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  1. #1
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    Question Animation Career Advice and Questions

    Im 21 and I really want to get into Computer Animation. I really want to get into Ringling but I need to update my portfolio to include a lot of figure drawing (from my understanding (based on what a student has told me), you're more likely to get accepted with well-done nude figure drawings).

    I've been trying to get info on this figure drawing class at a community college near me. It's the only one I could find in my state in general... whereas i'm SURE there are some someplace else, i've called the state art museum, multiple art galleries in cities and colleges and posted to craigslist looking for non-credited classes only to bring back nothing, so i've just been left frustrated.

    The community college i've been talking to told me the figure drawing class happened in spring and only happens once a year. On top of that they would require me to take one or two other classes before I could take figure drawing.

    The application date for Ringling is in January, and with me applying later now, i'm afraid i'm going to be waitlisted. I'm also afraid that if I apply without figure drawings my portfolio won't stack up as well compared to everyone elses and I may not get a scholarship, which due to my financial situation I desperately need.

    I was also told by this student to buy a really good tablet (which I already assumed I would need), but despite my trying i've been too broke to buy so far. My job goes from full-time hours one week to lay-offs the next, i'm in a real need for some definite direction and security. I'm currently trying to find a new job and putting in resumes, cover letters and apps everywhere so hopefully things will look up.

    I know Computer Animation breaks down into different jobs and I love writing, concept art, character design and I i've never animated anything but I've ALWAYS had a will to learn how. Will an employer hire you just for character design or concept art? I'd like to do all of those things in my profession, but I read an article a while back that stated most people only animate/concept art/character design, and someone seperate does writing. Anyone want to shed light on this?

    I also read that most Animators are laid off constantly and rarely get benefits. Is that true?

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
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    As far as good figure drawings, who says you need to be in a college class in order to get good figures drawn? I always say sketch whenever you can. Take a sketchbook with you and draw people you see at the coffeeshop. If someone in your house is dozing- that's at least a 20 minute pose! So you can build up your figure study portfolio without having to go through the colleges. Also there might be artist driven figure sessions, where people get together and pay for a figure model to pose for them. Check with your local art supply store and ask there because there are other artists out there wanting the same thing you do without the hassle of formal classes.

    As far as a tablet of any kind, hold off because more than likely your first year at Ringling you'll be doing more traditional stuff as opposed to really even doing any rendering with a stylus. You can get one to learn if you want but as a necessity at this stage? Maybe.

    And as far as the profession goes, we bop from one job to another constantly. Once a project is done- we gladly move onto another one. For me I make enough to take care of my own benefits so I don't necessarily rely on any studio to take care of that. I'm my own boss and there are certain perks and drawbacks with that as well. It's definitely a profession one has to love doing because the hours can be tough but it's also something I love doing as well.

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  5. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Storyboard Dave View Post
    And as far as the profession goes, we bop from one job to another constantly. Once a project is done- we gladly move onto another one. For me I make enough to take care of my own benefits so I don't necessarily rely on any studio to take care of that. I'm my own boss and there are certain perks and drawbacks with that as well. It's definitely a profession one has to love doing because the hours can be tough but it's also something I love doing as well.
    Thanks, your whole post was really helpful.

    Aren't the majority of animation artist's self-employed?

    According to different websites, the salaries look like they're all over the map. If one is great, how many years of experience does it take to make 50K? I know it's not all about the money, but i'd like a good ballpark estimate so I know if I can afford to pay off my student loans.

    Also I meant to ask, What is The Animation Guild?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neonrain View Post
    Aren't the majority of animation artist's self-employed?
    Most (though certainly not all) are salaried employees; they just tend to move between employers every couple years.


    Quote Originally Posted by neonrain View Post
    According to different websites, the salaries look like they're all over the map. If one is great, how many years of experience does it take to make 50K? I know it's not all about the money, but i'd like a good ballpark estimate so I know if I can afford to pay off my student loans.
    Impossible to say; it depends very heavily on which sub-industry you end up working for (games, film, visualization, ect.), where you end up living, and what job within the animation field you do (charecter animation, effects animation, modeling, texturing, and so on). Making 50K per year right out the door isn't unheard of, while there are plenty of very good animators with year of experience that make less than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by neonrain View Post
    Also I meant to ask, What is The Animation Guild?
    It's the labor union that represents employees at a handful of studios.

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  8. #5
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    I'm still a student, so I'm not sure how entirely helpful my post will be, but I found a lot of great information on animation as a career from the book, "Your Career in Animation: How to Survive and Thrive" by David Levy. I've asked a number of industry professionals, and the stuff they described seems to go right on par with that book. It probably can answer any question you have on the animation industry.

    Figure drawings can also be done by cafe drawing, where you go to your nearest coffee shop, mall, etc. and just draw people minding their own business. In an animation-specific portfolio, they focus a lot on characterization/caricature, movement and action, and observation. You don't need fantastic rendering skills of the human body, but it doesn't help to have that in your portfolio either.

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