Previsualization Basics for Animators

Learn how to quickly animate, layout, and stage a scene in this 6-week workshop

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What is Previs?

Previsualization: Animation Meets Cinematography

How do filmmakers plan complex visual effects and animated sequences for major motion pictures? One word: Previs!

Learning previsualization is a great way to push your animation skills into a creative role earlier in the production pipeline. A previs artist starts with rough building blocks, just the storyboards or script, which they re-interpret in a 3D space through camera staging and animation. In this workshop, you’ll learn how animation and camera work are used to help take a project all the way from script to screen.

“Previsualization or “previs” is used in across all genres of film and television, meaning that previs skills are extremely valuable whether you’re interested in working on animated films, live-action films, TV, or even video games!

Breakdown of Previs in Thor: The Dark World


$899 USD

Starts Wednesday
June 26, 2024

Register By
June 23, 2024

Pro Animators Mentor You to Be Successful

Our workshop allows you to learn, practice, and get 1:1 feedback and reviews from our mentors. 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 Herr - Previs Instructor

Nicole Herr

Animation Supervisor
Netflix Animation

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.

Read Full Bio

Wednesdays | 7:00 - 8:00 PM*

*All times are in Pacific Time.

Examples of Previsualization in Film and TV

Captain Marvel Previs Example

Previs of Captain Marvel from The Third Floor

Game of Thrones Previs Example

Previs of Game of Thrones from The Third Floor

Mary Poppins Previs Example

Previs of Mary Poppins Returns from The Third Floor

1-on-1 Feedback from a Studio Pro

During this 6-week workshop, you’ll have live Q&As with your mentor each week in addition to receiving an assignment designed to build your skills. Plus, your mentor will review and critique each of your assignments and provide you with a video of their feedback so you can improve your work.

Learn from an Oscar-Winning Previs Animator

Expand your animation demo reel with this previs workshop and learn key skills to start an in-demand career. Mentor Nicole Herr was part of the Oscar-winning previs team on Disney’s live-action film, The Jungle Book. She will guide you through professional previs animation workflows used for film, TV, and video games.

Previs Student Gallery

Todd Karberg

Laureline Colliard

Heidi Costello

On-Going Rig Access



What You’ll Learn in Previsualization for Animators

Week 1

Planning and Breaking Down a Script for Previs

What is previs? In this session, we will go over the importance of previsualization for filmmaking and how the industry has evolved for the previs artist.What is previs? In this session, we will go over the importance of previsualization for filmmaking and how the industry has evolved for the previs artist.

Week 2

Building a Previs Sequence

We will define the essentials of a previs sequence from the language to the most commonly used cameras and camera rigs. We will analyze sequences to see how previs helps push the storytelling during the live demo.

Week 3

Making Effects Choices

We’ll dive into the animation, effects, and props for a previs sequence.

Week 4

Cameras in Previs and in a Real Environment

We’ll cover the differences between a real camera vs. a CG camera and why it’s important to keep it “real” to tell the complete story.

Week 5

Once Upon a Time

We’ll learn how to handle changes to previs when working with clients and feedback.

Week 6

Delivering a Previs Sequence

In this final session, we’ll put everything we’ve learned into one final sequence.

Course Requirements for Previsualization for Animators

Course Details

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

ASSIGNMENTS | 5 Animation Exercises

SOFTWARE | Our rigs and demonstrations use Autodesk Maya, but you are welcome to use any other 3D software or rigs that you choose.

HARDWARE |Meet Minimum Requirements

AGE | 18 Years or Older

LANGUAGE | Taught in English

Skills You Need Before You Start

Previsualization Basics for Animators requires you to have a working knowledge of, and experience with, Autodesk Maya.

  • If you’re not familiar with Autodesk Maya you can take our Maya Workshop
  • You’ll also need a working knowledge of Body Mechanics. 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

In Previsualization Basics for Animators you’ll build on your existing animation abilities by: learning how to read a script, planning a sequence, experimenting with cameras, and adding temporary effects. By the end of this workshop, you will have taken part of a script and created your own previs sequence!

Once you’ve finished our workshop, you’ll have learned the following skills:

  • How to read a script and plan out a visual sequence with clear story points
  • The basics of cinematography and how to work with different cameras to create a coherent visual style
  • How to work fast and efficiently to animate quickly, allowing you to get feedback from your animation lead or director early on
  • Understand and translate the most essential parts of a story into your animation

FAQ for Previs

What is previs or previsualization?

Previs is the process of visualizing an idea or design in 3D space before production begins. Previs artists help bring the director’s vision to life, and can quickly test what cameras, performances, effects, stunts, etc. may be needed for them to film. It’s a faster, and hopefully less expensive, way to view a film or sequence, giving the director a visual blueprint of the final product before any shots have been filmed. We have a blog post that explains previs in even more detail.

What does a previs animator do?

Previs artists translate ideas, storyboards, and even rough cuts of animation to a 3D space. They test out how the narrative, camera angles, and blocking all flow together, and they help bring the director’s vision to life. A previs artist is also responsible for blocking, or the movement of characters in a scene. To learn more about blocking, check out our blog post on the 5 Key Steps for Effective Blocking.

What jobs use previs?

Any type of animation goes through the previsualization process. Video games, feature films, TV series, and commercials all go through this initial blocking process before they are animated, making previs skills transferable across many industries.

Do previs animators work on TV or movies? What about commercials? Video games?

Yes they do! Previs animators work across many industries, including film, TV, games, and commercials. The best thing is that previs skills are transferable, so previs animators can change from one industry to another without needing to learn additional skills.

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