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Character Animation Fundamentals

Organized, free training from around the web and turned into a progressive curriculum.

Organized & Curated Training Library

This curriculum is built around the best, free training from around the world to help students master the basics of their disciplines. There is so much free training related to the fundamentals of Character Animation. We spent months searching for the best and organizing it into a curriculum.

If you want to master Animation then you must learn the fundamentals. You learn by doing, and this curriculum will guide you through projects as you watch the training.

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Curriculum

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1. History of Animation.


Giving students a historical context of their discipline is an essential starting point. Our curriculum features videos that highlight the history of animation within the larger context of cinema.

All of our programs start with a history module to give students a foundation they can build on.


2. The Ball Bounce.


The essential starting point for all animators. The ball bounce is a foundational project for animation projects around the world. This forces animators to consider spacing, timing and many other animation principles.

This is also an opportunity to work in Maya with the graph editor. This is a simple but important project for all animators to tackle.


3. Overlapping Action.


The pendelum swing is another essential animation challenge for all young animators to take head on. Overlapping action is the key principle to consider in this project.

This is more complex than a ball bounce and forces an animator to focus on the key poses in the shot. Creating a silky smooth animation with perfect overlapping action is the goal of this module.


4. Walk Cycle Legs.


This module eases students into the process of creating a walk cycle. Using a simplified rig with only legs helps focus on the timing and simple leg poses, before attempting a walk cycle with a full body rig.

We want students to be ease into animation step by step, so this module is designed to help new animators focus on an appealing walk cycle with a simple rig.


5. Full Body Posing.


Before we get into a full body animation, students need to focus on the fundamentals of posing. Creating a compelling silohoutte, having a clear line of action and proper staging are all elements of this module.

This module features training from seasoned animators who provide insight into the key elements of strong posing. A pose must contain an appealing form, clear action and good staging.


6. Full Body Walk.


Now that students have done a basic walk cycle and studied the principles of posing, they are ready to do a full body walk cycle. Students can choose a vanilla walk or a walk with personality. We reccomend students do both and learn from each project.

Doing a walk cycle is an important step for an animator before jumping into full body mechanics.


7. Body Mechanics 1.


This is our first module that asks students to tackle complex character movement. Body mechanics refers to animating a shot where a character is doing more than a simple walk.

This can mean a character lifting something heavy, jumping, throwing, punching or other full body movement. Our curriculum contains tutorials that show how other animators work through a shot. It shows working in a pose to pose manner and refining their animation in the graph editor.


8. Body Mechanics 2.


We are asking students to stay with body mechanics for another module. This type of animation is difficult and for new animators it's essential they feel comfortable working through shots that involve complex body movement.

Another module on body mechanics will force students to practice a wide range of animation principles. Students will also get more comfortable refining their shot with the graph editor.


9. Liberal Arts.


Create Academy is primarily a vocational school with a focus on skills that are relevant for the current job market. We also believe that Liberal Arts are more important than ever. Students are asked to engage with material related to history, philosophy, economics, psychology or political science.

Part of our mission is to encourage individuals to be positive members of our free society. We all have a responsibility to learn what we can to make informed decisions for ourselves, our families, our communities and our world.


10. Acting


The job of an animator, at the highest levels, is about creating a performance through an animated character. Animators are actors who use an animated character to bring that performance to an audience.

The best animators have the ability to tell a story through their posing, timing and performance of a character. All animators must study the art of acting to better understand their craft.


11. Thesis Project #1.


At this point in the curriculum the focus for each student is on creating original works that are aligned with their long term goals. Self-initiated projects that reflect the student’s technical and artistic skills are essential for building a portfolio that stands out.

Students pitch their thesis project, recieving feedback from peers and mentors before engaging in full production.


12. Thesis Project #2.


At this point in the curriculum the focus for each student is on creating original works that are aligned with their long term goals. Self-initiated projects that reflect the student’s technical and artistic skills are essential for building a portfolio that stands out.

Students pitch their thesis project, recieving feedback from peers and mentors before engaging in full production. After this project, students have all the tools, knowledge and processes needed to continue their journey in Character Animation.


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