Animation Mentor's founders saw a need in the market for industry-trained animators who were ready to step into production jobs because many of the traditionally trained art school graduates did not have the skills to work in a production environment, says a spokesperson. The big demand, as they saw it, was that too many art schools focused on teaching the software and neglected the art behind animation.
Animation Mentor was built from the ground up with a philosophy that the best way to learn is through the time-tested practice of apprenticeship. Today, Animation Mentor combines this idea with a custom-built online education program taught by real-world professionals, or "mentors." The school offers an 18-month Character Animation Program, as well as a six-month advanced Animals & Creatures: Master Class.
"Our mentors realize that it's a responsibility to pass along the knowledge," says Bobby Beck, CEO and cofounder of Animation Mentor. "The mentors bring such an energy and excitement from their own experiences straight to our online classroom. The students feed off our mentors and they're motivated and supported to do great work. Then when you see the reaction of our students when their work is up there for everyone to see--it's a magical moment!"
The new Animation Mentors include:
Senior Character Animator
A native of Istanbul, Arslan Elver is a self-taught animator now working for Framestore in London. His main goal in animation has always been to create believable, fun characters and keep improving his skills. He will encourage his Animation Mentor students to have a similar goal. Elver's partial list of film credits includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,
Clash of the Titans,
The Golden Compass,
The Chronicles of Narnia: Price Caspian and
Pixar Animation Studios
Matt Strangio is an alumnus from Animation Mentor's first graduating class. Soon after graduation, he went to work for Electronic Arts/Maxis as a character animator for The Sims series. He then moved to Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) as a character animator where his game and film credits include
The Force Unleashed,
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and
Transformers. He later animated for
The Spiderwick Chronicles and
The Golden Compass while working for Tippett Studio. The Los Angeles native is now an animator for ILM and looks forward to sharing his animation experiences with Animation Mentor students.
Nate Wall grew up in Austin, Texas. In addition to live music and good barbecue, he has had a lifelong love affair with all things animation. He previously animated for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and
Rio at Blue Sky Studios. Today, Wall serves as an animator for DreamWorks Animation in the San Francisco Bay Area. He looks forward to his upcoming mentor role and influencing the next generation of animators.
Animation Mentor alumnus Peer Lemmers started his animation career at Reel FX Creative Studios where he animated for the Transformers videogame. Lemmers continued his videogame animation on
Viva Piñata 2 for Rare (a Microsoft company). He then started animating for feature films, including
Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five for Reel FX and
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore for Tippett Studio. Today, Lemmers is a character animator for DreamWorks Animation, where he has worked on
Kung Fu Panda 2,
Puss in Boots.
A Canadian native and former zoology student, Robyne Powell listened to her mother and tried her hand at art ˜ and loved it. She continued her newfound passion and eventually studied animation in Vancouver...and her work is on display in Ice Age: The Meltdown
Horton Hears a Who!,
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,
Rio. Powell currently works as an animator at DreamWorks Animation.
Industrial Light & Magic
Travis Tohill is another Animation Mentor alumnus returning to campus. He has worked as an animator at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Tippett Studio. His partial list of film credits includes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,
Iron Man 2 and
Rango. He is currently animating
Cowboys & Aliens for ILM. As a former Animation Mentor student, Tohill brings a unique perspective to the classroom. He is excited to inform students of how the techniques and workflows he learned at Animation Mentor proved vital on his first day as a studio animator.
For a complete list of mentors, visit http://www.animationmentor.com/mentors/mentor-roster.html.