From Spiderman swinging from building to building to the Navii in Avatar, and Rocket, the smart-mouthed grouchy mutant raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, many of today’s films and games would not be nearly as sensational as they are without teams of knowledgeable animators bringing these characters to life.
Expert animators can take a CG character or creature and use techniques such as body mechanics, physics, and character acting to create a believable, relatable scene and in just 10 months, you’ll have a handle on these approaches and more. Throughout our online 3D animation classes, you will learn advanced techniques for character acting and creature animation and use it to create finished pieces of work for your professional animation demo reel.
CG Spectrum’s mentors have worked on blockbuster films and AAA video games and are ready to share their years of professional experience with you. You’ll meet online weekly with your mentor as they work within your animation project files giving you in-depth feedback, keeping the experience personalized and ensuring that they are adjusting the animation course topics to optimize your potential.
Our goal is to ensure that you learn what it takes to work within a studio production pipeline and succeed as an animator and teach you the skills needed to tackle the everyday challenges a professional’s face.
Enroll in our online animation school today and become a part of the next generation of elite animators.
August 6th, 2018
20 hrs/ week
Intermediate - Advanced
Introduction to 3D Animation or a portfolio submission demonstrating equivalent learning outcomes
Study Period 01
Acting for Animation
Understating how characters think and reacts emotionally to their surroundings is one of the most important skills of becoming a successful character animator. In this study period, students will dive into the psychology of a character and learn what makes them tick.
Students will start out by adding character and emotion to a character walk and create a backstory that drives the mood of the character exploring several variations of emotion to build unique animations showing different states of mind.
Next, you will begin to develop your skills in pantomime acting, using only the body without the use of dialogue to convey emotions. Subtly and subtext plays a vital role in animating more believable and relatable scenes without going over the top and drawing your audience into a character’s performance.
Once you have a solid grasp on how a character emotes through body language you’ll begin animating a character dialogue piece complete with lip sync, facial and body expression. Students will finish the study period with 3 solid pieces of animation for their portfolio.
- Learn how to use reference in your animation to create appealing poses and speed up your workflow
- Find out how timing can add appeal and texture to your character animations
- Understand the importance of planning out your shot and using the blocking technique to build your shots
- Take your shot from blocked poses and introduce fluid character motion through the exciting process of splining
- Add anticipation and moving holds to your animation to help lead your audience and keep your character’s motion alive
- Animate a character dialogue shot and get the hang of a facial animation rigging system to build believable expressions and lip sync
- Explore polishing techniques that will take your animation to the next level and produce animation pieces for your portfolio
- Walks with Character: Key poses and Interpreting reference
- Walks with Character: Appeal and Texture in Timing
- Walks with Character: Polishing Techniques
- Change of Emotion: Planning the Performance
- Change of Emotion: Anticipation and Holds
- Change of Emotion: Splining and Workflow Techniques
- Change of Emotion: Polishing and Refining Techniques
- One Person Dialogue: Research and Planning
- One Person Dialogue: Blocking Your Animation Shot
- One Person Dialogue: Subtlety and Subtext
- One Person Dialogue: Facial animation and Lipsync
- One Person Dialogue: Polishing Techniques
*Curriculum subject to change based on industry input
Study Period 02
Advanced Acting for Animation
This study period focuses solely on planning, building and executing a 2-person dialogue acting shot by getting you to animate two characters interacting with each other.
You’ll analyze and dissect a piece of dialogue to understand the context behind your shot and begin planning your scene by shooting your own reference video to help guide your animation performance.
Once you’ve developed a plan for your shot you’ll begin setting up your scene and learn professional workflows to keep it organized. You’ll learn all about shot composition and cinematography by using cameras and character staging to develop an appealing visual aesthetic to keep your audience captivated.
Students will dive into animating their acting scene by using layering techniques to thoughtfully build their shot and hit important acting beats with key poses and believable body mechanics. By adding finer details to the limbs, fingers and face your animation will start to come alive as your characters begin to interact more convincingly with each other. The final stage of the process will have you refining your animation to a polished level then lighting and rendering your shot for your portfolio.
- Research and source a piece of acting dialogue and start building your story
- Shoot your own reference for your acting scene to fully understand how your shots performance will be delivered
- Build your scene and start staging your characters using cinematography techniques every animator needs to understand to produce a convincing story
- Learn proven studio workflows to help keep your scene organized as it becomes more complex
- Block out key poses and acting beats to find a rhythm within your scene
- Refine your animation and add detail to the spine, legs, arms and hands of your characters
- Introduce facial animation and lip-sync to your scene then add polish by refining the details, implementing lighting and finally rendering your scene for your portfolio
- Planning and Staging: Analyzing dialogue
- Planning and Staging: Planning Reference
- Planning and Staging: Shooting Reference
- Shot Blocking: Scene Setup
- Shot Blocking: Multiple Characters
- Shot Blocking: Blocking Plus
- Camera Cuts and Cinematography
- Refinement: COG, Spine and Head
- Refinement: Arms, Legs and Fingers
- Shot Polish: Facial Animation
- Shot Polish: Arcs and Subtlety
- Shot Polish: Final Pass and Rendering
*Curriculum subject to changed based on industry input
Study Period 03
Creature Animation & Portfolio
In order to stand out as an animator, it’s important to diversify your animation skill set. By adding creature animation to your arsenal you’ll be a more well-rounded artist and adaptable in a studio pipeline.
The art of creature animation is a complex and challenging topic to master. In Study Period 03 students will focus mainly on the mechanics of creature animation to provide a solid foundation of animal locomotion. You’ll learn a broad range of techniques to master the most animals most commonly used in a studio production.
From quadruped walks, runs and jumps to animating winged creatures you’ll have a solid understanding of creature animation and more diverse animation skillset upon completion of this study period.
To wrap things up you’ll develop a portfolio of all your best work. You may want to revisit and polish some pieces you’ve already completed or start something from scratch. Whatever you decide you’ll finish the course with a comprehensive portfolio that you can use in your journey to become an animator for feature film and video games.
- Broaden your animation skillset by mastering the mechanics of creature animation
- Learn the complex differences between animating 2-legged and 4-legged creature walks and runs
- Understand creature locomotion, weight and how physical anatomy affects animal movement
- Animate a quadruped jump and how different animals use their physique to maintain balance
- Move on to animating winged creatures and learn how different types of winged animals use their anatomy to stay in flight
- Select several pieces you have animated over the course and polish them to a professional level for your portfolio
- Learn how to promote your work and build a demo reel that recruiters will notice
- Quadruped Walk: Research, reference and Workflow
- Quadruped Walk: Inbetweens and Splining
- Quadruped Walk: Polishing
- Quadraped Run: Research, Reference and Workflow
- Quadraped Run: Inbetweens and Splining
- Quadraped Run: Polishing
- Quadraped Jump: Research, Reference and Workflow
- Quadraped Jump: Inbetweens and Splining
- Quadraped Jump: Polishing
- Winged Flight: Research, Reference and Workflow
- Winged Flight: Building Layered Animation
- Winged Flight: Refinement and Wings
*Curriculum subject to changed based on industry input
Advanced 3D Animation
What you get
Access to world-class mentors
Live weekly classes
Weekly recorded critiques
Custom built curriculum
Original video content
Adobe Photoshop student software license
Access to online learning portal
Meet Your Mentors
“The amount of one-on-one is second to none. My time with CG Spectrum has been invaluable. Having never done animation classes online, I didn’t expect to receive the level of personalized learning and quality teaching that I've experienced. The techniques that I've learned have not only improved my animation skills by leaps and bounds, but they've also taught me to be a better storyteller through animation.”
“I can’t praise CG Spectrum enough for the quality of teaching and dedication to their students. Mark was by far the best mentor I’ve ever had, he really took the time to help design the course around what it is that I wanted to get out of it. I’ve studied other animation courses in the past, but none even come close to the depth and speed of development as CG Spectrum. I’d take the course again if I could!”
“Getting access to industry mentors is huge. There's a world of information out there on the internet, but nothing really compared to talking to someone in the know. When I first committed to specializing in animation, I approached it with tenacity. I sought out information wherever I could find it. CG Spectrum was one of those places. I really liked the 1 on-1 format. It was the first time I had an experienced animator open my scene file. It was what I needed to get over a couple of technical hurdles.”
“CG Spectrum Online Animation School has been an instrumental part of my growth. The mentors at CG Spectrum are amazing and have helped me sharpen my skills, acquire new ones and strengthen my abilities. This is an invaluable experience for anyone looking to learn 3D Animation & VFX or take their skills to the next level. Highly recommended!”
At CG Spectrum you’re never just a number. We cap our concept art class sizes at 5 students so you get the most attention possible at a more affordable price.
By choosing the 1-on-1 option you will get more individual attention from your mentor while having the flexibility to work within your busy schedule.