You loved cartoons just like every kid. But while your friends laughed, then ran outside, you kept watching, wondering how you could put your own stories onscreen. Maybe you made your own comics and flipbooks. Perhaps you dream of seeing your child sprawled in front of the TV watching your cartoons. Then now's the time to get your degree in animation. Get started witn your career training today!
Before you Attend College
Still in high school? Take as many art courses as possible, and add computer classes as well; both are invaluable to your future career. Animators need to understand proportions, geometry, anatomy, and physics, so study science and math. You'll need to be able to tell a story and communicate ideas to colleagues, making English class a must. When school's out, observe the animation you see in cartoons, television programs, movies, video games, the Internet, and other sources. Find opportunities to create art and make your own films. If you're an adult who wants to follow that lifelong dream, remember: your artistic talent and storytelling skills aren't gone they're simply dormant. As you exercise them, you'll be surprised at how quickly they'll return.
Choosing the Right Computer Animation Program
With the tremendous success of video games, the demand for talented animators has skyrocketed. You'll find colleges offering animation along with traditional arts programs. Look for a school with experienced faculty who offer professional connections. Ask where alumni have found employment. Do animation studios and similar companies attend or conduct job fairs at the school? What lab facilities and internships do they offer? Will you construct a portfolio? Non-traditional students should look for class schedules that accommodate your job or childcare arrangements: evenings, weekends, and online. Finally, make sure your program is accredited, to ensure you can receive financial aid and satisfy employers' requirements.
What to Expect
Depending on your computer animation program, you'll probably take some general studies classes, such as English composition, political science, foreign languages, etc. Your animation class work will include technical studies such as: C++ Programming, Photoshop, elementary functions, math and physics for game programmers, data structures, and the history and business of animation. The artistic side of animation will be represented by classes such as: studio techniques, movement for animation, advanced modeling, digital imagery, character development, storyboarding, 2-D and 3-D graphics, and drawing techniques. Most departments will require an internship. You'll also create a portfolio and demo reel, displaying your skills to potential employers.
After You Graduate
The animation field is competitive but, thanks, to the popularity of video gaming, opportunities are on the rise. You can find your new career in a traditional animation studio, creating video games, developing graphics for marketing companies, producing corporate media, creating computer animation, teaching, or working as an independent contractor. You'll put in long hours with your team, doing research and development, creating the best characters and storylines for your audience, then bringing them to life with your artistic and technical skill. Authors write, artists draw, but as an animator, you'll bring the two together, creating stories that will live onscreen, and forever in the imaginations of audiences all over the world.