Issue: Day 3 - SIGGRAPH 2007


SAN DIEGO – Animation Mentor ( offers an 18-month, online program that teaches students the fundamentals of character animation. The program, says Animation Mentor CEO/president Bobby Beck, is divided into six quarters and begins with students learning how to animate a bouncing ball.

They then progress to a ball with two legs and are taught body mechanics, as well as how to tell a story without the use of facial animation. A latter quarter details advanced acting and facial animation. Students spend the last two quarters creating a short film, beginning with pre-production where they design layouts and storyboards.

Beck has found that the most successful students tend to fall in the demographic of 23 and older. At SIGGRAPH, Animation Mentor held a graduation ceremony for 69 of its students.

Classes, says Beck, are kept small, ranging from 10 -15 students. Students use a Web-based software that’s been developed by Animation Mentor. Video conferences are hosted once a week and lectures are also streamed. Teachers all come from within the animation industry and use animation Mentor’s proprietary E-critique software to review students’ work, make comments and give advice. Students can view all of their classmates’ critiques, providing exposure to a wide range of questions and answers.

The 18-month course costs $16,000 and Animation Mentor is offering discounts at the show.