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Escape Studios Announces New MA Program in Storyboarding and Previs

Industry’s first such master’s degree course, developed with mentors Blue Zoo and The Third Floor, is set to launch this coming November.

Escape Studios has just announced their new Master’s Degree in Storyboarding and Previsualisation, scheduled to launch this coming November. The one-year, full-time MA program, the world’s first, was developed in consultation with industry mentors such as Blue Zoo Animation Studio and The Third Floor, and will provide students with a unique opportunity to learn industry-level skills while earning an internationally recognized academic qualification.

Alex Williams, Escape Studio’s head of animation, and the driving force behind the program’s development, noted, “Storyboarding is an important part of the story-telling process and one that is currently an area of skills shortage. Industry has long been telling us that they cannot find enough skilled storyboard artists to satisfy the huge growth in animation and VFX production in the UK in recent years. Storyboarding is a basic skill that every filmmaker should have; being able to express a sequence of shots visually is one of the key skills in narrative storytelling.”

According to Williams, storyboarding and previsualisation share the common goal of pre-imagining the story, bringing it to life before the expensive business of animation or principal photography begins. “Our course teaches both disciplines, allowing students to focus on two career pathways: using traditional drawings skills (storyboards), or digital skills (previs),” he added. “Storyboard artists and previs artists both have to solve many of the same problems, including shot flow, cinematography, narrative rhythm, and continuity. Both work closely with the director and editor to bring the story to life.”   

The program will take advantage of two new recently installed software packages: Toonboom Storyboard Pro, and Panel Forge, the latter a hybrid software that blends 3D modeling resources with drawing tools. Panel Forge is essentially a stripped-down version of Maya, pioneered by Blue Zoo and Jellyfish Animation, that greatly speeds up the storyboarding process. Previsualisation will be mainly taught using Autodesk Maya.

The course’s lead tutor will be veteran storyboard artist Iliana Franklin, whose credits include Framestore’s The Tale of Despereaux. In addition, Blue Zoo and The Third Floor will continue to provide mentorship over the course of the program through student work review and feedback. For more information, visit the program’s official website.

Source: Escape Studios

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