Learning traditional art media like scuplture helps animators understand form.
With the incredible popularity of video games, animation is coming into its own. This field has become so popular that many artists opt to work in this art form instead of traditional media like illustration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for animators will increase until 2018, because industries like medicine are increasingly utilizing animation. For the animator who would like to know more about the craft and industry before diving in, there’s good news. Many programs-including college-level animation degrees-allow the aspiring animator to learn at home.
1. Read books and articles on animation. This will help familiarize you with the different types of animation programs on the market, animators who are working in the field and the kinds of animation careers available.
2. Watch animated movies and TV shows. As you watch, try to analyze the quality of these programs. Notice how the animators use character, camera angles and pacing to tell the story.
3. Take time to learn the basics of art. While animation is increasingly using 3D technology, many university-level programs in animation still require that you learn skills like drawing, painting, graphic design and sculpture. This training teaches you mentally visualize objects and put them on paper. Being able to draw also gives you a means to communicate with your fellow designers and artists.
4. Become familiar with the principles of animation. Animation is about more than just making pictures move. You want your moving images to come to life. You convey this by using animation principles like squash and stretch (a technique that makes characters’ actions more fluid), anticipation (anatomical preparation for a character’s action) and staging (leading the viewer’s eye to where the action will occur).
5. Download free animation programs from the Internet. These programs will help you solidify your understanding of basic animation as well as familiarize you with the basics of animation software and programming. A list of these programs is below. Once you master these programs, you can move on to industry-standard animation programs like Lightwave and Maya.
6. After you become familiar with free programs, buy advanced animation programs such as Lightwave and Maya. You probably will have gained some understanding of these programs through your reading about animation and animation software.
Your 3D Source: Which Animation Software
7. Look into college programs that teach animation online. Some examples are Academy of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online. These programs offer university-level animation training in the privacy of your own home.
Academy of Art: Animation School
Art Institute of Pittsburgh: Game Art and Design Degree
Art Institute of Pittsburgh: Media Arts and Animation
Savannah College of Art and Design: Interactive Design and Game Development
8. Look into programs that teach animation online but are not university-level programs. These include Animation Mentor, AOnline and the 3D Training Institute.
3D Training Institute