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Course Description

In this foundation course we will be learning the fundamentals of Character Animation and game development. (specifically for the Unreal engine, but this method will also work for other game engines such as Unity).

Learn everything necessary to learn Character Animation utilizing Autodesk Maya taught by a AAA game professional with university level accredited instruction!  We will cover the basics starting with the Ball Bounce, Pendulum, and how to apply the 12 principles of animation to the human form.  We will apply all fundamental aspects taught to create full in game polished animations of: Idle, Walk, Run, Jump and more.

Autodesk Maya is the industry standard 3D animation software, understanding the concepts in this course will help you land a job in the game, film, tv, or music industry.  In this course you will learn how to animate your custom created character from scratch.

Over 15 hours of Animation instruction!

This course is updated frequently with new lessons, industry workflows, and resources exclusively for the Class Creatives website.

Dec 2023 - NEW!  How Call of Duty and the Modern Warfare series uses Autodesk Maya for Animation

Nov 2023 - NEW! Advanced Skeleton Vs. ARTv1 Python 3 and Post Maya 2022 Unreal Mannequin

Oct 2023 - NEW! How Marvel Spider-Man 2 uses Maya for Game Animation

Oct 2023 - NEW! How Assassin's Creed Mirage uses Autodesk Maya and Zbrush

Sep 2023 - NEW! How to Import/Export Unreal Mannequins & MetaHumans rigged with Advanced Skeleton

Aug 2023 - NEW! Unreal Engine's MetaHuman Animator | Complete Step-by Step Workflow

Apr 2023 - NEW! How The Last of Us uses Maya for Animation

Mar 2023 - NEW! How the Mandalorian VFX was created with Unreal Engine & Maya

Feb 2023 - NEW! How Dead Space Characters & Animations are Remade

Jan 2023 - NEW! How Game of the Year Attack Animations are Created

Nov 2022 - NEW!  How God of War and other AAA studios utilize Autodesk Maya

Oct 2022 - NEW! How to use Epic Art Tools with new Unreal 5 Mannequins

Aug 2022 - NEW! How to fix the most common run cycle mistakes

Jun 2022 - NEW! IK/FK Settings and Options best practices

April 2022 - NEW! How to combine multiple animations in the timeline to create one animation master file

Mar 2022 - NEW! How to fix the most common walk cycle mistakes

Jun 2021 - NEW! Unreal Engine & Autodesk Maya Retarget Process with Paragon/Unreal Marketplace Assets

We will cover the following core skill sets:

  • Getting started with Maya and understanding the animation process

  • Understanding how to utilize the reference image plane in Maya to create realistic game engine ready animations

  • Strong Fundamentals of Animation Body Mechanics

  • Process of using IK/FK controllers and best practices of Unreal Engine's A.R.T. tools for Autodesk Maya

  • Unreal Engine's A.R.T. rigging tools for Autodesk Maya

  • Advanced Skeleton character rigs for Autodesk Maya and Unreal Engine

  • Understanding hotkeys to animate quickly

  • Animating with keyframes

  • Animation foundation instruction animations: Ball Bounce, Pendulum, & Basic Body Mechanics

  • Animating a production ready Idle, Run, Walk, Jump quickly and efficiently

  • Fundamentals of motion capture and how to edit motion data

  • Advanced polish process to create professional level animation ready for game engine (Unreal/Unity) export

  • Applying for animation jobs in the industry and what recruiters at top tier studios look for in a demo reel

  • Includes all the rigs necessary to learn while following along

We’ll be utilizing the latest software packages that top tier gaming studios of today use to create all of your favorite titles!

  • Autodesk Maya, Unreal Engine’s Maya Animation Rigging Toolset (A.R.T. for short), Advanced Skeleton, and the Unreal game engine.

**NOTE - Course does NOT include custom character mesh. This course includes ART tools V1 zip which will include mannequin mesh/rig which will allow all animation and lessons to be animated without a mesh or completing a custom rig. Course is strictly showing the process of animating a character of choice, for ANY character regardless of software or rig limitations.

***UPDATE  - We now provide and support current versions of Maya with a provided Advanced Skeleton Unreal Mannequin rig for the animation course if you choose not to use the ART tools Mannequin rig for Maya 2022.


This course features an accredited university animation instructor who has over 15 years of experience animating both keyframe, and motion capture based animation for studios such as Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Sony Computer Ent, Guerilla Games, Sucker Punch, Google, Disney and more.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
    • 12 Principles of Animation

    • Line of Action

    • Straights Vs. Curves

    • Silhouette

    • Ease In/Fast In

    • Follow Through and Overlap

    • Secondary Action

    • Arcs

    • Contrast in Posing

    • Animation Offsetting

    • Pushing Poses

  4. 4
    • Overview of the Bouncing Ball

    • Smaller Ball with Different Weight/Timing

    • Squash and Stretch

    • Creating Playblast

  5. 5
    • Intro to the Pendulum

    • Animating the Swing

    • Animating Drag, Overlap, and Follow Through

    • Modifying Existing Animation to Forward Settle

    • Applying Concepts to the Human Body

  6. 6
    • Key Poses & Building Overlap in Pose

    • Fingers, Polish, & Additional Breakdowns

  7. 7
    • Overview of the Project

    • Saving Pose to Library

    • Importing Pose from Library

    • Lower Body Root Animation

    • Lower Body Hip Animation

    • Animating Foot/Knee Controllers

    • Upper Body Torso Animation

    • Animating the Shoulders

    • Right Arm Animation

    • Copying Animation to Left Arm

    • Neck and Head Animation

    • Right Hand Animation

    • Left Hand Animation

    • Animation Editor Curve Loops

    • Animation Export Process

  8. 8
    • Overview of the Project

    • Lower Body Side View

    • Lower Body Copying & Pasting Second Leg

    • Lower Body Front View

    • Upper Body Torso Front View

    • Upper Body Torso Side View

    • Right Arm Animation

    • Right Arm Breakdowns

    • Left Arm Copy Paste Method

    • Neck & Head Counter Animation

    • Animation Polish Best Practices

    • Common Run Cycle Mistakes and How to Fix Them

    • Export Process

  9. 9
    • Lower Body Side View Contact Position

    • Lower Body Side View Down Position

    • Lower Body Side View Passing Position

    • Lower Body Side View Up Position

    • Lower Body Side View Copying Animation to Opposite Side

    • Lower Body Front View Translations

    • Lower Body Front View Hips

    • Lower Body Front View Knees

    • Upper Body Torso

    • Upper Body Shoulders and Arms

    • Upper Body Copying Animation to Opposite Arm

    • Upper Body Drag Follow Through

    • Upper Body Neck and Head

    • Upper Body Hand Animation

    • Upper Body Hand Animation Cleanup

    • Common Walk Cycle Mistakes and How to Fix Them

    • Animation Export

  10. 10
    • Overview of the Project

    • Start Pose Anticipation Jump

    • Land Animation

    • Upper Body Posing

    • Shoulders & Arm Posing Part 1

    • Shoulders & Arm Posing Part 2

    • Neck & Head Animation

    • Animation Retiming

    • Animation Overshoot for Landing

    • Squash Stretch & Finger Animation

    • Export Animation Process

  11. 11
    • Importing Motion Data to Character

    • Working with Layers to Create Override Pose

    • Modifying Motion Capture Curve Basics

    • Animation Retargeting

    • UE5 Mannequins and UE4 Mannequins

    • Advanced Skeleton Import Tool: Importing & Exporting Animation in Maya and Unreal Engine

  12. 12
    • Facial Animation | MetaHuman Animator Complete Workflow

  13. 13
    • How to Combine Animations in Timeline to Create a Single Animation File

  14. 14
    • How God of War and other AAA studios utilize Autodesk Maya for Animation

    • How Marvel's Spider-Man 2 uses Autodesk Maya for Game Animation

    • How Game of the Year Attack Animations are Created

    • How The Last of Us and other AAA studios utilize Autodesk Maya for Animation

    • How Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 uses Autodesk Maya for Animation

    • How Assassin's Creed uses Autodesk for Realistic Animation

    • The Mandalorian: Unreal, Maya, & VFX Secrets

    • Dead Space | How Characters & Animations are Remade for Next Gen Hardware

  15. 15
    • Creating a Great Animation Demo Reel

    • Best Practices for Job Hunting

    • Power of the Network

    • Studio Animation Art Tests

Animation Mentorship

6-week private mentoring with feedback and direct communication.

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