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January 15, 2013
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Becoming an Animator

:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I want to become an animator or at least a graphic novelist(or both). So I was wondering if you guys could give me some tips on how I can achieve this goal. I've always wanted to do some kind of animation or graphic novel since I was young. At first it was stop motion animation(Tim Burton was the inspiration) but now it's a little of both stop motion and just, I guess, "normal" animation. I've been practicing a lot with Anime Studio Debut 8 and I've made one animation I'm very proud of(never posted because of lack of sound) I know what I want to do, I just need some help getting to where I want to go and not end up as a starving artist. This is a silly post but I'm genuinely stuck on what the next step is. So far what I know is that I gotta keep up with the latest programs of animation.(or something like that), and that it's a hell of a lot of work.
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:iconmattcombsart:
MattCombsArt Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
go to a college that focuses on animation....,learn from professionals, make a demo/portfolio, get your degree, find a job. the school environment can be really motivating then learning on your own. youll learn 2d and 3d animation among other things related to that field. Things are going more towards 3d animation. a lot of 2d is out sourced to other countries. if you really want to learn it id go to college


animators do tons and tons of drawings so get ready to do thousands of drawings.
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the info. I'll start looking for colleges that focus more on animation, my school sent us to a website that suggests colleges but they don't really go in depth about the college's programs.
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
beyond what other people have said "just do it"

if you want to make comics, make one right now. Take a pencil and piece of paper and draw a story an idea. It might be crap, but then make another one, a better one, and another one. Same with animation there are some free programs you can mess with, you can do it old fashioned style with photographs or scans of your drawings, or do a claymation. Supplement your doing with study,  but don't just study, study and do at the same time.
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've been starting on a comic after doing some meaningless crappy once(except they were back in 6th grade) and I've also been messing around with animation a bit. The biggest problem I have is adding voice because I can't get anyone to voice act. They are people who are willing to help, but I can't take my laptop to them. Anyways thank you for the comment and help :)
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:iconfionacreates:
FionaCreates Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
do it yourself, or do voiceless animation, things with just music. There's a lot of short animation out there without words, they're not always necessary :D Perhaps find some people online who are interested in becoming actors or voice actors who you could collaborate and be friends with? As someone else said, Animation is rarely a solo occupation, so being able to source a team might be good practice, and it shows you are willing to go above and beyond for your work.

If you maintain a youtube or a vimeo with your animations you might even gain a following and fanbase if you make interesting work, and fans are often willing to help. The internet is a tool ripe for use!
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks! I'll work on more animations that I can voice myself or just need music :) I have had a few ideas for animations like that. Again, thanks :hug:
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:iconthelamadude:
TheLamadude Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student Filmographer
Like people have said here before, Get a hold of the Animator's survival kit by Richard Williams and live inside it.

Also, quit thinking about how you're gonna do and just go out there and do it! Get flash, hell, just get some paper and a camera and make something, it's the only way you'll get better.

I've got similar dreams to you :)
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thamks :)
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:iconthelamadude:
TheLamadude Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student Filmographer
No problem. With hardwork, dedication and a bit of luck, I'm sure we'll both get there one day :)
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you :) Good luck! :huggle:
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:iconthelamadude:
TheLamadude Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Student Filmographer
You too :)
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:iconweremole:
weremole Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013   Digital Artist
You aren't entitled anything and will have to work hard for things. If you want to make animations, learn how. I you want to make comics, learn how. Learn both the theory and the practicals of things.

The animation industry is very peculiar and you'll have to fit into the production pipeline. There is not just animators. There are layout people. storyboard people, storyboard revisionists, color people, character design, prop design, music, foley, editors, writers, producers, directors, etc. It takes a lot of people to make animation happen on a commercial scale and very often the animation itself is outsourced to somewhere else so all the heavy lifting is done by the storyboard artists
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the information. :) I know that I need to work hard if I want to achieve my goals, I'm just wondering what I need to do to get to where I want to be.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Student General Artist
Taken an animation class and here is what I got.

First you need a light box for traditional. You can just start with pencil and paper, ruler with three pegs glued on in, a 3 hole punch, a plastic seethrough box, and a bright light from walmart. You will need though a red and blue pencil to sketch with, and a sharpie to ink with.

The books you need are the animation survival kit. Pretty much it is the only book we used in class and it's author is the guy who made Rodjer rabbit. Its has everything yo need to get the essentials down.

If you want to upload it to the web, you need a thing to compile it. Flash and toomboom are the most common programs in the industry. Princess and the frog used toom boom as a scripting program.

A good place to get it uploaded is acme. My teacher knows the guy from acme, and he has done animation for a long time.
[link]

You can get alot of good reviews from there.

Now the essential part of the job is your porfolio. You need at least the ball bounce, the walk cycle (various), character pages , transformation, and animation of a sack. Those are the assignments we did in class. The ball bounce is essential because that helps you understand the squish and squashes, weight, gravity, etc throughout any animation you do.

Everything else, is just job related stuff. You need to know people and have alot of connections, you need to get know able about the job fields, etc.


Also sounds like your encountering figures too, so figure drawing is essential to animate. Figure drawing helps you with simplyfying and gestures, much like getting a skeleton animated. Being a draftsmen is very important and helpful if you want high marks. It also helps if you took a film class for shots and camera setups, but not necessary.

You don't have to take a class, but Im telling you now, in class, the supplies will be around the same thing and assignments you could get online for free. Its mostly that creativity is always free, and you don't have to be told to do to know exactly how to draw, but getting into an industry maybe helpful at a school, and getting connection. As for me, though, its good to get the right information, from a guy who has been in the industry longer then you have, and be in a constant animating environment.

Here is the blog for our animation class if you want to get an idea of what our assignments were like. Most of them were just sketchbook drawings, and some were animation drawings.
[link]
Here is my blog from the past class:
[link]
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you very much for all this information! Very much appreciated!! :huggle:
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
So yea, basically, what Im saying is, you don't have to take an animation class or an expensive one. I feel sometimes class structures can help me learn. But if your good at finding information on your own, then you can get good at animating without the school.Richard williams list most of the stuff you need and the blog especially is what we do. He letcures and then gives an assignment. The stuff like I said, ball bounce, character turns, etc, are important in an animation porfolio.
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:iconmad-shrewd:
mad-shrewd Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Classes are likely a waste of time and money. There are exceptions, but most of the schools for animation are really bad. And the skills you need are all ones that you can learn on your own. That's not so much my opinion as the one that John Kricfalusi puts forward. You might remember a little show called Ren and Stimpy.

Animation and graphic novels go well together. There are additional skills that you would need to animate, but the good news is that there's a ton of technique that's common to the two media.

[link]
[link]
[link]

But, really to be good, you need to have skills that you learn as a draftsman and you should take at least one oil painting course as well, it's probably the best way to learn color theory.

Unfortunately, the design principles to create characters is quite tough and the industry tends to not care about the quality of animation any more. Kids today have no idea that the cartoons they love are so horribly animated compared with the classic WB shorts or more recent things like Ren & Stimpy or Ducktales. The newer ones are still compelling sometimes, but the animation is just terrible.

Whether or not you can get a job is going to depend far more on abilities and your portfolio than whether you could drop $100k on a degree. As shocking as it is, allegedly there are people trying to get jobs in animation who can't draw a reduced detail motorcycle in perspective. I can't understand how these people could expect to get a job if they can't do something that simple.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
Classes are likely a waste of time and money. There are exceptions, but most of the schools for animation are really bad. And the skills you need are all ones that you can learn on your own. That's not so much my opinion as the one that John Kricfalusi puts forward. You might remember a little show called Ren and Stimpy.

I never went to school for animation. It was an animation class that was at my community college. Its cheaper and not at an art college. Its not that bad, because you actually learn a structure way of teaching. Again you can learn on your own, but if you weren't concerned about the money, its ok to take a class for it. I don't think money should be the main concern for learning skills and getting connections with teacher that are already in the industry. Its almost like I could of learn math on my own, but sometimes its better with a teacher. And like I could of learn guitar on my own, but some people say finger plucking can only come from a professional guitarist.

Of course you don't have to go to art school for a degree or have to get a degree, but you can just take classes that only cost a $100 at a local community center that are about animation to get your feet wet.

Animation and graphic novels go well together. There are additional skills that you would need to animate, but the good news is that there's a ton of technique that's common to the two media.

Yep yep. Its pretty well shown in the key frames as said in the Richard williams book. The only thing thats really relate from comics to animation is the key frames or storyboarding. The visual poses and key frames tell the story. But other then that, graphic novels and animations are barely the same thing. You still need.

But, really to be good, you need to have skills that you learn as a draftsman and you should take at least one oil painting course as well, it's probably the best way to learn color theory.
I don't think you need to take oil painting to learn color theory. Any medium can get you there. I mean I don't think alot of animator would oil paint. They probably would use gouche instead, since its fast drying and less toxic. Heck, maybe they would even use water color, or acrylics. But any medium works as long as your learning color theory.

Unfortunately, the design principles to create characters is quite tough and the industry tends to not care about the quality of animation any more. Kids today have no idea that the cartoons they love are so horribly animated compared with the classic WB shorts or more recent things like Ren & Stimpy or Ducktales. The newer ones are still compelling sometimes, but the animation is just terrible.

Thats alot to say about animation industry, and you watch too much TV. There are good animation series on the internet that aren't on TV and animation productions for movies. Tekkonkinkreet is an anime I like alot, or 5cm persecond is a good animation that is not shown on TV. Or even real artist which this guy draws his chracters 3 times:
[link]

Though I do agree some animation isn't the quality that it was years ago, because television is not a major production medium. You can't do alot of good animations on TV, but certainly better in the movies.

And I don't understand design principles to create characters are tough? You just need to remeber sillhouet, function, etc.


Whether or not you can get a job is going to depend far more on abilities and your portfolio than whether you could drop $100k on a degree. As shocking as it is, allegedly there are people trying to get jobs in animation who can't draw a reduced detail motorcycle in perspective. I can't understand how these people could expect to get a job if they can't do something that simple.

Like I said, she doesn't have to pay a 100k for her education. She can simply take a few classes at a local college for less and learn about animation that way. My teacher went to San Jose State for his art education.

And even if I said being draftsmen is important (it beefs your porfolio), the more important things are the animation principles, like squish and squash, and timing, etc. Thats the one thing the books didn't tell me at all. Being an illustrator is not the exact same thing as an animator, but sometimes they do translate into each other. Even richard williams was pestered by disney animators seening that his realistic animation was too real and not enough character. So not only be a good draftsmen, but know how to animate squash and streches, the timing, etc. All this you can learn in the Richard williams book: Animation Survival guide.



FAQ excerpt from Careers Interships by Pixar:
"What do you look for in Animators?
One of the most common questions Pixar receives nowadays is, “How can I become an Animator at Pixar?” There’s really
no good answer that’s both short and useful, so we’ve put together some information tohopefully provide guidance for people
who dream of being involved in Pixar's animation process. Pixar places the technology of computer graphics firmly at the service of the
art of animation, not the other way around. This priority is expressed clearly in Pixar’s production
process, in which the Animators specialize in animation, with virtually all technical concerns handled by Technical Directors.
The implication of this structure and this value system is what Pixar looks for first and foremost in Animators—
we want you to be able to bring the character to life, independent of medium. Computer-graphic technical prowess
is of course important, but the emphasis is not as strong within the Animation Department.

The reality is that computer graphic animators have no advantage over pen-and-ink animators, clay
animators, stop-motion animators, etc. So while it’s preferable for someone to have 3D knowledge, it’s
not paramount. In fact, three-quarters of the Animators on Toy Story were new to computers when hired.
A common question is, “What software should I learn?” The answer is implied by the above: “Software
doesn’t matter; learning to animate matters.” Still, you might expect that learning the software that Pixar
uses would give you a leg up. However, even this isn’t true: Pixar uses its own proprietary software. Your
knowledge of basic animation fundamentals is the foundation for your computer training,
not the other way around."
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:iconmad-shrewd:
mad-shrewd Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013
This was really hard for me to read, just because of the formatting.

I must be looking in the wrong places, because all the web animation I see is dreadful in terms of the quality of animation. It wouldn't surprise me if there were good stuff out there, I just don't see it.

It is a lot to say about the industry, but it's not just the TV animation, the quality in movies has gotten really bad as well. There are of course exceptions, but the industry is too cheap to do it right. You're lucky if you get a separate storyboard and layout artist rather than just combining the two jobs together these days.

And if you read the blog I cited earlier, the things he has to say about the industry are far, far harsher.

But yeah, the portfolio and being able to do the job are going to be far more valuable than having a degree from a particular university. Although having a degree is rarely a bad idea.
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013   Digital Artist
Do you want to get a job as an animator, or just create your own animations?

Also, where are you at education-wise? Have you ever studied art, and have you ever been to university?
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I want to get a job as an animator. I'm in high school(Technically, I'm in junior high and in 9th grade) I've been told that it's a good idea to start learning and taking classes on animation during this time. There's a local tech college where high school students can take classes(at age 16 I believe) during the summer. I have a teacher who can help me sign up and a teacher who can give me information on how to become an animator but I still would like to know if there's anything else I should work on or do. I've studied something like the basics of art like anatomy, coloring, and proportions(and I still am as you can see I haven't yet mastered anatomy) other than that not really.(Sorry for the long reply.)
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:iconmad-shrewd:
mad-shrewd Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Those types of classes are definitely worthwhile for animation. It's a good idea to have the basics and be able to draw realistically. Even the weirdest abstract artists can normally draw realistically.

If you can find a class on old school drafting, sign up for that. It's one of the best things I did for my art work.
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the information :)
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:iconrovanna:
Rovanna Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013   Digital Artist
Those classes sound like a great idea! Yes, you should definitely talk to teachers/careers people about it because the courses available and industry varies depending on where you live.

So I guess you're on the right track. Keep practicing your art, the 'hardcore stuff' like anatomy and perspective, value drawing, gesture drawing. :) Work on developing your style.
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:icongloomypandabear:
GloomyPandaBear Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Alright, I will! Thank you! :huggle:
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