is Animation design good as a career?
So this is a tough question. If an animation career is good for you or not is probably a question that you can only answer for yourself. Of course there are opportunities to start as a junior animator somewhere and climb up the career ladder. But this might take quite a while. But of course this depends on your skill and skill needs a lot of practise and even more time. So i think if you’re patient, willing to learn for the rest of your life, being able to handle constructive criticism or even that your work gets “thrown away” at the end of the show/game/commercial whatsoever, you should be fine! =)
do i have to be perfect at drawing by hand or it doesn’t matter ?
Well, you don’t have to be perfect in handdrawing but i think it’s definitely a big plus if you can do so. Usually, unless you’re trying to pursue a 2d animation career, it’s up to you if you’re using drawing as a tool for doing thumbnails and plan your animation - or if you’re using for example the way of recording reference. Either way helps you with your animation in the end. There are people out there that can’t draw but still do a perfect job on their animations, but also the other way around. Like super cool drawing skills but no understanding of animation etc.
So overall if you’re allready into drawing, try to maintain it, try to think of the animation principles while drawing/planning your next animation and you’ll be fine. You might wanna check out the book by Wayne Gilbert, “Simplified drawing for planning animation” or the book “Drawing with force” by Mike Mattesi. Also you might look into gesture drawing courses.
is it true that it’s hard to find a job?
If you’re really good i think it gets a bit easier to find a job, but still you mostly need to be willing to relocate to a different place than you’re currently in. Of course it’s possible to find a job close to you, but usually you need a lot of luck for that. Also you might consider trying to make some money by freelancing. But for my personal taste i’d like to not do the freelancing and find a job somewhere at a company =)
Also be aware of, yes, there’s a lot of competition out there. But as i said earlier, if you’re willing to learn a lot, spend a lot of time in the craft of animation etc. you’ll be good.
If you’re looking for a job it’s also always a good idea to have a good network. It might happen that a guy you know knows another guy that also knows a guy that is currently looking for an animator to be hired. So never forget about your connections =) Also try to always be friendly to everybody since the industry is quite small.
what do i need to be successful animator ?
Patience. Time. Skill. Practise. Honesty. Fun. Observationskills. Learn how to handle criticism. Probably a lot more that i don’t think of right now
Oh totally forgot about the university thing. Hmm it’s true that you can learn animation on your own. But i think it’s the same as with all other things. Bascially nowadays you’re able to learn nearly everything on your own by just searching the internet for it. You will always find someone talking about the specific skill you’re looking for and then you can start practising.
So if you’re able/willing to visit an university for it i think it could be a good idea to do so. You will make friends, connections that are quite helpful and you’ll have a ton of fun doing projects together with other people. So if you can go to an universtiy physically i’d recommend doing so, but i’d also recommend all the online animation schools like animationmentor, ianimate, or animschool. There are even more out there and which one you choose is totally your own thing i think. I’d personally would go with ianimate now since i like those characters quite a lot =)
Also of course, you could start trying to do your own animations and put them online. Either in the animationforums in here or on 11secondclub or wherever you want. That’s totally up to you.
Hope that makes some sense overall and you will do your way! Let us know if you got more questions. Maybe the animationforum here would be a better place for that? I don’t know. Probably an admin could move it over there.