Character Animation Bootcamp

A Character Animation crash course for Motion Designers.

Character Animation is HARD!

Character Animation is HARD!

If you’re used to animating 3-4 things at a time and working straight-ahead as you animate, you might be a bit overwhelmed when you get a character rig with 30-40 controls on it. Where the hell do you even begin?

Character Animation requires a different methodology called Pose-To-Pose, and the types of things you must focus on are a bit different than what you’d look for in a more “mograph-like” piece.

Master Pose-to-Pose in After Effects

Master Pose-to-Pose in After Effects

You’ll learn the art of creating beautiful poses using silhouette, balance, and lines of action to set up your key tests before moving on to the tweening phase.

Not sure what any of that means? Don’t worry, you will when we’re finished with you.

What will you learn in Character Animation Bootcamp?

Work with Character Rigs

Learn how to use a professionally rigged puppet rig in After Effects. We provide custom rigs for each lesson.

The Pose-to-Pose Method

You don't animate characters straight-ahead. Learn the ins and outs of Pose-to-Pose animation.

Pose like a Pro

Discover what makes a good Pose, and why that’s so important. Silhouette, Balance, Asymmetry... you'll learn 'em all.

Complex Movements

Learn workflows to help you achieve more complex movements and scenarios inside of After Effects.

The Art of Timing

Timing is everything. Develop a killer sense of Timing for your Character Animation

Storytelling 101

By the end of the course you will be able to build an entire scene from start to finish!

Morgan Williams

Morgan Williams

Course Instructors

Morgan has been a professional animator and animation director for over 20 years. He has created work for numerous clients including Sony Pictures, the BBC, Comedy Central, and WGBH Boston and have been the recipient of several awards including a local ADDY®, a Telly, and a Best in Show award at Minnesota Siggraph. His short film work has been screened at festivals around the world including the Philadelphia International Film Festival and the Annecy International Animation Festival. Morgan is also a full time faculty member at Ringling College of Art and Design teaching and developing curriculum in the Department of Motion Design.

Morgan's Clients Include:

  • Jenny LeClue
  • Sony
  • BBC
  • Comedy Central
  • Flickerpix
  • WGBH

Course Format

You're not in this alone

Go on this Character Animation journey with a group of brave souls who, like yourself, are willing to tackle a very difficuly discipline. You'll gain access to a private Facebook Group for your session. In this group, you will share your work, and discuss any struggles or accomplishments you’re encoutnering.

Bootcamp is not easy, but you’ll be going through it with a bunch of other motivated and excited students. The Character Animation Bootcamp Private Facebook group runs 24/7.

You're not in this alone

Laser-Focused Feedback

We bring on Teaching Assistants who have actually gone through the course themselves to make sure that the critiques you receive are on-point, personalized, and ACTIONABLE. Our amazing staff of TA’s will kick your butt, encourage you, and help you see the areas of your animation that need a little love. We can give you frame-accurate feedback, draw directly over your video, and point out on a pixel-level what you need to work on.

The best part? You have access to our critique portal for 12 full weeks! If you fall behind, you've got plenty of opportunity to catch up.

Laser-Focused Feedback

This Week in Bootcamp

Each Wednesday, a one-hour episode of “This Week in Bootcamp” airs. You’ll get to see featured work critiqued by your TA’s, as well as deep-dives into the topics you’ve been learning about. We open up After Effects projects and show you how to fix common issues, tweak animation to get a better result, and other workflow tips.

Go even deeper into the language of Animation every Wednesday!

This Week in Bootcamp

Access hundreds of Project Files

With every student completing the same assignments, you’ll see a TON of different takes on the same exercise. If you see something you like (or don’t know how to pull off) you can download any students’ project files via the Homework Locker.

This is an opportunity that you won’t get in any other setting, take full advantage of it!

Access hundreds of Project Files

Bootcamp Schedule

Orientation Week

Meet your fellow Mographers, get familiar with the Bootcamp system, learn how to post work, and dive right in with a lesson on using rigged puppets and an Evaluation exercise designed to let us see where you are starting from.


Project 01: Disco Fever

Posing is one of the most important aspects of character animation. Find out how to pose your characters for maximum appeal and readability, and work on your dance moves while you're at it.

Project 01: Disco Fever

Project 02: Jumping Jellybeans

You're going to learn the difference between a Key Test and Tweening while simultaneously getting a crash-course in physics! All of that knowledge will help you learn the art of animating a jump.

Project 02: Jumping Jellybeans

Project 03:
Walk (or run) This Way

If you're going to be animating characters then you'll need to know how to make 'em walk… or run. We'll break it down and give you plenty of practice with a couple of amazing character rigs.

Project 03: Walk (or run) This Way

Project 04: Throwdown

Character Animation relies on your ability to move a character's weight around convincingly. The ball throw exercise is a classic, and you'll learn tons of principles and tricks while you work on that fastball.

Project 04: Throwdown

Catchup Week:
Keyquest Edition

You'll take this week to recuperate, catch up on assignments, and learn how to identify key poses for just about any action you can think of. You'll get to see Morgan's acting chops as well.

Catchup Week: Keyquest Edition

Key Test: Screen Scene

Now your skill really get put to the test! You'll begin animating an entire scene (provided by us) letting you focus solely on the posing, timing, and acting in your first-ever full scene animation.

Key Test: Screen Scene

Tweening: Scene Tween

You'll use every strategy we've taught you to tween your full-scene. Hey, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it! By the end of this section you'll have produced a full-blown character animation. How 'bout that?

Tweening: Scene Tween

Final Project: Fear Nothing

Our courses are tough and fast-paced, so we give you extra weeks of critique-time at the end of the course to turn in work or to submit revisions for extra critique. Our TA's are available through the entire extended critique period, so use 'em!

Final Project: Fear Nothing

Extended Critique

We don't want you to stop just because the course ends, so we've devised a movie trailer complete with music, VO, character rigs, extra artwork… everything you need to create a killer piece of character animation for your portfolio

Extended Critique

And once you’ve reached the end?

At the end of Bootcamp you are inducted into the Alumni Facebook Group where you can post your final projects, meet students from previous sessions, and continue to keep in touch with your new compadres. The networking that takes place in this group is priceless, and many students have gotten freelance work from the connections they’ve made in this course.


Character Animation Bootcamp Alumni Testimonials

Daniel SchreiberArt Director / Motion Designer - Imagestorm

During the final week, I was offered – and felt confident enough – to lead a 3D character animation project at our company. Before the course I often resorted to “this move feels wrong, but I don’t know why”, but I never had to use that phrase ever since.

Emilia MetzelMotion Designer / Creative Director - Alpen Animation

Character animation requires loads of practice and experience, but Morgan has made it feel easy. I loved the design of the characters and scenes we worked on and the very challenging assignments! But, all of this was pure fun.

Billy ChitkinDesigner - Mindfield

CAB offers so many important lessons in animation, with insight into techniques going far beyond only character animation. The course load is certainly challenging, but the satisfaction of completing each assignment was super rewarding. Being in a class with so many talented artists really encouraged me to try my hardest, because seeing all of the excellent work every week was inspiring. I would wholeheartedly recommend CAB to anyone looking to take the next step once they learn the ropes in After Effects.

Jeremy RechSenior Designer - Brobel Design

Morgan is an excellent teacher, and his passion for character animation definitely came through. The timely and detailed critiques and feedback on all work was very welcome and helpful. And the course was broken down and progressed at a nice pace. I came into the course not having done any legit character animation before, and came out of it with a lot of confidence in being able to do it.

What's included with the course?

There is a ton of content in Character Animation Bootcamp, but it’s given to you in measured doses to ensure you don’t burn out.

The Character Animation Bootcamp program contains

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  • Over 16 hours of video instruction
  • Custom artwork and rigged characters
  • Exercises & Project files for every lesson
  • Interviews with amazing animators
  • Private class Podcasts dealing with all kinds of topics
  • In-depth PDFs to break down technical information
  • Personalized critiques on your work from TA's.
  • A private Facebook Group for Bootcamp students ONLY.
  • Weekly episodes of The Woodshed.
  • Shared Google Drive filled with students’ project files

Want to be notified for upcoming Character Animation Bootcamp sessions?