Thursday, January 19, 2017

Graduate Spotlight - Jane Wang

Today, we'd like you to meet Jane Wang, a recent graduate from AnimSchool's Character Program!

Hi Jane! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? At what stage in your life did you decide you wanted to get into the 3D animation industry?

I grew up constantly doodling and being passionate about art, but didn’t believe that art was something you could really pursue. This led to me studying mechanical engineering and feeling really dissatisfied in school. In my third year of college, I had my first real world exposure to 3D modeling when I worked at a virtual simulation lab. It blew my mind that you could actually have a job making models. I’ll always remember the first model I ever made for that lab; it was a simple shelf that took me way too long to figure out because I had no idea how to actually make 3D models. After reading and watching a lot of tutorials, I fell in love with 3D modeling and thought it was the perfect balance of something technical and artistic. When I graduated, I had a choice whether to stay in the Washington, DC area and work as an engineer, or go to California and work for a fine artist. I still had a lot of flexibility, so I chose to take a chance and pursue art. I decided that AnimSchool was where I could get the most out of learning 3D modeling and really hone my skills.

What is your favorite thing about being a 3D artist?

My favorite thing about being a 3D artist is the ability to make even the most fanciful designs look and feel real. I love how every time I work on something new, I get to research and gather references to understand what things are supposed to look like and how things work. It’s like solving a puzzle and is a constant learning process. I especially enjoy environmental modeling because there are so many elements and small details that all have a part to play. Every object is important and needs care and attention to bring a scene to life.

What sort of things do you like to do when you’re not behind a computer screen?

I’m a very active person and love running, hiking, and practicing Aikido. I also enjoy machining and fabrication, eating good food, and travelling. I always feel like there are way too many things I want to do and not enough time to do them all. But right now, I’m really focused on getting good at 3D modeling, so I spend most of my time in front of a computer.

Who or what are the major influences behind your work?

My husband is my main inspiration with his unwavering love and support. My friends and family have also been extremely encouraging. The incredible teachers at AnimSchool motivated me to do my best. Juan Pablo Chen and Brien Hindman were especially influential in making me a better modeler with their encouragement and exceptional attention to detail. The many friendly and talented people in the community also make me excited and passionate about being an artist.

Could you tell us what you’re currently working on?

Aside from working on my portfolio and reel, I’m currently part of a few animation projects that I joined through Artella. The teams are filled with incredible people and I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to work with them. There’s The Book of Mojo (, Mal & Ava (, and Pure ( Keep an eye out for them in the future!

How do you feel you have grown as a 3D Artist since starting AnimSchool?

I have grown exponentially since first starting AnimSchool. When I first started, I felt pretty overwhelmed with how much I had to learn. Basic models felt really challenging to make, and I had to really go through and soak in a lot of information. I think that having teachers I could interact with really made a huge difference. I was able to get a lot of feedback, so I worked a lot harder to improve myself. I’m really happy that I studied at AnimSchool and feel that I’ve benefited enormously from the experience.

You can see more of Jane's amazing work at her website ( as well as her artstation ( 

And be sure to check out her Demo Reel below:

To come and learn at one of the best online animation schools, please visit

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Student Project Spotlight - Yvonne Zacharias

Today, we'd like to show you a beautiful 3D environment model by Yvonne Zacharias, which was created during her Environmental Modeling class at AnimSchool over the summer. Yvonne was kind enough to talk to us about the process she went through and thoughts while working on this project.

What was it about this particular concept art from The Lorax that made you chose to turn it into a 3D model for your Environmental Modeling class? What part(s) were you most excited to model?

When I first saw Clement Griselain’s design of the Oncler house, I just fell in love with it and I knew, this was the concept I was going to turn into a 3D model for my class. The building is so quirky, so whimsical and has got so much character that if it could talk, it would tell us the most unusual and hilarious stories you’ve ever heard. I also love that you can already tell what kind of eccentric character would live in a building like that, it feels, as if the house is an extension of what the character living in it is like. For me that’s what makes an amazing environment – when I look at it I get hungry to see what’s inside and who’s crazy enough to inhabit a place like that. The perfect mix of cartoony madness and crooked lines with everything being bend slightly and no two objects being the same.

I guess, I was most excited about modeling the writing that was carved into the wood and the outhouse with the heart shape cut out between the wooden slats. But also, all the different little bits and bobs like the bath tub or the crooked steps to the back porch super excited me. I just super wanted to see this fantastic concept coming to life in 3D.

Can you tell us about the process you went through in creating this environment?

A ) I started off looking for more reference pictures and I ended up finding a great concept picture of the front and the back of the house. At the same time, I started collecting reference pictures for different props and parts of the house.

B) I split the entire house up into sections and colour coded each section of the concept drawing in Photoshop. This step helped me a lot as it made me take a very close look at what I am getting myself into. Also, it made the modeling process feel more manageable to me and I was less overwhelmed about how much needed to be done because now, I knew.

C) The next step was, to go into Maya and block in all the shapes, getting the proportions and positions with the entire environment right and making sure, the silhouette of the previsualisation would look appealing.

D) Pick a section and start turning it into the final geo. I started with section B (the building with the front door) as I was worried about the carved writing at first. I would finish a section or two off for class, get Juan’s feedback, then apply the feedback and tackle the next one or two sections. Like that, I made my way around the entire model.

E) After all the big sections were done, I modeled all the missing props like the bath tub with its accessories, the garden furniture, rocking chairs, the covered wagon, the fireplace and the clothesline with laundry.

F) UV maps. I waited until I was done modeling when I started on creating UV layouts for each and everything in the scene. I used a mix of Maya’s own mapping tools and Roadkill to create all my UV layouts.

G) Getting the environment ready for presentation meant, cleaning up the scene, making sure, everything had a distinctive name and is grouped wisely, deleting the history on everything and creating a final camera through which the model would look closest to what the concept looked like.

H) Lastly, I created a small lighting setup with the Arnold renderer and rendered a presentation still.

What about the process did you most enjoy?

To be honest, I really enjoyed going through the whole process but I suppose my favourite part of the progress to begin with was the previsualisation because this would be the first time, I would get a real feeling about the concept I’ve chosen and how it would work in 3D. But of course, going ahead and finishing off each and every section as good as I could, was very enjoyable.

What was a particularly challenging aspect that you experienced while working on this project and what did you take away from it?

I did find the drapery particularly challenging as it just wouldn’t want to look like I wanted it to. I realized in the end that less is more and that you are sometimes better off simplifying a crease to make it look appealing.

To learn more about the modeling process, come and join us at one of the best online animation schools:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Head Modeling General Review with Dave Gallagher

Each term, a few times a week, AnimSchool offers extra critiquing times from current instructors and other industry professionals. In this Modeling General Review, Dave Gallagher, founder of AnimSchool, reviews Teresa Storhoff's 3D model from her Intermediate Modeling class.

For more useful tips like these, please come and join us at

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Terence Bannon-Appealing mouth shapes

In this clip from AnimSchool's 3D animation class for facial animation, Animator Terence Bannon discusses making appealing mouth shapes.

To know more about our online animation programs, visit

Friday, September 23, 2016

Graduate Spotlight - Ralph Byrd

Today, we'd like you to meet Ralph Byrd, a recent graduate from AnimSchool's Character Program!

The 33 year old is from Washington, D.C. and got his BA from Yale University. He is a very talented, hard-working guy and was a pleasure to interview.

Ralph's tour of DreamWorks with Juan Chen

Did you have any experience in animation or art prior to AnimSchool? If not, what did you do before this?

I had always pursued art through drawing and sketching, but had no formal education in art aside from studio art electives I took in college. Creating art was something I had always done out of enjoyment, but I didn't consider it a realistic life pursuit until I joined AnimSchool.

What were your motivations to start the Character Program?

I've always seen animation as being at its core, a means of communication. Through animation, you can convey an idea more articulately than any form of written language. I was particularly motivated to start the character program because with characters you can convey human feelings and emotions that are universally relatable and through that, you can connect with people all over the world.

What was your favorite class and/or instructor and why?

There are so many great teachers at AnimSchool. I would have to say my favorite class was Juan Chen’s environment modeling. I enjoyed this class so much that I took it twice because I wanted to instill the virtues of 'clean modeling’. Juan is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and resources and would go to any length to help a student.

What are your plans now that you have graduated?

My dream is to break into the industry and work freelance. I also have a list of personal projects I intend to complete including an animated short. I am looking to become more involved in social media to connect with people and share my work (Instagram handle: ralph.byrd). Finally, I would like to use the skills I have learned to inspire others the way that animation has inspired me.

Are there any animation industry professionals who inspire you?

All the teachers I had at AnimSchool inspired me a great deal. I would particularly like to thank (in the order I took their class):
Florian Perret, Sabina Heller, Brien Hindman, Juan Chen, Krzysztof Fus, Nico Sanghrajka

Was there any particular piece of advice that you got during your time at AnimSchool that has still stuck with you?

One particular piece of advice that stuck with me is to never stop learning, and to always keep practicing. If you can keep animation as part of your daily routine, and you can dedicate several hours each day, you will see your work improve dramatically. The industry is always evolving and there are always new things to learn. Understanding that being a student goes hand in hand with working professionally can help to sustain a career in animation.

Thanks Ralph and good luck!

Thank you!

To come and learn at one of the best online animation schools, please visit

Monday, September 19, 2016

Steve Vanseth- Importance of hands

This is a clip from AnimSchool's body animation class where the instructor Steve Vanseth talks about the importance of hands .

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

AnimSchool's New Character: Maggie

United States - September 6, 2016 -- AnimSchool is proud to present our newest character, Maggie, exclusively for AnimSchool students.

AnimSchool is the leader in appealing, flexible characters. Our students animate with the most refined, advanced characters, using the popular AnimSchool Picker.

Maggie was designed by Amanda Zima and modeled by AnimSchool graduate Pablo Bellozas and David Gallagher. Rigging by AnimSchool founder David Gallagher.

AnimSchool rigs are built with each part and control being tested to extreme levels, making the strongest poses possible. You can see the range of motion and poseability students can achieve with Maggie.

Maggie has clothing options: long and T-shirt, pants, shorts, shoes, separate socks, and poseable toes.

To use Maggie, apply to an AnimSchool program or individual class.

AnimSchool characters and the AnimSchool Picker are used by more than 50,000 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.

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