Character & Creature Animation Masterclass

Character & Creature Animation Masterclass

Two exciting days of high-level training, designed and held by Shawn Kelly, Lead Animator at Industrial Light & Magic and co-founder of the famous Californian school Animation Mentor.

The masterclass is for:
– those who want to start working in the entertainment industry – you will learn the principles of animation and everything you need to make an appealing demo reel

– experienced animators – you will have the opportunity to learn advanced techniques adopted in the big VFX and animation studios and refresh your knowledge

– all movie lovers who want to be “behind the scenes” – you will talk about film making and we’ ll be looking at film sequences, from the original idea to the final result on the big screen

The presence of these great artists from the big american studios is a rare event in Europe and you have the amazing chance to meet and learn from them. Definitely an opportunity not to be missed.

Day 1: Advanced Body Mechanics

“Body Mechanics” is the art of analyzing “what moves what” in the body, and more importantly, “why.” We will spend the day covering advanced concepts related to the classic principles of animation as well as advanced principles such as force, storytelling through posing, dynamic posing, and how to communicate with the audience. We will also dive into advanced techniques of blocking and breaking down a shot, and we’ll be looking at detailed walkthroughs of my own shots, showing you exactly how they went from rough concept to the big screen.

After that, we’ll spend some time taking a close look at demo reel design with special emphasis on the pitfalls to be wary of when putting your reel together.

Shawn Kelly Masterclass Milano

Day 2: Advanced Performance

Today we will tackle acting, dialogue, and lip-sync, both for animated projects as well as photorealistic work. Subtlety will be an important topic today, as will a careful look at the massive topics of facial expressions and eye animation.

Today we will also get a little violent and really break down the keys to creating exciting and believable combat scenes before roaring into a series of tips & tricks, and techniques for animating Animals and Creatures! These ideas will help you animate everything from the smallest puppy to the largest dragon.

Today we will also be talking about filmmaking in general, breaking down some of my favorite sequences from films to dissect the editing, story structure, lighting, and performances that make them stand out as well as sharing some of my favorite personal work (as well as my least favorite!).

Last, if there are some brave souls out there, I hope to review some of your demo reels and discuss ways to improve them and polish them up for recruiters!

Shawn Kelly Masterclass

Who is Shawn Kelly…

In 1998, Shawn fulfilled his lifelong dream and landed a job at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Since that time, he has worked on 24 feature films, including work as a Lead Animator on Transformers movies, Rango, Noah, Pacific Rim, Avengers, all three Star Wars prequels, AI, War of the Worlds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones and others.

In 2004 he co-founded Animation Mentor, an online animation school with student/mentor relationships at its core. Shawn works with Bobby Beck, Animation Mentor’s CEO and President, and co-founder Carlos Baena to help define and shape the school’s curriculum and overall direction.

Shawn received the 2007 award for the ‘Best Single Visual Effect of the Year‘ by the Visual Effects Society (VES), an organization dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences and the application of visual effects. Shawn’s winning animation was for the desert highway sequence of Transformers.

Shawn lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, balancing family time with his Animation Mentor roles and his work as Lead Animator at ILM.

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to visit Italy and get to spend a couple days talking about animation! I’ve designed a special 2-day version of the masterclass, jam-packed with examples from my own work as well as the work of others I admire. As always, I’ve created this course with the specific goal of keeping it helpful to animators of all experience levels, but with a definite emphasis on advanced techniques and ideas rarely covered in a classroom setting. Whether you are an experienced professional or new to animation, there will be a lot of fun topics to sink our teeth into, and I’ll be looking forward to spending some time with you! ”

Shawn Kelly

Special Prizes from Animation Mentor!


Besides goodies directly from Industrial Light & Magic and the commemorative T-Shirt there will be also very special prizes from Animation Mentor:


The Franco Parenti Theatre is one of Milan‘s points of reference for artistic and cultural vitality, characterised by a concept of a theatre projected towards Italian and foreign innovation. Its programme consists of intensive and diverse activities, including cultural events, concerts, film screenings, conferences, festivals and the presentation of new books.
The theatre was named after the great Italian actor Franco Parenti who, together with Andrée Ruth Shammah, founded it.

Address: Via Pier Lombardo, 14 – 20135 Milan

Useful informations to plan your trip

Teatro Parenti Milano

Additional info


Two days full immersion


Shawn Kelly’s lecture notes


Attendance certificate signed by Shawn Kelly


Commemorative t-shirt and prizes


Lunches included


English spoken



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