The Top 10 Animation Blog Posts of 2016

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Happy New Year! To help you stay inspired in 2017, we rounded up the cream of the crop of our animation posts from 2016. Learn how to overcome artistic insecurity (everyone has it…trust us), find out why the bouncing ball exercise is still bouncin’ strong, hear from two Animation Mentor alumni who went on to live the dream at DreamWorks—and more!

Without further ado, here are our top 10 most popular animation posts of 2016—be sure to bookmark this one as a great round-up of resources for animators of all skill levels.

-The Animation Mentor Crew


Dana Boadway-Masson Quote Zootopia

Be Brave: How to Overcome Your Insecurities

By Dana Boadway-Masson

Studio owner and beloved mentor Dana Boadway-Masson touches on the topic that every animator struggles with: insecurity.

Throughout her career, Dana has had the great fortune to work alongside some of the most talented creative professionals in the world—but as we all know, creative work is always a struggle, and the ability to innovate comes with a plethora of fears and insecurities. Here, Dana shares lessons that have helped her to deal with insecurity and to maintain that sense of innovation in the ever-changing animation world.


Bouncing Ball Exercise Ice Age

3 Reasons Why Every Animator Should Master the Bouncing Ball

By Animation Mentor

The famous bouncing ball exercise. You’ve heard of it. You’ve maybe even tried it out yourself at some point. So what’s the big deal? Why is this animation test emphasized so much and are you really going to use the principles elsewhere?

The short answer is “Yes!” The longer answer is revealed in this post. Read on and we’ll show you why the bouncing ball is so much more than just an introductory animation exercise.


Frozen Facial Expressions 101

Facial Animation 101

By Dana Boadway-Masson

Another from the great Dana Boadway-Masson! Here, Dana illustrates how to approach facial expressions in your animation by sharing workflow techniques, pitfalls to avoid, and strategies for making your performances more dynamic.

Get ready to take your facial animation to the next level. Read on and get inspired!


Student Showcase 2015

Animation Mentor Student Showcase 2015

By Animation Mentor

We’re always excited to share our student showcases! In our 2015 round-up, 29 students from 14 different countries worked hard and inspired us with their quality of acting, body mechanics, and entertainment value—and the internet responded by making this one of our most popular blog posts of 2016!

Give it a watch and be sure to watch for our Student Showcase 2016, coming soon!


Demo Reel by Game Animation Workshop Mentor Skylar Surra

Are You Meant to Be a Game Animator?

By Justin Owens

From exploration and adventure games like Uncharted or Tomb Raider, to action and first person games such as Call of Duty or The Division, to mobile titles like Clash of Clan or Angry Birds, video games all have something in common: animation.

Animators work to help bring these games to life with their passion and artistry via every imaginable delivery platform and style. In this post, our Curriculum Director, Justin Owens, talks us through what it takes to be a video game animator in a vast but competitive industry. Who knows, game animation may be right for you!


Circus Jam by Animation Mentor Students and Alumni

Circus Jam: Online Collaboration—The Making of the Future

By Bobby Beck

The Circus Jam is an awesome animated short film created, with love, by 120 talented artists from 23 countries. As an added bonus, all development, modeling, rigging, and surfacing was done by Animation Mentor students and alumni!

We’re so proud of all the incredible artists who pushed it to the next level to create the film. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!


Locomotion Domestic Cat

5 Tips to Make the Perfect Creature Animation Locomotion Recipe

By Leigh Rens

Get inside the mind of veteran animator and mentor, Leigh Rens. Having grown up on a South African farm, Leigh has always been drawn to the natural world and the animals that live in it—but also admits to getting lots of inspiration from an occasional trip to the zoo or or dog park. Inspiration is everywhere!

Here, Leigh gives us simple but essential tips on the right way to approach creature animation. Read, learn, and unleash your inner creature awesomeness!


Sarge Character Rig

Sarge Reporting for Duty: An Animation Mentor Character Rig

By Animation Mentor

Aw, memories. In March we released Sarge, the final character rig of The Crew, our spacefaring group of adventurers that also includes Aia, Jules, Dozer, Hatch, and Blip. Sarge can be operated as an autonomous robot or can be piloted by Aia or Jules. When adventuring in deep space, it doesn’t hurt to have an armored friend along for the ride!

The character rig creation process at Animation Mentor is incredibly involved and collaborative. Keep reading to get a glimpse into the major stages Sarge went through, from concept to final character rig! Sarge is available for students in classes 3 through 6 and to alumni.

Bonus: Check out our newest rigs, who are part of our new group of adventurers, The Horde. Meet Viktor and Moya, The Overlord and The Enforcer!


Nedy Kung Fu Panda 3 Sick

Kung Fu Panda 3 © DreamWorks Animation

Nedy Acet: From Animation Mentor to Dreamworks

By Animation Mentor

Nedy Acet is a 2008 Animation Mentor graduate and current DreamWorks animator, so we decided to check in, take a walk down memory lane to see what’s changed and what opportunities have come knocking at his door over the years.

Read on to find out how Animation Mentor—the community, mentorships, lectures, and everything in between—helped pave the way for his success at DreamWorks. Get inspired and keep moving toward those dreams!

Bonus: Want to know more about a day in the life of a DreamWorks animator? Read our Q&A with Frank Abney, Animation Mentor alumnus, DreamWorks animator, and one of Variety’s 10 Animators to Watch in 2016.


Long Character Shot

Keeping Your Character Alive: Making the Most of a Long Character Shot

By Keith Sintay

Well-executed animation is entertaining to watch, even when there’s not a lot of action going on in the scene. So, a big question our students always have is: “How can I keep my animation alive in those quiet moments?”

You’re in luck! In this post, one of our beloved mentors and Industrial Light & Magic animator, Keith Sintay, talks about the most critical elements for bringing your shots to life and how you can truly capture your audience by making your characters more entertaining. Read on and get the inspiration you need to take your character animation to new levels of awesomeness!


About Animation Mentor

Ready to apply this wealth of knowledge to your own animations? Our Character Animation Program consists of six 12-week classes tailored to teach beginners and advanced animators alike! Founded by three professional animators from Pixar Animation Studios and Industrial Light & Magic, Animation Mentor was created to help anyone in the world achieve their dream of telling their story through the art of animation.

The time to tell your story is now!

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