Wednesday, July 23, 2014

AnimSchool Student Spotlight: Jared Johnson

Today we are welcoming AnimSchool Student Jared Johnson. Jared is already working in the animation industry and, as many other colleagues, he keeps studying and expanding his skills along the way.

Tell us a little about yourself, what's your background? How did you get into animation?

Like most artists, I began drawing at a very young age. I grew up loving animated movies, cartoons, comic books and video games. For years I thought I would become a comic book artist, but I felt frustrated being limited to a few panels to tell a story. I’m originally from Pennsylvania where I started my art education. While in college, I realized that animation was a liberating medium and I’ve been working in it ever since. I continued studying art and animation in San Francisco and eventually started my career there.

You are currently working in the animation industry, right? Tell us about it.

I am! Currently, I’m working at Gazillion Entertainment as an animator on the “Marvel Heroes” online video game. Before returning to work at Gazillion, I wrapped up animation work on the feature film Free Birds last summer. My career consists of some great opportunities such as video game cinematics, documentaries, and cartoons for adult swim.

What do you like the most when animating?

Blocking is generally the most fun part of the process. It’s the time when you get to play around and experiment the most. Otherwise, I also enjoy the polish stage of adding refined detail and subtlety to animation. It’s easy to get inspired when I come across really good character performance or creature shots. Being able to work on them is a blast too.

You've taken a 3-month Express Class in Character Performance. What were your ideas before taking the class? In what ways do you think Animschool has helped you after you finished it?

Since most of my career has been in TV and video games, I felt it was important to push my skills and work on a more polished, character driven shot. When you work in games, you’re not always able to really sink your teeth into character performance and that’s something I want to make sure I kept working on. The instructor, Christopher Bancroft, really helped keep me on track and focus on what was really important in the shot. I also attended the general reviews with instructor Kevan Shorey. Both had wonderful insight and great eye for detail. They’re the type of animators you want to work with in a studio.

You've done a great work with your assignment. How was your workflow for this shot?

Thank you. I spend a good chunk of time thinking about the shot, asking questions like, “who are the characters? What is the shot about?” Afterward, I draw thumbnails and shoot lots of reference footage of myself to try to explore more ideas. Then follows an initial blocking phase and early feedback (from the instructor). Afterwards, I'd revise/elaborate on the blocking before continuing into splined.

Any particular tip or advice that your instructor gave you that stood out?
One piece of advice that my instructor gave me was to go to general reviews. It's an open class that any AnimSchool student can go to for additional critique. It's always good to get a fresh pair of eyes to view your work. When you're staring at your animation for so long, you can start to miss out on ways to improve it. It's important to remember that animation is a very collaborative art form so one shouldn't be afraid to share it with others.
Thanks for having me!

We thank Jared for this interview. Check out his reel below:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

AnimSchool Classtime: Working with Lattices in Animation with Trevor Young

In this clip, Blue Sky animator and AnimSchool Instructor Trevor Young shows a quick demo on how to create lattices, how to animate them and some ideas on making them clean. Watch it below: 

This is a clip from AnimSchool's class Body Acting, the 4th term of the 3D Animation Program. To find out more, go to and apply now!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AnimSchool Interview: Alaa Aldeen Afifah

We'd like to welcome Animator Alaa Aldeen Afifah. Can you tell us a little about yourself, what is your background and how did you get into character animation?

Firstly, I want to say thank you for having me in your Blog.
I've become obsessed with animation and film making at a very young age, when playing video games and watching movies.
Since then, I've come a long way. Now with 11 years of industry experience, I focus on character animation and how to bring characters to life.During my career I've worn many hats, from rigging to modeling but also lighting and other aspects of CG, which gives me  a solid understanding of the entire CG pipeline.
I've started as a self taught animator but when I realized that I couldn't push myself any further I decided to join an online animation school to expand my knowledge.
I would love  an opportunity to work on a big studio like BlueSky, Disney or Sony. 

What is your current work?

Right now I'm a Senior Animator and the Animation Team Lead for Real Image Post Production Studio. I also work as a tutor where I record video lectures specifically focused to the Arab World future animators.

Your shot "The Elf" it's pretty impressive and really funny. You went for a cartoony style there, what were your thoughts before animating it?

Actually, I am always looking for something challenging and that I've never worked on before. For me, this is very important in order to improve my skills as an animator.

Also I have been animating  subtle shots for a while  so I thought it was the right time for something cartoony. I wanted to get out of that mode and try out something new and fresh, where I could push the character's facial even more. And in the process have some fun with it too!

What was your workflow for this shot?

The first thing I wanted to do is determine the cameras position and the entire flow of the shot.
So I did a simple animatic  where I had the character in position and I could see  the shot flow, and also seeing whether my thoughts were working or not.
Basically, I'm very obsessed with Blocking,  and I love staying in the Blocking stage as much as I can so I get to nail down everything I want to see in the shot.
I recorded  lots of video reference for myself playing the two roles. I had different takes for each character and then I chose the best ones and combined them together.

Here is a progression for "The Elf" shot showing my workflow: 

You've worked with the Animschool Malcolm rig for that shot, what do you think of it?
Simply Amazing! Malcolm is one of the best rigs I've ever touched, he is very appealing and expressive, and it has never constrained me or hold me back on doing any expression I had ever thought of.
Not to mention the performance and the speed factor of the Malcolm rig, where I could play the shot  in real time inside Maya's viewport without making any playblasts!

Monday, July 14, 2014

AnimSchool's Class - Pose Analysis Tony Bonilla

In AnimSchool's Class - Animating Characters, Character Animator at Walt Disney Animation Studios Tony Bonilla analyzes some of the best animated works and explains reasons behind every decision. He even shows some of his own professional work.


This is just a small sample of the quality of education our students get.
Come join all the students learning online at AnimSchool

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Classtime: Q&A with Anthea Kerou

In Animschool's Introduction to 3D Animation Class, students get the chance to have an animation related Q&A session with their instructor Anthea Kerou. In this case, she answers about the industry, her experience in feature films and gives some great advice to students' careers, among other things. You can't miss it!

This is a clip from AnimSchool's class Introduction to 3D Animation, the first term of the 3D Animation Program. To find out more, go to and apply today!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

AnimSchool's New Character, Mikey!

For Immediate Release

Orem, UT  United States - June 25, 2014 -- AnimSchool announces today their new character, Mikey. Mikey is a film-quality boy rig. Mikey is exclusively for AnimSchool students.

Like all AnimSchool character rigs, Mikey is designed for maximum flexibility and appealing poses. Animating with the most refined, advanced characters allows AnimSchool student work to stand out among competitors. AnimSchool Character students can use Mikey and the other advanced character rigs to learn the arts of high-end modeling and rigging.

Mikey has clothing options: two shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, poseable toes, and UV's for textured rendering.

Student Work: Carlos Rivas and Orkun Sanal
AnimSchool students are using Mikey in their animation assignments, enjoying his natural appeal. They appreciate having access to best rigs and tools available, making their animation work more enjoyable.

Here are some of their comments about Mikey:
"This is quality!" 
 "He is so cute." 
"Oh man!!!! I can not wait to play with this character."

AnimSchool characters are used by more than 20,000 users worldwide, and have been used to win numerous animation contests and for commercial needs. AnimSchool is known as the most trusted name for appealing 3D characters.

With over 200 students, AnimSchool was founded in 2010 to bring character-focused 3D animation instruction to students all around the world, through live online sessions with the best film professionals.

Isaac Nordlund
560 South State Street, Suite F3
Orem, UT 84058

801 765-7677


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Animschool Introduction to Game Animation

In our very first Introduction to Game Animation class, students had a chance to learn from very skillful animator Jarrod Showers (Carbine Studios), responsible for 12 AAA titles including Star Wars: Jedi Academy, X Men: Origins: Wolverine, Wolfenstein, Doom 4 and his latest title Wildstar that has been published couple days ago.

Students got to work with rigs that meet all industry standards. They were created to prepare the students to work at any serious gaming studio. Their task was to create a situation or conflict between two characters and do all required animation. They finished the term with a Demo Reel that had all the animation required to apply for a job in the gaming industry.
Not only that – they are also prepared to deal with short deadlines, pressure and critiques on their work, as we strongly feel that every student that finishes Animschool represent us at their future studios.

                                                  Robert Joseph Vicks - Elwood Animations


What are the challenges that 3D character animators deal when switching to game animation?
I feel the biggest challenges that 3d character animators deal with when switching to game animation is the speed at which you must work. Game animators must often times turn in rough animations in order to test out and get implemented in time. It's important to learn shortcuts and ways to speed up your workflow. Since there are other departments that depend on each other to stay on schedule, it's important to not be a blocker to anyone, even if that means coming back to a rough animation later on in the production schedule.

Some people consider game animation easier and less detailed - what do you think about this?
Even though game animations tend to be shorter and with a focus on body mechanics, that just means there is more to convey in a small amount of time. Every frame counts!
It's important to understand also that being a game animator involves much more that just animating. A large amount of time is spent problem solving that requires a technical side as well.

We just have to ask - do you play games that you've worked on?
I do! Some of my fondest memories are of inviting friends over to play co-op together! I think it's important for game developers to be able to work on projects that they can stand behind, because if they are having fun making the game, that will show in the final product.

What were the assignments that students had to do in order to complete the term?
Students were asked to create the essential animations required for every game animator's demo reel, which include: walk or run, idle cycles, a player and enemy attack, jumps, pains, and a death. In many assignments, students are given choices so that everyone's creativity can shine and differentiate themselves from each other.

What awaits the animators in the next term?
Some really exciting things are planned for next term as students move more into the realm of the Game Engine pipeline, using Unity! Students will be asked to import their animations to the engine in order to see for themselves the principals that have been taught.
Another exciting thing to look forward to is the introduction of the first Game Animation quadruped!There are many plans for this course as it continues to develop!

Do you feel our students are a step closer to the job in the gaming industry?
I feel that students are in fact closer to getting a job in the gaming industry with this course. The instructors keep a close eye on staying current with the gaming industry and want to pass along inside information on creating a streamlined path to employment. Students will get back what effort they put into the course by setting goals and staying focused on getting that job!

                                                                          Andrej Jagar - Rock and Elwood Animations