Academy of Animated Art Intro to Maya Workshop

Learn the most popular 3D software package in the Animation and Visual Effects industries. Taught by Academy of Animated Art Co-Founder, Mike Tanzillo.

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What is Autodesk’s Maya?

Maya is a 3D computer graphics application used to build assets, characters, and entire worlds. Maya has a wide array of uses including film, animation, commercials, video games, architectural rendering, medical imaging, and VR. Maya is incredibly versatile and can generate photorealistic imagery used in films like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars as well as stylized imagery like South Park and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.

Why Learn Maya?
Simply put...Maya is the leading software for 3D artists today. Since 1997, it has been used on every film that has won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects as well as winning three of its own Academy Awards for technical achievement.
The reason for Maya’s success, it’s versatility. If you know how to work in Maya, you will have access to tools that can help you create every aspect of a 3D pipeline. You can build characters and environments, animate them, create materials and shaders, generate fur, cloth, effects, and simulations and ultimately render out a beautiful image.

Anyone searching for a career in Animation and Visual Effects knows the value of learning Maya. Almost every job requirement in this industry lists knowledge of Maya as a requirement to getting a job, both within the United States and Internationally.
In many ways, Maya is the bedrock all other software and tools are based upon. So don’t think of Maya as learning another software package. Think of it as learning how to work in 3D as a whole. Even if you land at a studio with another software package, a solid understanding of Maya will enable you to easily pick up other software and start your dream career in no time.

Why Learn Maya through the Academy of Animated Art?
Learning Maya here is not the end but the beginning. It is a springboard, a launching pad to get you off the ground and rolling into one of our more advanced career bundles that will ultimately help you land a job working in the world of Animation or Visual Effects.
We also pride ourselves on creating concise and impactful courses. We lean on our decades of industry experience to focus your training on the most important elements of learning so you can get up and running quickly and making impactful, memorable images.

Learn to build anything you want in 3D fast!

Course Curriculum

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Your Instructor

Michael Tanzillo
Michael Tanzillo

Mike is one of the Co-Founders of the Academy of Animated Art and currently the head of the Training Department at Blue Sky Studios. Previously, Mike worked as a Lighting Artist for over a decade and his lighting credits include Ferdinand, Peanuts, The Rio Franchise, Epic, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Scrat's Continental Crack-up, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Spies in Disguise (2019). Along with lighting, he has also received credits as a Compositing Artist and Sky Artist. Michael began his career as a photographer and studio artist after completing his BFA degree in Photography from Ohio State. Michael switched his career focus and began freelancing as a 3D artist. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and received his MFA in visual effects before joining Blue Sky Studios in 2008.

Check Out A Sample From This Course!

Straightforward, Concise Explanations

“I don’t believe I would have been able to get the job I have today without the skills and knowledge I gained from Academy of Animated Art.

I was a little hesitant about signing up because I wanted to make sure I was getting my money’s worth out of an online class. These courses are worth every penny and then some! The investment I have made in my career.”

- Anthony Ragusa, Senior Lighting Technical Director, Blue Sky Studios

"I knew I wanted to be a lighter, but didn't feel I had enough experience or quality showreel material to get the jobs I wanted.

The showreel I used to get my current job contained a large majority of work from the assignments I did at Academy of Animated Art. It has also helped improve how I go about breaking down the lighting in a shot and ensuring that my lighting starts on strong fundamentals."

- Chris Wetherly, Compositing & Finishing at The Foundry

"This course was so beneficial in my career because now I no longer doubt the decisions I make regarding my work.

Also, I didn't have money to afford college so I did not want to spend time just doing some boring tutorials I would just forget. I use what I learned from Academy of Animated Art everyday!"

- Anuar Figueroa, Lighting TD at Sony Imageworks

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 15 days and we will give you a full refund.
Will I have access to a free student license of Maya?
Yes! Academy of Animated Art is on the approved institution list for a student license. Once you enroll, please contact us to issue you official documents to show proof of enrollment for your license.

Is Academy of Animated Art right for you?

If any of this sounds like you, Academy of Animated Art is right for you.

  • Are you someone that has always dreamed of a challenging, rewarding career that pushes you both technically and artistically? We are right for you.
  • Have you been trying and trying to make better looking 3D images, but just can’t figure out where to begin?Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Do you live where there are no schools are teaching visual effects or computer animation? Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Are you looking to change careers but even the thought of paying to go back to a traditional school sounds like torture? Academy of Animated Art is right for you.
  • Have you ever dreamed of seeing your name in the credits of the next animated or VFX film? We are right for you.


Who is behind Academy of Animated Art?

Jasmine Katatikarn and Michael Tanzillo are the Co-Founders of Academy of Animated Art. They are both Senior Lighting Artists at Blue Sky Studios with a combined 20+ years of working on VFX and Animated Films.

Mike and Jasmine created The Academy of Animated Art because working in animated features and visual effects has been a dream come true. They were both struggling, young artists who were a bit lost before making the decision to try and become lighting artists. Since then, they have been able to launch careers that have allowed them the opportunity to not only work in an industry that is challenging and fulfilling, but also lead a full life outside of work including traveling the world and starting a family.

This success did not come without a price. Mike and Jasmine have combined to spend over $100,000 on their education before getting their first jobs in animation. Even after that, there was still a gap between what they learned in school and what they needed to know to ultimately succeed in this industry. Now, after more than 20 films and countless student loan payments, they have designed a way to teach artists the necessary skills in order to be successful in this industry without the huge financial burden. The system included a school designed to be an online education system that was affordable and accessible to everyone around the world who wants to chase their dream of working on the next big animated film.

In other words, they have designed a school they wish existed so they could get their dream job faster and save $100,000 in the process.

That school is Academy of Animated Art.

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