So Motion Militia asked about AnimationMentor.com so I thought I'd start a new thread to answer instead of hi-jacking one of our most active threads, the "question" posting.
...APE! Can you tell us about your experience with Animation Mentor so far? I've been thinking about enrolling in the near future, but as you are aware it is pretty spendy. Granted, the Mentors are all very talented... but how it is working out? Are there any communication barriers when taking these classes online? Any other issues?
Well, as the guinea pig class of 2006 the program has changed quite a bit. There were a few technical glitches in the begining, we crashed the sever when all 300 something students logged on for the first "Global Q and A" session, and a few other glitches here and there. Those have all been fixed. Other than that, the program is amazing!! The best I've ever attended. Yeah, $2000 bucks for 12 weeks per class seems like a lot of money, but how much is an animation class if you took it at places like Cal Arts, Ringling, Goeblins, or other schools? Granted you don't have the brick and mortar feel or a traditional art school, but the school forums pages are very active and there is a great vibe with all the students, mentors and founders. Pluss you don't have to pay moving and housing expensies of moving to a different part of the world. You can take classes from anywhere around the world. I was still taking classes while I was on vacation in Germany for two months. I even was able to do it while taking a two week bus tour around Germany. That is something you just can't do in a traditional school.
Bobby, Carlos and Shawn, the founders, are all very attentive and when things come up they address and fix the problems, or impliment sugestions right away. The classes and instruction from the mentors is amazing! I learned more about animation in the first 12 week intro class than I did in all four years at the Academy of Art College.
Now this isn't an "art" school. They only focus on animation. At least for now. I don't know if they are intending to expand into art classes or not. That would be really cool. They focus on animation. How to achive weight, good timing, good poses, belivablility in acting, sincerity in acting, all the stuff that will make your animation stand out. They also throughly cover the basice as well. Timing, spacing, ease-in, ease-out, squash and stretch, arcs, overlapping action, secondary action. Thats all drilled into our heads durring the first two classes and keeps being brought up through out the other classes as well. These men and women love animation and they want to share it with others, and it comes across. They aren't professional teachers, and it shows :D, but they are passionate about the art and that passion is infectious.
In my oppinion, the best students right for this program are the ones who either know Maya or another 3D program first but never really learned animation. Or people that know animation and want to learn Maya. I'm the latter, although I quickly learned that I don't know anything about animation. :p Thats not to say if you've never animated AND never used Maya, that you won't do well. Everyone gets noticably better each week. I just think it would be alittle to over-whelming to have to learn animation and Maya at the same time. Hell, I had a hard enough time trying to get my damn ball to bounce right! Lol.
Any way, that's my take. I love the place. I actually want to go back and do the program again from the begining since they've changed a bunch of stuff and I know I still more I can learn. I've learned gobs at this school. I take my hat off to Carlos, Shawn and esspecially Bobby, who quit his animation job at PIXAR to head up the school full time. Those three have put forth a Herculiean effort to get things up and running.
End sales pitch ;)