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Animating for Feature Films

Animation Techniques using Maya & animBot with Mike Wilson


Walk through the creation of an animation shot from beginning to end with Senior Animator Mike Wilson, who breaks the process down into manageable sections. This insightful workshop not only provides practical techniques for you to improve your Maya workflow but also takes a broad look at the feature film industry, detailing exactly what you can expect to encounter as a professional 3D animator.

Mike Wilson offers a glimpse of what being an animator entails, and discusses what it can take to get there. Once you land a job as a professional animator, what is expected of you next? With this workshop, you’ll follow along as Mike sets up a shot to maximize time and resources so that deadlines can be met. You’ll discover how to use references to gather information from the real world and translate that into your animations. You’ll then learn how to block out an animation quickly, how to approach revisions, and how to polish and finalize a professional shot.

This workshop discusses how the role of an animator on a feature film is just a single part in a large apparatus and explains the importance of working in tandem with others on a team and complimenting departments. Artists can expect to gain a macro view of a feature film studio production while learning about the expected tasks of an animator.

Mike’s tutorial provides techniques and advice for any artist looking to break into feature film animation; however, it is recommended that artists have some understanding of the fundamental principles of animation to benefit fully from this workshop. The shot demonstrated in this workshop provides techniques that can be used time and again in your own shots.

Mike utilized the Adult Elephant from ProRigs which you can find here.

Duration: 2h 39m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Mike Wilson

Senior Character Animator

Mike Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning Senior Character Animator who has been working in the industry since 2008. Mike was inspired by animation at an early age and decided to pursue a profession in the craft due to his love for the medium and his passion for storytelling. His study of classical animation prepared him for a long career in digital character animation working in television, commercials, and film. 

Mike began his career working on the first computer animated show that Sesame Street produced and has moved on to work for more than twenty other studios including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blue Sky Studios, Digital Domain, ILM, Tippett Studios, and many more.
Having worked in projects that range from digital character animation to visual effects, Mike has established a breadth of skills that range myriad styles and genres. A lifelong dedication for learning has fueled his zeal and spirited approach for honing his artistry, adeptness, and proficiency in character animation.

  • Mike, an exceptionally talented animator, mentor, and community builder. Mike’s creativity and skill in bringing animated characters and scenes to life is truly impressive. His ability to foster collaboration and learning among teams is equally remarkable. Mike pioneered workshops and meetings that brought the team together, allowing us to learn from each other and grow. His drive and dedication to continuously improving his craft are inspiring.

    - Scott Stewart
    Chief Creative Officer at Nurture Holdings

  • Mike Wilson is not just a talented animator — he’s a born storyteller. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside him for years, and his knack for spinning a compelling narrative always shines through. Mike’s not just a colleague; he’s a friend who’s always there to lend a hand. Whether it’s tackling complex shots or just chatting; he’s approachable and supportive. Our journey has taken us through studios like Blue Sky, Speakeasy FX, and Sony Imageworks, and I’m grateful for every moment of it.

    - Cesar Tafoya
    Senior Animator