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Animation Mentor Unveils New Digital Platform

Online school offers advanced feedback tools and social-media-style interaction between students and professional mentors.

EMERYVILLE, CALIF. -- Animation Mentor has unveiled its new digital campus -- a social learning platform where students will attend classes, meet friends and classmates, and get one-on-one feedback from professional animators working at Pixar, DreamWorks and Industrial Light & Magic, among others.

“The most exciting thing about Animation Mentor has always been the incredible community of mentors and students. It’s literally a big family,” says Bobby Beck, co-founder and Pixar alumnus. “And now it feels like our new platform will better facilitate what we’ve been doing all along: helping artists achieve their dreams through the power of community and social learning.”  

Animation Mentor’s new campus will offer social-media-style community feeds, allowing students and mentors to customize what they see. In the classroom, they’ll see student work, messages, notifications, and stay up to date on critiques and peer feedback. On their personal feed, they’ll follow friends, classmates and others they find inspiring.  

Sophisticated annotation and commenting tools will enable mentors and fellow students to give detailed feedback on student work, bringing new dimension to the group learning and mentorship model that Animation Mentor has championed since it launched as the very first online animation school 12 years ago.

“When you’re an animator in the industry, you rely so heavily on your colleagues for inspiration, criticism, positive reinforcement, you name it,” says Shawn Kelly, co-founder and lead animator at ILM. “Our goal is to recreate that experience for our students so they’re not only learning from their mentors and peers, but they’re learning how to learn from other animators.”

Animation Mentor was founded in 2005 by three animators. Bobby Beck and Carlos Baena worked at Pixar at the time, and Shawn Kelly was already at ILM. They started the school after asking themselves, “If we were to start over again, what would we want to learn?” They focused on the art of animation and the importance of community, using the tried and true mentor-based approach vs. the 3D software-heavy curricula they commonly saw, and still see, at art schools.

“I’m very inspired by what our students and mentors create each term. The acting/performance and locomotion bar gets raised each year” says Carlos Baena, co-founder, “We see alumni going on to work at the best studios and we couldn't be happier for them. We are very proud of how the Animation Mentor community continues to grow and how the students continue to help each other throughout their careers.”

Animation Mentor’s new digital campus will be the new normal for all students registered for the Winter 2018 term and beyond. Courses start the week of Jan. 2 and aspiring animators interested in learning from industry professionals can learn more here.

Source: Animation Mentor

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.