The animation classes at the Academy’s animation are intensive, hands-on experiences that combine in-class lectures with instructor-supervised workshops and course assignments. From the first day of classes, students can expect to start gaining hands-on experience with the animation software and skills they will require as the curriculum grows more challenging. In short, students can expect that their animation classes will be demanding, but productive, with students ultimately creating their own original 3D animated movie.
Over the course of an animation class, students gain a working knowledge of the industry-standard Maya, enabling them to create their own original animated creations. The animation school at the Academy offers students a wide array of animation classes that are designed to shape the next generation of animators while preparing them for the professional challenges they will face upon completing their animation class. Students have the option of enrolling in a short-term three-week
workshop alongside longer programs such as the one-year conservatory animation program
or our Bachelor degree program,
which is offered exclusively at the Academy’s Los Angeles campus.
Animation Class Core Curriculum
Across both the Academy’s animation workshops and programs, students can expect to acquire a fundamental understanding of 3D animation while being comfortable working with the programs and software required to realize their creative visions. Regardless of the program a student enrolls in, he or she can expect to take the following animation classes.
Screenwriting and Storyboarding:
Students learn how to shape their scripts to fit the medium of animation by focusing on the essentials of visual storytelling. Students receive constructive feedback and are guided through the process of developing a story from an initial idea to treatment to rough draft to a storyboard and animatic. In addition, students also learn how to represent their script in storyboard format by visually depicting the script.
3D Computer Modeling:
An introduction to the tools and concepts of 3D modeling, students become familiar with Maya alongside additional software in order to originate projects for different types of audiences. This animation class replicates the production pipeline of an animation project, with students learning the essential tools and appropriate workflow for completing a project while also emphasizing aesthetic and creative development.
In this animation class, students learn the essentials of UV mapping and how to correctly and appropriately apply UV maps to a model. The end result is that students will be able to apply natural-looking textures to a 3D model.
Materials and Textures:
Through observing and analyzing the surface qualities of an object, students learn the process of creating photo-realistic textures through programs including Photoshop that they will then apply to the models they have made. In addition, students study how light intersects with an object’s surface in order to create a realistic effect.
Over the course of this class, the instructor guides students through the multiple characteristics of the different lights in Maya. In addition, students learn the essentials of 3 point lighting, raytracing, and depth map shadows.
Students learn how to animate movement in this class by creating joints and controllers alongside rigs in Maya. The essentials of forward and inverse kinematics are covered in addition to joint placement, local rotation axis, and joint rotation order.
Over the course of a number of lectures, students study the essentials of character animation and utilize animation’s basic principles to formulate characters with dynamic movement and weight. Students work with software to establish keyframes, which they then manipulate in time and space, learning how to create original animations.
On top of the above core curriculum, students enrolled in the animation school’s long-term programs will study each of the above topics in greater detail while taking additional animation classes to hone their animation abilities and know-how.