In the 3D Animation Program, students learn the craft of 3D animation; how to move characters and make them perform and act in a convincing way.
Students learn about posing, drawing, appeal, principles of motion, acting, and the classical principles of animation. Each week, animators from the best studios in the world work with the students one-on-one, giving the students the best opportunity for growth.
At AnimSchool, we eat, drink, and sleep animation! We love animating, and we want students who share our enthusiasm.
Animation is about bringing characters to life. This is a very demanding and competitive discipline, but for those of us in the field, all the hard work is worth that magic result: a character who seems to come to life on the screen.
Appealing, expressive characters are the heart of AnimSchool!
Our students learn animation from instructors who work at the highest level. In addition, animation students take one course in modeling or rigging. That broader knowledge is helpful at smaller studios, broadcast studios, game studios, especially if the animator later aspires to work on their own short film. Even film animators benefit from knowledge of modeling and rigging; they are able to customize their shots, and apply in-shot deformers for added appeal. (Students have the option of bypassing the modeling or rigging course if they already have the requisite experience.)
Our Animation program is divided into 2 parts, the Animation track, and the Animation program.
The Animation track consists of classes 0-3. These classes form a foundation of Animation skills to prepare students for success in the Animation Program. Classes 4-7 make up the Animation program. Successfully completing the program classes will prepare a student to work in the industry as well as make a student eligible for a certificate of completion.
Prior to acceptance in the Animation program students must successfully complete the Animation track classes or provide the Review Board with a reel demonstrating the prerequisite skills needed to be successful in the Animation Program.
Each term in the Animation track and program is 11 weeks long.
Essential Maya software skills for success
For students who are new to Maya or transitioning from different 3D software packages this is the place to start. This course will teach our students the fundamental skills they need so that instead of learning Maya basics during their program classes they can focus on learning animation principles, modeling and rigging.
This course explores the Maya interface, creating objects, primitives, lights, cameras, rendering and materials. Students will understand about grouping, parenting, constraints and hierarchies preparing them for further modeling, rigging and animation courses.
Students that already have experience with Maya may be eligible to bypass this course by submitting their demo reel or portfolio to our review board at
Apply the principles of animation to simple objects and characters
From the classic bouncing ball to the workings of a walk cycle. Students will learn about timing, arcs, spacing, anticipation, ease in and out, weight, gravity, drag, secondary action, overlap, follow through, squash and stretch, and exaggeration. Instructors will share techniques on how to achieve believable motion in objects and simple characters, and will show you some tips and tricks on 3D animation workflow. Be prepared to absorb lots of information coming at you in a fast-paced and fun induction into the world of 3D animation!
Fundamentals of character motion and locomotion.
This class introduces our students to the wonderful world of biped character locomotion. Students will complete three separate exercises to learn the concepts required for believable motion and locomotion including:
how to maintain balance, understanding where the character's center of gravity is located, sculpting poses for strong silhouettes, shape reversals, how and why a character anticipates a move, motivated action, secondary action and reaction, caricatured motion, how to avoid twinning, appeal in asymmetry, and staging.
Each student is encouraged to explore creative scenarios for their characters in each assignment, in order to start flexing those story-telling muscles. Instructors will guide students to a more clear presentation while also offering valuable insight that will bring more life into your characters!
3D Animation Track Students are required to take 1 of the following class 4 options:
Mastering physical movement with simple characters.
Students learn how to make biped characters move in two exercises, blending different actions to create complex scenes with an emphasis on balance, direction changes, action, realistic force, and Ik/Fk switching. Students also learn quadruped locomotion in a third exercise of animating a dog walk. The class aims to provide students with a strong foundation and understanding of body mechanics so they are able to tackle physical shots in real production environments. Students will continue to improve their workflows in order to work more quickly and efficiently and meet realistic deadlines.
Introduction to the principles of polygon/subdivision surface and other modeling formats, applied to simple objects
This class teaches topology layouts in theory and practice, achieving desirable shaping, modeling workflows, and the best rest state for rigging. Students model organic and inorganic objects, model a designed vehicle, and a designed character bust.
Students learn basic modeling concepts, working with manipulators, isolate selection, primitives, history, loft, bevel, extrusion, duplication, transformation space, soft selection, reflection editing, lattices, converting geometry types, projects, and workspace.
Introduction to the principles of rigging, applied to simple objects
Students use their modeling assignment to learn basic rigging concepts, including hierarchies, constraints, skinning, blendshapes, connections, joints, orientation, inverse kinematics, expressions, math operators, xray, curve controls, custom attributes, sets, Set Driven Keys, and hypergraph connections.
Introduction to the principles of polygon/subdivision surface and other modeling formats, applied to simple objects
Learn the basics of 3D lighting in Maya from working pros, in live classes. Learn the principles of light, shadow, color, composition, and staging. How to render great images using Maya's tools.
This course is designed for animation or modeling students, and also for students who may want to pursue lighting and rendering as a career path.
Next Step: Apply for the Animation Program!
Body mechanics are explored in the context of acting.
This class will give you insight into how to understand the art of pantomime acting. Students will begin to focus on how to make a character appear to think and make decisions based on external forces or internal motivation. Instructors will share techniques on important building blocks such as posing, staging, rhythm, solidity, beats/phrasing, appeal, personality, structure, solid and malleable parts, simplicity of form, straights and curves, texture in timing, and moving holds.
Students will be able to explore story-telling in more depth, and will learn to stage their performance for best presentation to an audience.
How to animate a shot with dialogue
The exercise that all animators look forward to; Acting to dialogue. Now that you know body mechanics and pantomime body acting, you are ready to tackle the challenge. Students will learn how to select dialogue clips, and how to present the ideas in the audio in an interesting way by clarity of acting choices.
In Character Performance you will explore how to make a character seem alive, and how to craft a believable performance. You will explore who your character is in order to find that place where genuine acting choices come alive in your scene.
Multiple character assignments teach students about acting and reaction, choreography, and controlling the audience's attention. Instructors will guide students through building strong facial poses, as well as phoneme shapes that read with clarity and appeal.
Take your facial acting up a notch!
Students tackle the demanding task of facial acting in more detail. You will learn to animate a line of dialogue with the main focus of the shot being the subtle emotional beats in the face. In Facial Performance you will dig into the nuances of facial animation that will help you to understand how and why to build a facial pose a certain way.
Learn when and why to draw the audience in tighter. Explore how the face works as a whole unit and shape, and how the small pieces play a role in delivering subtle changes in the character's thoughts.
Instructors will dive deeper into facial acting, and demonstrate why strong facial acting is important to infuse depth and personality into your characters.
Advanced Course: Guiding the Students to the most entertaining ideas and choices and appealing poses
This master class is designed to help students get that extra spark of life and appeal in their animation. This class is taught by the most talented AnimSchool animators.
Their goals: to help you learn to make the best, most entertaining acting choices and to achieve a high level of polish and sophistication.
Instructors guide you with the broad strokes and the tiny details that will
help take your work to the next level.
Students animate new acting shots, and get help polishing their demo reel.
AnimSchool offers three gaming courses:
- Introduction to Gaming Animation
- Game Animation Pipeline
- Advanced Game Animation
Game animation students learn the animations, tools, and skills specifically required for working in games.
Students learn about game theory, interaction, working with game engines, importing animation into Unity, and working in game cinematics.
AnimSchool animation students can choose a gaming emphasis, replacing animation classes 5,6 and 7(or take them after completing the program).
How to create animations for games
Animators learn what it takes to work in the ever changing gaming industry and how make assignments set in a game development environment. Students coming out of the courses will have essential demo reel material required for most video game animator positions for gameplay and cinematics.
Students learn game theory, engines, and a basic understanding of pipeline. Students create player and enemy animations, using AnimSchool's game character rigs.
It's about GAMING! Each week students should send their teacher a current export of their plotted animation (.fbx) to be viewed IN ENGINE and also provide a playblast from Maya from front, side.
They should also be playing new games and come ready to discuss what they liked and didn't like about it.
Advanced game animations, nuanced performances, and bringing animation elements together in a game engine
Students learn about working within a game development pipeline using Unity, while exploring new animation states that broaden their technical abilities.
Students expand their moveset of player and enemy animations like pushing/pulling, climbing, and more!
Students use AnimSchool's quadruped rig, "Hellhound"!
Cinematic Animation for Games
Students create the story moments that make games memorable, put together a story sequence with existing and new animation, and study camera techniques to make game cinematics animations! They learn how to be fast and efficient with their animations along and learn how to apply to game studios.