UWE invests in industry standard animation kit

Issue date: 15 December 2008

Faculty of Creative Arts, Bower Ashton Campus Animation students studying at the School of Animation at the University of the West of England will benefit from industry standard software, specialist training tools and specialist hardware recently purchased from Escape Studios.

Software like Pixar's Renderman® will give the students the tools they need to emulate or aspire to the quality of animation seen in films like Pixar's 'Toy Story'.

This significant investment is another example of how the University is determined to ensure that the School of Animation gets industry recognition for it's commitment to becoming the top animation training centre in the UK. UWE is also the first University to adopt Escape Studios on-line learning system, the Maya Core course, which is a constantly updated learning tool.

Rachel Robinson, course tutor at UWE said, “We have bought industry standard workstations and software from Escape Studios. The hardware is state of the art including a render farm. Escape will be supporting our new Senior Technical Instructor in the hardware and software. Students will be able to create short CG films and showreel pieces using industry standard software Maya and the latest hardware including Renderman software developed and created by Pixar.

“The Escape Online resource will enable individual students to develop their skills across all animation programmes and to progress at a pace that reflects their level and abilities. At present students will have access to 600 video tutorials which equates to 60 hours of high definition content whilst studying on site and in the future they will be able to buy log ins so they can continue to study at home.”

Ian Costello, Media Resources Manager at UWE, said, “Development of these new resources began early in 2008 with a consultation with Pete Forde, CGI Systems manager at Aardman Animations. Pete introduced us to Escape Studios who have been working closely with Aardman.

“Students now have access to a brand new CG production studio based upon Boxx workstations, used widely in professional studios. Behind the scenes, but essential to processing large amounts of CGI data is a Nexsan SATAbeast, the 'engine' at the heart of our new high speed networked render server, supporting software including Pixars's Renderman® and Autodesk's Maya, enabling high quality CG animation production for the courses here.

“We have also recently appointed a new Senior Technical Instructor specialising in CG animation and who Escape will be supporting with the new hardware and software systems they supplied and helped us build.”

Escape Studios' Business Development Manager, Richard McGuinness, said, 'It's great to be able to offer UWE the same technology as we do with our professional customers. UWE's investment means they have the tools that the industry is using. Our consulting team were able to install the hardware and software in two days to complete the service we provided.”

Professor Paul Gough, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts at UWE, said, “This investment is just one part of our on-going commitment to becoming the UK's top animation training school. In January we will be launching the new animation studios that have recently moved from the previous home in Bristol's Tobacco Factory. We expect to see great things happening here - it's an exciting time to be involved in animation in Bristol.”


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