There has been a lot of talk about skill shortages in the filmmaking industry. Escape Studios is a great example of an institute that produces future talent for the industry. Let's find out what is their secret for producing some of the most talented people.
Skill shortage in the VFX industry
The visual effects (VFX) industry is a dynamic and fast-growing sector that plays a crucial role in the entertainment and media landscape. From realistic CGI scenes in movies to immersive virtual worlds in video games, VFX artists bring imagination to life. However, the VFX industry faces a significant challenge: a skills shortage.
As technology advances and audience expectations rise, the demand for high-quality animations and visual effects continues to soar. Major film studios, game developers, and streaming platforms constantly seek cutting-edge VFX talent to enhance their productions. This increasing demand has created a gap between the number of skilled professionals available and the number required to fulfill industry needs.
We visited Escape Studios a while ago to learn more about how they produce some of the best talents for the industry.
Crafting the future talent
Escape Studios has been supplying the creative industries with talent across animation, games, and visual effects since 2002. Originally located in Shepherd’s Bush, its mission has always been to fill the gap in industry training. This is because back when it was established, there were no university courses that provided artists directly with the skills needed for their careers.
Escape Studios teaches only the relevant skills needed in the ever-changing industry
As a Rookies and Houdini certified school, Escape Studios shapes raw talent into the next generation of creative professionals that the industry needs. With courses designed and delivered by industry experts, Escape Studios teaches only relevant techniques, skills, and software to produce studio-ready artists. Over 4,000 alumni later, Escape Studios has formed a strong network of passionate creative artists that have been part of many award-winning productions such as Stranger Things, Dune, No Time to Die, Star Wars, and 1917 to name just a few.
The ever-growing technology sector
As a result of technological innovation and the rising consumption of digital entertainment, the VFX industry has become one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in the world. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and increasing R&D are expected to drive its market even further forward in the future. Consequently, there remains a constant high demand for industry professionals. To fill the demand for VFX artists, universities need to stay agile and offer courses that reflect the needs of the industry.
“Interestingly, when students come along to do the degree programs, we tell them we're not really about the degree programs. We're actually about producing talent that is ready to work in the studios for industry,” says Mark Spevick, the Head of Industry Training at Escape Studios.
In one of their modules, students learn how to create environment art for games
Fast game simulations
Speed is important when working inside game engines. Escape Studios has been using the Scan 3XS workstation powered by an ASUS ProArt Z790 Motherboard together with an RTX 4090 GPU. This runs the fluid simulation in 120 frames per second easily in Unreal Engine, a fact which has made not only working but also teaching enjoyable. Programme Lead for MA courses, Christian Avigni, mentions how he cannot sit around and wait for the computer to unfreeze during his simulations, so he needs a workstation that keeps up with the movement of his mouse.
Escape Studios uses the Scan 3XS System powered by ASUS ProArt Z790 motherboard and RTX 4090 graphics card for the ultimate power
Christian uses the workstation together with the ASUS ProArt PA32UCR-K monitor. Its color accuracy and 4K resolution assure him that what he is seeing on the monitor is what he should be seeing. Together the workstation and monitor provide him the confidence to work efficiently from the beginning of the pipeline.
Christian runs the fluid simulation in 120 frames per second easily in Unreal Engine easily with the Scan 3XS workstation paired with the ASUS ProArt PA32UCR-K monitor
Working with transitions and motion
Escape Studios uses the ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K 4K monitor to save time when it comes to production. This 4K monitor has a peak brightness of up to 1600nits. Michael Davies, the Head of Creative Technology, uses the monitor to review students’ work. Since he can see the full high dynamic range of colors, he is always able to give more meaningful feedback to his students.
Michael uses the ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K to give his students more detailed feedback
Working with fast animations and VFX, the 120Hz refresh rate means everyone can see the kind of motion very clearly and smoothly. Michael mentions that one of the things that they do a lot in animations is getting characters and other animations to blend between one another. “All of these different transitions, we actually really need to be able to see this character almost frame by frame. That's really, really difficult if you don't have a monitor that is actually showing you what you should be seeing,” he says.
Having a 120Hz monitor enables Escape Studios to see transition smoothly which makes the viewing experience better
After using the ASUS ProArt monitors and workstation together, Escape Studios has noticed a difference in its workflows. More details, faster turnarounds, and improved feedback mean staff can focus more on the creative process and keep on producing some of the top VFX artists in the industry.
“It's been fabulous working with the ASUS team. What it's enabled us to do is turn around and iterate a lot faster and be more concerned about the creative output and the storytelling than the technical aspects of having to work,” concludes Spewick.