Category: animation course

How Do I Choose the Right 3D Animation School?

What Should I Look for in an Animation School?

In order to shoot for the top in your profession, you need
to learn from the best. Look for instructors who are
currently working at some of the most popular studios in the
industry. From Dreamworks and Disney to Pixar and Blue Sky,
make sure the level of instructors prepares you for the 3D
workforce. Students should have full-time pros available
that provide continuous interaction and help with
Are the sessions with the instructors live–not stale,
out-dated recordings of past lectures?

Any fair comparison will show: from animation, modeling and
rigging to drawing and art classes and additional open
review sessions, AnimSchool offers many more hours of live

teaching than any competing school, dollar for

What Aspects of Learning 3D Animation are Important?

There a number of animation courses out there, so look
closely at what they offer. Your school should provide
students with the highest quality character rigs,
the best instructors in live classrooms, then the
access to watch recordings of all of those classes,
the chance to get multiple review sessions each week,
extra classes to develop your art and drawing skills, a
place to collaborate with other students, see each
others’ assignments and leave comments.

A 2009 study, “The Development of Professional Expertise” showed the best way to learn at the highest
level is to get expert coaching. Have the student’s
performance evaluated so the student begins to notice
the differences — the gap between their performance and
expert-level performance.
The process is repeated so
the student’s perception matures along with their ability to
follow any set of steps. To use this approach it isn’t
enough to just watch lectures on your own, so look for a
school that can provide this steady feedback loop.

Look for an actual registered school, so they have
a long-term commitment to your education, helping
advise you through the program and advocate for you after
graduation. A school can provide that continued support and
relationship of trust, more than any loose set of workshops
or standalone classes. Learning animation isn’t a quick fix
— it’s a long process, so you want a school that is there
to assist you along the way.

Look for a dedicated support staff. People ready to
answer the phone whenever you call
with a problem.

The school’s curriculum should give students a broad
overview of the animation field, while focusing on specific
skills that will qualify the students in a competitive
field. You may not want a school that teaches too broad a
curriculum: by the time you’re done, you may be a
jack-of-all-trades and master of none– and unable to
find a job.

A school that is too focused one one job only may leave you
with limited options to branch out to neighboring skills.
A school teaching more than one narrow job title may be a
big benefit if you ever want to try a different job in 3D
Or if you may want to make your own 3D animated short

AnimSchool offers the best environment for aspiring
students of animation– we offer our students all of the
benefits listed above. But remember that while your school
provides you with opportunities and tools for
success, it is up to the student to apply the teaching with
many hours of focused effort, daily.

Are Drawing Skills Important for Learning 3D Animation?

Can you learn 3D animation skills even if you can’t draw
well? Even if you are not skilled at drawing now, look for a
school that is committed to teaching the art as much as the
technical skills involved in learning 3D animation.

You can apply to animation schools with limited drawing
ability, but you should plan on becoming a better artist
through your schooling — and beyond! The animation world
needs artists with a confident vision of what they want to
create, more than technicians looking to others for artistic

You could get by without drawing, since it’s true that some
animators, modelers, and riggers don’t draw well. But
developing drawing will develop your artistic ability, which
increases your skill and makes you more attractive to

As Pixar and Disney president Ed Catmull says, learning
how to DRAW is really about learning how to SEE.

AnimSchool offers our students a free live drawing or
art class
most terms, and free access to all previous
drawing and art class recordings — hundreds of hours of

Is Location Essential to Learning Animation?

You may look for animation colleges close to your home, or
one close to the places you’d like to work someday. But did
you know you can also learn right from home on the web?
Some students supplement their studies at a brick-and-mortar
college at an online school like AnimSchool. They may attend
at the same time as they’re attending college, in between
terms, or after they’ve graduated.

Since 3D animation is a competitive field, many find they graduate

traditional college only to discover it’s very hard to
land that first job without the close mentorship of top
animation pros.

Some students choose not to go college and go straight for
the highly successful learning model available at an online
animation school. Far from being disadvantaged, many of
those students find they qualify for top animation jobs —
over their brick-and-mortar peers.

AnimSchool is all online–on your computer, over high-speed
internet. Using the latest in web conferencing technology,
students can learn the craft of 3D computer animation right
from home.

Will I be Certified?

Look for a school that offers certification for
their instruction. That means they have complied with all
state regulations and tax laws for operating a school,
follow licensing laws designed to protect students from
fly-by-night classes that may be here today and gone
tomorrow, and have the proper infrastructure for
administering student needs. But remember, the most important qualification is not a piece of paper, but the skills you present in your portfolio!

AnimSchool provides students with a 21-month certificate
, and employers are recognizing the quality of
our graduates who’ve earned those certificates.

Whatever choice you make, AnimSchool is here to help if you
want to learn 3D animation at the highest levels.
Click here to apply to one of our programs (or take a single class).

AnimSchool Student Spotlight: Nanda Van Dijk

Today we are interviewing animation student Nanda Van Dijk. Nanda is very talented in the digital arts realm and is taking the 3D Animation Program at AnimSchool.

Hi Nanda! Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself, like your background and experience before AnimSchool?

has always been my passion. As a child I was always drawing and
watching animated films. I went to the Utrecht School for the Arts in
Holland and studied computer animation and visual effects and graduated
with a master’s degree. I learned a lot about creating animated films,
from writing the scripts to making the storyboards to the production
itself. There wasn’t really an option to specialize yourself in
animation. The Dutch animation market doesn’t really work with
specializations so the school trained me to be a generalist. Because I
didn’t learn much about animation at the Utrecht School of Arts I taught
myself as much as possible. I was hired in 2010 as a 3D artist at
Mediamonks, a creative digital production agency, right out of school
and worked there for two years. In 2012 I started Animschool in class 4.
I showed my work to Tony Bonilla and he told me that I had enough
experience to skip the first 3 classes. After 3 terms at Animschool I
had to take a couple of term breaks to work on a feature film. I had the
opportunity to work as a 2D key animator at the Anikey Studios for the
Dutch feature animated film “Trippel Trappel”. Currently I am
working as a freelance 2D and 3D artist in my own company and
I’m back at Animschool to resume my classes. 

This term I’m taking the
Advanced rigging class as an in between class to learn how I can
make a high level facial rig and next term I will take class 7 in

You seem to be comfortable with digital painting, rigging, modeling and animating. What area do you like the most and why?


is still my favorite area, I always loved acting and character
development. But the most fun for me is is to design, model, rig and
animate an entire character. It’s great to have control over the entire
process. To animate a character and make it come to life is always a
magical thing, but to make your own creation come to life, makes it
extra special. When I started to animate in 3D at school there weren’t
many great free rigs to work with like the amazing Malcolm rig that
Animschool offers for free. I had to work with rigs like the Generi rig, a
very unappealing basic free rig. Some of you will probably remember him
with mixed feelings, haha. This is one of the reasons that I wanted to
make my own models and rigs so that I would have appealing characters to
work with. This is also one of the main reasons why I picked Animschool
over the other schools to go to. Animschool has some of the most
appealing and professional character rigs that I have come across.

Who are the artists that inspire you?

There are so many amazing artists that
inspire me. Everyday I try to look at blogs with artwork. A couple of my
favorites are, David Colman, Peter de Séve, Greg Dykstra, Loralay Bove,
Ryan Lang, Pascal Campion, Barbara Canepa, and lots and lots more. And I
have a lot of very talented Dutch friends who inspire me every day as
well, specially the illustrations by Lois van Baarle and Wouter Tulp,
two amazing artists. And as for animators, I’m a huge fan of Glen Keane. I
love his animation style and the appeal his characters have. When I
went to CTN in 2012 I watched him animate the little Mermaid. That was
very inspiring to watch. And of course the animations by the nine old
men are a huge inspiration for me.

Can you share your process from start to finish on your shot with Mr. Bones for the Body Mechanics class?

animation was so much fun to make. I had an amazing teacher, Tim Crawfurd. He has over 12 years of experience working at Pixar. I
couldn’t have asked for a better instructor. It was also a coincident
because Tim is also from Holland. That was a lot of fun because we could
sometimes speak in our native tongue with each other and make small
inside jokes. The assignment for this term was to make a short pantomime
story with one of the simpler Animschool rigs. I loved the look of the
Mr. Bones rig so I decided to create my story around him. I knew it had
to be a Pirate story because Pirates are simply awesome! The idea for
the character to lose his arm came really quick to me but it was very
tricky to think of a way to communicate this idea to the audience. First
I had to establish that the character lost his arm and that he still
had to find out himself that his arm was gone. It all depended on the
timing of the animation. If he noticed his arm missing too quickly the
audience wouldn’t have noticed it themselves yet so they would miss the
punchline. I really had to think about a way to direct the eye of the
audience to the missing arm so. the yawn, and the looking for the arm
helped to stage out this scene. It also helped the performance to give
the character some real personality. After figuring out the staging and
the blocking I polished my animation, modeled the stage for the cave,
modeled and rigged the bat and did the lighting and shading. To really
finish the animation I asked Dave van Luttervelt, a very talented
composer, to do the sound design and music for me. I’m very pleased with
the end result. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well!

worked on Trippel Trappel, a dutch feature animation film. Can you tell
us more about the film, your role and what challenges did you face in
the production?

Trappel is produced by il Luster in co-production with ViviFilm,
animated at Anikey Studios. The story is about a couple of pets who want
to celebrate the Dutch Holiday ‘Sinterklaas’. Sinterklaas is very
similar to Santa Claus, he also brings presents to children through the
chimney. The pets want to get presents too so they’re going to find
Sinterklaas to bring him their wishlists. The film is still in
production and will be released October this year in Dutch and Belgian
theaters. This will be the first fully hand drawn animated feature from
Holland since 1983. When I learned about this production I made an
animation test and the studio asked me to be one of the Key animators
for this film. In the studio they use TV paint and Wacom Cintiqs to
animate. Unlike the old Disney films I didn’t work on just one
character. More like in 3D I got an entire scene and had to animate
everything in it, so I had the chance to animate all the main characters
in the film. It was very fun to do but also very challenging especially
because I normally work in 3D and now had to animate by hand in 2D. I
had about two weeks to learn how I had to draw the characters and after
that I got my first scene. Because the movie is funded mostly by the
government there isn’t a big budget to work with. So I had to work very
quickly and still try to keep the quality as high as possible. It was
very challenging and hard work but I think it payed off.
I’m very impressed by the quality of the animations made by everyone in the
studio and I know that it will be a very beautiful film when it’s done.

is a small teaser of the film. This piece is animated by Marcel
Tigchelaar, our supervising animator. The official trailer will be
released around February.
This is the Facebook page of ‘Trippel Trappel’:

What do you think is the most important thing you learned at AnimSchool so far?

think the most important thing is to really think about your scene
before animating. Thinking about what is happening in the scene, what
the character is thinking. If the character says one thing but thinks
something else. How you can use staging and timing to improve the
performance of your character. Thinking about every eye dart and every
small movement why you are animating it like this and if that is the
best way to communicate an emotion or thought. Most of the time I work
on short projects with very tight deadlines and then I just start to
animate and see where I’ll end up. In Animschool I finally have the
chance to really take my time to focus on small details and work on my
acting skills.

We thank Nanda for her time, and be sure to check out her awesome works on her site, LinkedIn profile, Facebook Page, Vimeo Page and Behance!

AnimSchool Classtime: Character Posing with Jean Dominique

Great tips on posing your characters by AnimSchool instructor and Head of Animation at MPC Los Angeles Jean Dominique Fievet.

This is an excerpt from Jean Dominique’s class on Animating Characters Term from the AnimSchool 3D Animation Program. To learn more about our courses, go to our website.