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Online 3D Animation Maya Course course at Sessions College

Online 3D Animation Maya Course

1.5 credits

DIG 214: Character Animation I

3D animation techniques using Autodesk Maya

Build on your basic Autodesk Maya skills in this online 3D animation Maya course. Projects include applying key animation principles to characters, using Maya's high-level animation tools to refine timing, and creating poses and personality for your character. Working with a pro animator, you'll practice animation techniques, analyze classic animation sequences, and discover trends in character animation. Refine, present, and get feedback on your animation work.

3D Animation using Autodesk Maya

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 1.5 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Greg Marlow

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. Making Characters Come to Life

      Animation invokes life from a collection of lines and colored shapes that flicker on a screen at 24 frames per second. The process of creating this illusion of life is not easy. It starts with the observation of living creatures in the world around you. This lecture will guide you through a full animation of a character in Autodesk Maya. Along the way we will learn how the 12 principles of animation apply to making characters come alive.

    2. Walking Tall

      In this lecture, we will learn how to make our animations adhere to the laws of physics, and to accomplish this goal, we will give ourselves the task of animating a character's full walk cycle. We will explore how understanding the physics of balance creates realistic character animation and discover the fundamental poses for an animated walk cycle before our character takes off.

    3. Step by Step

      Whatever your characters do, they do it because they want to. Once they've achieved their goal of walking, they get a new goal. In this lecture we'll move from our walking cycle animation to learning a workflow we can apply to any animation. Characters are always driven by motivation, and motivation always happens in the larger context of a character's personality. Follow along with me as we cover a general workflow for any character animation you might want to do.

Sample Student Work

Jerry Douglass - Maya character animation by Jerry Douglass

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

3D animation projects in Maya show you how to give a 3D character lifelike movement and perform a walk cycle.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

  • Computer with Internet connection (broadband recommended).
  • Autodesk Maya.
  • Basic experience in the above software.
  • Three button mouse required for PC users, recommended for Mac users.

What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Apply the 12 principles of animation specifically to character animation.
  • Set up, control, pose, and stage a character rig in Maya through all phases of an animation.
  • Work in Maya with character rigs, controllers, the timeline, and the Graph Editor.
  • Identify how the physics of balance creates realistic character animation.
  • Distinguish the five fundamental poses for a character walk cycle.
  • Construct a full animated 3D character walk cycle in Maya that communicates appealing emotion.
  • Use sketches, thumbnailing, and video reference to plan a character animation.
  • Lay out, block, pose, spline, and polish a character animation in Maya.
  • Create a full 3D character animation from start to finish in Maya.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 1.5 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees 
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $965

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Click Register Now to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed as part of a 15-week term in 8 weeks. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).