Monday, October 8, 2012

Check Out the New Blog + Reference Animation Tips & Tricks

 A few weeks ago, we launched our new Animation Mentor blog at

Now even though we’ve given our blog a whole new look — you can be sure that it will still be THE stop for all things animation (think tips and tricks, industry news, general chatter) and all things Animation Mentor (new offerings, updates, events).

Animation Tips & Tricks Is Still a Great Reference
We’re also excited to announce that the Animation Tips & Tricks resource is still available. That way, you can check out the great posts and fantastic animation references. Think of it as the best of both worlds.

We look forward to sharing our new blog — and our ongoing love of animation — with all of you.

— The Animation Mentor Crew

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Newsletter Feature Takes a Visit to “Hotel Transylvania”

There are a lot things that we love about animation. We love how it makes us laugh and takes us through these wild adventures … and even the intimate stories. And boy, do we ever love a good story.

That’s why we are so excited for our upcoming newsletter and feature on Sony Pictures Animation’s “Hotel Transylvania.” The film brings together an all-star animation cast of Count Dracula and his daughter Mavis, Frankenstein and his wife Eunice, Quasimodo, the Mummy, and dozens of other characters.

Our newsletter feature takes us on a visit to “Hotel Transylvania” — through the eyes of mentor Patrick Danaher and alumnus Jason Malinowsky — and the technology, rigs, and talent required to tell the story of Count Dracula seeking a little rest and relaxation away from those pesky humans.

But we’re not going to give away the entire story. Check your inbox next week for the October/November issue of the Animation Mentor newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, checkout a past newsletter. Then visit our home page and subscribe today.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lighting Your Shot Workshop: Make Your Work Stand Out

Lighting plays an important role in the overall filmmaking process. Lighting helps to tell a story, evoke an emotion, and capture that moment in time. If you seek proof of the value of lighting — just check out our recent (and inspirational) Student Showcase. 

And now, with our six-week Lighting Your Shot workshop, you can add a new level and depth to your project to make your work stand out. The workshop includes aesthetic, technical, and cinematic discussions and teaches Autodesk® Maya®, mental ray®, Composite®, and The Foundry Nuke® techniques.

Here’s a quick summary of our workshop:

Session 1: Overview of the Maya Lighting and Rendering User Interface
Session 2: The Five Principles of Lighting
Session 3: Devising a Lighting Shot Plan
Session 4: Advanced Lighting Topics in Maya
Session 5: The Rendering Process Using Mental Ray
Session 6: Final Renders, Compositing, and Finishing Touches

And did we mention that you’ll enjoy the same Animation Mentor experience with live instruction from industry professionals?

We’re excited about our Lighting Your Shot workshop and we know that you are, too … after all, it’s always exciting to make your work stand out.

Learn more and sign up today.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Graduation Speakers: Truly Awesome/Amazing/Inspiring

Here at Animation Mentor, we’ve been doing the graduation thing for awhile (24 amazing classes and counting). We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some of our industry friends join us for our big event. Truth be known, when we think back — starting with Eric Darnell at our very first grad … wow, what a collection of truly awesome/amazing/inspiring grad speakers: 

Simon Otto | Head of Character Animation | DreamWorks Animation
Dean DeBlois (introduced by Glen McIntosh) | Director | DreamWorks Animation
Dennis Muren | Visual Effects Supervisor | Industrial Light & Magic
Lee Unkrich | Director, Writer, and Editor | Pixar Animation Studios
Charles Alleneck | Digital Artist and Lead Animator | Industrial Light & Magic
Dave Burgess | Head of Character Animation | DreamWorks Animation
Tim Johnson | Director and Executive Producer | DreamWorks Animation
Glen McIntosh | Character Animator | Industrial Light & Magic
Pete Docter | Director and Writer | Pixar Animation Studios
David Schaub | Animation Supervisor/Sr. Supervising Animator | Sony Pictures Imageworks
Eric Darnell | Director and Writer | DreamWorks Animation

And today, we are excited (and proud … and humbled, too) to add Andrew Stanton — Executive Producer and Writer from Pixar Animation Studios — to our esteemed list of graduation speakers. If you ever wanted to see inspiration in action, be sure to check out Andrew's speech:

— The Animation Mentor Crew

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

11 Second Club: Check Out the New Look and Enter Now

For many of our long-time followers, the 11 Second Club has been the monthly stop to gain an inside view at Animation Mentor. You see, the 11 Second Club is a monthly character animation competition open to everyone. Aspiring animators submit their work — and one of our esteemed mentors rewards the winner with an Animation Mentor eCritique. Yup, it’s pretty cool.

And we’ve been busy giving the 11 Second Club a whole new look. We’re also excited to now host this great animation resource directly on

So be sure to check it out … then get your animation shot ready and enter. Remember, you’ve still got a few days to submit your shot for the August competition. Thanks and good luck.

— The Animation Mentor Crew

Friday, August 24, 2012

“Flat Frog” Short Hopes to Make a Great Leap

Margherita Premuroso graduated from Animation Mentor and went straight to work. Today, she owns and operates InkyMind, a studio with locations in the UK and Italy. InkyMind focuses on storytelling, character animation, VFX, postproduction, and titles … the same interests she shared with her classmates.

In fact, Margherita is still very much a part of the online Animation Mentor campus. With the help of classmates Frank Spalteholz, Jonas Manke, and Rodrigo Huerta — not to mention mentor Dana Boadway Masson — InkyMind has proudly produced the pilot episode of
Flat Frog.

Margherita and crew hope to get Flat Frog into production as a full series. The initial rave reviews included a feature in the Daytime Selects portion of SIGGRAPH 2012.

Margherita directed the pilot from Italy, with her classmates and mentor contributing from Germany and the United States. It was a great example of animators putting their brains together — remotely and creatively — to produce an amazing short.

So here is a big Animation Mentor WOOT to Margherita, Frank, Jonas, Rodrigo, and Dana. We are all so super proud of you.

— The Animation Mentor Crew

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shawn Kelly Shares the Value of HIS Animation Mentor

Animation Mentor's Shawn Kelly (left) and Becca Romeo (right)
Straight from SIGGRAPH 2012, our very own Shawn Kelly shares an exciting tale about his very own animation mentor experience.

Listen as he takes us on a journey of how an animation legend inspired him to pursue his dream … and to ultimately unite with friends Bobby Beck and Carlos Baena to create Animation Mentor.

THEN, sit back and watch Shawn do what he does best as he lectures on how blinks can bring life and emotion to an animated character. Big Animation Mentor thanks to our friends at Autodesk for inviting Shawn to their Autodesk Student Experience 2012.