Continuous Improvement. At Animation Mentor this is a value we both see and encourage in our students. Our students work tremendously hard to improve their shots under the direction of a mentor week after week, frame by frame.
This eagerness to improve and grow extends past our students, and we see it in our alumni, our mentors, and our staff. Around the office, we often say, “how can we bring our A-Game?” The staff at Animation Mentor are dedicated to creating the most fulfilling experience for students.
To create the most fulfilling experience, we do a few things here. First, we listen to our students and what they want. Second, we find the ways to make it happen. Third, we get really excited and do high kicks in meetings … no seriously … we get excited to share it with our students.
Thank you to our students and alumni for helping build this awesome community and giving us feedback along the way. We hear you and the team worked hard on these updates just for you.
1. LET THERE BE LECTURES!
Students and alumni now have access to lectures from the classes they passed during their time at Animation Mentor. This feature enables students to re-watch any lecture on an area they may need extra help on. Alumni can re-watch any about to refresh yourself on concepts, tips, and workflows.
2. NEW, EXCLUSIVE LIVE SESSIONS WITH THE PROS
Animation Mentor has the most diverse roster of mentors. Students have the opportunity to learn from studio professionals around the globe. Each week students get a pre-recorded lecture, a recorded eCritique from their mentor, and a 1 hour live Q&A with their class and mentor. On top of that, we’ve added special live sessions that can host up to 100 students with mentors. These sessions will be recorded and replayed through the student campus. If you are not an Animation Mentor student and would like to attend one to see what it is like, contact events(at)animationmentor.com.
This Spring 2014 term, we’ve added the following live Q&As:
- Paul Allen – Open Format – Chance for students of all levels to ask questions
- Drew Adams – Body Mechanics – Avoid the splining blues, mechanics polish
- Boola Robello – Acting – Proper lip sync and facial expressions
- David Tart – Open Format – Chance for students of all levels to ask questions
- Dana Masson – Creative Inspiration – Encouragement for the next steps
3. RESKINNING NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD
The visuals speak for themselves here, but our Student Site received a much needed visual update. Don’t fret: the functionality and buttons are all in the same places. Think of it like a home upgrade: we didn’t move the position of the furniture, we just re-painted the walls. Students love the new look and feel, while still being able to easily navigate the website like they always have.
A few students shared their excitement when we released the update:
- “Wow, the design is amazing. The typography, colors and icons match great. Thanks to the people who worked on it. Also is great to see the widescreen resolution on our assignments!”
- “LOVING the site’s new design! Everything looks so fresh, and the video players in the workspaces are so much nicer and easier to look at. This is so exciting!”
- “This is really something neat! I’ve been willing to re-watch some lectures for quite some time. Swweeeettttt!!!”
- “SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED about the lecture archive. THANK YOU! the site is pretty, too! It’s wonderful to attend a school that listens to its students. WOOHOOOO, GO Animation Mentor!”
4. VFX + MAC = YES!
Previously we were only able to support our VFX students on PC’s. No longer! If students have an Apple Mac and want to take VFX classes – we invite them in! All software used in the visual effects courses are available and ready to use on Mac’s. Solid Angle’s Arnold Render and The Foundry’s NUKE are taught to students by the professionals who use them in the studio. Get ready to make things look real that are not real.
5. 5K PLATES SHOT WITH THE RED EPIC
Not 1k, not 2k, not 3k, not 4k, 5k! That is some serious resolution. Shot on the RED Epic Cameras, these plates will be used for students in Creature Animation: Fight and Flight, Lighting Basics, and Compositing Basics. The plate can be thought of as the foundation for any VFX shot. Like a house, a good foundation allows students to build something great on top, and this applies to animation all the way through lighting and compositing. The better the quality of the original plate, the better the foundation for the final shots. As with many aspects of digital content creation, students can never ADD data that isn’t there, so capturing originals in the highest quality format ensures that students get all the resolution and color range they could possibly need for later manipulation in the pipeline:
- Better image fidelity through the pipeline
- Easier tracking and matchmove processes
- Better final compositing
6. LEARN THE CRITICAL TOOLS IN MAYA
There are a ton of awesome new features in Maya 2014 and Maya 2015. We are working on producing a series of training videos accessible to all our students. These training videos will cover animation and VFX basics in Autodesk Maya, and at any time students can check out the training videos they need.
7. A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
At Animation Mentor, students often say it is the first time they’ve found friends who are just like them. It’s an amazing experience to meet people from around the globe who also love and appreciate the same things. The recently released, Community Center, is a place on campus for students to share tips and tutorials, set up gatherings around the world, and hang out with fellow CG artists. Students and alumni know the importance of a network and learning from others — the Community Center is a space just for students and alumni.
A few of these awesome updates are a work-in-progress. We will inform our students and alumni as they become available. We cannot wait to continue on this journey with our students and alumni. To join the community, apply today! Thank you and stay tuned.