Industry experience for Animation & Games Art students

James Hutchinson

James Hutchinson

The Animation & Games Art course received support from the Robson Real World Experience Fund. This enabled staff to book two key talks and workshops for the students, to give them invaluable industry experience through, firstly, a live character concept brief from Atomhawk Design and, secondly, a separate character design workshop from Nick Lewis at Arcus Animation.

Atomhawk is a world-leader and award-winning visual development and design studio, working with film studios, games developers and product designers to help them realise their visions. They have worked on concept art for the Marvel-franchised films, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: The Dark World as well as games such as Mortal Combat X, Pottermore and Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Their Art Manager, Darren Yeomans and one of their artists, Thomas Chamberlain Keen, visited our studio and talked to our students about their work and processes – giving our students a valuable insight into the daily production processes and the importance of specific skills and techniques that are required to work in a world-renowned design studio.

They delivered a character design live-brief for our students to take up and then talked them through the process using Thomas Chamberlain Keen’s work as an example. The brief gave them a choice of 3 characters to choose from with a written description and some specific details for each separate character.

A number our students from across all stages of the course took on the brief and, guided by staff, they went through the development process involved to create their chosen character. As an added incentive, the art team at Atomhawk offered to donate a signed copy of their ‘Art of Atomhawk’ book to the student whose work showed the most promise. The students were given about twice the time expected of a commercial studio to finish the brief and their work was forwarded to Darren and his team for them to give feedback to each student as well as select a winner.

They were unable to choose one so picked two winners instead and they donated two signed books instead of one as promised.

This was a highly rewarding experience for all of our students, even those who didn’t win received thorough and helpful feedback on their designs, which they will be able to apply to their University work as they progress through their degree. It was also insightful and helpful in giving them first-hand experience of professional working practice, specific to their specialism, from a world-class studio.

Students also had the opportunity to take part in a character design workshop with Nick Lewis from Arcus Animation Studios. This was an invaluable and rewarding opportunity for our students to hear first-hand experience and advice from an artist who has worked over 20 years in the animation industry. He was formerly Art Manager at Atomhawk Design and is currently Production Manager at Arcus Animation studios. His specialism is as a character artist, covering 2D and 3D, concept and animation production work. He talked our students through the processes involved, again using his own artwork as an example. Nick gave students a step-by-step guide from concept to completion and then gave them the opportunity to apply these skills to their own designs.

Both teaching staff and students wholeheartedly appreciated the generosity of the Robson Real World Scholarship and the opportunities it has given them to experience first-hand the professional working processes of their industry.

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