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Schoolism Spring Sale

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Schoolism is an online series of art courses taught by award winning professionals. They present a great opportunity for those who are seeking to advance their skill sets in the various arenas offered. All self-taught classes from schoolism.com are $100 off right now through April 15, 2014 bringing the cost of the class down to $370. Check out the Schoolism.com site and see what courses they have available! We have reviewed several of schoolism’s courses on OUaS and have found them very helpful. To read any of our thoughts on these courses you can find links to them below.

Character Design 1 with Stephen Silver (Critiqued Session)
Character Design 2 with Stephen Silver (Self-taught)
Gesture Drawing with Alex Woo (Self-taught)

If you do intend to take a course at Schoolism and you follow this link OUaS will receive a small portion of the purchase price that we can use on attending other courses and reviewing them for you. http://schoolism.com/?share=i9yrf

Review – Schoolism’s Character Design 2 online class with Stephen Silver

Last year I took the second character design class offered by Schoolism.com entitled Character Design 2 with Stephen Silver. This course was taught by Stephen Silver, a professional character designer working in the field of animation. He has worked on shows like Disney Channel‘s Kim Possible and Nickelodeon‘s Danny Phantom. Like I mentioned this is the second character design course I’ve taken from Schoolism and if you would like to read my thoughts on the first class you can read them here.

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If you are not familiar with what Schoolism.com is, it’s an online school with courses being taught by working professionals. The classes normally consist of nine lessons and each lessen is a prerecorded lecture with the instructor walking you through that week’s subject. Before you sign up you need to decide if you want to take a self-taught version or an instructor led course. Self-taught versions are a teach yourself at your own pace with all the videos being unlocked once you start. The videos are only available for 100 days with the Self-taught class. In the instructor led version of the class the class will start on a certain day and a new video will be unlocked each week as you move throughout the 14 week course. At the end of each lesson the instructor will give you homework and if you took the instructor led version the teacher will critique your homework. This feedback is normally a 10 to 20 minute video of the instructor reviewing your work and telling you how you could improve your technique. Each assignment normally has around a week to complete. The difference in price between these two options is significant with the self-taught class being around 500 dollars and the instructor led course being around 1000.

For me I have taken both the self-taught and teacher led versions and have found the instructor feed back to be great but pricey. So for Character Design 2 I took it as a self-taught class. My thoughts are only based on the video content and not the instructor’s feedback on the homework.

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It also must be said that this class was touted as a stand-alone class that you don’t have to take with Character Design One. I partially agree with this statement but there were several times during the course where Stephen Silver referred back to Character Design One. To me it felt like Character Design One was a course that would give you a foundation of character design techniques and the second course continues to build on the foundation that Character Design One had set up. If you feel comfortable enough with the principles of character design you probably could hop right in with the second course. If you’re not sure, Schoolism says on their class description that if you’re not sure if you’re ready for Character Design 2 they will critique your portfolio and let you know which course is best for you. Continue reading

Guillermo Del Toro talks Creature Design

Guillermo del Toro the director of Pacific Rim explains the design process involved with creating the Kaiju for his movie and just creature design in general. He talks about the importance of the characters silhouettes and discusses some of his influences. He also talks about one of the biggest mistakes he sees in character design. He says one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a character designer is to design a character with a perpetual frown. This comment really got me thinking about my own characters and has changed my thought process when creating a villain. Watch the clip to hear more of his explanation. It’s a short clip leaving me wanting more of Guillermo Del Toro’s insight.

Schoolism’s Character Design class and My thoughts

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I took a character design class online with Stephen Silver through Schoolism.com. But before I start talking about the specific course, I probably should tell you what Schoolism is and how is works. Schoolism is an online school that teaches classes for artists. The classes are taught by working professionals through out the 9 to 14 weeks course (depending on the classes). They offer a self taught version for around $500 dollars and a critiqued session course for $1000 dollars. The classes are pre-recorded with a new lecture activated every week. Each week there is an assignment, which is due the following week. When you complete the weekly homework, if you take the critiqued session, you can upload to the Schoolism site for grading. With the critiqued Session the instructor draws over the submitted work giving you a personalized critique video. I found this to be a great service with a lot of good and helpful information for artists but it comes at a premium price.

The course I took was Character Design (critiqued session) with Stephen Silver. Stephen Silver is a great character designer working in the field of animation. He has worked on shows like Disney Channel‘s Kim PossibleABC TV‘s Clerks: The Animated Series, and Nickelodeon‘s Danny Phantom (on which he was also art director). Over the nine week class, he shared with me his techniques for producing characters. Starting with his influences, responsibilities of Character Designers, silhouettes, design principles, turnarounds, and some secrets of how to design characters for animation, feature films, and the video game industry.

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