As some of you may recall back in August of this year I initiated my Animation Personal Trainer program. This is an 8 week intensive study program with a specialization on personalized training for animation. In the initial session each student was given their own personally structured animation training curriculum, designed to address their specific areas of need or interest. Now while I had a lot of faith in the power of personalized instruction, the truth is that in 8 weeks it’s impossible to create the perfect animator. But I gotta say, the level of improvement I saw in each student was surprising and inspiring! I had students who were working professional animators and some who had only tinkered with animation for a few months. Basically I had everything from newbies to working pros and I was really jazzed to see how much they all improved in their own way. Overall the first session was a real success story, both for me as a teacher and they as students and animators. So I asked them for their feedback and opinions to share with the rest of the world- a kind of testimonial. So in anticipation for APT session #2 (interested students can sign up beginning January 17th!), I want to share some excerpts of the things my great students had to say about their experience with the Animation Personal Trainer program. In a post soon to follow I’ll have a short clip of “before & after” animation for some of the students. As you’ll see, they made some great strides. But first, some words from a few of my students….
“Although many books have been written about animation, they dont compare with having an animator sit through the excersizes. Having industry talk, having animation talk, advice of “the animators perspective of the world” along with weekly chat sessions and excersize walkthroughs, makes APT an invaluable addition to the industry of animation education. The fact that its 8 weeks of training and that I get to do it at my own pace and with my own curriculum taught by a pro himself is a great way to step into stride with my animation. I could work on my weaknesses and work on those aspects of animation that I always felt weak about. This is the real advantage of APT in my view.”
- DJ Ekkirala, student
“I learnt a great deal through the session and more specifically how to put good animation principles into practice. Keith was very honest at picking the weaknesses in my work and developing exercises to help in that area, which is just what is needed in a good learning environment. There is a massive difference between understanding the principles of animation and actually applying them to your work. Keith trained my eye to be able to critique my work in these key areas as I go along to achieve a good result.”
- Anonymous by request
“I immediately jumped on board hoping and praying for the best, AKA… learn animation. 2 months or so later, I had finished APT with all my expectations meet, even exceeded. My work flow dramatically improved and now I don’t guess how I should animate, I have a plan, and yes, I’m sure I will continue to refine the way I work, but now I have the confidence to do so and move forward boldly. Also I feel I have a better grasp on body mechanics, timing, phrasing, spacing, etc. which was another goal of mine to improve on. The best thing about APT is that YOU decide the things you want to work on, and it’s custom designed for a specific goal you are trying to meet. … Keith was always very professional and concerned about how we felt about the program and that we were getting our moneys worth, which I felt I definitely was. If this isn’t enough he showered us with links, private tutorials, and scripts that still help incredibly. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in beefing up their animation skills.”
- Nathan Engelhardt, animation student @ SCAD
“For me APT was an excellent way to improve my skills, learn more about “how animation should work” and start to think more of how to approach a scene professionally. … The most value stuff in APT for me was that I changed my way of how to blocking the scenes. I am sure that already helped me to get better poses and timing and this will start a new age for my animation.”
- Marcelo Ricardo Ortiz, teacher
“I thought it was great! And you were really great at listning and analyzing what I needed training on. My skills were more than quadruppled over the 8 weeks, and if that’s not worth the money, I don’t know what is!”
- Erlend Sakshaug, student
“In general, my experience with APT has significantly improved my understanding of animation. I feel that just in 2 months I have been introduced to a certain structure in the way I think, and the way I work when animating a scene. Starting with an individual drawing and how it is so important to have all the principles of animation build into it so that you can convey the scene to someone with clarity, and with just minimal amount of information. Also I have reached this level of understanding that helps me see patterns that appear in simpler and complex movements, and how to break down complex or simple movement into individual drawings within a particular timing. I don’t fear as much when looking at those cool professional animation scenes that appear complex, and with practice I’m ready to reach that level.”
- Adam Jaskieweicz, student
“I had been studying animation for a year before Animation Personal Trainer. I was at a point where I had read several books and almost everything on the web. Even though practicing everyday, I could not figure out why my character was still doing a handspring, when I wanted him to do a simple head turn. There is so much animation information out there that I was trying to do everything at once. This had me chasing my tail and wishing for happy accidents. … Keith built on my existing understanding of animation with some basic principles to assist me. … He instilled confidence in me to get the basic animation muscles built first. By focusing first on what’s important in the blocking phase, I built a foundation that made things easier as I moved on to later stages. Keith’s techniques helped me control the most detailed movements in my animation. Finally I understood what I was doing. “
- David Woods, student
“I thought APT was good for me. I want to do another session so that’s pretty good. I liked how we could make the course focused on what I wanted. I enjoyed getting the hour of one on one time. This was great to go over stuff in detail. One the best parts of APT is the ‘under the hood’ aspect: looking right in my animation file with me, going over what’s working and what’s not working, seeing how you would shift keys and tweak curves was really helpful. “
- Jason Thielen, professional animator
“Now that I’ve been working in an actual production environment for almost 2 months, I’ve come to appreciate the workflow knowledge that you taught me more than anything else. I have been above my footage quota every week since I started working… This would not have been possible without the new workflow that I developed while working with you Keith. I’ve also found that after speaking with you about my work each week, I have a better understanding of what “most” directors are looking for in my shots. This has made it much easier to communicate with my supervisors and meet their expectations for each individual shot as quickly as possible.”
- Nate Zufelt, professional animator (he was hired at the very end of his APT session!)
So that’s the feedback on APT Session #1. The progress clips will be coming later this week. Keep your eyes here for that.
APT Session #2 will be opening the doors for enrollment on January 17th. On the technical side we will feature some significant improvements over APT #1, as well as some adjustments to the way I interact with the students. I’m excited to get going with the next session! Space for APT#2 will be VERY limited. As you saw from the student feedback the APT is a highly personalized training regimen and I am proud to put lots of time and work into teaching each student. But as you may imagine this is a demanding thing, so like I said, space will be very, very limited. So if you’re interested be sure to stay tuned to the website and be ready to sign up on January 17th!