Learn With Us

Saturday Sessions

Come to Charleston, SC, and work alongside our crew of seasoned animation professionals. In our brand new animation Academy, you’ll learn how to improve your artistic abilities to the level of quality that studios want to see. You’ll be part of an elite group of students who want to sharpen their craft and learn from our insanely talented in-house professionals.

For any questions or inquiries about MOONDOG Academy classes, please contact:
Mackenzie Ditomassi – MDA Program Coordinator
Mackenzie@moondoganimation.com / 413-455-8979

Important course info:

Students should come prepared to their Saturday course with their personal laptop and lunch. Each course may require different software or supplies, so make sure to check each course description page to stay up to date!

Week 1

9am – 1pm
Intro to Game Design
with Nate Crumpley

9am – 1pm
Concept Art with Dallin Bifano

Week 2

9am – 1pm
Intro to Unity with Nate Crumpley

9am – 1pm
Concept Art with Dallin Bifano

Week 3

9am – 1pm
Intro to FX with Ryan Knightley

9am – 1pm
Concept Art
with Dallin Bifano

Week 4

9am – 1pm
Intro to FX Compositing with Ryan Knightley

9am – 1pm
Motion Design in After FX 
with JM Khayat

Week 5

9am – 1pm
Intro to Rendering with Ben Davis

9am – 1pm
Motion Design in After FX with JM Khayat

Week 6

9am – 1pm
Intro to Scriptwriting
with Thomas Keating

9am – 1pm
Motion Design in After FX
with JM Khayat

Week 7

9am – 1pm
Intro to Compositing
with Justin Jones

9am – 1pm
Zbrush Sculpting
with Dre Harrison

Week 8

9am – 1pm
Intro to Graphic Design with Benjamin Brookes

9am – 1pm
Zbrush Sculpting
with Dre Harrison

Week 9

9am – 1pm
Jobs in Animation
with JM Khayat

9am – 1pm
Zbrush Sculpting
with Dre Harrison


Dallin Bifano

Concept Artist

Dallin Bifano is a Concept Artist and Illustrator with a passion for everything Science Fiction and Fantasy. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and pursued his Master’s degree in Illustration from California State University – Fullerton in Southern California. He has worked on a variety of projects over the past 5 years in the entertainment Industry and from companies ranging from DreamWorks Animation to Studio Wildcard, the creators of Ark Survival. Currently, Dallin works at MOONDOG Studios as a Concept Artist, and spends his free time nurturing his obsession with comic books, video games, and food’ specifically delicious sandwiches. Dallin will be teaching an advanced course on Illustration.

Ben Brookes

Graphic Designer

For the past 15 years, Ben has been a designer, illustrator, and art director for various companies & non-for-profits in the UK & US. He grew up between the UK and US, and is now settled in Charleston, South Carolina after stints in Chicago & Southern California with his lovely wife and fantastic daughter. Ben loves print, typography, code, photography, history and football—the real kind. Growing up in Isle of Man, Ben came over to the states just in time to recieve his Bachelor’s in Arts from Illinois Institute of Art. His favorite animated film is Watership Down, and when he’s not designing, studying design, or engrossed with a new independent project, Ben is either laughing with his family, buried in a book, or enjoying a beer in the backyard. And always, looking for the next adventure. Ben will be teaching a beginner course on Graphic Design.

Nate Crumpley


Nathaniel William Crumpley is a Software Programmer and Game Developer at MOONDOG Animation. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Game Design at Columbia College of Chicago, and is currently attending the College of Charleston to get his MS in Computer Science. Nate’s favorite personal creation is MOONDOG’s Homerun Derby Virtual Reality game, which can be found at any Riverdogs baseball game. Nate’s favorite animated film is Wall-E. He will be teaching two beginner courses; Intro to Unity and Intro to Game Design.

Ben Davis

Technology Strategist

Ben lives at the razor’s edge, the balance of Art and Tech; which can be very dangerous at times. He started his art career at Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida, then polished his craft with a BFA from Ecole Superieure d’Art in Annecy, France. With plenty of experience in animation studios working for France Television, Nickelodeon & Canal +, and his 16 years of experience in the field; Ben has also expanded his expertise into Virtual Reality as well. Ben’s favorite classic animated film is the Sword and the Stone. His most recent favorite is Wreck it Ralph. Ben will be teaching a course on Rendering.

Dre Harrison

3D Artist

Andrae John Phillip Harrison is a Visual Artist / 3D Artist at MOONDOG Animation Studio. His first memory of drawing was asking his mother to teach him how to draw “Tony the Tiger”. From there, he doodled his way through middle school into the “Charleston County School of the Arts”, where he was a part of the first graduating class. Dre took a break from school and met many DIY home grown artists here in Chas, all the while being convinced to go to college by his mother. He chose a school that mixed computers and art, leading to the development of skill sets that he has now. For ten years, he worked in the the Southern California region, LA and San Diego to be exact, within Media, Game Development, Architecture Viz, Graphic Design, 3D Prototyping, and Entertainment. He will be teaching an advanced course on Zbrush.

Justin Jones


Justin Jones has over a decade of motion picture and immersive media experience as a visual effects supervisor, producer, and stereographer serving as creative lead for 3D feature film. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Effects from Savannah College of Art & Design, and went on to become a member of the Themed Entertainment Association and Visual Effects Society. His career highlights include designing the look for The Wizard of Oz 3D re-release and leading the stereoscopic conversion for three Star Wars films. Past clients include Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony/Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM, Dreamworks Animation, Lucasfilm, Troublemaker Studios, Google, Hulu, Nike, Netflix, and HBO.His favorite animated film is Coco, and he will be teaching a beginner course on Compositing.

JM Khayat


At age 5, JM knew he was going to grow up to work in animation. He’s fulfilled his childhood dream now for 28 years. He has built, led, and directed for four studios in France. His most successful projects have included work for France Television, Nickelodeon & Canal +, and Eurosport. JM’s all time favorite animated film is Aladdin. HIs most recent favorite is How to Train Your Dragon 2. JM will be teaching an advanced course in Motion Design, and a beginner course in Jobs in Animation.

Ryan Knightley

Technical Director

Ryan is a VFX Technical Director with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. In the past year, Ryan has worked with architecture firms to provide high quality photorealistic renderings, as a designer to provide the highest quality deliverables, and created full VR environments for housing developments. In his free time outside of work, Ryan likes to research High Performance Computing to aid in the realization of high quality rendered material at a much faster pace. His all time favorite animated film is the Lion King. His most recent favorite is Finding Dory. Ryan will be teaching two beginner courses; Intro to Special Effects and Intro to FX Compositing.

Thomas K.


Thomas Keating is a Professor of Theatre at Charleston Southern University. He’s written animation scripts for Moondog Animation and for training modules for Varner-Miller, among others. With Moondog, you may have seen (and heard) his work on the Patriots Point campaign! Thomas holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University (New York City) and has acted in NYC, Atlanta, and all over the U.S. in various productions ranging from Shakespeare to new works. In his 4-hour course, students will explore creativity and the writing process. Students will write and receive feedback as it relates to the unique environment that is writing for animation. The focus will be on a 30-sec. piece modeled after real-world encounters and experiences of the instructor, Thomas Keating. Students will walk away with a clearer understanding of the process and gain clarity in thinking (and writing) visually!


What to Expect

Real-World Training
Choose from a dozen different topics, gain real life studio perspective, all while working under MOONDOG art directives.

Learn the Whole Process
Discover the world of animation from start to finish with the variety of available courses.

Killer Portfolio
By the end of your course, complete a piece of work to add to your killer portfolio.

Certificate of Achievement
Receive an official MOONDOG Academy diploma to take to the next job.

Tool for the Job
Each course has different prerequisite requirements. Please make sure to check with your course description to confirm all essentials prior to signing up for your course.

Cost of Program

Two Ways to Pay for Courses

Month bundle – Includes three courses, each course will equal out to $90 ($270 in total). All advanced courses must be purchased in bundle.
Beginner Courses – These courses may be purchased for $100 per course or students may purchase beginner courses in a month bundle package for
$270 ($90 a course).

About Moondog Academy

MOONDOG Animation Studio seeks to be a top leader in talent development for the animation and gaming industries by training the next generation of artists. We started Moondog Academy so our seasoned animation professionals can share their knowledge and experience with hopes of kickstarting many careers and positively influencing the level of quality found in the future of films and entertainment. Even more exciting, MOONDOG Animation has revamped their Academy to include more opportunities to learn. We’re confident the new opportunities MOONDOG Academy offers will excite, inform, and inspire all who experience them. We look forward to sharing in this excitement with you.

Elite Training

Experience firsthand what it’s like to work in an animation studio – where the magic happens. Our team of seasoned animation professionals are here to show you how you can be a valuable part of any studio. Everyday at MOONDOG is an insightful, hands-on opportunity to learn how your talent can be part of something incredible.

Exceptional Portfolio

When you train with MOONDOG, not only will you be disciplined as an artist, but you will learn how to create a product that is movie worthy as well. When you’re finished with us, you’ll have a professional portfolio rivaling those of your competition. Including characters, concept art, props, etc… you’ll have experience any studio will be excited to see.

Experience for Life

We want to share our knowledge and experience so that you may start your career off right. This is real, in-house studio experience. Any studio will be lucky to have you once you’ve worked with MOONDOG!

Located in Charleston, South Carolina

Come experience Charleston the MOONDOG way. Enjoy amazing beaches, awesome food, and good ol’ southern charm – why Charleston is the #1 place to visit in the world… for reals? Don’t worry, you’ll have time for fun too!