A career in the 3D animation industry

hi there all you people who check here,

Im currently 15 and very interested in finding out more about making a career out of 3D modelling/animation, and i was wondering how would i start, and more importantly can i start now while still in school

thanks in advance for replying

Firstly start learning 3d, art, anything like that…You will build up experience and a portfolio.

Don’t be afraid to learn/try new softwares, your knowledge/value is not in what software you know (but it helps), but rather your ability to think and adapt your general knowledge to any challenge. if you know the principals of art and 3d you will be fine in any software as long as you have the ability to learn.

When you have the basics sorted then the money/career will be a lot closer and people will be knocking on your door.

it would be such an advantage if you can start while still in school, by the time everybody else begins to learn the industry, you will be 4 or so years ahead of them! try get hold of a few books from amazon, and go through them

Find out who in your area are the animation companies, from small offices to the bigger studios. Start showing them your work. It’s very much who you know and the pros often put people off until they see some perseverance, so the sooner they know you the better.

A couple of thots come to mind:

  1. As Alltaken said, your portfolio is very important, even now. I would recommend becoming extremely protective and organized in compiling, maintaining and updating your portfolio. Keep it in both digital and hard-copy form (when possible - animations can be shown with screenshots and/or storyboard-style hard copies.) Its beneficial, too, to keep some kind of record of your workflow and creative processes, such as sketches, notes, storyboards or even inspiration sources. You know how your math teacher always wants to see not only your correct answer, but how you got it. The same will be true of hiring managers for creative positions. Return to your portfolio often. Always keep it in mind while creating your artwork - even for paying clients (ask to be able to use the work you do for them in your portfolio.)

  2. Start out working for yourself. Try to end up working for yourself. By this I mean: start out by creating artwork regardless of if you get paid for it, or if you’re doing it for someone else. Start trying to get a paying job in or close to a creative industry (I’d suggest applying at all your local ad firms for any job you can get there - even copy boy) and learn everything you can there (even in areas that may not interest you - like the business aspects.) Meet and get to know everyone you possibly can there - your relationships, as already stated, will be your most valuable asset for your entire career. Later, after you’ve gained valuable real experience and lots of contacts, venture out on your own as a freelancer, or start your own firm if you like - working for yourself again.

  3. Education is important, not as much for what you learn, but for what status it gives you in the minds of industry managers and executives. Go to college, excel and get good grades, and achieve that degree. It’ll help you with your prestige, if not much else.

Hope this helps a bit.

PS: search here on BA for this topic - there’s been a lot of good advice given by lots of experienced folks here! Blessings in your endeavors! :slight_smile:

I’m 16, and I’ve been starting to think of this myself.My guidance counsellors at school aren’t much help tho, I’ve been wondering what schools to look into and what classes I should look take next year. Also, a job -_-sure Tim Hortons may hire anyone but I dont see how that will get me closer to an animation studio
Edit- could you post any links you find here? That would be great. Lol.

My cousin went to the SF Academy of Art and that seemed to work out pretty well for him as now he works on Hollywood movies. He also had a job working on an animated TV show for a while, have no idea which one though.

Can’t really give any advise on how to break into ‘the industry’ since I’m about as far from it as you can get but I would suggest trying to go to a school with a prestigious art department so you can study under prestigious art instructors. Then try to wrangle up some summer internships and stuff like that.

If I was a young pup with way too much free time I’d be shooting for the Forum Gallery and entering every contest I could find to become a ‘known quantity’ so people are familiar with your work before you have to hit the streets looking for that first job.

well, what I wish I had done was spend all the available time you have (and I would guess you have a lot!) practising. You don’t have to practice on a computer - use pen and paper; make flickbooks. The principles of animation, art and problem-solving will stand you in much better stead than simply what school you went to or what software you know.

you may also like to ensure you are focused - you say “modelling/animation” and for many people that definition is too narrow! if you work at a small shop or freelance then it’s likely that you’ll be working on the entire pipeline, including “the boring bits” like lighting, compositing and editing.

Apparently there’s a great school in Toronto that produces amazing graduates - if your family has money or you’re exceptionally talented then that may be an option.

Read “the animators survival kit”, “digital lighting and rendering” and “artistic anatomy”. Practice your life drawing!

that’s all the advice I have…apart from: be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.

I agreee that 2D art is a great way to improve your 3D skills, and vice versa actaully.
Also what do you mean by “modeling/animation” being to narrow? Did you actually mean to broad? :S
Which school might you be reffering to? I used to live in Toronto and only an hour or so away atm so It would be nice to look into, OCAD maybe? my older brother says its the toughest art school in ontario
Will definetly look into reading -_- (eventuallly…)
Great advice everyone!

2D skills translate to 3D directly. 3D is just the same sort of skillset with a different medium. I have known people who were great 2D designers who had never used 3D software and who went from no 3D skills at all to pro-level output in a year or less. 3D and 2D are really the same thing, 3D just adds a new method of achieving those results. The more you learn in one art medium, the better you will be at all of them. Everything informs everything else. At 15, I’d say start working on art in general. Start drawing, do some stuff in 3D do some clay sculpture… do anything. The important thing is that with each thing you work on you have a goal and that you finish it. Start small and just keep going and going.

Just remember that it’s ususally easier to learn something like anatomy or character design or architecture or whatever in a simple medium. Anatomy is easier to learn with a pencil than it is in 3D. You only have to worry about learning the muscles, learning the proportions, etc. If you were doing that in 3D you’d also have to learn how to get the loops right, how to get joints to deform properly, etc. But if you learn anatomy on paper in 2D, you can take that knowledge and then apply that to 3D directly. Now you’ll know where all those muscles need to go, and you’re only job will be to learn how to make the mesh flow properly around it.

Alltaken and mzungu both have good advice.

Alright, I have the option to take a double co-op next year (gr12), but there isn’t anything close to any kind of studio in Barrie Ontario that i know of. Do you think I should just substitute it for other classes I have an interest in?

Thanks for all the advice,

living in Australia the industry isn’t quite as developed, especially since i live in Adelaide for those of you who know where it is, i think i will get some books off of the internet, as well as improving my 2D skills, im a bit out of touch, i might see if i can go do a TAFE course by correspondance.

Search on scribd some books about drawing.

Are all there.

If you can`t enroll to a fine art class in your region.

What job you’re working, esp. early on, matters little. What does matter is getting close to those who are working at what you’re interested in. I recommended an ad firm simply because they are way more common than animation studios. If you have an anim studio nearby, by all means, apply! (for anything!)

Remember, its mostly about developing relationships. The old phrase “Its not what you know, but who you know that counts” is very true! (Of course it helps to be very good at what you do, but if nobody that matters knows about you, then all that skill is for nought.)

Always be friendly, show interest in and go the extra mile to help out those who are doing a job similar to what you want to be doing (creating artwork at minimum, but hopefully someone animating!) Not only these folks, but also (and this is very important) their bosses! Never underestimate the power of brown-nosing the boss! Just be genuine, though. People are just people, no matter how lofty their role, and we all appreciate honest friendship.

Yes! Don’t stop creating. Doodle, sketch, sculpt… using pen, pencil, crayon, chalk, charcoal - whatever is at hand. And by all means finish what you start! (This has been one of my bigger challenges, since I tend to get bored easily and want to move on.) And remember to keep what you do filed/stored away for possible portfolio inclusion.

I think, in general, that success comes through being able to sell yourself with confidence. When someone asks “can you do that?” always say “Yes!” without hesitation, whether you know how to or not. Worry about how you’re going to pull it off after you get the “okay”. If you end up not being able to, then at least you learned a lot in the failure. Keep moving forward! :slight_smile:

The story that always sticks in my mind is that of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer saying, “Sure, we can provide the OS for your IBM PC!” when they actually had no clue about operating systems. Once they got the sale, they went back to the shop and figured out how to pull it off (in this case, by buying an existing DOS from some dude for $50k.) The result? Micro$oft’s billions.

I’m hope I could get a 3d job while in school, that would be better than Burger King, anyway theres a Ubisoft company thingy in Montreal where I live :smiley: I’ll try to infiltrate myself into the company;):RocknRoll:

Hope they’ll accept a 14 year old some how