There are not many animation schools that teach puppet animation. But one school does stand out above the rest. DeAnza College located in Northern California. I recently spoke to Marin McNimara about his classes and discovered that his students learn many of the different forms of animation done by hand. These include cel animation, clay animation, and puppet animation. Some of his past students have created animation that you can watch on the Internet. The most popular one is the short created by Jules Jammal and Mike Bates called Skullwell Predicts.
Director of De Anza's animation program, Martin McNamara has produced and/or directed dozens of animated television commercials, title sequences and educational films…
Ken Priebe is well known for his popular books 'The Art of Stop-Motion Animation' and 'The ADVANCED Art of Stop-Motion Animation'. He has experience working within the industry and is one of the few people teaching stop motion as a serious art form through the Academy of Art University. The University has a Cybercampus online version of their degree program, where communication and courses are done strictly over the internet.
I asked Ken to describe the course and to explain the requirements. Here is what he had to say:
I have built two courses for AAU Cybercampus: ANM 380 Stop Motion Animation I and ANM 382 Stop Motion Animation II.
ANM 380 starts off with the basics and moves into simple puppet building, walks, pantomime and character performance, and basic story/editing techniques, culminating in a short film exercise.
ANM 382 is a more advanced, specialized course focused exclusively on animating to dialogue, with 1 or 2 characters in a scene, and…
The Three Month Animation Course is specifically designed to enhance and develop the professional potential of professional or graduate animators’. Based on an understanding of production, design and direction the course focuses on core craft skills and techniques associated with character animation. Students work intensively in either 2D (drawn) or 3D (model/puppet) animation techniques according to their past experience. Students study performance, timing, staging, character development, sound, life drawing and movement as a means of perfecting their skills as animators. The course runs for eleven weeks and is intensively taught throughout with students attending a timetabled series of workshops, seminars and professional master classes as part…
If Claymation is what you want to learn, the Stop-Motion Animation/Claymation #122 is a class that teaches the art of Claymation directly by Will Vinton himself. Located in Portland Oregon the class has no requirements other than a willingness to learn. Artistic experience helps, especially sculpting.
According to the official web page, "the course will explore such concepts and techniques as squash/stretch, ease in and ease out, metamorphosis, staging and composition, armatures and fabrication, clay sculpting, gesture, walks, and lip sync." The entire course costs just under $2000.00 as there are a few lab processing fees and supplies to buy on top of tuition.
Due to the popularity of stop motion course questions we get here on our site, we sent a set of questions to Will Vinton…
Cal arts is a school that has an experimental animation department. Here is what I currently know from an actual student from this school.:
What they have:
"A stop-motion workspace (The Butler Building) that includes 3 shooting studios for stop-motion, each stocked with a nice grip cart, and a rehearsal cage with a lunchbox for doing tests.
A motion control rig! donated by image G along with a 35mm camera, but has also been used with 16mm, digital still cameras, and even Imax for Mark Osborne's film "More".
An excellent stop-motion faculty of super nice and talented folk that includes:
Mike Johnson, directed 'Devil went down to Georgia" as well as animator on nightmare, James and Giant Peach, Monkeybone. Mike is a new edition and has…
ANIM 218 Stop Motion I
In this course, students explore a wide range of stop motion styles, materials and techniques including clay, object and puppet animation, utilizing both tabletop and multi-plane setups. Students are encouraged to develop a personal approach while exploring possibilities in character design, armature and set building, lighting, special effects and camera/motion capture techniques. Prerequisite: ANIM 130 or FILM 101 or FILM102.
We also got an e-mail from James that pretty much sums up this college. So here it is:
On your site you listed some clay animation courses. I would like to add that here in Georgia there is a college called SCAD or Savannah College of Art and Design.
And although CGI animation has taken…
At Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester New York we have a sequence of 3 Stop Motion related classes.
The first is a Miniature Construction class. It's for stop motion sets as well as live action effects. We build a set that can be used in a stop motion project later on in the year.
The second class is called Single Frame Motion. This one is a lot of fooling around with the video lunch box to get students experience moving cut-outs, puppets, objects, the camera & pixilation.
The third class called Stop Motion. In this class we produce a stop motion film as a group project. We are considering adding a puppet building class, may be next year.
We have a small dedicated Stop Motion Studio. It's about the size of the MTV studios. It is all…
Are you a teacher in a public school who wants to teach students the art of stop motion animation? The biggest road block is trying to find all the necessary instructions, equipment, software and puppets to animate.
We are now offering a stop motion kit that consists of everything you need for your students. Our kitss are geared towards middle school students and for after school programs in that same age range.
Students will be able to use their hands, learn story telling, expand their imaginations and collaborate internationally with other students. The whole experience will be extremely rewarding for everyone when they complete their films.
What makes this college so appealing is the fact that Dan Ackerman teaches there. Dan has worked at Will Vinton Studios and know what makes stop motion work. This is a highly recommended place to go. Here is Dan's bio, and below that is more information about the college itself.
Adjunct faculty, Digital Media Production
dma381 at fac.aii.edu
BFA, Film Graphics, California Institute of the Arts
Dan Ackerman is a director of photography for commercials and films whose clients include top names such as Sony, Intel, Adidas, Skyler Animation and Will Vinton Studios. He’s known for his experimental style and for his exploration of time-lapse photography and stop-motion animation. His latest work can be seen each…
This course is designed for those with a basic understanding of animation, who wish to develop and enhance skills in animation design and techniques to a professional level, whilst aiming to provide an educational experience in preparation for employment within the industry or as a freelance animator/film maker.
Dealing with both design and craft issues, the course offers the student the forum to experience all the relevant skills required by the animation industries, while encouraging creativity and original responses to problem solving activities.
The course is structured in a 2 + 1 arrangement, with year 1 & 2 culminating in a HND in Art & Design (Animation). Year 3 is a one-year post HND top-up degree,…