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DreamWorks Animation:
How to Create Feature Quality Character Animation

Course dates

June 29 to July 12

Application deadline

April 27, 2020

This course will immerse you in a feature film-based 3D (Maya) animation production pipeline, directed by Emily Springer, Character Animator at DreamWorks Animation whose credits include Trolls and The Boss Baby. During the course, students will be assigned a short character performance challenge, for which they will create compelling acting scenarios, in pursuit of developing a DreamWorks quality animated portfolio piece. Students will meet regularly with their animation leads, participate in regular group critique sessions and acting exercises.

  • Receive one-on-one training with a professional feature-film animator
  • Experience feature-film pipeline training for producing an animated shot
  • Gain a portfolio-ready animated shot by the end of the course



Undergraduate: MCJ 420, 3 units
Graduate/Post-baccalaureate: MCJ 620, 3 units




Interested students must be proficient in Maya, body mechanics, and understand basic performance principles.


  1. Submit a letter of interest including link to your most current 3D animation reel.
  2. Submit/upload the materials listed in step one when you apply online by April 27, 2020


Professor David Chai

Guest Artists

Emily Springer

Emily Springer – www.emilyr​

Emily is an illustrator, animator, equestrian, dog-mom, and coffee-addict. She is a follower of Jesus and loves opportunities to work on projects that combine her faith with her work. She currently works as an artist for DreamWorks Animation, with film credits including Trolls and The Boss Baby. Originally a Kansan, turned Californian, she currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband Chris and rescue mutt, Mia.

Christopher R. Notbusch

Christopher R. Notbusch –

Christopher Notbusch is the owner and operator of Notbusch Modeling, a custom collectible sculpting service. Notbusch creates custom sculptures taken from games, movies and real life, as well as original characters. He also walks thousands of people through his sculpting process via livestream, making character sculpting accessible to a vast online audience. Notbusch transforms the most fanciful and imaginative concepts into reality.

Daniel Cahill

Daniel Cahill –

Daniel Cahill is known for his work in video effects on blockbuster films, including “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Downsizing,” “Star Trek Beyond,” “It,” “Deathnote" and “Power Rangers: The Movie.” Cahill works extensively with 3D scanning and printing technologies, including LIDAR, photogrammetry and structured-light scanning. Cahill is an expert in taking a sculpted concept and turning it into a digital animation.

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