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Dragon Animation Masterclass

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Learn how to animate a dragon with the Dragon Animation Masterclass – a 12-week course that will take you through all the fundamentals needed to accomplish the infamous challenge of animating a dragon in all its glory. This is the only course of its kind online, featuring our awesome Dragon Rig that you won’t find anywhere else.

In this comprehensive course, you’ll learn how to animate a dragon flight cycle and dragon walk cycle, and build a dragon animation library with assets to use later on. You’ll also learn how to attach the dragon animation to a motion path for flying, turning, landing, and roaring. Plus, you’ll learn how to animate the Dragon taking off!

Your instructor, Jonathan Symmonds, former lead animator of the Game of Thrones and House of Dragons, has created animation presets and cached dragon animation files for you to reference in real-time while you work. You’ll start with an in-depth introduction to the character and the rig before diving into the animation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best. Join now and create the most amazing dragon animation!

  • MENTOR – Jonathan Symmonds
  • SKILL LEVEL – Intermediate
  • DURATION – 12 Weeks
  • SOFTWARE – Autodesk Maya

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About the Dragon Animation Course

Course Description

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to animate a dragon, then you’re in luck! This 12-week course is led by Jonathan Symmonds, an expert animator with over 8 years of experience in animating these magnificent creatures. You’ll learn everything you need to know, from setting up the scene and environment to building your dragon animation library and creating an epic dragon take-off for your demo-reels.

The course begins with an in-depth introduction to the dragon rig, followed by a detailed look at how to set up the scene for animating. You’ll dive deep into the rig and learn how to use it properly. Then, you’ll move on to animation, starting with flight cycle setups, from climbs to glides and turns. Next, you’ll learn how to land the dragon, including how to slow it down before settling on the ground.

One of the coolest parts of the course is learning how to animate a dragon’s roar! You’ll also learn how to create a walk cycle and build your asset library for the final stages of the take-off. The course ends with creating the final output for your demo-reels.

Animating a dragon is no easy feat, but with Jonathan Symmonds as your instructor, you’ll be learning from the best. Sign up now and take your animation skills to new heights!

Course Information

  • Course Duration – 12 Weeks
  • This course can be taken at any time
  • Category – Animation
  • Price $999
  • Prerequisites – None
  • Software Required – Autodesk Maya 2019+
  • Instructor – Jonathan Symmonds
Enroll Now $999

What will i learn?

dragon flying around mountain
  • Introduction to the rig and how a dragon moves
  • Understanding the fundamentals of flight
  • Creating your own set of flight cycles and building up your library
  • Learning how to animate a character on a path and landing
  • Developing a better understanding of weight and timing
  • Landing a dragon and moving into a roar
  • Understanding behavioral shifts in creatures during action
  • Building an asset library and creating layered animation design
  • Learning how to take-off an extremely heavy creature
  • Switching cameras and scripting cameras
  • Setting up basic lighting for the final look with Light Rig
  • Implementing playblasting techniques and fine-tuning animation
  • Learning how to animate a Dragon Walk Cycle
  • Animating and cutting an in-scene camera
Dragon Masterclass course example
dragon flight cycle
dragon walk cycle

Flight Cycles & Walk Cycles Included!

Including the cached files from your instructor to help when animating

Enroll Now $999

12 Week Course Breakdown

Week 01

Introduction to the course. We will begin by looking into the rig and setting up the scene for animation along with some reference.

Course Consent
7 Questions
Project Files
Scene Files
Week 01 - Lesson 00 - Loading the Dragon
Week 01 - Lesson 00 - Dragon Picker for Maya
Week 01 - Lesson 01 - Dragon Rig Intro
Week 01 - Lesson 02 - Flight Cycle Reference
Week 01 - Lesson 03 - Flight Cycle Part 01
Week 01 - Lesson 03 - Flight Cycle Part 02
Week 01 - Lesson 03 - Flight Cycle Part 03
Week 01 - Lesson 03 - Flight Cycle Part 04

Week 02

This week we will be creating different sets of cycles, from glides to climbs to turns and saving them into our library for use later.

Project Files
Scene Files
Week 02 - Flight Cycle - Climb
Week 02 - Flight Cycle - Glide
Week 02 - Flight Cycle - Turn Right
Week 02 - Flight Cycle - Turn Left

Week 03

In this week we will start to build our scene and environment while using our assets we created in the previous courses and applying them to the dragon on a path.

Week 03 - Environment introduction and build
Week 03 - Attaching the Dragon to the Motion path

Week 04

In this week we will be bringing the dragon into final approach to land and build the landing animation.

Project Files
Scene Files
Week 04 - Approach to land

Week 05

Now that we have approached to land, it is time to hit the runway! Let’s fine tune this section and start to prepare the dragon for the roar!

Week 05 - Landing the Dragon

Week 06

It is time now to take a small break and work on some asset building. Assets are small bits of animations that you can add later to the character to make it look really nice.

Project Files
Scene Files
Week 06 - Building your animation asset library

Week 07

Using our assets we created we will now implement them in the landing and roar. Building the momentum for the roar is very important so make sure to pay attention to this lesson!

Week 07 - Landing to Roar - Part 01
Week 07 - Landing to Roar - Part 02

Week 08

In this week you will learn how to animate a Dragon Walk Cycle. The course is extremely detailed and you even get your own GPU cached dragon from Jonathan to reference from.

Project Files
Scene Files
Week 08 - Dragon Walk Cycle - Part 01
Week 08 - Dragon Walk Cycle - Part 02
Week 08 - Dragon Walk Cycle - Part 03
Week 08 - Dragon Walk Cycle - Part 04
Week 08 - Dragon Walk Cycle - Part 05

Week 09

This is where the course gets really cool! Behavior study. Jonathan will take you through different setups and techniques to improve and add subtle behavior changes to your dragon. Enjoy!

Week 09 - Behaviour Study

Week 10

It is now time to take off. This 3 week section will be full of challenges. In this week you will be setting up the scene in preparation for take-off.

Project Files
Scene Files
Week 10 - Take Off - Part 01

Week 11

This week, you will continue to develop and block out the take-off animation.

Week 11 - Take Off - Part 02

Week 12

In this final week, you will be finishing up the take-off animation with Jonathan and you will be preparing for final playblasting. Be sure to add in some of your really cool assets to the dragon that you did in Week 06.

Week 12 - Take Off - Part 03
Certificate of Completetion
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Discover our unique Dragon Picker!


dragon maya picker for animators face
Dragon Maya Picker diagram for animators

Kindly sponsored by MGLAND for Sophoria Academy Students


Choose your own Dragon Textures


dragon flight cycle colors

Meet your Instructor

> Age: 39

> Speciality: Animation

> Experience: 20+years

“Surround yourselves only with the best. The better they are, the better you will become!”

Jonathan Symmonds, co-founder of Sophoria Academy, is a highly respected senior animator with over 18 years of experience in the industry. He has worked on a variety of notable titles, including “Avatar,” “Prince of Persia,” “Dark Tide,” “Knerten,” and “Trollhunter,” as well as being the lead animator for “Game of Thrones” and “House of Dragons.” With extensive knowledge in creature animation, Jonathan has been nominated 3 times for a VES Society Award and has delivered a TED Talk.

Join Jonathan in this fantastic course and gain insider knowledge from one of the greatest animators in the industry!

Professional Profile

Frequently asked questions

Is this a Mentored Course & do i Get any Feedback?

This question has been asked numerous times. While the course is pre-recorded there is the possibility of submitting your work to the Mentor for reviews at any time, FREE of charge! We don’t expect you to just enroll in the course and off you go. The instructor, Jonathan is available to give you recorded reviews on your work as you progress through the course.

In order to submit your work for review, simply upload it to Dropbox or Syncsketch and Jonathan will review it and provide feedback on the animation progress.

Do i need to be an advanced animator to start?

No. This course is designed to accommodate all artists, from beginners to advanced. Your instructor mentions areas in the course that can be skipped over if you are familiar with certain parts of the animation process, so the more advanced animators can move forward while giving the beginner animators time to catch up.

Do i get access to the Dragon Rig?

Yes you do! The Dragon Rig is included in the course! Not only is the rig included, but in some of the lessons, your instructor actually gives you final animation to reference from in the form of a cache that you can import into your scene to act as a guide.

Is there a payment plan available?

At the moment, unfortunately there is not a payment plan. We get asked this a lot! We are aware that a lot of students cannot afford to pay the full amount up front and as we would love to offer the course on a payment plan. We have split the course up if you would like to use another rig and just learn from Jonathan Symmonds.

If you would like to just do the course with your own rig, please look at the courses and choose the one that says *no rig!

Why choose us?

Benefits of studying with Sophoria Academy

With our online VFX courses, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to become a successful VFX artist at a price that’s accessible to all. Join us now and take the first step towards your dream career.

A Social Community

When you join the academy, you will join other students from all over the World. Share your work in the forums and meet new friends!

Invite fellow students

Using our affiliate program, you can now share courses and get discounts on others. Invite and refer a friend to benefit!

Project Files

Our courses have all the working files set up and in an easy to understand format. Your instructor has prepared everything for you already!

Track your progress

Follow your path to learn each and every skill. Track your progress and come back at any time, we make this easy for you.

Watch any time

If you are joining a course or a mentorship, sit back and relax. Study at your own pace and network with others.

Mentorship opportunities

Some of our courses offer mentorship features. Be sure to get a course with mentorship so you can have direct feedback from your instructors.

Affordable Options

Save money!

Buy the Course and Dragon Rig separately

This can help if you want to do the course and use your own rig

dragon animation masterclass


Dragon Animation Masterclass (No Rig)

Follow the course with your own Dragon Rig

dragon animation rig from sophoria academy


Buy our awesome Dragon Rig

If you just want to buy the Dragon rig, here it is!

Save money!

Get the Quadruped Bundle!

Why not save money and get an amazing deal on the quadruped walk and run cycles!

Dog run cycle animation


Animate a Dog run Cycle

Animate a realistic Dog Run Cycle with Jonathan Symmonds

dog walk cycle


Animate a Dog run Cycle

Animate a realistic Dog Walk Cycle with Jonathan Symmonds

Why choose SOPHORIA Academy?

Industry Mentors

Learn from the best mentors that are working in the industry.

Flexi Study

Take your time to understand the content and assignments.

Industry Ready

Graduate with confidence that you are highly skilled.

Payment Plans

Payment options are coming soon, stay tuned!


Join the forums to connect to fellow students.

Custom feedback

Custom feedback from your mentor, just for you!

What are you waiting for?

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