Creature Animation: Fight or Flight

Learn to Animate Fight Sequences and Flying Creatures from Industry Pros in this 12-Week Workshop

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Animate a Creature
Fight Sequence

Learn the animation mechanics needed to make your fantastic creatures soar through the sky and engage in thrilling combat. This advanced workshop takes your skill set to the next level by teaching you how to integrate believable creature animation with live-action background plates.

The entertainment industry is always looking for animators with a broad skill set and creature animation makes your demo reel a standout at studios like Industrial Light & Magic, Blizzard, and commercial and television FX houses that deal with realistic animation.


$2,499 USD

Starts Wednesday
June 26, 2024

Register By
June 23, 2024

Pro Animators Mentor You to Be Successful

Our creature mentors have film & TV credits including Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Avengers, movies, and other blockbuster franchises.

Our workshop allows you to learn, practice, and get 1:1 feedback and reviews. You will have the chance to learn from them in live conversations as they share insights about what studios are working on and what qualities they look for in an animator. Our mentors will work directly with you to grow and improve your skills.

Stuart Ellis - Creature Animation Mentor

Stuart Ellis

Lead Animator
Framestore London

Stuart is a veteran animator with 20 years of animation experience. He's currently at Framestore where he works on exciting films and TV shows like His Dark Materials, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Paddington 2.

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Wednesdays | 11:00 - 12:00 PM*

*All times are in Pacific Time.

1-on-1 Feedback from a Studio Pro

During this 12-week workshop you’ll have live Q&As with your mentor each week in addition to receiving a recorded training video from a professional game animator and an assignment designed to build your skills. Plus, your mentor will review and critique each of your assignments and provide you with a weekly video of their feedback so you can improve your work.

Gain Access to Pro Animal and Creature Rigs

You’ll gain access to professionally designed rigs like dragons, dinosaurs, ogres, and other quadruped animals. After you finish learning you can keep them for future projects.

Studios that Hire Our Creature Students

Creature Animation Student Gallery

Cyrille Ferry

Leandro Adeodato

Brandon White

Randy Huang

Leandro Adeodato

Nahoko Fukata

On-Going Rig Access








What You’ll Learn in Creature Animation Fight or Flight

Week 1

Flying Creature Essentials: Theory and Walk-Through

Jim Brown, Animator at Pixar Animation Studios, demonstrates a breakdown of a dragon flying over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Week 2

Exploring the World of Flying Creatures

Glen McIntosh, Animation Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, demonstrates how a professional animator breaks down flight, and the unique anatomy of flying creatures.

Week 3

Integrating Your Character in the Real World

Animator Alison Sanders demonstrates how to animate your creature with a live-action background plate.

Week 4

The Fight! Dynamic Interaction Part 1

Dovi Anderson, Animator at Pixar Animation Studios, takes you through a dynamic fight sequence from conception to completion. A step-by-step Maya walk-through is a must-see!

Week 5

The Fight! Dynamic Interaction Part 2

Dovi Anderson continues the fight sequence and adds polish to the final animation, while maintaining the essential power of the fight.

Week 6

Basic Cinematography

Nick Walker, Layout Artist at Industrial Light & Magic, walks through a comprehensive introduction to cinematography, basic composition, camera mood, and much more.

Week 7

Creature Production Sequence

In this class, Erik Morgansen, Animator at Industrial Light & Magic, will break down shots from professional visual effects feature films, including: Pacific Rim and Transformers. This class will serve as a feast of knowledge and inspiration for those who have ever wondered what it was like to work as an experienced animator in the world of visual effects!

Week 8

Walk Through a Shot: Timing and Spacing Special

Watch more student workflows with Jin Xie as she breaks down her nuanced and subtle dragon shot.

Week 9

Walk Through a Shot: Interaction Special

Animation Mentor alumnus Richard Oud animates an impressive ogre fighting shot interacting with a live-action human. Watch and be inspired by his amazing workflow.

Week 10

Walk Through a Shot: Polish

Charles Alleneck, Animator at Industrial Light & Magic, shares all his favorite polishing tips and tricks he’s learned in production at ILM.

Week 11

That’s a Final!

Animator Nicole Herr has worked on many live action productions and this week she shares her tips and tricks on the “grit and grime” of VFX character animation.

Week 6

A Day in the Life of an Industrial Light & Magic Animator

Shawn Kelly, Senior Animator at Industrial Light & Magic, walks you through an exclusive behind-the-scenes of ILM’s production pipeline. Shawn shows you what its like to be a VFX character animator at the famed studio that brought you Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and Transformers.

Course Requirements for Creature Animation
Fight or Flight

Course Details

LIVE Q&As | Weekly 1-Hour Q&As

LECTURES | 12 Pre-Recorded Lectures

ASSIGNMENTS | 3 Animation Exercises

SOFTWARE | Autodesk Maya

HARDWARE |Meet Minimum Requirements

AGE | 18 Years or Older

LANGUAGE | Taught in English

Skills You Need Before You Start

Creature Animation: Fight or Flight requires you to have a working knowledge of, and experience with, Autodesk Maya.

  • If you’re unfamiliar with Maya you can take our Maya Workshop.
  • You’ll also need a working knowledge of Body Mechanics, since our workshop builds on the skills needed for animating people and other bipeds. If you don’t know anything about body mechanics you can take our Core Animation Courses which include a thorough grounding in body mechanics.

What You’ll Learn

You’ve mastered how to make your characters walk, run, talk and express emotion, now it’s time to make them throw a punch. Use our Dozer, Hatch, Dragon, Ogre, Cat, or Lion (and more!) rigs and start animating with three challenging exercises: a vanilla flight cycle, a creature behavior shot over a live action plate, and a two-creature interaction shot.

After taking our workshop you’ll be able to:

  • Understand the mechanics of flight so that your animation isn’t limited to the ground
  • Observe and animate incredibly subtle details so that your animation can stand next to live action footage and feel just as believable
  • Use reference footage of real world animals and apply it to fantasy creatures so that your storytelling is believable
  • Animate an intense and dynamic interaction between two creatures that will expand both your technical setup knowledge and your animation skills

Animation Mentor Interest-Free Payment Plans

Animation Mentor offers interest-free payment plans. Payment Plans allow students to distribute the $2,499 USD tuition into flexible payments throughout the school term.

Per Month

$500 to save your seat and
6 monthly installments of $333.

Per Month

$500 to save your seat and
4 monthly installments of $500.

Per Month

$624 to save your seat and
3 monthly installments of $625.

FAQ for Creature Animation

Does the course cover stick fight animation?

This workshop features only 3D character animation. Stick fight animations are traditionally 2D and they are not featured in this workshop.

What is the most important thing in a good fight scene?

There are three main things we like to see in a good fight scene: 1. Plot Development – The fight must move your story forward in a meaningful way. 2. Variety – Making your fight unpredictable will keep your audience engaged. 3. Power Struggle – Stack the odds against the hero and your audience will be on the edge of their seat. Ready for more? Check out our webinar with Dr. Stuart Sumida on what makes a great fight scene.

Does the course only cover fighting in a 3D environment?

Yes this course is strictly for animating 3D fight scenes.

I don’t see any human rigs. Will I learn to animate a fight between 2 humans after taking this course?

No, the Fight or Flight Workshop is strictly designed to teach you how to create believable and realistic fights between creatures.. We teach everything you need to know about human rigs in our Core Animation Courses.

What animation skills do I need to take creature animation?

Before taking our Creature Animation Workshops, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of body mechanics. Body mechanics are the foundation of movement and posing for animated characters, movement which animators use to convey emotion and tell a story. When you study body mechanics, you will become a master of understanding and using body language to bring your characters to life in 3D animation.

A Flexible Way to Finance Your Education

Animation Mentor Alumni Discount

As a thank you to all our Animation Mentor alumni, we are offering a $500 discount for any of the creature animation courses. If you graduated from Animation Mentor you can request this discount.

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Interest-Free Animation Mentor Payment Plans

Animation Mentor offers interest-free payment plans. Payment plans allow students to distribute the $2,499 USD tuition into 2, 3, or 4 flexible payments throughout the term. Take advantage of this offer today!

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