Anonymous asked: Hello! I'm actually about to graduate with an MFA in Computer Animation & VFX and am starting to put together my reel to send out to companies as an application. Knowing you've worked for Dreamworks and such, do you have any advice on maybe what the industry is really looking for right now from Animators or VFX artists?
First of all, congrats on graduating! :D
Unfortunately, it really depends on the studio. Since different studios release projects on different times, they are all on unique schedules. For example, Disney staffed up for Frozen about three months ago, meaning they hired tons of folks across the board. But now, they’ve filled up and there aren’t many positions for anyone. So, I’d recommend checking out the individual career pages of studios you’d like to work at. The only thing I know of off the top of my head is Nickelodeon has been looking for character and set designers for TMNT and Dora.
However, generally, the3D animation industry can always use more technical people. Programming is a valuable skill around here, especially in rigging and simulation departments like effects and cloth.
jennink asked: I've been curious because you're a talented 2D artist who has worked for a 3D animation company: do people still go to school much to go into 2D animation (i.e. anime, nickelodeon, etc)? Or has it pretty much all gone to 3D here in the US? Animation is one of my potential film major options; I just don't like using Maya/etc.
It’s true. Feature animation has gone 3D. Some TV shows remain 2D. However, a lot of people still learn both types of animation. The jobs are still there. They’ve just changed.
For example, most 2D animators have become story-boarders and the actual animation (like in-betweens) has moved to Asia. Color and paint artists now do visual development and background painting.
I recommend looking at recruiting postings for shows you’d like to work on to get a better sense of the types of 2D positions that are still state-side.
wonderwoman510 asked: Hey how was it like working for DreamWorks? Im currently go to school for 3D animation storyboard and working at DreamWorks or even Pixar would be a dream come true how do I get in to DreamWorks
Working at DreamWorks was great - free food, stable paycheck, engaging work, and most importantly - great people. I’m still friends with a lot of them. I think good co-workers, not the projects you’re on, make the biggest difference in workplace experience.
As a result, there are plenty of places just as good as DreamWorks because there are a lot of wonderful people out there. So my tips for getting any job: Study hard - lots of composition, perspective, figure drawing - and build a good portfolio. Show it to people to get a lot of feedback. Even if you get shot down a lot, keep working and get faster because young people tend to lack mileage. For storyboards in particular, it’d be easier to apply for a TV show before trying to go to movies because TV tends to need more people.
Anonymous asked: Okay, so it's my dream to go into animation. It is the one thing I know I'll be happy doing for the rest of my life. I'm still in high school, but my school is expecting me to know what I want to do with my life even though I still have 2 years until graduation. If I had money, I would go to school for animation without a doubt, but I don't and I don't know if I'm even good enough to get into a good school. I don't know if I should just be a teacher or something or aim for my "dream."
Hehe, giving the old “you don’t have to do Just One Thing” speech:
If you’re really worried, aim for your dream and target Animation - but make sure you receive a broad education (say a liberal arts minor). Getting a broad degree at a university in the right place (like CSU Fullerton) might be cheaper than going to a private school (like CalArts or RCAD).
And after college is over, get a Master’s degree. A Master’s makes teaching certification easier. Then you can teach animation!
Anonymous asked: I want to become an animator eventually and I've been applying to colleges recently, and I have the option of either majoring in just Computer engineering or animation (however it is in the engineering school so there would be a focus on that) The just computer engineering is cheaper, do you know if it is worth the the extra money to major in something a little more relevant? is it possible to become an animator with just a compsci major? thanks for your time.
It’s totally possible, but you’d probably have to do some extra legwork to make up for your missing classes. It seems like you’re looking at two majors within the same school, so what I would do is create a list of courses that differ between both majors. Ask some current students what they think of those courses and if they were helpful. That way, you can make an informed decision over whether those courses are worth the savings or if you should study animation separately.
The best way to convince your mom would be to have a back-up. I suggest a double major or pursuing a regular degree and then an art degree. Getting my degree in computer science is the best decision I could ever have made. As a bonus, you could get an unrelated job now, start freelancing, or do anything you can with real money to prove that you are able to handle your finances.
To work in project-based entertainment - comics, games, animation - you will face a lot downtime. Balancing your finances and having two careers you can bounce between will not only make you more desirable but will secure your financial stability. But there’s a lot of opportunities and many pay well - you just have to move around them a lot.
I normally don’t share my opinions, but, with the number of would-be animators who follow me, I feel obligated to share some of the harsher realities you may face (since I sometimes get asks about this, too).
Today, I was laid off from a major studio (through no fault of my own).
And I feel okay.
Employment these days is volatile, especially in project-based industries. Be financially prepared. I’ve known since day one that I may fall victim to a bottom line. It happens a lot (type “layoff” into Google). Luckily, I have little debts or attachments - but living modestly and saving means I have enough to support myself in lean times. This frugal, insecure lifestyle of intermittent employment is part of this industry, and you should accept it when you decide this is what you want to do.
But more importantly, I am fine emotionally. After the prolonged stress of uncertainty, I quickly came to terms with the decision. Becausemy work - not where I work at - defines me. It doesn’t matter what company I’m at: I’m going to keep doing what I do. And I’m going to take this valuable time and get better at it. And see where that takes me. Don’t enter entertainment because you want to work for someone - enter it because the work is your passion.
My time at this company has been great, and I have learned so much. I could not have asked for a better almost-three years. I already miss my co-workers (you guys are awesome!). And better me than someone with debts or family - because I’ll make this a new opportunity. Maybe I’ll get to come back someday. Cheers! <3
hi! I was just wondering if i could get your look on this. if I want to be a concept or production artist, should I aim to go into Illustration, Animation, or Computer Animation? I’ve been looking around and initially thought I’d just aim for Computer Animation, but I’m getting worried there seems to be a bit of a lack of design focus in comparison to regular Animation,and it seems like a lot of graduates from the program have moved on to doing 3D modelling etc(sorta lookin at CCA and Ringling?)
Terms are confusing, huh? There are two sides to the entertainment world:
pre-production designs the look and generates the animatic. little, if any, of their work is seen in the final film/show.
post-production creates the product. Their work is the final show.
The university majors you’ve listed prepare students in differing amounts for either side of production. Note, that in the United States, there are more jobs in 3D post-production than in pre-production or 2d post-production.
Illustration is about taking a concept and presenting it in a 2D format, meaning it’s a good foundation for pre-production concept design. You will learn how to make a beautiful, message-conveying piece but might struggle to finish images quickly. You won’t learn how to animate and thus will struggle in post-production. There aren’t many illustration jobs available to new talent.
2D/Traditional Animation (I’m assuming this is what you mean by “Animation”) teaches you how to do 2D post-production animation. Therefore, you will learn how to draw series of pictures that simulate movement as well as storyboarding and composition. Your teachers will be more concerned with movement and sketching rather than finished imagery. Note, 2D animation jobs outside the mobile gaming industry may ask you to move outside the US.
Computer Animation teaches students how to use tools in 3D post-production. There are many areas you can specialize in to fit into the 3D pipeline. However, there is less emphasis on drawing and design. Many Computer Animation students don’t draw at all. These jobs are the most plentiful within the US since it takes more folks to make a movie than to design it.
If you are interested in character design and storyboarding for animated films and television shows, I would recommend studying “2D/Traditional Animation.” This will give you a strong drawing foundation in a style suited to animation, and it will also give you a firm foundation on shot design and composition. Since it bridges aspects in both pre- and post-production, you will have more job opportunities.
I also recommend this! You can learn 3d programs on your own, or through shorter classes, but if you can get classically trained it’s ALWAYS a plus! Remember, there are far fewer jobs in preproduction than in production, so think wisely!
Anonymous asked: Hi there! I'm just a simple junior in high school that has been aspiring to go into the videogame industry, but now I'm beginning to think about the movie industry. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of each? (Also, I wasn't able to find it on your FAQ but what college/s did you attend? :o)
Unfortunately, I can’t really say because I’ve never worked in gaming.
A lot of skills will transfer between the video game and animation industries. Knowing how to do any 2-D or 3-D art (such as concept design, modeling, rigging, texturing, animating) will apply to either field. Same with non-art things like story writing and programming.
The business model is similar, too: there’s development, production, and crunch time. The main difference is in who you’ll work with: people who are interested in gaming go into gaming, and people who like animation will go into animation.
The difference I see would be that gaming is more driven by the gameplay and programmer’s capability, but animation is more driven by art and story quality. Games are interactive, so it’s about having a good play experience. For example, you want a good server connection and challenging level designs - but Angry Birds doesn’t need much of a story. Animation is only viewed so it relies on good visual and story. For example, you don’t play Rise of the Guardians, so you don’t need level designers, etc.
Style varies studio to studio, so check on an individual basis for what studio fits you best. Some places gravitate toward realism and others to exaggeration. More games (like Assassin’s Creed) draw from life stylistically and more animation (like Adventuretime) draws from the fantastical, but there are many exceptions. Super Mario is a very cartoon-like game, and ILM, an FX studio known for live action work, made Rango.
Oh, and I attended the University of Pennsylvania for Computer Science.
This is HILARIOUS. And I love seeing more than one AM mentor in there. :)
This is for all you animators out there that have had one of those days at work.
Footage-Loose is a parody of a certain 80’s movie that may involve a dancing scene from but seen from an animators point of view. Every now and then we just have one of those days where none of our work gets approved and we need to cope with stress somehow. So this is how we deal with it. I do not own any rights to the music in this video. It’s only used for parody purposes. Our workplace does not authorize, or endorse this video.