At DMA, we can think of no higher praise for our programs than when an established educator takes a DMA course, through our exceptional Pro Series of tech learning courses for adults.

From teacher to student: Kristen Barnhill came to DMA last July to perfect her animation skills.

So that’s when we learned that Kristen Barnhill, a 2012 LSU grad (Major: Digital Arts/Minor: Art History) and Animation instructor from Faulkner State Community College in Fairhope, Alabama, had trekked all the way from Alabama to our Stanford location to take our program.

Then we discovered she had taken two of our courses…and that’s when we knew we had to talk to this impressive person and find out about her DMA experience.


What did you actually create in your DMA summer course?
I took two separate courses: the Character Creation course and the Maya Principles of Animation course. I created bouncing ball animations, character walk cycles, and we used a character that looks like a chipmunk – but is overall shaped like a ball – to create an animation of our own choice.

That all sounds good. Anything else?
I also learned some very useful shortcuts and skills that I had not previously known. We learned how to model from a base character and how to properly create a character rig, as well as how to create a simple pose for it. I learned about rendering, lights and cameras, too.

How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
I felt inspired. I teach classes involving Maya software basics, so doing a project of my own and getting to use my own creativity was very exciting.

I’ve already been using all the extra skills I learned at camp. I use them every day.
– College Instructor and DMA Animation Student Kristen Barnhill

What were the most fun things about attending a DMA summer course?
Getting to know the other students and seeing all the different ideas people came up with for animating and modeling in 3D. Also, I was very excited to learn from my teacher, Van Phan. He was very cool and has worked on some great stuff in the industry, so it’s always cool to get to know someone like that.

Kristen created “Happy Duck,” a character of her own design, with DMA tech training.

Do you think you’ll use what you learned at DMA when you’re back at your regular job?
I’ve already been using all the extra skills I learned at camp. I use them every day.

Would you like to attend a DMA course next summer?
Yes, I would definitely like to take more courses. I believe my place of work plans on providing some more training for me next summer. I would like to take some more advanced courses in Maya and possibly cinematography, as well.

Would you suggest DMA courses to your friends and colleagues?
I would absolutely recommend DMA to others.

Were you pleased with your DMA experience?
Yes, I was. I really enjoyed it and cannot wait to come back!

DMA training brought Kristen all the way from Alabama last July to our Stanford location.


Ensure you’re going to have the most tech-tastic summer ever, by attending DMA summer tech camps. Certain classes fill up early, so make sure you get into the tech camp of your choice by registering soon.

With programs so strong they pass the toughest test – pleasing educators, like Kristen – DMA is gearing up for what is sure to be our biggest and best summer camp season. Come be a part of it by choosing among DMA’s tech camp locations and the course(s) of your choice.

Special thanks to DMA’s Rachelle Harding for coordinating this interview!