lots of layers, mix up softwares such as photoshop, animate, after effects and premier pro. Choose any piece of music you wish as this is just an educational exercise, and make the visuals striking to watch.

15 : 9th February 2018

Flour sack animation – show character, weight and performance without any added features to the bag. At least 30 seconds in length.

16 : 16th February 2018

Select a new 11second piece of audio – make the x-sheet for the vocals and action in readiness for 3D lip syncing.

17 : 9th March 2018

Using the drawings from  the Monday 5th march life drawing session, and my approximate frame breakdown sheet shown in class, start to draw Robin moving from one pose to the next in the similar drawing style you used in the life drawing session. This is a pose to pose animation method. You have the key poses from the drawing session, this is where you fill in the in-betweens using your practice of timing, spacing, weight, arcs, contact points etc. If it doesn’t look right when you play it back, then go back in and tweak it. There’s no limit to the amount of tweaks you can make - if it doesn’t feel right, do something about it.

18 : 16th March 2018

Continuation of the life-drawing animation task.

19 : 23rd March 2018

3D Maya lip sync – see video tutorials for setup instructions.