Stuart Sumida – Animal, Human and Creature Anatomy for Animation

sumida3About Stuart Sumida

Stuart Sumida is widely acknowledged as the world’s leading expert on human, animal and creature anatomy for animation and digital special effects.  He has screen credits in more than 20 feature films and been an anatomical consultant on over 50, the first of which were “Beauty and the Beast” and “Lion King” with Disney Feature Animation.  His recent projects include Pixar’s Ratatouille and Brave, Life of Pi, Harry Potter, Maleficent, Hercules, Tangled, Lone Ranger, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.

He has since worked with DreamWorks Animation, SONY ImageWorks, PIXAR, Arc Productions, MPC London, MPC Vancouver, Double Negative, Framestore, Blue Sky, Industrial Light and Magic and Walt Disney Imagineering, and spoken at studios, schools and film festivals in the United States, Canada, the UK, Brazil, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Hong Kong.

Professor Sumida has consulted for over 50 movies and games (with 20 official credits) including:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Maleficent (2014)together22
  • Hercules (2014)
  • Lone Ranger (2013)
  • Life of Pi (2012)
  • Brave (2012)
  • Tangled (2010)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
  • Kung Fu Panda (2008)
  • Bolt (2008)
  • Ratatouille (2007)
  • Madagascar (2005)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (2005)
  • Shrek II (2004)
  • Lilo and Stitch (2002)
  • Harry Potter (2000)
  • Tarzan (1999)
  • Stuart Little (1999)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • Pocahontas (1995)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Beauty and the Beast (1991)

and worked with all the major animation studios and numerous game studios, including:

  • Disney Animation
  • Walt Disney Imagineering
  • DreamWorks
  • Pixar
  • Sony Imageworks
  • Rhythm & Hues
  • MPC
  • ILM
  • Framestore
  • Double Negative
  • Blue Sky
  • Blizzard
  • Guerilla Games

Consultation & Workshops


World-leading studios frequently hire Professor Sumida in the pre-production phase to ensure their animated characters are anatomically sound and ready for believable performance.  Prof. Sumida can also come in in the production phase as characters are being animated to assess the movement, improve character performance, smooth out problems and fix characters that just don’t seem to be moving correctly.

Professor Sumida’s usual approach is to present an overview of animal and human anatomy, building on basic biology to develop the rules that are most useful to animators, character riggers, and character designers.  He will provide examples based on his training, 30 years experience as a biologist and paleontologist and his consulting work on animated films and projects.

Who can most benefit from Stuart Sumida’s expertise?

Any animation, game or visual effects production studios that want to use animated characters.

  • Directors
  • Animators (supervisors, leads and team)
  • Character designers
  • Character riggers

When should you bring Stuart Sumida into your project?

A) Pre-production: construction phase

    • For:  animation supervisors, lead animators, riggers and character designers
    • Stuart will ensure characters are anatomically sound and prepare for believable character performance.

B) Production: animation and movement phase

    • For:  animation supervisors, lead animators, animators
    • Stuart can come in as characters are being animated, assess the movement, improve character performance, smooth out problems, fix characters that just don’t seem to be moving correctly.


Consultation and workshops are generally comprised of two main components:

  1. Foundations will be built through presentation of the most important anatomical factors bearing on animation through the use of images, video, and projects on which Professor Sumida has worked.
  2. Participants will then be invited to show examples of their work for critique and advice from both the instructor and the rest of the group.

Training areas usually include one or more of the following:

a) Animals

  • Animal body shape – simple rules that govern animated animal/character structure
  • Animal head construction and adapting it to animated characters
  • Animal Locomotion

b) Humans

  • Human construction general
  • Human male/female dimorphism
  • Human age difference (children and adults)
  • Human movement

c) Fantastic Creatures

  • Creature body shape – simple rules that govern animated creature/character structure
  • Creature head construction and adapting it to animated characters
  • Creature Locomotion

Stuart Sumida banner

Case Studies: (former clients & consultation contents)

Professor Sumida’s consultation and workshops can be anything from one hour lectures, to 1, 2 or 3 day workshops, through to ongoing recurring consultancy across months of a project.

In particular, he will regularly work with studios for a period of one day or less.  The following are some examples of clients that have employed Professor Sumida over this time period:

Gaming Studios:

      • Blizzard Games – series of hour long lectures on biomechanics for creatures in “World of Warcraft”
      • Guerrilla Games (Amsterdam) – series of presentations on humans and animal characters for game in development
      • Schell Games (Pittsburgh) – two day series of 10 one hour lectures on various animal groups (subcontracted to Microsoft Games)

Animation Studios:

Human anatomy overviews:

      • DreamWorks/Pacific Data Images: Shrek 2
      • Disney: Pocahantas, Mulan, Lilo and Stitch

Animal Anatomy overviews:

      • Disney: Zootopia (in development); Tangled (horses)
      • Pixar: Brave (Bears); The Good Dinosaur (in production)

VFX Studios:

Human anatomy overviews:

      • MPC (London): Maleficent
      • MPC (Vancouver): Artist Development
      • Double Negative (London): Hercules
      • MPC (London): Guardians of the Galaxy

Animal anatomy overviews:

      • MPC (London): Snakes (Harry Potter, final episode)
      • MPC (Vancouver) – Life of Pi – series of one hour lectures on each of numerous individual animals


Some links to Stuart Sumida’s Animation Mentor classes can be found here:   Link 1 / Link 2 / Link 3


  • Stuart Sumida is currently available for private consultancy & master class training
  • Recommended group size: Any size from 1 to 500
  • Location: All locations in China are possible 
  • Duration: Fully flexible. Consultations and workshops are available in all formats from one hour lectures to 1, 2 or 3 day workshops, through to ongoing recurring consultancy

Please contact for more information or to discuss hiring Stuart Sumida.