online character animation

Pre-Visualization Workshop

One Workshop - 11 Weeks

Pre-Visualization is an art form is growing rapidly and has become a fixture within most companies. It is a vital component of production linking the worlds of production with pre-production. Within this domain the specialist generalist reigns supreme.

The class with be taught by James Bennett, a Lead Previs Artist / Senior Animator with over 16 years of experience working at companies like DreamWorks, ILM and Weta Digital. James most recently previz'd on The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, How to Train your Dragon 2, and Madagascar 3.

Conan Low's pre-visualization/layout reel.
Property of DreamWorks Animation
Workshop 1

Workshop 1

The 11 week course, specially designed for iAnimate, will teach students the fundamentals of staging, pacing, layout, camera and scene setup. The objective is to get the students comfortable and confident with translating pre-established storyboards into a working, coherent 3D sequence.

  • Class Length: 11 weeks

  • Price Per Class: $999

What to expect in this Workshop

Week 1: Introduction to Previz - The importance of story

Why is Previz important? What is involved? What should people be expected to do? It all comes down to telling a coherent story.

Week 2: Understanding Storyboards

Something I have observed since beginning iAnimate, is the excessive cost to time when the students have to think of their own stories / setups. So in order to expedite the process, I will be providing professional storyboards from which the students will choose a sequence to do. Most previs begins at the story-boarding stage.

Action: Plan out all of the elements they will need for their sequence.

Week 3: Planning and setup / Basic parenting / Paths

It is vitally important that the students learn how to structure a workflow, especially when they have so many 'moving parts', and the likelihood of changes is very high. Having an identifiable structure will allow  them to be more efficient in a professional environment, and give them confidence with their work and time management.

Action: Build the basic scene with essential elements and characters.

Week 4: Animation in Previs vs final animation

Animation in Previz is very different to final animation. There needs to be enough information to inform all departments the mood and intent of each shot, and legible continuity through out the sequence, but not so much animation that it 'ties down' the final animators or departments. It is more simplistic, however, everything must work in the previz stage. No cheating!

Action: Review of basic cycles, and tips on Proxy Objects - Blocking pass of sequence.

Week 5: Camera Theory / 3 node Camera

A working knowledge of camera principles is the basis for a professional previs artist. We will learn  the basics of composition, line of action, and camera moves and cuts.

Action: Blocking the scene with basic camera setups.

Week 6: First Pass of Assignment Due - More Camera tips - breakdown sheet

We will review all of the student's work with regards to Cameras and timing.

Action: Make any changes and fixes.

Week 7: Story and emotion

Now that we have the base sequence in place, with blocking animation and blocking cameras, it's time to refine with regards to impact on story.

Action: Make any changes and fixes.

Week 8: Editing and timing

Story is all about timing. We will look at After Effects - How to add music, sound effects.

Action: Add Music and sound effects.

Week 9: Second Pass Due - Lighting / Rendering

Lighting adds emotion to a piece. We will look at some basic lighting setups.

Action: Light sequence.

Week 10: Adding Effects

At this point all of the elements should be in place. What's left to do are the final touches. We'll look at how to make low cost, high impact FX's. Creating dust, explosion cards.

Action: Add effects to sequence.

Week 11: Review and reels

Now that you have a sequence, it's time to add it to your professional profile.

What Students Are Saying

  • Aaron McGriff
  • Anna White
  • Ed Herft
  • Colin Brown
  • Aaron McGriff

    "iAnimate was such a life-changing experience for me. After years of working in the industry but never quite reaching my full potential or career goals, I noticed that my skills had started to stagnate. I had been interested in online schools for years but the timing had never been just right."

  • Anna White

    "Six workshops and less than two years later, right at the end of my last iAnimate workshop, I was offered a job as an animator on my first feature film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (at Sony Imageworks). I can't say enough great things about Jason Ryan and the entire iAnimate community, and I owe so much of my success to all of them."

  • Ed Herft

    "I'm really grateful to the team at iAnimate. Without their great tuition and hard work, I'm sure I would not be working in feature film now. They really helped me improve every aspect of my animation."

  • Colin Brown

    I've had multiple interviews where they ask "What game is that from?" when viewing pieces I did in classes 1 and 2. iAnimate has been a huge influence on my demoreel and my job positions recently