I was born in Manchester, and grew up in Glossop with two elder sisters. I went to St Lukes primary school in Glossop, followed by Manchester Grammar School in Fallowfield, Manchester. While at MGS I moved towards the sciences (I was even on the Philsoc committee), despite doing lots of theatre outside of school with GODS and the Partington Theatre.
Coming out of MGS in 1996, I went straight to the University of Southampton to study Chemistry with Computer Science. This meant I didn't get any choice in the modules I could do, but that was ok: the modules that I particularly remember enjoying were Advanced Programming (C, C++ & Java) and Software Tools and Techniques (use of UNIX & shell scripting). While there I got involved in the Juggling Club (which I ended up being president of for three years), and did some amateur dramatics with the University's Theatre Group and Showstoppers.
I very much enjoyed my third year project with Martin Grossel, and this pushed me towards doing a PhD in 1999. I therefore stayed on at the Chemistry Department in Southampton, working for Bruno Linclau who was new to the department. I enjoyed the following three years, but it became more and more obvious that I wasn't really suited to chemistry. I was thinking of things to do when I finished: I seem to remember considering large numbers of things. The few I can remember were IT, acting, glass blowing (yes, really), but the one I decided to do temporarily (until I had a more permanent plan) was to be a croupier on a cruise ship. That never happened, because I was struck with inspiration. It doesn't happen often. I watched the film Shrek, loved it utterly, and started playing around with POV-Ray again. I had begun using it at the age of 14 or so, and the re-kindling of this excitement had me entering the Internet Raytrace Competition. I would come home from the chemistry lab at 6pm or so, and work on my IRTC entry until gone midnight because I was loving it so much. It was then that I realized that it if I loved something that much, I should consider it as a career...
So at the start of 2003, I contacted many (well, it seemed like many) computer animation companies, but none of them were really interested in someone with no qualifications in the subject. I happened to look on Friends Reunited, and find that someone from my year at MGS, Andy Tudor, had studied Computer Animation at the NCCA in Bournemouth. After a bit more research, I discovered that the NCCA was the place to study computer animation in Britain, so I applied to do the MA there. Having been interviewed by Peter Hardie and Steve Harper, I was offered a place on the course, and I rushed through an application to the AHRB (now AHRC: thanks for the heads-up Jacob) which was accepted.
I had a wonderful time learning Softimage XSI and Shake on the Masters. I produced the animation "Requiem for a Fish" as a group project with Felix Ilsley, Cristobal Infante-Esquivel, Myriam Levis and Gavin Lewis, and for my Masters project produced a short animation called "Paradigm".
Towards the end of the MA in August 2004 I applied to the NCCA as demonstrator. I got the job, and was then told that I would be lecturing as well. I had to teach Maya, a software package that I had almost no experience of, and I had a week to prepare. I managed it, and taught Maya to first year undergraduate students for 3 years. While there, I also took it upon myself to develop the "pipeline" of the NCCA, to allow the digital hand-in and video DVD system to be mostly hands-off.
After three years at the NCCA, I realized that I had stagnated, and decided I wanted a lively, exciting place to work. Sad to leave the teaching behind, I started work in the pipeline department of Framestore Animation on their first picture, The Tale Of Despereaux. The pipeline of a feature film is so ridiculously different to the methodologies used by even the most complicated student project: I think I learnt more in my first three months at Framestore than in my three years working at Bournemouth. I moved over to the visual effects department of Framestore when Despereaux finished, and I have been pipeline lead on four films since then. I now live in Welwyn Garden City.
© Henry Bush, 2014
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