Monday, September 28, 2020

Make Your Eye Darts Look Alive

 

Making a 3D character look alive when the character is passive or is thinking about something without moving his or her body, is a tough thing to sell. Luckily, AnimSchool instructor Scott McWhinnie has some interesting tips to help us animate eye darts in a way that not only keep the character alive but also make the shot organic so to avoid the feeling of the character being a robot. 


For more educational videos like these, visit our channel on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnimSchool

For information regarding our online animation course, visit www.animschool.edu

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Introduction to Maya Keys II: Breakdowns

In this video from Maya Keys series, professional instructor Justin Barrett explains the second important Maya key in setting an animation setup called, Breakdowns. He explains the role of breakdowns keys in 2D animation setup in the past and what their function is now in a 3D dominating world.

Visit www.animschool.edu for information regarding our animation program so that you could learn more such tricks and tips from our professional animator instructors.



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Introduction to Maya Keys I: Keyframes









Autodesk Maya is a powerful tool to animate in 3D. However, in order to animate, one has to understand how to set up keys in order to make the shot work. Animschool offers one of the best online courses to teach Maya under the tutelage of professional animator Justin Barrett. This following clip is from one of his classes.

In this clip from his "Introduction to Maya" class, Animschool's instructor Justin Barrett explains the history and usage of keyframes in Maya animation setup.


Visit www.animschool.edu for information regarding our animation program so that you could learn more such tricks and tips from our professional animator instructors.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

How to Animate 3D Eyes- Quick Eye Movement



Eye animation is considered to be the hardest part of facial animation. Considering how people pay most attention to the eyes of the character, it is absolutely necessary to sell the eye movements to the audience so the character could feel like a living and breathing individual.

In this clip from our "Animating Characters" class, the instructor Paul Pammesberger explains how to animate a quick eye movement in animation and so that it looks natural and not an out of place motion to the audience. 




Visit www.animschool.edu for information regarding our animation program so that you could learn more such tricks and tips from our professional animator instructors.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Student Spotlight: Adrien Liv




AnimSchool prides itself on providing quality 3D animation education for its students. 

It comes as no surprise that today, for many working animators looking to take their skills to the next level, AnimSchool is the school of choice. Former student, Adrien Liv is one such animator.

 Hi Adrien! Could you tell us a little about yourself and why you love animation?


"Hello, my name is Adrien Liv, and I am currently an Animation Director at Cinesite on the project Riverdance. I have been animating for 15 years and have done animation work for Despicable Me 1 and 2, Minions, Angrybirds, Storks, and The Emoji Movie, among others.

I come from a Chinese background and I grew up in Paris, France. As a kid, I loved to watch Japanese anime like Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya. These shows sparked my initial interest and love of animation."

Why did you choose to be a 3D animator and how did you learn the craft?

"I spent my early childhood drawing and copying Akira Toriyama, Masami Kurumada, and later other mangas like Akira and Slam Dunk. My dream as a child was to become a mangaka, but I also entertained the idea of becoming an animator because I came to appreciate animation more as I got older.

I decided to become a 2D animator, so I spent two years at EMCA, a traditional animation school based in Angoulême France, the city most famous for hosting The Festival de la Bande Dessinée, learning the ins and outs of 2D animation. These two beautiful years helped me deepen my understanding of animation and many other art forms.
After my graduation, I did an internship in Madrid, Spain, for a company named Fanciful Arts. We worked on a 2D animated feature film, called El Cid the legend. After that, I attended Gobelins where I transitioned into 3D animation and I fell in love with it. I had no idea 3D animation could be so addictive and creatively fulfilling."


Why did you choose Animschool for your online 3D animation education?

"After I graduated from Gobelins, I started working at a small video game company, but in my spare time I worked on personal animation shots.
I applied at Mac Guff and got a job offer to work on Pat and Stan, and later Despicable Me 1 and 2. After 7-8 years of work experience, I was feeling as if I was always repeating myself, and not growing creatively enough. I needed to reinvent myself and have fresh eyes on my work.

I started looking at online learning opportunities and was very impressed by the work AnimSchool students were producing, especially Diego Collell and Camilo Guamán (I would befriend both of them later). I also loved the rigs of Malcolm and Marnie which were super appealing. So, when I saw that Melvin Tan (Animation Supervisor at BlueSky) was teaching facial performance, I jumped at the chance to study at AnimSchool."

How was your experience at AnimSchool?

"It was challenging because I had a job at a studio already and was adjusting to life with a newborn son, so I really had to manage my time and workload efficiently. If you are already working in the industry and considering enrolling in an online school, you have to focus on which area of animation you want to improve. For me, it was acting choices, and that's where having direct access to professional animators at AnimSchool really paid off.

One of the great things about AnimSchool is that any technical issues you may be having, the school provides you with excellent support. This frees you up to really get down to the business of animating, and with the amazing rigs that AnimSchool provides, you improve fast.

The school environment at AnimSchool is very similar to a studio environment. You show your shot every 1 to 2 days, either during your class or in general review. In our class, Melvin was giving a thorough critique of our shots just like a critique session in a real studio. Besides the critique classes, there are weekly classes on different topics like blinks, lipsynch, etc. You also have access to an impressive catalog of art classes that you can watch any time you like.
AnimSchool also helped me improve my understanding of appeal and how to bring out my best work by brainstorming my ideas at the beginning."



Which 3D animated characters are you most proud of working on?

"I think that my proudest achievement is working on the character of Agnes in Despicable Me. It was early in my career and I became a regular animator on the sequences involving her character. She was a dream to work on, and I think we succeeded in making her very lovable.

Another character I very much enjoyed working on is Gene in the Emoji Movie. I really related to him, and when I was shooting reference for the shots, I would try to put my real-life emotions into the performance to make it feel more genuine and sincere."

I also think that my work on Eduardo (the villain in Despicable Me 2) marked a big growth in my career. Eduardo is a bouncy, larger than life character, and I appreciated the fact that my lead trusted me to deliver some key shots.




How do you approach a scene?

"It depends on the shot. If it’s an acting shot I put myself in the state of mind of the character as much as I can, and record myself until it feels right. I’m not necessarily looking for the perfect take, because I can shoot reference later on."

Here’s a side by side of a shot Adrien animated for the Emoji Movie:



Adrien recommends drawing thumbnails when planning a shot. Here are some of his thumbnails of Mighty Eagle and Bomb for the Angrybirds movie:

Thumbnails by Adrien Liv



As a professional animator, what tips and tricks do you wish you had known before joining the business side of animation?

"I think that perseverance and a hard work ethic are essential to succeed, but curiosity in other fields like music, cooking, and photography, will enrich your work as an animator.

I also wish that I knew the basics of how to negotiate a contract because that impacted my work and motivation greatly. Your work is going to speak for itself, but sometimes you need to put the spotlight on your best abilities and ask for a fair wage.

Being an animator is a highly enjoyable endeavor. However, I believe that you need to find a good work-life balance. I learned that animation is not everything. Make sure to spend quality time with your spouse and kids. Enjoy your life."

What are your top 3 dos and don'ts for animation demo reels? Especially for animators with no prior job experience?

"Quality is indeed better than quantity, so make sure to include your best work in your demo reel. Start and finish with your strongest shots. The same rule applies to each individual shot. Start with a strong pose and finish on an entertaining pose.

Show your demo reel to 2-3 animators that you trust.

For the shot specifically, place your character in a specific context, like a nice environment because this will inform your acting choices and add specificity to your performance.
Ideas are more important than execution, but if you can have both, take the time to do so."

Thank you Adrien for the great tips!

Check out Adrien's animation reel here:



Begin your 3D Animation journey today! Check out our accredited 3D Animation courses at http://animschool.edu/

Friday, May 29, 2020

AnimSchool Student Animation 2020 Showcase



The 2020 Animschool Student Animation Showcase is here! We are so proud of the work that our amazing 3D animation students have produced this past year.



Apply to our accredited programs and learn with our online community. 

Only 31 days left to apply for the summer term! Come join the students learning online at AnimSchool - Accredited, ACCSC.
AnimSchool Quality http://www.animschool.edu

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Graduate Spotlight: Andrea Ferrara


Andrea Ferrara is a very talented graduate from AnimSchool who with his hard work and dedication not only passed the Animation program with a great shot, but also went on to work in feature films. Here is an interview where we learn about him and his workflow.

Andrea, tell us about yourself

My name is Andrea Ferrara, I am 26 and I am from Italy. In high school, I graduated in fine art and my course of studies was specialised in painting, mosaic and stained glasses.

At the age of 20, I moved to London where after two years working on different jobs, I started working as a barman to pay for my studies at AnimSchool.

What motivated you to become a 3D animator?

I have always wanted to work within the industry. When I was a child, I loved drawing and that led me to the idea of drawing for animation. This passion naturally made me pursue an art education.

I grew up between the ’90s and 2000s, and 3D animation was becoming the predominant way to make animated movies, I guess it turned out to be the obvious way to make animation and to become an animator for me as well.

Why did you decide to learn animation from AnimSchool?

After completing a one year 3D generalist course, I realised I needed to focus solely on animation if I wanted to achieve something in this industry; so I started researching for the best school to do that, and looking at every school’s student showcase, the AnimSchool’s reel was the one that made the best impression on me. It had more quality in my opinion and with the payment plan that they have, was also affordable for me.



Could you describe your work experience with The Secret Life of Pets 2 and how it was working on a project that big?

I had a lot of fun working on The Secret Life of Pets 2. It was my first project, and I really felt like I was improving shot after shot.
When you get the chance to work in a studio this big you really have to put in extra work and a lot of extra time, and you have to be open to improve, learn, and get as much feedback as you can. I really tried to show how much of a hard worker I am, and I was paid off by getting bigger and better shots every time.
I think I have animated just under 30 shots by the end of the production of various frame range. As today I have worked for Illumination Macguff for a little longer than 2 years. However, I animated on Pets 2 for 14 months.


Did your time / experience with AnimSchool help prepare you for a job like this? If so how?  

Thanks to AnimSchool, when I was assigned my very first shot, I felt like I already knew what to do. The transition from school to work was easy enough because the basic concepts of how to make an animation; how to conceive a shot etc. are the same in the workplace. It really made me feel at home.

Tell us about your workflow.

I examine the storyboard and layout with great attention. I play it in a loop to create a good image of the shot in my head. I try to visualise the best possible acting choices and determine the mood of the shot. I try to get into the character’s personality. 
When I feel I have the key poses, I sketch them down, and then I take a long time to pose the character into those key poses in Maya, then I put the in-betweens. 
I work putting every control’s key on the same frame but I keep the curves in spline, it helps me when I am making new in-betweens, and it also helps me keeping everything in order on a mechanical and technical point of view. It gives me a better chance to avoid unwanted gimbal locks. Once my ideas are in for good I start asking for some feedback and sometimes people around me give me such cool ideas or inputs that I have to put them in even if I have to delete a big chunk of my animation. 
Once I am happy with all the ideas, I start polishing the main controls (head, chest, root) then arms and legs at the end. When everything is looking smooth I add the details; more feedback really helps at this point as well.


Storyboard by Eric Favila


What are you up to now?

At the moment I am working on Sing 2, I have been on the project for a year already, and I will be on it until the summer.


What do you think animation students must focus to improve the quality of their works and get noticed and possibly be hired by a studio?


Just put those hours in, animate and animate till you are good. Putting as many hours a week on your animation is the only way to get better.
They should work on the ability to change their shots according to the supervisor’s notes. And trying to do that considering your instructor as your supervisor is the best way to do it in my opinion. 
In the practical sense, I would encourage students to create a LinkedIn profile and apply for as many places as you can starting from the top. Don’t be shy about applying for the biggest studios. That is probably where you might get a bigger chance to get hired as a junior.

Thank you Andrea for giving us this interview. 

If you want to watch Andrea Ferrara's work, check out the video below.



Learn at our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in our accredited 3D animation programs, check us out at www.animschool.com.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Creature Animation - Workflow Tips
















With the rise of high quality VFX films and cinematics, there’s been a higher demand for creature animation. But, animating creatures is no easy task - you have to portray their animalistic behaviors while keeping track of 4 (or more!) feet and most likely a tail. It can seem overwhelming when starting to animate a creature shot, but as long as you keep the fundamentals of animation in mind, you can create awesome looking animation, too.


In this clip from our VFX class, instructor Tony Mecca talks about his workflow for animating a creature shot and tips for getting the smooth arcs he talked about in our last post (link here). Learn about how he approaches creature shots and deals with untangling the rigs!





These are the kind of skills you can learn in our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in 3D animation programs, check us out at our website link below!






Start your journey into 3D Animation. Apply today! For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com

Friday, March 13, 2020

Creature Animation - Arcs


    With the rise of high quality VFX films and cinematics, there’s been a higher demand for creature animation. But, animating creatures is no easy task - you have to portray their animalistic behaviors while keeping track of 4 (or more!) feet and most likely a tail. It can seem overwhelming when starting to animate a creature shot, but as long as you keep the fundamentals of animation in mind, you can create awesome looking animation, too. In this clip from our VFX class, instructor Tony Mecca shows how you can take the familiar concept of arcs and use it in his “rollercoaster” method to get clean lines of action and flow of movement in reptilian characters.





    These are the kind of skills you can learn in our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in 3D animation programs, check us out at our website link below!




Start your journey into 3D Animation. Apply today! For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com

Friday, March 6, 2020

AnimSchool is Now Accredited



AnimSchool is now accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
In February 2020, AnimSchool gained accreditation status from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
ACCSC is a recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education.
Both AnimSchool's 3D Animation Program and 3D Character Program are accredited by ACCSC.

What is accreditation and why is it important?

Accreditation is an evaluation process for schools to maintain standards of educational quality set by an accrediting body like ACCSC.
It helps establish the validity of the programs of study a school offers.
Internal and external processes evaluate AnimSchool's programs to ensure that they meet relevant academic standards.
The accreditors themselves are regulated by the the U.S. Department of Education.

Accreditation shows students and potential applicants that AnimSchool has met and is maintaining high level of standards set by the accrediting agency.
To become accredited, schools must demonstrate compliance with the agency's standards of accreditation, which monitors areas like student success rates, educational assessment, advisory board reviews, financial soundness, advertising statement accuracy, and admissions policies.

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the education provided by schools meets the level of quality expected by the accrediting agency, which helps students in deciding which institution to attend.




More Info...

Accredited institutions are evaluated through external reviews and internal review processes to ensure that the accreditation standards are being met on an ongoing basis.

Most schools like colleges, universities and K-12 schools are accredited. Accreditation helps the public, other schools and potential employers by ensuring that the educational programs offered have attained a level that meets standards developed by experts in that field.

ACCSC: 2101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 302 Arlington, Virginia 22201 Phone: 703.247.4212 www.accsc.org

More info: https://www.animschool.com/Accreditation.aspx

To find out more about accreditation, see http://www.accsc.org/Accreditation/Overview.aspx

With this announcement, AnimSchool is now authorized to teach students residing in the state of Texas. Texas residents may now apply to AnimSchool. Look for announcements for other states to follow.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

AnimSchool Contest: Marco Rig


 
pose by AnimSchool student Arturo Rosado

Announcing!

AnimSchool Contest February 12 - March 13, 2020 (voting until 18th)
We are giving away four licenses to use our exclusive character rig Marco for personal, non-commercial uses (two per division).
There are two divisions, Novice and Professional, each one with a prize for 1st and 2nd place.
Enter the Novice Division if you want to compete against Beginners and more basic early professionals. The prize is one license for our character rig Marco for personal, non-commercial use for 1st and 2nd place each.
Enter the Professional Division if you want to compete against more advanced pros. The prize is one license for our character rig Marco for personal, non-commercial use for 1st and 2nd place each. And for 1st place, the rig AND a $600 discount off an AnimSchool class (if the recipient is eligible to be a student at AnimSchool. To see residency restrictions see this link and other steps here.)
You could win one of two licenses per division to use our exclusive character rig, Marco for personal, non-commercial uses for the BEST animation using AnimSchool's Malcolm rig you can download here. You can post one you have ALREADY DONE or a new animation you make for this contest.
Animation must be 30 seconds or shorter in length and AnimSchool's Malcolm rig must be shown, animated, within the first 5 seconds of any entry. Any additional rigs you use must be be licensed to be used in a contest like this.
The animation must be your own. No group animated projects. Individual participants only. 3D animation only. G/PG-rated content only.
This contest is open to the public as well as AnimSchool students.
Winners will be determined as follows: AnimSchool's Review Board will select the top two winners per division from the top ten entries (the ones with the highest votes). Voting starts now, runs through the contest and ends 5 days after the contest end date shown above in the contest description.
You don't have to enter the contest to vote. Vote based on the best animation (ideas, posing, fundamentals, weight, appeal, acting, execution, polish). Do not vote based on render quality since this is not a lighting/rendering contest.
More Details here: AnimSchool Contest Site
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Shot Planning, Part 3 - 3D Animation Acting Choices



Many professional animators believe that the planning phase is the most important part of animating a good shot, and take a good amount of time to plan even when on a tight schedule. We’ve discussed planning within your sequence and directing your audience, and now it’s time to work on what could make or break your shot - acting choices. As instructor Rahul Dabholkar mentions in our class clip for this post, your acting choices are what will set you apart from other good animators. Even an action as simple as sitting and reacting to what another character is saying can be acted out in hundreds of ways, and it’s up to you as the animator to choose the most appropriate, believable, and relatable way to portray it.  


What are some ways you could act out a simple reaction shot? Rahul goes over a few ways to portray different characters in this clip from our Animating Appeal and Entertainment class:




 
These are the kind of skills you can learn in our online animation classes and animation workshops. If you’re interested in 3D animation programs, check us out at our website link below!




Start your journey into 3D Animation. Apply today! For more information about AnimSchool and our online animation programs, visit us at www.animschool.com