Creature Animation: Locomotion
Learn How to Animate Realistic Creatures from Industry Pros in this 12-Week Workshop
Animate Realistic Creatures and Animals
You understand body mechanics and now you’re ready to take it to the next level with creature animation! Learn the principles of creature locomotion and understand how animals and creatures run, walk, and use their senses. By the end of this workshop you’ll have brand new, polished animation for your demo reel.
Pro Animators Mentor You to Be Successful
Our creature mentors have over 100 film credits combined and are from well-known studios such as Industrial Light & Magic (Star Wars, Transformers) and Sony Imageworks (Into the Spider-Verse).
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.
Nicole is a 25-year animation veteran and currently works at Netflix Animation. She has over 50+ animation credits in film, games, and television over her 20+ years in the industry. She was a senior previs character animator for The Lion King and Rampage, and the Best Visual Effects Oscar-winning film, The Jungle Book.
Nicole's credits also include previsualization work for The Guardians of the Galaxy, and the CW TV series The Flash and Supergirl! Nicole also mentors the Creature Animation Workshops and Core Animation Courses at Animation Mentor.
*All times are in Pacific Time. For all Monday classes, due to the New Year's Holiday, the first Q&A will be rescheduled to later in the week.
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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 professional rigs like four-legged animals, a fantasy monster, a mechanical robot, and an ogre. After you finish learning you can keep them for future projects.
Studios that Hire Our Creature Students
Creature Locomotion Student Gallery
On-Going Rig Access
What You’ll Learn in Creature Animation: Locomotion
Create a Quadruped Walk Cycle Using our Leopard Animal Rig
Jason Martinsen will cover basic quadruped walk theory and animate a “vanilla” quadruped walk demonstrating personal workflow techniques in Maya.
Creating Weight in Four-Legged Walks
Tom Gibbons, a Senior Animator at Tippett Studio, covers believable weight distribution in your creature animation walk cycles.
Understanding the Principles of Animal Locomotion
Jim Brown, Animator at Pixar Animation Studios, explores complex weight, locomotion, force, and momentum with quadrupeds.
Brian Mendenhall, Animator at Tippett Studio, walks through the essentials of animating a complex quadruped walk.
Understanding Weights and Physicality
Jess Morris, an animator at Industrial Light & Magic, explains weight distribution in different physical creature movements.
Understanding Animal Locomotion & Performance
Jim Brown, an animator at Pixar Animation Studios, explores how character and anatomy affect locomotion.
Animate Realistic Predatory Movements
Marco Merenghi, Animation Director at Animal Logic, shares professional tips on how to portray stealth, strength, and power.
Bringing Reality to Fantasy Creatures – Theory and Walkthrough
Animator Kenny Roy approaches a character that is pure fantasy by incorporating concepts from previous lectures.
Pushing Reality: Exaggeration in Realistic Movement
Pete Kelly, Lead Animator at Cinematico, highlights the importance of using exaggeration to bring creatures to life.
Advanced Predatory Behavior – Walk-Through
Will Groebe, Animation Supervisor at Tippett Studio, demonstrates his personal workflow techniques from blocking to final.
Polishing Your Animated Creatures
Will Groebe discusses how adding details and nuances to the polish pass is key to making a character feel alive.
Review of Introduction to Animal and Creature Animation
Shawn Kelly and other instructors reinforce key concepts covered in the past 11 weeks.
Course Requirements for Creature Animation: Locomotion
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: Locomotion 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
After you finish our course you’ll be able to animate all kinds of creatures and animals, and you’ll have the skills every creature animation pro uses like:
- Understanding the mechanics of four legged creatures, giving you the confidence to animate a charging rhino, a trotting horse, or bounding deer (and more!)
- Studying animal behavior and distilling the essence of that motion into believable performances
- Breaking down complex characters and their movements, so that you feel confident animating whichever creature is given to you
- Using exaggeration effectively to convey the mannerisms of many characters, from the smallest of animals to the biggest of creatures
- Applying reference footage of real world animals to fantasy creatures so that your storytelling is believable
FAQ for Creature Animation
What is creature animation?
Creature animation is a specialty animation skill that is much in demand by studios. Most animated feature films have characters that are creatures, such as ogres, robots, monsters, and dragons; or animals like monkeys, horses, and big cats. These creatures have different types of movement than humans and can fly, run on four legs, leap, and fight in exciting and entertaining ways. Creature shots are valuable additions to your demo reel if you are seeking to advance your career as an animator. This workshop, Creature Locomotion, teaches you how to use poses, weight, and momentum in your creature’s movements and gives you a solid foundation for learning fight and flight sequences.
What are some movies that use creature animation?
Most movies that include an animated characters use creature animation. They range from animated classics like Monsters Inc., Shrek, and Finding Nemo to modern day blockbusters like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Lion King
What movies have your students worked on after this class?
We’re proud that Animation Mentor alumni appear in the credits of most animated movies. Our creature animation alumni have worked on exciting movies like The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Animation Mentor alumni are employed at every major studio in the animation industry.
What famous creatures have your creature mentors worked on?
Our mentors have animated so many cool creatures! Here are a few of them: Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon), Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy), Blue (Jurassic World), Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda) Paddington (Paddington Bear), and Bumblebee (Transformers).
What is body mechanics in animation?
Body mechanics are the foundation of movement and posing for your animated characters. It’s the study of how the human body moves and uses action and reaction 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.
If I want to retake the workshop do I have to pay for it again?
Yes. However, all of our students have lifetime access to their classroom and all the instructional videos, study tools, tutorials, and breakdowns of the techniques covered in the workshop. If you would like to retake the class to get more individual instruction and feedback on your demo reel shots, you absolutely can.
Can I get a refund if I wasn’t satisfied with the workshop?
Can I include my work from the workshop in my demo reel?
Yes! The workshop is purposefully designed in order to help you build and polish awesome creature animation shots specifically for your demo reel.
How many hours should I dedicate per week to make the most of the course?
The course videos, live demos, and feedback sessions take approximately 4 hours per week. The assignments and homework require an additional 10 hours per week minimum of work time.
What Creature Animation Students are Saying
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