- Nuts & Bolts
- Getting Started
- Contact Us
Why study with Animation Apprentice?
We believe that we offer the best quality most reasonably priced animation course anywhere in the world. You will receive personally tailored training and feedback from industry veteran Alex Williams, who has worked on dozens of animated films and has taught at animation schools all over the world. We believe there is no better place to learn the craft of animation.
How does the course work?
Our 30 week course is divided up into 5 modules over 30 weeks, covering all the important elements of animation. Each week starts with a Project Brief, telling you what exercise you should complete, what videos to watch, and in what order. Complete your exercise and send us your Maya file (Maya is the leading industry software, which you can download for free from the Autodesk website). We will review your work and send you a bespoke video critique. This way you get personally tailored feedback showing you exactly what you did right or wrong, and specifically how to improve your shot.
Do I get a Diploma?
Not on the 30 week course. However, we believe that we offer something much better, something that very few universities or colleges can offer, that is to say high quality state-of-the-art animation training by industry professionals at extremely competitive rates. The cost of higher education is rising all over the globe; our goal is to make excellent training affordable for everyone. However, if you are looking for a formal qualification, you can now sign up for our online MA in animation, which is currently taking applications.
What is the difference between the 30 week course and the online MA in 3D animation?
The two courses are similar, but one leads to a degree and the other does not. If you don't need a degree, take our 30 week course. If you do need a degree, then go for the MA. To do an MA you should ideally have a BA already, although we can APEL students under certain circumstances - see this page for more details of the APEL process. You do not need to do the 30 week course to do the MA.
How long does the course last?
The course lasts 30 weeks, or just over 6 months, and runs continuously, apart from a week off over the Christmas holidays. The final 4 weeks are focused on reviewing your demo reel, to make sure that you have a great reel so you can go out and find work as a professional animator. However, many students take longer than 30 weeks. The important thing is to learn at your own pace.
Why can't I see the videos?
You need to be registered with us and logged in to watch most of the videos. However, the week 1 videos are free for anyone to view.
Do I start by myself or will there be other students on the course?
We start students off in groups just like in a classroom - that way you have a sense of a shared journey. We encourage all our students to share questions and post comments at our closed FaceBook Group (only our students have access), so you can see what everyone else is doing and compare notes. By posting your work on the page you can see what everyone else is up to and share your animation!
How much does the course cost?
The full 30 week course costs £3,000 (Pounds Sterling), or the equivalent sum in US$. You can pay the whole sum up front or in five installments. See our page on Pricing for more details.
Do I need to know Maya or will I be taught it on the course?
There is a 4 week Maya module at the start of the course for beginners who have never used Maya before.
Do I need any special qualifications?
Not all all. No special qualifications are needed, though a creative spirit and a good level of comfort with computers are both very helpful. In the end, all you really need is a strong desire to learn. We will teach you the rest!
I already know how to use Maya - can I skip the early stages?
Yes. You can skip Module 1 if you already know how to use Maya. The shorter 26 week course without Module 1 costs 2,600 Pounds Sterling.
What if I only want to do part of the course?
Experienced animators may want to do just a short section of the course, such as pantomime, character performance or animals & creatures. We are delighted to acommodate requests and will pro-rate the fees accordingly.
When should I deliver my work?
You should deliver your completed work by 9am every Monday morning. We will critique your and send you your customised feedback within 48 hours. You can see step by step exactly how to make the right changes to perfect your work.
What if I need more time?
Online learning is a very flexible tool. While we encourage all our students to submit each week, our priority is to accommodate our students' individual needs.
Do I need a broadband connection?
Yes. You will need a broadband connection in order to be able to download the video files, upload your finished files to the ftp site, and download the video critiques of your work. The video files can be very large (up to 2GB, though usually much less), so a fast reliable broadband connection is highly recommended. If your connection is slow, aim to upload and download overnight.
How does my work get assessed and graded?
There is no formal assessment or grading process during the course. Ultimately what counts is your demo reel and the quality of your work. However, we will make sure that you get honest feedback every week, telling you the strengths and weaknesses of your work and what you need to focus on to improve. At the end of the course, once you have completed all the exercises and have created a demo reel and a website, we will send you an official Animation Apprentice Certificate of Completion. Once you have this - you are ready to start looking for work!
How much time should I spend on the course each week?
You should plan on spending at least 8-12 hours a week on the course. It will take roughly 2-3 hours to watch the videos. The rest of your time will be spent doing the exercises.
Does each week’s tutorial have to be completed within one week or can I study at a faster/slower pace?
In a perfect world, each student in a group keeps up with everyone else, so that all the students have a sense of shared purpose. However, if you fall behind for some reason, that's OK. It is not the end of the world - we can be quite flexible. The whole point of online training is that you can learn at your own pace.
What sort of hardware and software will I need?
You will need a PC or a Mac capable of running Autodesk Maya. See our page on Hardware and Software here for a full discussion.
What books should I buy?
The best book on character animation is The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams. It is now the standard textbook for learning animation and we recommend that every student has a copy. Take a look at our full reading list here.
At the end of the course, will I be able to enter the CG/Animation industry?
The goal of the course is to make all our students qualified to find work as an animator at the end of the course. Our job is to help you acquire the right skills to get a job. See our page on Success Stories and also our page on Industry Links.
Should I also learn to be a Maya generalist?
We say follow your passion. If your goal is to be an animator - learn animation. If you would prefer to take a Maya generalist course (ie one not focusing on animation) we highly recommend the Escape Studios VFX course in London. Escape studios also offer a mentored online VFX course.
Will I get a showreel as an end product and will I get help on my Resume/CV?
Absolutely. It's all about a good showreel. The principal focus of the course is on creating a great reel, which is your calling card to find work in the industry and a showcase of your skills.
What happens at the end of the course? Is that it?
Absolutely not. We aim to keep in touch with all our students using social media such as Facebook to create an online community of alumni who will help each other find work and progress their skills. We have many industry contacts in studios all over the world, and especially in London and Los Angeles. We will do our best to help you with introductions, and to place you in internships or even in work if we can possibly do so. We also encourage you to keep working on your animation reel after the course ends, and to let us help you with advice and guidance. As a professional animator your reel is never finished, it is always a work in progress.
What if I need more training at the end of the course?
We keep in touch with all our students and enocourage them to keep developing their skills, and their demo reel. All our students are welcome to stay and post in our Facebook Group for as long as they like, getting feedback and continuing to polish their reels. Entering competiitons like The Eleven Second Club is a great way to continue your professional development as an animator. We won't give up on you!