This year (late 2017), I decided I still had more to learn when it came to the actual animation in my animation. So, to do a bit of up-skilling, I enrolled in School of Motion's Animation Bootcamp.
Like many other motion designers, I came to the field with a design background, and my education only focussed on learning the tools (which were Maya and After Effects). I have self taught myself a lot about the craft of animation, but a formal course designed for motion designers was a perfect fit to reinforce what I've learned and fill in the blanks that have eluded me.
This course is designed extremely well. Animators at every skill level can get just as much out of the it. The zero-skilled newbies, right through to the seasoned motion designers can apply the lessons to any animation they find themselves working on.
I got a lot out of it, evidenced by the fact that I feel far better equiped to evaluate and improve on my own work. I now feel like I can do a final pass on a nearly-finished project and see what needs improvement. It's now easier to spot what is moving wrong, or or leading the viewers eye to the wrong parts of the screen, distracting from the story or message.
There is also a LOT of focus on understanding and taming the graph editor, which is something I've needed for a long time. This is a part of the interface in After Effects or Cinema 4D which I have in the past given a token amount of attention to. I have tried to focus on overall design, knowing my skill in tweaking a speed, easing, acceleration, etc., was lacking. now familiar with the speed and value graphs and how to use them to create a bounce, oscillation, ease-in or out with the right weight, gravity and speed, I'm far happier with the work I submit to clients.
examples of some of my submitted assignments
I would describe the course as the perfect mix of 33% technical, 33% theory, and 34% etherial knowledge. Founder, Joey Korenman drives this home in all the lessons, repeating phrases like "Touch every keyframe", "Just make sure it FEELS right", and "There is no spoon".
It is also well-planned. There's downtime at the points the creators anticipate a dip in creativity and learning. Bootcamp is 6 weeks long, plus an 'Orientation Week' and a 'Catchup Week', then 4 weeks after the last assignment is issued for extended ctitique.
Every Monday and Thursday, you take what you learn in each lesson and apply it, with your own level of skill, to the attached assignment. The structure is good for the learning process, because you are responsible for delivering your work on time and not falling behind (too far).
All things considered, I give Animation Bootcamp a thumbs up, and I'll be considering one of their other courses as soon as possible.