Three Friends Began Their Story
with a Question

Bobby Beck, Shawn Kelly, and Carlos Baena were united by one simple question: “If we were to start over again, how would we want to learn?” Their answer was different than the software focus common in art schools. Instead, in 2005, they opened Animation Mentor to address the need for industry-trained animators by uniting students with industry professionals in a production environment. This time-tested mentorship approach emphasizes the art behind the animation — and includes a commitment to quality, care, and community that has forever changed online education and animation.

Bobby Beck

CEO and Cofounder

As Animation Mentor CEO and cofounder, Bobby Beck works with partners and cofounders Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena to define the company vision. He leads the implementation of this collectively developed vision, which includes spearheading the school's business relationships, culture, and curriculum and supervising the development of its next generation tools. Bobby is an industry veteran, having worked at Tippett Studio, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Pixar Animation Studios. His credits include My Favorite Martian, Virus, Dinosaur, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, and the Pixar short film Boundin’.

Shawn Kelly


Shawn Kelly realized his dream to animate films with the help of three mentors who took a personal interest in his career. Convinced that animation lovers everywhere should have the same opportunity, he cofounded Animation Mentor. Shawn currently serves as a Lead Animator at Industrial Light & Magic, where he has worked on numerous films including The Avengers, Battleship, the Transformers film franchise, Rango, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, War of the Worlds, the Star Wars: Episode I – III film franchise, The Day After Tomorrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Hulk, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and The Adventure of Rocky & Bullwinkle.

Carlos Baena


Carlos Baena works with his fellow Animation Mentor cofounders to define and shape the school’s overall vision. His path to animation stretches as far back as he remembers. Along the way, he worked for Will Vinton Studios (now LAIKA) before moving on to Industrial Light & Magic where he worked on Jurassic Park III, Men in Black II, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. After ILM, Carlos went to Pixar Animation Studios and worked on the films Finding Nemo, the short film Boundin’, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Toy Story 3, and Monsters University.

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About Animation Mentor

Animation Mentor offers Animation and VFX programs taught by a team of over 100 working professionals from Pixar Animation Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Weta Digital, and Industrial Light & Magic to name a few. We are a studio school — and for you, this provides the opportunity to learn and experience the process of filmmaking by working on productions. But not just ordinary productions — your productions. It all starts with our world-class partnerships with animation and VFX professionals, studios, and software developers. These partnerships — along with our dedicated, industry-focused curriculum — help prepare you for a career in the animation or VFX industries. This is where you learn how to collaborate to develop films and sequences together with your Animation and VFX classmates around the globe using our state-of-the-art, patent-pending AMP™ studio production pipeline in tandem with professional studio workflows. We’re talking about collaborating and sharing assets with students both within and outside your discipline … just like the studios do.

That’s our story. Now get ready to tell yours.