Only 1 spots left for this Fall 2023
Rusty Animator School
The Animation School you've always dreamed of but nobody ever made
On my journey to become a professional animator I realized that:
- Degrees don't matter -- its all about your skill and the friends you have.
- Traditional animation schools don’t teach you how to animate well enough to get a job as an animator (even though they can cost $100,000+)
- Online animation schools are better, but they still only take care of their “star students” and talented prodigies, while they leave the rest behind, and the mentors are very hit & miss.
- Most student animators get stuck with struggles in body mechanics - not the basics like ball bounces. And they frequently aren't ready for acting pieces because these individual struggles aren't addressed in cookie cutter school exercises.
- The amount of people that *actually* become professional animators from these schools (let alone animators at a great studio like Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks) is quite low if you're not a prodigy.
*in case you missed my whole story of how I discovered this click the tabs below to read it:
My Traditional School Mistakes
It all seemed so clear. So simple.
Go to a great animation college - work harder than everyone else - get hired by Pixar.
Then relish a lifetime career that will never feel like a job -- as it does for most people.
Oh, how naive I was.
And I wanted it all FAST.
So I dove into a "top tier" university with an accelerated program to get a bachelor's degree in just 2 years.
What was the tuition?
(Yeah -- that much.)
But it was all worth it if it got me to Pixar or Disney —Right!?
So without hesitation I signed on the dotted line.
From day 1 I buried my head in classwork - determined to ace every semester (which were only a month long).
Because I didn't want to have a normal 9 to 5 Monday hating job.
Because I wanted a career that would never feel like work. And to make art that would inspire millions.
Thick dark circles soon sunk into my eyes as all nighters became common practice.
60, 70, 80, 120 hours of school work each week - sure.
Whatever it took to stand out.
Whatever it took to be a perfect prodigy artist.
And it worked.
Whatever the subject I did great. 3D modeling, rigging, lighting, even classes that seemed completely irrelevant like college mathematics or English composition -- I crushed it.
I was winning all the battles but I had no idea I was already losing the war.
Then 1 day about halfway through my 2 year program I took my head out of the sand -- I mean classwork -- for 5 mins to come up for air.
5 friends were huddled over a single 15" mac laptop laughing and I went over to see why.
Turns out they were watching something called an animation student showcase on YouTube.
Apparently it was a compilation of the best student animations for the year from the world's first online animation school.
I never even heard of this school before. How did I miss this?
Immediately I wanted to see how good these animations were. To prove how my hard work was paying off yet again. To prove to myself I was going to Pixar.
Within seconds I was laughing along with my friends.
Entertained by each gag I saw.
And after a minute or so that excitement was instantly replaced with shocking horror as it hit me….
- "Oh my god."
- "All of their animations look far better than anything I’ve made since coming here."
- "All their animations are far better than anything I’ve seen anyone do here at all."
- "Has any student ever been this good at this school?"
- "I’ve never seen examples as good as this here"
- "Where did our best animation students even end up working?"
- "Why did no one ever mention how many animation students got hired from this school"
- "Oh god - did I go to the wrong school?"
- "$100,000+ down the drain?!?"
This all hit me rapid fire as the result of the student showcase played on. And my authentic laughter shifted into forced chuckles.
From that day forward though doubt and anxiety never stopped building in the back of my mind.
Day after day from semester to semester randomly I'd wonder…
- "How would my animation skills stack up to them?"
- "Would those animators take my dream job?"
- "Would I actually become as good as them by the time my schooling was done?"
I was horrified to discover…
...That this online animation school only had their students do nothing but animate for 2 years.
No lighting, no compositing, rigging, modeling, scripting, English composition or math physics - just animating.
Not only that but the teachers at this online school were all working professionals at my dream animation studios!
They worked at Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky during the day and taught classes after work!
How could you not learn so much about animation from pros like these?!
This built up a lot of disdain for my college classes:
- "Why can't I learn like that?!"
- "None of my teachers are working at Pixar or Disney right now."
- "And Why do I have only 3 or 4 animation classes total for 2 years?!"
- "Why should I be forced to learn lighting and rigging?"
I started trying to put minimal effort into everything that wasn’t an animation class. And I tried to fight the curriculum of the school by animating extra on my own time.
But it was like trying to swim out to sea in hurricane waters.
I couldn’t put enough hours in with the demands of school.
And I didn't have help from professional animators to show me how to reach the next level.
So I knew I was failing.
This brought anxiety and doubt to new heights.
And it all came to an overwhelming tipping point in my final class at the school.
The night before I was supposed to present my animation demo reel in front of all the animation teachers, and hundreds of students — I collapsed in complete depression in my apartment.
My demo reel was a complete failure in my eyes.
It was never going to get me a job.
So I was a complete failure.
And for most of the night I dug deeper into the abyss. Convincing myself I would never become an professional animator. That I wasn’t talented enough.
At some very early morning hour I reached a breaking point where I couldn’t wallow any lower — and I passed out.
When I woke up, I realized I dumped a year's worth of anxiety and depression in one night.
And with how terrifying it was I decided to just let go of all of it.
To let go of the tight grip I had on my dream.
To celebrate my hard work for these 2 years regardless of the outcome.
And to just have fun for the final days of school.
It was the exact mental shift I needed.
My demo reel presentation went amazingly well.
All the teachers and students that watched it were over the moon about my animations.
And I ended up graduating valedictorian.
Hundreds of job applications followed a couple weeks after (including the top studios like Pixar, Disney, and Blue sky of course).
So what happened next?
My Online School Mistakes - Part 1
What was the result of applying to Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky and tons of small animation studios for an entire year?
I’d love to tell you I went straight to Pixar.
I’d love to tell you all the struggles were over.
But the only response I heard was crickets.
Just Slow. Torturous. Silence.
Day. After. Day. For 12 months.
No jobs offers ever came.
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
Not even a single rejection letter.
Which was far worse as it meant my art was so bad - I was so bad - that I didn't even exist.
And when minutes passed like hours — I had all the time in the world to think of why. As well as to beat myself up for it.
- Is this what I get for $100,000+ in tuition?
- For my bachelors degree?!
- Would my parents have to bail me out for the rest of my life?
- Why Did I even go to this school?
- How could I have been so stupid?
That old familiar doubt and anxiety crept back in and took hold for most of that year.
Until I realized the darkness had no answers.
That the only choice I had was to bite the bullet and face the music.
My demo reel, my current skills, and my degree clearly weren’t going to get me an animation job.
I saw two options:
- Quit and live a normal job hating 9 to 5.
- Or Go back to school —-this time at that online animation school.
The choice wasn’t easy.
As it meant spending another $18,000 and dedicating another 2 years of my life -- to a career I wasn't sure would pan out.
But with a hope, wish, and a prayer I dove in again.
And as soon as I signed up I was giddy like a kid on Christmas.
- All the animation pros I’d learn secrets from at the best studios
- How good my skills would be be after 2 years of nonstop animating
- And all the job offers that would finally set me free!
Armed with the wisdom of my bad college experience - I came in day 1 with a new game plan:
- Suck it up and move back in with parents so I can focus on non stop animating 40, 60, 80+ hrs a week for 2 years.
- Surround myself everyday with the most talented and hungry students in the school to tackle our struggles together.
- Make everyone's jaw’s drop with my animation -- earning a place in the new animation showcase on YouTube.
The first class was on the fundamentals of animation.
Simple shots like ball bounces, pendulums, and walks.
Basic skills that despite my college experience I knew I had down pat.
They were child’s play and I was going to look like a prodigy in class.
Boy was I foolishly arrogant.
Starting with a simple ball bounce my mentor from Pixar served me humble pie.
He pointed out how the ball momentum was off — suddenly getting faster in the middle of a roll and slowing down abruptly with a bit of sliding as it rotated. How the squash and stretch wasn’t angled correctly.
That the distance of the arcs varied too much. Etc, etc.
Nobody had EVER critiqued me in such high detail. Especially for a simple ball.
And it continued. Into. every. animation.
I made 1 ball look as heavy as I could while another was as light as a beach ball. He told me the heavy ball felt floaty, and the beach ball didn't float enough. That the key was in the timing and spacing — an animation principle I thought I had figured out.
I thought I succeeded in making smooth overlap with a ball and tail. He said “well not every shot can be a homerun.”
When animating a normal walk forward, something I had done in school before several times, I realized I had no idea where the hips hit their extreme rotations in y and z. He noticed.
Each basic animation wasn’t a cake walk at all. It was frustrating agony for this “valedictorian”.
Week after week I was shocked -no-humiliated.
Especially when I compared myself to my new talented classmates. One of who, Rob, actually seemed like a prodigy. And he was fresh out of high school!!
I was nervously jealous. Even in this basics class everyone seemed to be sprinting straight for Pixar — leaving me in the dust.
“Why am I not keeping up?!”
Of course I started blaming myself.
But also, the entire first class, something felt off me about my mentor.
Early on, I assumed the 2 hr lectures each week would maybe fill in the gaps there. Like maybe we’d get clear animation demos on each exercise or something like that.
Instead, the lectures didn't seem to have any plan from week to week. He’d play a classic Disney shot he loved and drone on for 2 hrs about it. I couldn’t connect any of the dots back to the basic struggles I was having.
And when he was really unhelpful he’d talk about the soccer game on tv, or introduce us to his kids.
I expected more.
And I wasn’t alone. The entire class felt the same way. After the first few weeks many would disappear from the lecture or hide their webcams.
In fact, the classmates that did really well, you know the ones leaving me in the dust — they were just naturally catching on quickly on their own. And they were the few among the many.
Overall, this first class at this “great” animation school left me worried. Worried that my time and money would get wasted. That I would move ahead into the next class unprepared for the harder animations.
Maybe I was wrong though. Maybe this was just a “one off” mentor whose teaching style was hard for me to grasp. Maybe the next class would be far better.
How do you think it went?
The experience was like nothing I could have ever imagined for my animation schooling.
My Online School Mistakes - Part 2
So how did my 2nd class at this top tier online animation school go?
Was the first class, the first mentor just a one off experience that just didn't work for me?
I think the reality will surprise you.
For the 2nd class, I was randomly sorted into class with a new mentor. She had worked at Blue Sky, Dreamworks, and was now at Disney on some of the latest animation blockbusters.
Best of all, most of my new talented animation friends got into the same class.
We were extremely excited to be all in this together, with an experienced mentor, and to start creating cool body mechanics animations like parkour vaults.
Turns out it was far worse than anything we could have ever imagined.
Her critiques were confusing and contradictory to everything we had learned so far. The more any of us followed her advice the worse our animations got. And the more she bashed our shots too.
And by bash - I mean shame.
She shamed students for their mistakes, making some students even cry on camera during lectures.
It didn't take us long to realize the unthinkable. She actually didn’t know how to animate well at all. And even though she somehow found a way to work at studios like Dreamworks — she didn’t actually stay at those studios very long.
Needless to say, all the students in her class didn’t learn much. The prodigy classmate friends of mine like Rob still did ok without her help. Everyone else struggled like hell though.
The problems I had carried over from my first class - exponentially snowballed with her.
And my animations got so bad by the end of this 2nd class I was ready to quit.
If every class was going to be like this I wasn’t going to be able to take it. It would be another massive waste of money, time, and what little confidence I had left.
“Maybe I’m just not cut out for this anyway. I’m not like Rob. I’m not a talented prodigy. I just don't get it.”
With these thoughts and the start of class 3 looming — I looked at what students in other classes - with other mentors - were animating.
I was looking for evidence to quit or stay.
- How were their animations compared to us?
- Compared to me?
- How behind was I?
- How were their mentors critiques?
- Did their mentors have more skill or seem to actually care for their students?
Most of the animations I saw were “meh”.
Most of the mentor critiques felt like that too.
At least those mentors seemed to care more than mine though. That was something. But would it be enough to get to Pixar?! Or any animation job at this point?
All this evidence was quickly tipping the scales towards the quitting side for me.
Then I saw it.
I hit play on a critique from a friend of mine, Richie, who was having a blast with another mentor.
In the critique he broke it all down. This mentor not only knew his craft — he was going the extra mile for all of his students to explain things and to encourage them when they struggled.
Richie had the same background as me. He went to a top animation college and dropped more than $100k in tuition. Only to graduate jobless with mediocre skills.
The only difference is his degree took 4 years instead of my 2.
Yet here I saw Richie excelling past me! If he could do this - then I could too!
I wished I could learn from a mentor like his. I needed a mentor like that for my 3rd class!
Class 3 was halfway through the animation school program. It felt very make or break for me. Either I get a great mentor or I quit.
So I went all in. One last shot.
My Online School Mistakes - Part 3
Having lost almost all faith in becoming an animator - I gave this “great” online animation school one last shot.
And in class 3 luck finally started to smile at me.
I found out there was a mentor like Richie’s that was available.
In fact, as chance would have it - it was the exact same mentor that Richie had!
He just decided to teach the more advanced class for the next semester.
Getting him as a mentor was still up to chance though.
We weren’t allowed to choose our mentors directly.
All I could do was lie about my time availability so it only matched his schedule —- to give me the best shot of getting in his class.
And the lie worked!
This is what I had to do! I had to hunt for the “good” mentors. And cheat my way into their classes if need be!
With very little confidence and a ton of animation baggage I started class 3 hoping for a miracle.
My hand was shaking like a 90 year old man when I submitted my first animation for critique to him.
I think I was terrified that somehow, some way, I still made a major mistake. Like he wasn’t the mentor I’d thought he’d be. Or he’d prove that I just don't have enough talent to do animation.
But his first critique was everything I could have hoped for.
The difference between mentors was night and day.
He told me straight up about the skills I had struggles with. No sugar coating. Just the truth.
“Your animations from class 2 lack weight and fluid overlap. Especially with the spine. And those issues are showing in your early blocking here. You also need to lean your character more horizontally for a line of action that matches where he’s pushing.”
He then went the extra mile compared to other mentors:
“These struggles are normal, and It’s normal to be frustrated at this stage.
But I think the idea you have for your character as a medieval wile e coyote is fantastic.”
Finding out there was something I did great — made me glow like a christmas tree and fist pump like a maniac. “YESSSSSS! VICTORY!”
And it was so reassuring to hear that my struggles are normal. Even though I was still frustrated and comparing myself to classmates like prodigy Rob.
Week after week my mentor was slowly course correcting my skills and encouraging my strengths.
Each recorded critique was only 10 minutes so the time was super limited. But they were a far more valuable 10 minutes than anything I had before.
And it was enough to start making progress again, to start rebuilding confidence in my skills as an artist.
Plus, in one random lecture, I was beyond ecstatic when he decided to bring in a coworker who animated the Lion King.
And to my surprise he showed him my animation — live — saying:
“Rusty came up with this super entertaining looney tunes style story that
runs across 3 animations you gotta check it out.”
“Oh hahaha that is pretty funny”
This is ground control to Major Tom. Rusty is a rocketman!
These random events, this extra effort from my mentor meant everything.
And before I could blink Class 3 was over.
Yet during that time I made massive progress in overcoming my setbacks from classes 1 and 2.
Compared to all other classmates my animations felt good overall. Not Rob prodigy level. But good.
And seeing this progress, I remember wishing so bad that I didnt have to move on so fast. Wishing to stay at this level of animation, with this mentor longer.
So I could catch up —really ironing out the body mechanic struggles that still felt clunky.
I didn’t feel ready for Acting in Class 4.
Maybe it would all work out though? Maybe if I could recreate my class 3 experience with another great mentor?
After scouting out who might be a good one, I rolled the dice and lied about my schedule again.
And it worked again!
This time my mentor wasn’t particularly good at helping with body mechanics. But she was fantastic at taking my acting / storytelling skills to a whole new level.
In doing so she also pushed me to trust my ideas, trust my creativity, letting go of what people “might say” about my art.
This was HUGE!
And it led to a very strong acting animation for my demo reel. An animation that felt like it could get me a job.
Was the rest of school a fantastic experience?
Well not exactly.
For Class 5 using the same scheduling cheat, I landed a mentor with a lot of my talented friends.
(At this time I also found out my friends were using the same scheduling cheat this whole time and somehow I missed the memo).
They swore he would be an amazing mentor given his years at Disney as well as the critiques they saw.
And for most of them he was.
For me 2 character acting pieces where they moved around a room were too much to handle.
I was still anchored down by the skills I struggled with in Class 1, 2, 3. I needed more time to wrestle with them or for someone to show me step by step how to make my characters move better.
This Disney mentor didn't really help me there. He seemed frustrated or uninterested in explaining more of the basics. He’d point out:
“hey that head arc is off and this character is moving too much here.”
But he wouldn't break down step by step how to fix it.
From week to week, as my animations didn't improve much, I felt his interest in critiquing my animation wane.
Afterall he had students who were crushing it -my prodigy friends. For them with their Disney level shots he was far more enthusiastic and helpful. Why should he waste energy on me?
So I finished class 5 feeling left in the dust again.
It was a horrible waste of a class for us non-prodigies.
And it was strange that the entire time there.
Class 6 was the final class in school. My DreamWorks mentor was probably the best available at the time.
He had a fantastic eye for polishing up animations and encouraged my entertaining ideas.
He also gave solid advice about what should go on demo reel when, as well as what new animations I should make.
But half my time in class 6 was spent trying to animate a new 2 character acting piece. I tried my best but just couldn’t get it working.
Before school was over, I decided to ultimately cut my losses and I created a new shot at the same level as my class 4 animation.
Thankfully it was entertaining and it got my DreamWorks mentor laughing. I prayed it would be enough.
But I had my doubts with all the ups and downs I had along the way.
Especially looking at my talented classmates with they’re impressive 2 character acting pieces and far more fluid action scenes.
I wanted to finish school with a bang! With a demo reel that made people's jaws drop. That made animation studios fight over me with job offers.
Instead I just felt okay. Compared to my traditional university experience and how my first classes went here I was massively better.
But was it good enough to get a job? Would these additional 2 years of schooling and $18,000+ pay off?
My Online School Mistakes - Part 4
In the last few days of school, I assumed we’d finally hear about how we should apply for jobs.
How we could best get the attention of studios like Pixar or Disney who everybody wanted to work for.
How many studios big and small we should apply to, and how long we should wait for responses.
Certainly the school would help us right? Like if our skills are good wouldn’t the school put us in touch directly with recruiters at animation studios?
We took time to make pretty resumes, demo reel title cards. We even heard fun statistics like:
“2,000 animators apply to dreamworks every week.
It’s statistically easier to get into the NFL than into Feature Animation.”
How to best apply for animation jobs though – was left a mystery.
Like something only elite artists whisper about when nobody else is listening.
And the school never set up any connections I’m aware of.
I’m convinced a few prodigy students had some secret talks with mentors they impressed.
But I definitely didn’t have that experience.
Ending school for me was more like:
“You have your demo reel, now apply online and good luck. Bye.”
And suddenly I felt the same as when I graduated University as Valedictorian.
I would apply with my new demo reel online and wait. Probably for months.
And I was not looking forward to watching the clock everyday. The tortuous silence as nobody responds. I remembered it all too well.
Especially while family says:
“You graduated — great! So when do you get a job?
When do you go to Disney?!”
Ugh. They had no idea that finding an animation job was completely different from getting a job at McDonald’s or Walmart.
How few animation companies actually offered jobs compared to normal 9 to 5s.
At least this time I had really talented animation friends that we’re in the same boat. One of them was sure to get hired - right?
I thought that would give me some sort of idea for when I should hear back from companies.
Every week we also teamed up on finding smaller, lesser known animation studios with job openings. Scouring the web, talking to all our contacts for what information they discovered.
And we could at least talk about the tortuous wait together.
Months went by. For all of us.
Filling out one online application after another.
Writing more and more cover letters that maybe nobody was reading.
The doubt grew. And grew.
None of us were getting interviewed - let alone hired.
“If my talented friends aren’t even getting interviewed I’m screwed.”
Until one friend, Tim, found a job opening that JUST popped up at a very unknown company.
Tim told me about it the second he found it and we applied immediately together.
Then in a couple days he landed an interview!
Turns out the animation supervisor of this studio who did the interview used to be a mentor at our school! A mentor we all wished we could have had.
And he asked my friend if he knew anyone else who might be interested in working there.
DING, DING, DING.
In a flash I was interviewed. Apparently he watched my reel and laughed out loud. “OH!? MUSIC TO MY EARS!”
Which animation made him laugh I wondered?
The acting piece I made in Class 6? The most advanced shot I could make!?
My body mechanics shot of a Wile E. Coyote style Medieval guy from class 3.
It wasn’t so much the mechanics as those were still ‘meh’.
It was my ability to tell an entertaining story. A strength of mine that thankfully 2 good mentors encouraged.
That - got me the job offer.
It was an unknown small company in Singapore. They were looking to create a high quality tv show with looney tune style gags for kids.
Having never traveled outside North America I was hesitant. Where was Singapore exactly anyway?!
As Tim and I chewed on the thought of starting our careers there — we suggested the studio interview a few more of our friends.
All of them got offers - including Rob of course.
If we took the offer Tim and I would be the first to arrive in just 2 weeks. The rest would follow a few weeks after.
Rob didn't even have a degree which I thought might be a major obstacle.
But that only meant he'd have a minor 1 month delay - due to some extra government paperwork.
That’s when two revelations hit me:
- Holy shit - degrees don't matter — only skill
- Friends were probably the greatest result of this animation school. We got each other interviews.
With a lump in my throat I boarded a plane to travel to the opposite side of the world — to live in a country I’ve never been to.
2 sunsets from the air later — I arrived.
And thus began my career as an animator.
How did being a professional differ from school? Was it all a dream life from then on?
Professional Story and How Rusty Animator came to be
I couldn’t be happier to finally get paid to animate. To finally prove that I was a good enough artist to be an animator. To finally prove to my family that this was a real career.
That it wasn’t a waste of 4 years and $118,000+ dollars.
On day 1 I had no idea what to expect. No idea what animating in a studio would be like.
But I was optimistic - with everything that I’d been through I should be ready. I’ve already made it through the tough times.
Maybe, given that this is a foreign country in a small studio — maybe the animation is even easy.
The BIG wake up calls always seem to sneak up on me.
As soon as we arrived the Singaporean locals seemed to look up to us like legends. And our animation supervisor expected us to animate like rockstars.
My friends and I appreciated the praise.
But my heart sank when we discovered our deadlines:
Every 2 weeks. The deadline was a 1,000 frame high quality pantomime - with looney tune style slapstick gags.
The panic struck me like a heart attack.
- “1,000 frames in 2 weeks?!”
- “In school I did 240 frame pantomimes in a month!”
- “I’m not fast enough for this!”
And I wasn’t.
My body mechanics weren’t there.
At least that was my story.
My friends were fine.
I’d work Monday to Friday putting in 3 or 4 hours of ‘free’ overtime everyday to try to keep up.
Rob would do nothing from Monday to Wednesday. Then animate it all in 2 normal working days.
That weak foundation, those terrible body mechanic skills were still there to anchor me down.
All the setbacks from the days of class 1 and class 2 didn’t just vanish because I got a job. Surprise, surprise.
They were quietly waiting to screw me up again
Now, I had to somehow figure out how to animate better and faster than I ever have while on the job with tight deadlines.
Or soon they’d find out my demo reel was a lie. They’d realize I don't know how to animate. That I was an imposter this whole time!
And I’d get fired.
80% of the students from my school still didnt have a job. I didn't want to be like them.
For half a year I hobbled along making mediocre shots. Wondering if today was the day my career would be over. And I felt embarrassed next to my friends. Lackluster once again.
Especially each month when we’d all watch each other’s animations in the studio theater. My friends would get laughs, aww’s, and applause from everyone. And I’d hear nothing.
Nobody would ever say anything. But you could tell they didn't consider me to be the same kind of animator as them.
I was less than. I didn’t have the talent.
Oh how I cursed the unhelpful school experiences of my past.
Oh how I wished I could go back in time and make all the right choices.
- Skip the massive tuition of a traditional college
- Dont worry about degrees
- Only animate during all of my schooling
- Learn from pros right off the bat
- Find a way to not get rushed through my classes
- Do everything I can to hopefully find good caring mentors for every class.
If I could have then maybe I would have been considered a prodigy. Maybe my career wouldn’t feel like a near impossible challenge to succeed.
Thankfully my career did continue.
I learned to lean heavily on my strengths creating my own entertaining stories and characters while my body mechanics got better— slowly.
That got me through my first year as a pro under those 1,000 frame pantomime deadlines. And I ended up with some awesome animations for my demo reel.
But that nagging regret of wishing I could have had better schooling never went away.
I always felt I was playing catch up to my peers who were zooming ahead to that next level with their stronger foundation.
I even chose to go into VFX movies the next year - specifically to improve my body mechanics.
But I found friends there too who were animating at a higher level than myself.
And for a long time I thought I was the only one in this boat.
The only one who had a tough experience learning at even the best online schools.
The only one who found body mechanics, dialogue shots, and getting offers from studios hard as hell.
Then while working on X-Men Days of Futures Past in Montreal I started venting my frustrations in online animation blogs.
And these blog posts exploded!
(1,000s of animators saw this particular blog post in a few days
and 700 people joined the newsletter for the first time)
- “Seems like animators agree with me!”
- “Maybe something can be done about these problems.”
I began to wonder:
- What if I helped animators learn how I wished I could have?
- What if I showed animators everything I’ve learned?
- What if I created my own animation courses?
- Maybe I could help animators succeed easier than I did.
- Maybe I could help animators have the success I wish I had.
So I started Rusty Animator.
At first, I started with a short but impactful video course that focused on what I was good at — how to create entertaining animations.
It was called Memorable Animator and it cost $49 bucks.
I expected to get 10 students. Which seemed like a manageable amount to give personal feedback / critiques to.
Instead I got 47 students.
Needless to say I was overwhelmed but also overjoyed.
Students loved it! They developed skills that nobody teaches. And they invented far more entertaining ideas than they ever had before.
But I discovered that many students were either stuck struggling with the basics or body mechanics.
They came up with great ideas, fun characters, and entertaining stories but most of them needed to improve how well their characters moved.
So then I started tackling those problems.
I created far more in-depth courses about the basics, and body mechanics, as well as live personalized-to-every student mentoring.
And over the past 5 years I’ve helped hundreds of animators succeed.
They have doubled, tripled, or quadrupled their animation skills in a few months for 1/200th the cost of traditional schools.
Students have accepted their first jobs after attending several of the best online schools for years.
Students have also accepted their first jobs having never attended those online schools.
But while creating these courses, mentoring students, and seeing students succeed has all been extremely fulfilling…
…10s of 1,000s of student animators are still turning to traditional colleges and the established online schools.
And they are still having the same struggles I did in the past.
- Dropping $20k to $100k+ in tuition at a traditional colleges that hand out irrelevant degrees, have many inexperienced teachers, and don't focus on solely on animating.
- Learning from hit or miss mentors in online schools that often don't really care about each individual student, don't have the time, or cant help due to the constraints of the school.
- Getting generalized cookie cutter exercises that everyone does regardless of your current skill, struggles, goals, or week to week progress.
- Being rushed along into more advanced classes before their ready --snowballing their struggles in the fundamentals, body mechanics, or acting the further along they get.
- And ultimately creating a mediocre demo reel that makes them struggle like hell to find that first job or that dream studio.
Can you relate?
To me this is unacceptable
This shouldn't still be the norm.
Students should not spend tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on animation schools without having a real shot at becoming professional animators…
So I’m doing something about it.
Over the past 5 years, I mentored hundreds of students through Rusty Animator to help them sharpen their skills and get their dream jobs in the animation industry.
I got hired as a junior 3D animator!
The biggest result [from Augmented] is that I would get companies coming to me. And being like "hey we have a position would you be interested in it?" or if I applied they're like "yeah, come in for an interview"
It got me from no one - to hearing from a whole ton of people. And then I got hired as a junior 3D Animator!
I put my reel out on a Friday - Wednesday I got a Job
I put my reel out on a Friday and I got an email on Monday for a Wednesday interview.
Wednesday I got the job. And that's my story.
I got hired for my first animation job by boosting my skills in RAS after college.
My parents forced me to go the traditional route and get a degree at a college for animation.
Then soon after starting I found Rusty Animator School. And I decided to go to college and take Rusty Animator School --both in tandem.
After college I continued to study with Rusty to boost my skills up for about a year. Then after sending my reel to a game studio I got hired for my first animation job.
[The Recruiter] was impressed by my reel and said it's was great work for a junior without experience
I was just reading [your messages] and I realized I haven't told you, but I got the job!! Best Christmas present hehe What a way to start the new year!
[The Recruiter] was impressed by my reel and said it's was great work for a junior without experience and they really wanted me on their project. It was so fulfilling for me to hear!
But after working day and night, I realized I couldn’t do this alone. I can’t be the only person who wants to help aspiring animators like you to make living doing what you love.
Otherwise I'll only be able to help a handful of animators every year - while thousands are continuing to join the wrong programs and struggle.
So I'm going bigger. WAY bigger.
I decided to create my own animation school.
I first got the idea to create one years ago, but I never felt quite ready… until 6 months ago, I decided it’s time to pull the trigger.
Of course, I didn’t want to just create another online animation school that’s the same as all the other ones out there.
I wanted to create something new. Something better. Something different.
I wanted to create an animation school I always dreamed of attending.
That YOU always dreamed of attending.
The kind of school that would actually deliver on it’s promise to turn you into an amazing animator and gets hired by the top animation studios in the world.
With this idea in mind, I started talking to other people for advice. The people that mattered most.
I sent a survey out to hundreds of animators like you - asking what their dream animation school would look like.
I asked animators about past experiences with animation schools, what you liked and what you wished were different about them.
And if you were to create the best ever animation school from scratch, with unlimited resources, how you would actually do it.
After about 10 conversations, patterns started to emerge.
And by 30 chats I felt like I had a pretty good idea about what you wanted.
You told me that you wanted to go to an animation school that...
Kept Anonymous for their honest thoughts about their schooling
Has outstanding Mentors who care for each students progress beyond a paycheck
"In [my online school] the mentor gap was astronomical. Getting a good mentor felt like gambling. Like maybe you’ll win the jackpot and have a lot of good feedback or you’ll have nothing at all.
There are so many mentors who like easy money, an easy life. So they don't actually teach. They don't care. Most of them.
And the problem is so big that people camp the enrollment page to get a good mentor as fast as possible. So you see some mentors with 18 immediate student signups and others with zero who just get whoever couldn't make it into the 1 or 2 good mentors classes."
---KEPT aNONYMOUS---- // Graduate Animator from an established Online Animation School
Gives you Customized and Adaptable Animations unique to your specific struggles, skills and goals with small class sizes.
"The problem I have with [established online school] is everybody has to do the same thing. Your in a class with 8 or 9 people – they say 5 max but its not the case – but you all are doing the same exact walk cycle or jump regardless of where your skills are at.
Some students were really advanced animators who got everything instantly and then there were others that lagged way behind needing a lot more explanations and still not doing well. It was a huge waste of time. I would never join that school again."
aLLEN // Graduate Animator from an established Online Animation School
Doesn't rush you into advanced animations before your ready and gives you in-depth feedback every step of the way.
"The pacing with my university was a problem. Spending a longer time on the fundamentals felt needed before rushing off to the advanced stuff. Frequently I felt pushed too far ahead and I'd get stuck with simple things that I should of had down. Then I fall all over myself and lose confidence.
I like being able to go at my own pace. Getting a set assignment, working on it, getting feedback on it consistently, but taking however long I need to get the skills down.
Plus, in university, we’d get an assignment, go work on it for 4 weeks or more, submit a finished version of it, get one bout of critiques, then get a grade and that was it. No draw overs or week by week feedback from blocking to blocking plus and so on."
MYKE// Graduate Animator from an Animation university
So I went to my drawing board and starting putting one together.
Instantly it hit me that most of what everyone was asking for was already inside my live mentoring program - Augmented Animator.
The customized and adaptable animations specific to each student was already in there.
The mentality of not rushing every student into harder animations was already there.
And all of this was already proven successful with 13 mentoring terms.
So what everyone wanted was that.
That structure - but upgraded.
With the most important upgrade being:
More mentors. World class ones.
I immediately started reaching out to friends who were all around good people and all professional animators at top studios in the industry.
And I asked them what they thought about a school like this.
To my surprise and delight, their response was overwhelming.
Despite their busy schedules, they agreed that an animation school like that is missing and they wanted to be on-board.
They too wanted to create an animation school that actually makes a difference.
An animation school that really cares about you, that doesn't rush you ahead, that ends your struggles with body mechanics, creates captivating acting shots and actually gives you a kick ass demo reel that stands out from the crowd - so you can get hired.
An animation school where every mentor is not only a pro but they can translate what they know so you can improve, and they care beyond just a paycheck.
With the help of these mentors, and with your help, after 6 months of development, I’m beyond excited to announce that the first version of this school has come to life.
So without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to...
The Rusty Animator School
Whether you're an animation newbie starting from complete scratch...
...Or you've already struggled like hell for years in schools that provided you with bad experiences....
You can absolutely start a successful career as an animator and keep it.
By learning the right way.
With a school that actually cares about your success.
With personalized attention from world-class mentors.
With live classes that customize and adapt to your specific struggles, skill level, and goals from week to week all term long.
Inside Rusty Animator School you'll:
- 2x your animation skills in 1/2 the time with simplified focus on your struggles and goals
- Level up and craft an unforgettable demo reel in months
- Surround yourself with a supportive community and life long friends.
- Wave goodbye to procrastination with accountability every week
- Feel excited and confident that your going to become the animator you always wanted to be.
Rusty Animator is here to go above and beyond for you by tailoring your education to YOU.
Are you ready to start your dream career?
Several students inside Rusty Animator School already have.
As well as students who came before in Augmented Animator (my former live mentoring program).
And Rusty Animator School is essentially the evolved version of that.
So if you want to get a more concrete idea of what Rusty Animator School will be like for you - check out what they had to say about their learning experience:
What you get with
Rusty Animator School
Professional Mentors That Care
VFX and Game
Animator for 5+ years
Owner of Rusty Animator
- Steamroller Studios
- Digital Domain
- One Animation
- Night at the Museum 3
- Into the Woods
What students have said about my live mentoring before:
You have probably been my biggest inspiration...
You seemed really humble, like really wanting to help everyone out. Really wanting to take on that mentor role. Like let me help guide you on this path.
It was wonderful. You have probably been my biggest inspiration so far in helping me move forward as an animator.
That's all I kept thinking “THIS guy really cares about how much I succeed.”
You helped me the most. By telling me what the important stages of animation are, the essential body mechanic exercises to level up, the different approaches you can have, and I felt like you really cared and it was not just like some advice for enrolling in your school or something.
That's all I kept thinking “THIS guy really cares about how much I succeed.”
You know even though I had great mentors before from studios like Disney - they were really interesting and all, but I felt disconnected from them. It was embarrassing even to send them a message about things. I didn't feel close enough to do that.
But you really care - you're really here for your students. It feels like I can message you whenever – even though you have loads of things to do haha - you always answer.
Even just to talk about my mental health or something. You take time to talk about that and I really appreciate it. You really care about my progress I make and my animations and that's what really makes a difference.
What made this course a difference was that Rusty cared about my struggles, my victories.
Rusty took the time. He took the time to hone in on my weaknesses. I didn’t feel rushed in each session. I felt appreciated. I felt valued. I didn’t get that from any other program. I felt very rushed. I’d hear “oh ok well we gotta go on to the next student.” What made this a difference was that he cared about my struggles, my victories. And that is just not forgotten.
I’ve learned from you more than I have from any other individual instructor...
Rusty is here to see you through it, he honestly cares whether we get better or not, and I think he comes across that way immediately…..
I can’t think of another reason why he wouldn’t be into this, if he weren’t trying to do this for other people, helping them grow, building a better community, and honestly I think that comes across without me even having to say it.
Yeah, that’s how I felt from day one, you know… I’ve learned from you more than I have from any other individual instructor, I’m sure.
Going into my first animation job I found my skill level was higher than the lead animators
Going into my first animation job I found my skill level was at a higher level than the lead animator at the studio.
I was able to finish animations faster, had them looking more appealing, and talk about the animation style better with the creative director.
I blame you Rusty. You did it with the challenging animations we had in Rusty Animator School.
Without you Rusty I wouldn't have made it and gotten hired -- so thank you for everything! You're awesome!
VFX, Game, and Freelance
Animator for 11+ Years
"I don’t believe there’s a one size fits all approach to teaching. One of my objectives is to understand how you learn best, so that I can teach what I love: the art of animation!"
- Weta Digital
- Avatar 2
- The Last of Us Part 2
- Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond
- Mortal Kombat 11
- The Addams Family
- Trollhunters: Tales of Acadia
- Sausage Party
A sample critique from Fahad:
VFX and Feature Animator
for 5+ Years
- Reel FX
- On Animation Studio
- Jellyfish Pictures
- The Monkey King
- Scoob! Holiday Haunt
- Paw Patrol the movie
- Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the run
- Call of the Wild
2D, Freelance, VFX, and Feature Senior Animator for 15+ years.
Animation Director & Supervisor
- Sony Imageworks
- Superseed Studios
- Jellyfish Pictures
- Various 2D Studios
- Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
- The Mitchells vs The Machines
- Hotel Transylvania 3
- Angry Birds 2
- Over the Moon
- Monster Pets
- Spirit Untamed
- Paddington 2
No Student Left Behind
Its common practice for animation schools to see students struggling with a particular skill, not take the time to properly help them over come it, and then move them on to more advanced classes before their ready.
This happens for a number of reasons:
- Many mentors don't really care, cant explain what they know, don't have the skills or don't have the time to focus enough on each student.
- Most schools have one size fits all animation exercises -- for every student and a structure that limits how mentors can provide help.
In any event, this causes students to feel overwhelmed, overlooked, insecure, incapable, untalented, and rushed as their skills don't develop. Especially next to prodigies or classmates who already have years of animation experience on the job. And this ultimately sets those students up to fail.
If you've attended an animation school before I'm sure you were nodding along.
Rusty Animator does not operate this way.
Whether you've struggled for years to learn animation at a level that can get you hired or your essentially an animation newbie bound to eventually struggle with this challenging art...
...Rusty Animator School will make sure you succeed.
Here - no student gets left behind or rushed along.
You may be wondering - how?
Animation exercises are custom tailored to you
for unparalleled level Ups
(2 Students with different animation plans for the term -- adapting as we go)
Master the basics, rid yourself of body mechanic struggles, create your first entertaining acting shot, or craft 3 jaw dropping demo reel shots.
All of these permanent level ups are possible in 3 months depending on your current skill level.
But regardless of skill level you will grow far faster than you ever have before because each animation you do will be custom tailored to you.
- Your skill level
- Your struggles
- Your career goals
- Your progress from week to week
Every animation will also be designed to challenge you, pushing your comfort zone, while also not being overwhelming.
This custom tailored approach allows you to 2x, 3x, 4x your animation skills in rapid time.
3 Month Long Animation Terms
Joining Rusty Animator School is simple. You don't have to commit to 2 years of schooling like you would at traditional universities plus student loans or get locked into an 18 month online program.
You join for 3 months at a time. Then rejoin if you're up for more.
Completely bypassing student loans or big time commitments. Which gives you all the flexibility you need to learn without having to quit your day job -- at least until your hired as an animator.
Class times that suit you best
Most schools require that you completely rearrange your weekly schedule to suit their classes.
In Rusty Animator School you vote on the class times that work best for you -- usually with multiple classes to choose from on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
And with mentors in both European and US time zones there are class times for everyone. Its ideal especially for anyone who has a job or is already attended some kind of school.
Small Live Classes with Ample Critique Time
Many animation schools will pile you into a class of 8 or more students. And you'll only get a 10 minute recorded critique each week.
As Rusty Animator School is completely focused on every students success your setup to win with:
- Only 4 Students a class.
- Classes that are 2 hours a week.
- Giving you at least 30 minutes of critiquing time
Another unique difference with Rusty Animator School is that every student in class will also be critiquing each other. This way your constantly developing your eye for your own animations, your getting even more feedback from your classmates while helping them in turn, and your not just falling asleep bored waiting for your turn in class.
Realistic and Transparent Student Results
Online Schools often have misleading student showcases. How? They mainly show students who were working professional animators with years of experience or in some cases years and years of schooling.
We think that sets students up for disappointment and failure. As students then expect they'll get the same results with much less experience as professionals or even years of schooling.
When we showcase students' animations from this school - we’ll show how much animation experience they had and where they started — so you have a strong idea of what REAL results you can achieve.
Here are a few transparent results from students I've mentored in the past:
Alex's step on a box - early blocking. Many students over the years arrive after having gone to universities or online schools - with all kinds of fundamental and body mechanic struggles. Alex was no exception there. So that's why we dove into this simple animation.
You can see these early mechanics are pretty rough. The head is far too busy, the overlap is clunky, the hips don't rotate correctly the whole time, and it comes to a harsh stop. Needless to say like many who have these struggles, it took Alex outside her comfort zone.
Alex's step on a box - final pass. At lot smoother and more believable than the shot on the left right? By the the time the shot got here Alex had figured out so much more about how the hips function, how push the weight, how to keep the head from being to busy, how to keep the character in balance and settle the whole move.
Then Alex was ready to move on into more advanced animations. With the aim to keep progressing until demo reel shots are made that could get her hired. A good typical example of how most student start out with my live mentoring and its these simple shots of growth, these real results, that are often overlooked.
Myles made this dynamic light vs heavy Spider verse shot - with the hopes of becoming Myles Morales to impress studios. And even though this is a WIP (work in progress) not the finished piece, it still helped get him his first animation gig at Rooster Teeth.
This happened mind you, after having graduated from an online school, still struggling with both mechanics / acting and then joining my live mentoring classes for 2 terms.
Bill's heavy gun pickup - was the result of simple animation exercises like the stand up from chair and simple game cycles that came before this impressive weighty piece.
From here Bill catapulted into even more challenging pieces like a 2 character UFC fight and a character jumping onto a Halo bike at speed and driving off.
After years of no studio gigs -- he's now at Scanline VFX
Chanthi's first ever creature shot after only having a few acting pieces. She was very brave to take this on after just having completed some simple emotion change exercises for bipeds. So not only did she have to wrap her head around how a dog is supposed to move piece by piece, but she had to get the emotion of the dog to come through in pantomime -- with very little acting experience.
Mike's first dragon animation was no easy feat. So much took him outside his comfort zone. There was little reference to go off of (cause dragons), he was wrapping his head around wings / bird flight, managing the weight and power of the dragon with all the controllers.
In the end this shot, along with others he made in Augmented got him his first studio animation gig. He's now a VFX animator at MPC.
Theron's heavy weapon attack. After attending animation schools for a total of 8 years. Theron still really wrestled with creating believable weight, powerful strikes, and connected body movement. Something essential for the game animation he wanted to have a career doing. With this shot he surged into a professional level of animation in 2 months permanently. And created more animations before the term was done. Then when the term was done he accepted his first job as an animator. Currently he has a staff position as a game animator.
Joe's first unique game cycle. As an animator who already had some professional experience he discovered he still had a fair amount of body mechanic struggles. As he needed time to push past those hurdles it took about half the term to finish this dynamic piece. And the original idea was to have everything loop. But in the end all of that I feel was very well worth it --for this appealing demo reel piece.
What do you think?
Join Rusty Animator School Now
Get Started Today
6 Monthly Installments
Fall 2023 Enrollment ends in
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What Animation Students say...
I almost gave up on animation -- you and Rusty Animator School saved me
I think I almost gave up on animation too.
[Established Online School] is the most famous - most established. And I felt like if I don't study there I won't be able to get better.
Which I discovered wasn't the case at all.
So I think you and Rusty Animator School saved me.
Absolutely - I would 100% recommend this course
Whether your starting off on your journey and you don’t really know where you are, and you want to get more focused attention on how you can prepare yourself…
…Or if you’re like me where you’ve been doing this for a while and you haven’t been as involved with animation as you like to be and you’re ready to get back into it – absolutely - I would 100% recommend this course.
Rusty Animator School is definitely a good decision. I don’t regret it at all.
Rusty Animator School [AA] is definitely a good decision. It’s thanks to this course that I was able to have something on my reel that will be helpful for job hunting. I don’t regret it at all. Once I get a new job, I’d like to take more sessions.
It's the best animation course I've taken...
It would be impossible to go through Augmented Animator and not see major improvements in your animation, assuming you’re willing to put in the effort.
It’s the best animation course I have taken for finding your weaknesses and improving them. Rusty goes the extra mile to make sure that you understand why something is not working, and will often steer you into identifying what’s not working instead of just telling you out-right.
60 Day 'Best Animation School
You've Ever Attended' Guarantee
Give Rusty Animator School a shot for 60 days (more than half the term) and if you’re not feeling it - you get 100% of your money back.
Rusty Animator School isn’t just about improving your animating skills - it's about improving your career, improving your life - permanently.
If you landed your first animation gig or your dream gig -- imagine how fast your life would completely change.
In as few as 2 weeks after accepting an offer you'd be getting paid to animate on movies or games.
- So you could quit normal 9 to 5 Monday hating jobs forever.
- You could relocate to a new country/city and do so every year for new gigs or work from home in your pajamas.
- You could be surrounded by animators and artists who geek out on all the same stuff you do day in and day out.
- And you could relish seeing your first animation pop up in the movie trailer, the game sneak peek, or in the credits for the world to see your art.
This isn't just some fantasy. This is how the day to day is for many professional animators.
And inside Rusty Animator School you have the best shot at pulling this off because you have the freedom to not only learn about body mechanics but also acting, story, creativity, entertainment, planning, networking, demo reels, interviews, and more.
It's all based on your skills, struggles, and goals week after week.
You get to chose what to focus on that will best help you to succeed right now.
No one else provides this kind of customized and adaptable mentoring.
And you have mentors that really care about your success.
So I’m confident that if you put in the work, you’ll be thrilled with your growth.
And if you don’t feel like you're improving - your protected with the 60 day 100% carefree guarantee.
Just shoot over an email with your animation progress, and you’ll get a full refund.
Yes, you actually have to put in the work. You have to prove you made an effort to attend live calls, ask questions, and do the animations. The reason for this is simple.
Rusty Animator School is only for the dedicated artists out to make their dream jobs happen. The consistent doers. Not the consumers.
A massive amount of time, hustle, and guidance will be spent on each and every student. So if someone’s not on the same page - especially in group calls or community posts - you can see how it will devalue the experience for all of us.
That’s ok though because you’re totally up for improving right?
Can’t wait to see you on the inside.
Coming Soon to
Rusty Animator School Students:
As Rusty Animator School is brand new, this is just the 1st version of the school.
Many more upgrades are planned to give students every single advantage you could ever dream of.
Like an iPhone 1 or the first Space X rockets, over the course of this year and every year after this school will constantly evolve and improve.
Here are some of the exciting updates all Rusty Animator School Students will get access to regardless of what term they joined:
More Exclusive Character Rigs
Only Students of Rusty Animator will have access to these rigs so they will be unique to studios who view your demo reel.
More World Class Mentors
Several mentors are eager to start classes with the school but couldn't start immediately due to ongoing movie / game productions.
When their work schedules ramp down later into the year they'll be able to begin mentoring classes. As they are all either leads or supervising animators they'll have a lot of wisdom to pass on in both critiques and lectures/demos.
Exclusive Lectures and Demos from Pros
Struggling how to create weight, snap, fluid overlap, or settles in your animation?
You'll be able to check out a step by step video demo from a pro. Or watch a lecture as the skills are explained visually.
These lectures and demos will double down on all the growth you’ll already have by animating and getting critiques.
The plan is to have mentors periodically create these outside of class. So overtime this should build up to an amazing library of animation know how.
How to get Hired Vault
One massive advantage to helping students get hired will be --to actually dive deep into how to get hired.
Imagine having access to a vault full of wisdom on how to land your first animation job or your dream gig.
In this vault you'll go behind the curtain to hear what most students don't:
- How pro mentors in the school actually got their first jobs. What emails they sent. How they wrote those emails. What social media outreach they did. How they applied. And how they continue to land the next job.
- Advice directly from Recruiters and HR staff at top studios like Pixar, Dreamworks, ILM, Weta, Riot, and Fortiche. How best to apply - beyond the website. How to build rapport
Advice from Animation Students
If I had gone to another school instead of RAS I wouldnt of focused on all the things that really matter
If I had gone to another school instead of Rusty Animator School I wouldn't of had the structure, the focus on body mechanics, and all the things that really matter.
And what made me keep coming back to you is that I saw that you respected the craft. That you knew what mattered the most at each step of the way.
I've seen other people trying to make shots that weren't the best for them at the moment - the best for them to grow.
And I knew that every term that I took with you at Rusty Animator School - each shot would be the best thing for me right now to grow the most.
I have to say I’ve tried a lot of schools and this by far is the best one.
I have to say I’ve tried a lot of schools and this by far is the best one.
Not everybody can teach. Rusty knows how to teach. I speak as an educator of 17 years. He made me fall in love with animation all over again. The way he teaches you is in a traditional sense, which a lot of mentors don’t there more worried about technical stuff or how to get from one place to another. Which is fine, but doesn't lead to as much progress.Rusty gave me the knowledge, the exercises, and passed down the practice of how to make real progress.
There’s no way you’ll get there if you don’t take some time to be around a good team
Moving forward is taking a step forward and starting. And if you don’t start you’re not going to get there.
There’s no way you’ll get there if you don’t take some time to be around a good team, a good group of people, classmates, mentor, to help push you and guide you along the way.
Yea its not going to be easy. No its 3 years later for me.
I’m still not quite at the level but I know I’ll get there.
And I know everyone else will get there too as long as they keep taking the initiative to move forward. So keep at it. Keep going. And you’ll definitely make it just be sure to ask for help, get help, and invest in yourself.
I would urge you to go for this
I would urge you to go for this because it’s definitely something that might not come around again. [Other Courses] will be there for years and years to come and it's always going to be the same thing, whereas this is [doing] something different, and more tailored.
The whole Rusty school-of-thought is like let’s tailor it to you, and figure out what the best thing is for YOU to do.
Its something you’re not going to find in a traditional classroom
I would personally recommend taking the course because this isn’t just a regular class. This is you and your mentor 1 on 1 and creates an individual plan just for you.
You show him what you have what your level is right now, and he’ll devise a whole plan just for you.
And it is incredibly helpful. And its something you’re not going to find in a traditional classroom – its in Augmented Animator.
Join Rusty Animator School Now
You've spent years learning the wrong way. Try the right way.
Get Started Today
6 Monthly Installments
Rusty Animator School provides the adaptability to go anywhere your animation skills that you need - based on your struggles and goals week to week with pro mentors that care.
No school or workshop provides this kind of personalized training.
- Emphasize degrees when they don't matter
- Don't any or very very few professional animators to teach you how to animate well enough to get hired.
- Are structured to NOT focus on animating the entire time in school. You probably will just have a couple classes on it.
- Also leave you highly likely to graduate with zero job offers and a lot of debt. $30k to $100k from the tuition alone.
- Tend to rush students ahead into advanced classes before your ready.
- Are very hit/miss with mentors from class to class. Which with all your investing in for time/money, can feel like gambling.
- The animation exercises are cookie cutter and don't adapt to each individual student.
- And tend to cater to their prodigies or students who already have years of on the job experience.
Other schools also simply do not cover other keys to animating like: Entertainment, Creativity, Planning, or Workflow.
Yes, they’ll probably tell you these things are important but most of it will be left up for you to piece together on your own.
I don't care if your a 65 year old with blue hair that's graduated 2 universities, 3 online schools and still don't have a job. Rusty Animator School will set you up to win.
- Even if you’ve “never animated before”
- Even if you’re “not creative”
- Even if you never made anything “pixar worthy”
You'll finally have a school that cares about your success, personalized attention from world class mentors, with in-depth critiques that answer all your biggest animation questions.
So, If you still think your a special snowflake who will always have it harder than 1,000s of other animators ask yourself -- are you just looking for an excuse not to join? An excuse to prove you can't succeed?
Rusty Animator School is built off my 5+ years of working experience in VFX, Games, and TV. At studios BIG and small. And my battle tested live mentoring with 13 successful terms worth of students. Many of who accepted their first animation jobs ever.
The only person this won’t work for is someone who doesn’t want to put in the work to become better. Someone who just wants to absorb information and skip the practice.
That kind of person wont make it anywhere no matter what school or course they join.
In all your schooling have you had outstanding and caring mentors the entire time? Did you have customized animations based on your skills, struggles, goals, and week to week progress? Did you receive in-depth critiques and feedback that explained body mechanics, acting, planning, workflow in high enough detail for you to make an outstanding demo reel?
And did you get an animation job?
If you haven't Rusty Animator School will not only help you - it was built for you.
If joining Rusty Animator School makes the difference between you getting your rent getting paid or eating – do NOT buy this course.
I repeat you do NOT have my permission to buy this course.
Spend the money on your basic survival first. This won’t bring helpful pressure to the artistic challenges you’ll find inside. I truly want what’s best for you and if money is that tight this course is NOT what’s best for you right now.
Beyond all that, what about all the students who already paid in full?
It wouldn’t be fair to them to discount now or in the future.
What would your reaction be if you bought a TV at full price and then the next day saw it was half off?
This is also a barrier to keep out those who aren’t serious.
If you invest in Rusty Animator School you probably wont let it go to waste. You’ll put extra effort into making the most of it - you’ll be dedicated.
8 hours a week is the minimum to make significant progress. Which is actually less than 2 hours a day.
So you can do that even with a full time job. My live mentoring students have proven that as most of them do work full time.
Of course, the more time you can put into it the better. As you'll make a jaw dropping demo reel faster and get hired.
Students vote on the times a week that work for them. Usually this usually means we have classes on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. With some classes earlier and some later.
In my live mentoring we've also had students from all over the US, Australia, India, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, etc.
Worst case scenario if there's no class time that works for you we can have a 1 on 1 class. But that has only happened once in 13 terms of live mentoring.
Overall, Rusty Animator School is very flexible.
As Rusty Animator School is brand new this is a great question. However, the school is essentially evolved from my live mentoring program called Augmented Animator.
Throughout the course page here you'll see testimonials from their experience, example animations, and a video compilation of what it was like for them here: LINK
This is the most concrete proof you have that this school experience will be good for you. Beyond all that there are example critiques of our pro mentors and how the school is setup to be quite different from any other.
In Rusty Animator School and in my live mentoring the software that most students use is Maya. It's the 3d software used the most by animators in studios so it has a lot of handy animation tools.
That said, if all you had was a simple 2d animation program or Blender because its free -- thats completely fine.
The art of animation itself, how you create overlap, weight, power, balance, and so on will all be the same. So you will learn either way.
Outside of animating software, we use Zoom for our live classes and free sync sketch accounts for frame by framing your animation.
if you have any doubts – brush it off. Just take the class. You don’t know what you’re missing.
The different thing about this program for those of you that are having the doubts, he tailors the program to your needs, not a lot of people do that.
For me I wanted to make show reel pieces – I wanted a complete 3. I didn’t get 3 but I got 2. They were 2 QUALITY pieces though with a full-time job. And I was working 10 hours a day at my job. So, anything is possible. And Rusty made that possible.
So, if you have any doubts – NAH - shake that off – brush it off. Just take the class. You don’t know what you’re missing.
If I could start all over again I would have done Rusty Animator School right away instead of college.
If I could of started all over again I would have done Rusty Animator School right away the entire time. Right out of high school. Instead of college.
I would have been so much better off. I would of learned faster. Got hired sooner. Especially with how focused on animation I'd be.
And its what I wanted to do. And realistically I could have done it. If I took the "L" on listening to my family saying I needed a degree and thinking I'm crazy. Then if it didn't work out I could always go to a college after for a degree. Or join the military.
I think people think they need to go to a regular college first then do animation later. Or their parents / society tell them they need to go to college or they wont be successful. But its not right.
Understanding Weight was my biggest breakthrough
After graduating school I realized one of my biggest struggles was selling weight.
Then in Rusty Animator School understanding weight was probably my biggest breakthrough. It definitely helped a TON. WAY more than I could have done on my own.
After the course I’m WAY more confident in my skillset - I’m 10 times better than before.
From when I started, I wasn’t too confident showing off my animations. But after the course I’m WAY more confident in my skillset. I feel like I overcome so many different things and make it look really cool. Its like the different between day and night. Before the course and after the course I’m 10 times better.
Definitely just take the jump. I don't regret it at all.
When I started [learning animation] I thought I could be alone and just push through and do all these online tutorial's or something. But its so much easier if you have the support of your peers and a mentor to see you through it.
Augmented Animator helped me in so many ways I never really would of thought about when starting. Definitely just take the jump. I don't regret it at all.
I highly, highly, recommend Augmented Animator
This is definitely something that will help you improve not just in the short term - but in the long term – you’re going to come out great. If you actually try and put in an honest amount of work.
That was my biggest takeaway setting time aside and prioritizing and trying to put everything down just, so I can become better. And if anyone else wants to do so – I highly, highly, recommend Augmented Animator to get on that path and more.
I am so much happier now that I feel like I’m constantly progressing
If [animation] is what you want to do – just go for it. There’s no time like the present. And your not actually going to get any closer unless you start walking towards that.
That took me a LONG time to deal with. And I am so much happier now that I feel like I’m constantly progressing.
I think it was Neil Gaiman who said, “your goal should be like a mountain off in the distance and anytime your walking to closer to that mountain is a good sign.” And this class definitely helped me walk closer to that mountain.
with your course you really pushed me with my animation - which improved sooo much!
I used to rely on reference so much. Which makes sense, but the problem is I would just copy the reference.
And with your course you really pushed me to push my poses and get more fluidity and get more looser with my animation - which improved sooo much!
Like I remember with the ice skater...that was the moment I realized Oh my god yes - this is what animation is. You're not just copying the reference, you're pushing it, because thats what gives it pizzazz. Thats what makes it look appealing and entertaining. Its one of those things you know but you don't realize. But the moment that you realize it - it's like "OMG I found the secret!"
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