How to become... a animator
Read this. It's Awesome!
Written By: Dylan Duvall
Colleges and Interview info
In this section you will see all the colleges and where to get an interview. Get all these advantages of a lifetime.
The number one school for movie making is the University of California - Los Angeles
The UCLA ( a college in California) School of Film, Theater and Television graduate fine arts program was ranked tied for fourth in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report on its 'Top Fine Arts Programs' list.
The Bachelor of Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media is a liberal arts program. Students can take classes related to movie directing, such as directing the camera, stylistic studies for the moving image and screenwriting. The university counts Francis Ford Coppola, Rob Reiner and Tim Robbins among its alumni.
The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Production/Directing is a 4-year program with an emphasis in film direction. Each year of coursework highlights a specific area of filmmaking, including the filmmaking process, professional training, movie production and completion of a thesis project. Students take classes in directing the actor for camera, film analysis, post-production sound and writing for the short film. - from http://study.com/articles/List_of_Top_Colleges_with_Movie_Directing_Programs.html
California Institute of arts- When the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute merged in 1961 with the help of none other than Walt and Roy Disney, it became one of the most coveted artist’s communities on the west coast. Dubbed California Institute of Arts (better known as CalArts), the school quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the top ten schools for aspiring animators and America’s top college for students in the arts. With famous graduates such as Chris Buck—2014 Oscar Winner for Best Animated Feature Frozen, Chris Sanders—2014 Oscar Nominee for Best Animated Feature The Croods, and Tim Burton to its credit, CalArts is the #1 animation school in the U.S.
Housed entirely in a 500,000-square-foot facility on a 60-acre campus, CalArts offers a variety of animation programs at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Offerings include a BFA in Character Animation, BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation, and an MFA in Integrated Media in Experimental Animation. The school, which is home to around 1,441 students (fall 2012), also offers a Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Experimental Animation, a Certificate in Character Animation, and Advanced Certificate in Integrated Media in Experimental Animation.
Besides access to a state-of-the art animation laboratory (one of the largest in the country), animation portfolio development workshops, and renowned visiting artists from around the world, CalArts students live in the country’s #1 state for animators. California currently offers more lucrative employment opportunities for animators, filmmakers, and multimedia artists than any other place in the world. - from http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/2014-top-100-animation-school-programs-us
Day to Day Life of an animator
Read the day to day life of Chris Chua to see what your day to day life could be like.
“How can I become a Pixar animator?” Those seven little words comprise one of the most commonly fielded questions at Pixar HQ. To be sure, they can be heard well beyond, mumbled from children’s lips in the theater to the hallways of college animation departments. While computer skills may be important, it’s the ability to bring life to a character that distinguishes a Pixar animator from others. And that’s no small task, as Pixar animator Chris Chua can tell you.
Like many kids, Chua loved animated films and cartoons growing up and fostered this interest by drawing. Upon graduating from CalArts, Chua began his career as a character layout artist on Matt Groening’s Futurama and eventually worked his way up the totem pole on features such as DreamWork’s Sinbad and Flushed Away. Since joining Pixar, Chua has been one of the many reasons behind the success of films like WALL-E and Up, bringing smiles to countless faces while enticing a new generation of animators to pursue their dreams.
Mentoring students at Animation Mentor while currently working on Pixar’s thirteenth feature film, Brave, Chua is one busy guy yet he still managed to give us an interview! Here’s a sneak peak of a day in the life of a Pixar animator, what he did to get there and a few recommendations to all you aspiring animators out there.
ACR: It’s a delight to speak with you, Chris. To start, fill us in on a typical ‘day in the life’ of Chris Chua like at Pixar?
CC: A typical work day for me usually involves getting to work and going to dailies every morning. Dailies are fun and terrifying at the same time because you’re usually showing a shot or a series of shots to be critiqued. All animators are encouraged to speak up and share their thoughts! After dailies, I'll go back to my desk and dive into my shot.
On any given week at Pixar, something interesting is always happening whether it's a screening of a film, guest lectures, or any number of Pixar University classes that any employee is encouraged to sign up for and attend. If I’m caught up with my work, I usually take a bit of time for myself by going to one of these.
After lunch, I'll pretty much work ‘til the end of the day, taking small breaks or going to the gym to keep myself fresh and motivated. Brave is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on June 22, 2012, so we’re now on a crunch to get it finished!
ACR: Aside from your busy schedule at Pixar, you also mentor animation students at Animation Mentor. What drew you to mentoring and what do you love most about offering your insight to aspiring animators?
CC: Believe it or not, I was actually quite hesitant to teach at first! This all changed after seeing the passion and dedication of my first class at Animation Mentor and since then I’ve been totally hooked! As a student who spent my formative years at CalArts learning animation from artists working in the industry, I know that having the opportunity to ask questions and learn closely from a mentor is just priceless.
It’s such a great reciprocal process of not only seeing and critiquing students’ work, but also helping them grow and develop into the animators they want to become. Teaching for Animation Mentor is certainly a great opportunity for that and I’m glad to see the students embracing it with such enthusiasm.
ACR: You mentioned your educational background in 2D animation from CalArts. How important has drawing been on your career and do you advise your own students to sketch often?
CC: I’ve been very passionate about drawing since I can remember. I encourage all my students to get a sketchbook and draw as often as they can, no matter what their skill level is. This is very crucial for several reasons. First, it helps you start a regimen of observing people and capturing something about them that interests you. It really helps me as an animator when I can pull from direct observation and put it into a scene that I’m animating.
Another reason why I feel that drawing is so crucial to good animation is that it has strengthened my eye for good poses, appeal, and clarity. Draftsmanship is certainly not essential to being a great animator, but you DO need to be sensitive to the world around you and be able to transfer that to your animation. Constant sketching and observing from life just facilitates that for me.
ACR: Is there a way for aspiring animators to adequately learn about the production pipeline before embarking on their careers?
CC: Yes, make your own short films! Don’t wait until you go to school or find work. If you can immerse yourself in your own projects, you’ll end up doing much the same things, albeit on a much smaller scale. Take a small idea that you’re passionate about and pour your heart and soul into it. Boarding, designing, animating, and editing you own films are all excellent ways to learn! Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right, just have fun and tell the story you want to tell. Most importantly, do it with sincerity!
ACR: As a Pixar animator, you must be incredibly savvy when it comes to CGI. Are there aspects of working with CGI that you love or loathe?
CC: Animating in CG is truly a double-edged sword. On one hand, I love the precise, exact quality it affords me as an animator. If I’m familiar with the software I’m using, a well-rigged and modeled character frees me up to concentrate on acting and performance rather than worrying about draftsmanship. I can go from the broadest motions to the most subtle acting and have a fair amount of control.
The downside to CG is that it’s more technical and is not as intuitive as putting pencil to paper. Brad Bird has described the computer as being the ultimate used car salesman. You can easily get tricked by the smooth, slick look you get from a CG model and forget about the acting, the performance. Don’t walk off the lot with a clunker! If you’re not technically savvy, you have to try that much harder to get the results YOU want! That’s the goal of character animation, no matter what the medium.
ACR: Did you have a favorite animator who inspired you growing up?
CC: Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with Glen Keane’s work. I would watch his scenes over and over on video, study his drawings in my collection of “Art Of” books and even tried to draw like him! I just loved his relentless drive to breathe as much life as he could into his characters. If you look at any of his drawings, they’re so alive and have such vitality to them. I’m STILL in awe of his work to this day!
ACR: And do you have mentors of your own?
CC: I had a slew of great teachers at CalArts that helped shape me into the artist I am today. Mike Nguyen, Marc Smith and Mark Andrews to name a few. And of course, I learn so much from working with the super talented folks at Pixar. I’m humbled by their stunning work every single day.
Professionals in the Field
All the jobs That are in this paragraph are not fake you can really have all of these jobs ( don’t have all of them or you would have to have a job for about 30 minutes or so.) So read this paragraph for full advantage on what job to have as an animator.
3D Modeler - Career Profile
Animator - Career Profile
Art Director - Career Profile
Film and Video Editor - Career Profile
Flash Animator - Career Profile
Graphic Designer - Career Profile
Stop Motion Animator - Career Profile
Video Game Designer - Career Profile
Animation Director - Career Profile
Background Painter - Career Profile
Cartoonist - Career Profile
Character Animator - Career Profile
Character Rigger - Career Profile
Color Key Artist - Career Profile
Compositing Artist - Career Profile
Concept Artist - Career Profile
Digital Painter - Career Profile
Director - Career Profile
Effects Animator - Career Profile
What is a day to day life look like?
My typical day consists of working from home (I actually built my own workstation so I don't have to commute to multiple companies), and I'll dive right into the files I'm given from the company. I specialize in animation so the files I'm given usually contain the scenery, characters, and audio pre-loaded. At that point I work through each character, giving them personality and life. The digital characters come with a skeleton and joints, so I pose them and make them move through out the scene. This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the complexity of the project. Once I have my work completed (or the deadline approaches) I will send the scene back to the company and edit my work if needed.
Check out this video from Disney's Ratatouille. It gives a great breakdown on all the work put into each and every scene. What I do as an animator falls within the 0:18-1:08 mark, mainly the 'Layout', 'Blocking', and Animating'
What college did you go to?
I went to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana
What degree did you get to get yourself where you are?
I received a BFA degree in Electronic Art/ Animation. Although a college education is not required for this specific field, I highly recommend it because of the additional knowledge you'll receive. I took classes like painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography in addition to my animation courses. All of these different subjects have helped me reach a higher understanding of my craft.
What are your goals in the future?
My future goals are still pretty fluid at the moment. My heart will always be set on moving to California and working in the film industry. As of right now, I am working to hone my skills on smaller projects in the Advertising field here in Chicago.
Why did you want to become an animator?
The reason I wanted to be an animator is because I've always had a thirst for creating. There's something truly special about taking a digital puppet and bringing it to life. Next time you're watching a Disney/Pixar movie, take a moment to look at the people watching the film. Look at their faces. They're completely engaged in the experiences of the characters on screen. I've always wanted to create something like that.
Did anyone inspire you as a kid to be an animator?No one in the animation field specifically inspired me. We're all kind of nerdy and don't get much time in the limelight, haha. My parents truly inspired me to pursue this path. They always pushed me to express myself and embrace my creative side. There was always support coming from them too. I can remember days where I would feel defeated because I couldn't translate what was in my head into my projects. My parents never let me give up. They recognized my potential and pushed me to take another shot at it. For that, I'll always be thankful.
Thanks for reading my article and I hope you use all these advantages for your personal uses and if you are going for an interview for an animator I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully this article gave you advantages on the best colleges, the day to day life, and the professionals within the field.