Last year, Orpheus student Sam Barrett was awarded funding that went towards a very exciting virtual Aardman Academy model-making course! Sam has a passion for art and animating, so he chose this to develop even more skills in 3D Animation and Claymation.

The funding for this was awarded very kindly through the Gorton Fund, which was set up by the parents of a previous Orpheus student who sadly passed. Current students get a yearly opportunity to apply for this funding which goes towards an activity they’ve always wanted to do. We are forever grateful for the Gorton's support and it’s always amazing to hear from the students about how their experiences went!

For the first part of Sam's course, he followed along with a video tutorial hosted by animator Jim Parkyn, who taught him how to make Morph-like 3D figures with different expressions.

As the course continued, Sam was able to further and further developed his skills in creating different facial expressions, characters and poses using clay. He even chose some original characters he drew and turned them into 3D designs!

During his time, Sam got the opportunity to join a Q&A with Jim and the Course Leader, Stuart Messinger, where he asked some questions about their journey as 3D animators.

Q. What cartoons inspired you?

A. Trap Door, Duck Dodgers, Marvin the Martian and Ray Harryhausen.

Q. What clay characters are you working on at the moment?

A. A beaver for the Beaver Trust, and a funny politician on the loo!

When telling the Gorton’s about his experience overall, Sam said “Thank you for the money to do the Aardman Academy online course. It was amazing, I learnt how to pinch and push not pull the clay and I learnt how to measure the sizes of the body parts and use simple tools like a pencil and a toothpick. I learnt how to tidy the clay marks and put a worm shape bit of clay under the eyes to make it look more life-like.”

Sam has since used what he learnt in his Aardman course when creating final major projects for his work at university. Some examples include these two fabulous characters called Rosie and Jamie who work at a 70s disco!