Train2Game News Visual Effects and Animation Festival

BFXVisual Effects and Animation Festival returns to Bournemouth UK for 2014
The BFX Festival returns to Bournemouth this summer to celebrate British talent and creativity in animation, computer games and visual effects and inspire the next generation of people to enter the booming industries.

Last year’s BFX Festival was a fantastic celebration of visual effects, animation and games and this year’s event is aiming to build that success, with experts and enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond presenting an amazing selection of material and leading a range of Festival activities that will appeal to all.

Tickets are now on sale for the Festival, which will take place across four days from 24-28 September 2014, hosted at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Talks featuring movie titles such as The Lego Movie, Gravity, Maleficent, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Edge of Tomorrow will be on offer, giving delegates an insight into the range and quality of visual effects needed to create such blockbusters. Legendary computer games, such as the new instalment of Elite from Frontier Developments, called Elite: Dangerous will also be presented.

As well as talks from industry experts on some of this year’s best VFX and animation there will also be a large concept art exhibition direct from the vaults of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures; featuring concept artwork from the movies Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent.

A series of workshops will be available for those wishing to explore animation and VFX techniques further and a number of family activities are also on offer, including children’s animation workshops and public cinema screenings. Talks and workshops have been created with all levels of expertise and knowledge in mind, and the Festival is open for all members of the public to attend.

The Festival is being organised by the International VFX Hub; a collaboration between the award-winning National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University and the Faculty of Media and Performance at the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).

Sofronis Efstathiou, Senior Lecturer at Sofronis Efstathiou and the BFX Festival Director said, “We are delighted to be hosting the second BFX Festival this year and to celebrate the best VFX and animation in the world. There is truly something for everyone; from industry experts to hobbyists, animators to technical directors. Come and learn more about this amazing industry and the hard work that goes into creating some of your favourite movies and computer games.”

Companies such as Animal Logic, Framestore, Double Negative, The Mill and MPC will be speaking at the Festival, along with Festival partners The Foundry, Chaos Group, Next Limit and AMD.

At the heart of the Festival is the BFX competition – where students from around the country will be competing to create the best animation and visual effect from a selection of briefs and screenplays given to them. The competition, which is held on Bournemouth University’s and Arts University Bournemouth campus, replicates a film studio with participants working in groups of up to six to create a short visual effects or animation sequence. Teams are mentored throughout by industry practitioners, with a panel of industry judges picking the winning team and awarding prizes.

The competition is currently underway, with teams from 10 higher education institutions taking part, competing for a variety of award and prizes across a number of categories, with winners due to be announced during the Festival itself.

Tickets for the BFX Festival can be purchased on Eventbrite with Early Bird discounts available.

More information about the BFX Festival (including ticketing), and the BFX Competition, can be found at www.bfxfestival.com.

Train2Game News Artist required for Student Studio

Train2GameTrain2Game Student Liam Young is on the developer course and is just getting his own studio off the ground but requires an artist.

Liam is covering all the design and development side of the company himself but requires a talented artist to turn some concept art into in game assets and he is prepared to pay the right person for the work they do.

The right person would not be taken on as an employee of the company but would receive full credit for the work that is done for the game further helping the portfolio and CV of the decided on artist.

It is important you be a dedicated worker and reach a mutually agreed upon deadline at a satisfactory level of quality.

If you are interested in helping Liam with his work you can get in touch with him by emailing lyoung536@yahoo.co.uk

You can view the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ZombieBoffinStudioLtd

and the twitter page at https://twitter.com/ZombieBoffinLtd

Train2Game News Organic Motion improves MoCap Market

Organic MotionOrganic Motion has taken another giant step forward in the motion capture market with their release of OpenStage 2.4.

In addition to multiple usability features added to the product, OpenStage 2.4 boasts a real-time frame capture rate of 120fps; double its previous mark of 60fps. The increase in frame rate means a substantial increase in tracking quality for users of OpenStage 2.4. Quicker character actions, such as kicking, punching or swinging a golf club now track better than ever. Brent George, professional animator and beta tester of OpenStage 2.4, has already recognized a noticeable improvement.

“At 60fps, OpenStage drastically improved the efficiency of my motion capture pipeline. The increase in frame rate opens up even more possibilities to further leverage OpenStage to save money and improve overall animation quality.”

In addition to animation, the upgrade also substantially impacts the system’s versatility within life sciences.  Dynamic Athletics, an Organic Motion partner and the leader in the application of 3D motion capture in human performance and musculoskeletal health, is excited at the possibilities that exist with OpenStage 2.4.
“The advancements that Organic Motion has made with version 2.4 allows the applications of motion capture to expand into new arenas.” explained Patrick Moodie, Chief of Science and Co-Founder of Dynamic Athletics. “At DARI, collections start with simple movements and progress to the more complex. From golf swings to pitching motions, the possibilities with OpenStage 2.4 are now endless.”

In an effort to allow everyone to witness the new features of OpenStage 2.4 live, Organic Motion will be hosting an online live demonstration from their headquarters in Manhattan on July 15th at 2pm ET. Those interested may register via the following link – Organic Motion Live Online Demo Registration.

Train2Game News Autodesk drops price of Maya LT 2015

Maya LT 2015The 2015 edition of Maya LT has seen its price slashed by $20, making it more affordable to indie devs.

The animation and modelling software from Autodesk is now available for $30 per month, down from $50 – which, the company points out, is less than a dollar per day. Unless you’re in February, of course. In the UK, it now costs £25 per month.

Maya LT was first launched as an entry-level version of Maya, designed so that indie developers and smaller studios could afford one of Autodesk’s leading tools. The tools provider recently released Maya LT on Steam as well, allowing hobbyists to create their own content for titles like League of Legends.

This is the latest in a series of moves to make Autodesk’s products more accessible to indies.

Train2Game News GameCarver dev tool

GameCarverIrish software startup Zoodazzle unveiled GameCarver, a new 2D and 3D cross-platform, visually driven game development software.

Created for individual game developers, as well as collaborative game making teams, GameCarver is touted to help make game creation easier, faster and more fun. This is made possible by drawing a clear line between the roles of visual creatives and game programmers, empowering each to focus on their specialist areas, and collaborate without having to learn the others skills.

“Games creators, particularly artists, know that ‘easy to use’ games engines are seldom that easy to use (unless you’re an experienced programmer), “said Ciaran Davies, CEO, Zoodazzle, and experienced game developer. “ If you’re a games artist and you find yourself studying ‘C++ for Dummies’, you know what I’m talking about.

The fact is that many talented games artists simply don’t have time to become good programmers, and the creative side of their work suffers as they struggle with code, and have to constantly switch between creative and technical roles. Even those working with engineers, often need to explore complex code in order to get game play mechanics ‘just right’. It’s not fun, and at Zoodazzle, we believe making games should be as much fun as playing them.

This set-up is not ideal for engineers either, who know how frustrating it is to spend countless hours writing tools to support artists. Or worse, having to wear the ‘artist hat’, and try to create the visual impact artist want. The blending of both roles drains energy from the development process, and often the game suffers for it.

When I started to play around with the idea of GameCarver, almost 5 years ago, it was because I wanted to build a game tool that let both artist and engineers do what they do best, without having to learn the others discipline; allowing game developers to get to the fun fast.”

GameCarver ships with a toolset called Gadgets. Gadgets are like game building blocks, each with its own properties, and set of parameters that are available through a graphical user interface. Artists can ‘tweak’ the object’s properties in the interface by simply changing values. C++ knowledge not required.

Gadgets can be combined to create more complex functionality in the form of Inventions. Coders can create generic Inventions, and the artist can ‘skin’ them by importing resources such as sprites sheets, meshes and materials, audio and sequences of animation.

So that’s good news for engineers too. They won’t have to write tools to support artists, instead they can dedicate their time to creating Inventions with exposed parameters and leave the fine-tuning of game mechanics to the artist/designer.
GameCarver installs with several 2D and 3D game templates, so both artists and coders can quickly familiarise themselves with the software, and start making games immediately. A number of game demos and tutorials are also available from their website, as well as forums to further support game developers.

“We’d encourage people to get in touch via the forums on Zoodazzle.com. We’ve received really useful feedback via email during the beta-release in 2013, and that feedback helped shape this release and previous versions of GameCarver. We’d like to make that an open conversation in the forums now. We want suggestions, feedback, questions, anything that will help us provide support and a platform for developers to share advice and encourage each other.”

With the growing trend in mobile gaming, the timing couldn’t be better for GameCarver. It’s cross-platform publishing capabilities makes it easy for developers to build for popular smartphone and tablet devices; and it’s growing library of Inventions and pre-coded game templates promise to make that process increasingly simple.

Train2Game News Maya LT 2015 on Steam

Maya LT 2015Maya LT 2015 will be made available through Steam, Autodesk has announced. The feature set will allow Valve’s community of 65m gamers – as well as the developers and artists among them – use the animation and modelling tools to create 3D game assets.

These can then be used to personalise games and import user-created assets into compatible Steam titles, such as the hugely popular Dota 2. Assets created can also be used in any games users are developing.

Purchasing Maya LT through Steam will also give developers and gamers a full commercial Maya LT licence, allowing them to export any assets create with the tool to games for PC, console and mobile.

The licence will available to purchase through Steam on Tuesday, April 22nd.

“The Valve community is unique because it includes a very engaged mix of both gamers and developers working together to mod titles and generate content,” said Autodesk’s director of games solutions Frank Delise.

“We’re engaging with the community on day one by participating in forums, answering questions and offering custom tutorial content for Dota 2 fans. We can’t wait to try new things with the community and see how they push Maya LT to its limit and beyond.”

Train2Game News: Merkury Games looking for Artist

merkurygames - CopyTrain2Game Student studio Merkury games is looking for new and experienced artists to join their studio.

Merkury games is built of several students of differing experience working as one to forward their respective careers. The studio specialises in retro style games with a twist which can be seen in their two previously released PC games.

The studio is looking for a voluntary artist to join the team who preferably has previous experience based on the retro games in the 8/16 bit drawing. The main requirements for the work will be around sprites, backdrops and concept art. They are looking for an individual who would be willing to take on this challenge. All serious applicants will be considered.

Lewis Gordon said about working at the studio “It’s an open, happy environment where any idea is welcomed and put to use. We are all about helping each other to learn and expand to get the most out of our career”

To be considered for the position please email your CV and an example of your work to recruitment@merkurygames.co.uk

To find out more about Merkury Games visit www.MerkuryGames.co.uk

Train2Game News: Train2Game Winners

Train2GameThe Train2Game team are creating a new web page highlighting the positive achievements of the students.

We think it’s important that we show what can be achieved by taking a Train2Game course and also heap some praise on the deserving students that have made those brave steps to become professionals.

The site will be used as inspiration for all students to see what they are working towards and what they can achieve with a lot of hard work. This is a great chance to put something back into the Train2Game community, show off your work, gain interest in products you’re working on for your employer show your achievements to potential future employers.

It would be great to hear from all the students who have made that step to become professionals; be it in a company, in an independent studio or another area of employment in or outside the games industry that your Train2Game course has helped you to obtain.

This is a great opportunity for students to start shouting about the courses and their success stories. Please do get in touch by emailing Harry Cole at harry@swanpr.co.uk

Train2Game News: Autodesk release Maya LT for Indie developers

AutodeskAutodesk has unveiled a new tool specifically targeted at indie developers. The 3D modelling and animation toolset is designed for developers working on mobile, PC and web, and can be integrated with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.

Maya LT includes a number of features such as enabling the creation of 3D assets of any size, with the ability to export FBX files containing up to 25,000 polygons per object.

The tech’s animation tools include a skeleton generation and inverse kinematics with Autodesk HumanIK, as well as viewport previews so developers can view assets as they would appear in-game. Other features also include lighting and texture baking, with developers able to use global illumination tool to create “realistic” lighting effects.

Autodesk’s latest tool will cost $795 per perpetual licence as oppose to the license for Maya which is almost $4,000. Short-term licenses are also available on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

“We see indie game developers as a key part of the industry, driving innovative new production techniques and gameplay,” said Autodesk Media & Entertainment VP Chris Bradshaw.

“The market is fiercely competitive, and Maya LT can provide indie developers and small studios with a powerful, yet simplified workflow for designing and animating remarkable 3D characters, environments and props – at a price that fits within even the most modest budget. It’s a practical solution that closely matches the needs of the mobile game development production cycle and helps developers rise above the noise and really shine.”

Train2Game News: Mad Munchkin Reviews

Mad Munchkin ReviewsTrain2Game student, Amy Methven from Elgin Scotland, has created her own YouTube channel talking about all sorts of different art and animation.

Amy’s Mad Munchkin Reviews have covered media such as games, movies and TV Shows. She has spoken about the Batman Arkham games, My Little Pony and she has discussed subjects such as CGI compared to 2D animation.

It’s a fascinating view on all the different aspects of animation.

I asked Amy why she decided to create her YouTube channel and she said “I started the Mad Munchkin reviews for lots of different reasons really. The first one being that I love Art and love talking about it, like most people on the Art and Animation Course with Train2Game.

The second reason is that I wanted to find other creative ways to expose my Art work outside of the video game industry. In a practical sense, it allowed me to develop my video editing skills as well as analytical skills when it comes to my writing. I wanted to teach myself how to construct my critiques so I can successfully back up my opinions on what I review.

The show primarily focuses on Animated Movies, tv shows and video games, looking at the creative process behind creating these pieces of Art from the perspective of theory rather than the practical technicalities of the process. As much as I love the practical side of creativity, it is the theory and reason behind it that I like talking about more. Asking why something looks a certain why is more interesting to me than finding out how it was constructed.”

If you would like to check out Amy’s YouTube channel you can here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Amymethven/videos?shelf_index=0&view=0&sort=dd

Or you can view her Deviant art page at: http://amymethvenart.deviantart.com/