Marc Godfrey Animator

Friday, 31 August 2012

3D art? How do I become an animator using THAT?

Someone asked me: how do you become an animator ...which I thought was a very good question...and inspired discussion, that I thought I'd share. 3D art and animation is everywhere, so how do you get to train how to work with it? But firstly, let's get one thing out of the way, can you believe it's the end of August already? This year is zipping by. It also means that I have now been training in animation and learning animation techniques for about 2 months now. I'm at the stage where the software I'm using is getting very familiar and I'm feeling almost to the stage of it becoming second nature. Of course there are more programmes to practice animation techniques than just using Maya, but I'll stick with the one programme for now!


Animator Meme
Click here for Image Credit

I used to ask myself "How Do I Become an Animator?", and end up getting lost on Google with articles telling me "to become an animator write letters to production companies and ask for experience", I think it's a good idea, but I don't know how much that would help in the long run. I wanted a solid training foundation, particularly in 3D art and 3D animation as that sparked more of an interest with me rather than traditional animation. One thing is for sure, I wanted to make sure I would be equipped with the animation techniques that I would need to know before I even attempted to approach a studio or company to take me on. The best piece of advice I was given (and I believe is paying off) is to network, network, network.

I didn't study Animation at uni*, so at the age of 30, I felt at a disadvantage - I didn't have a clue about any of the latest animation techniques or how to work in 3D art other than traditional sculpture. I've known about Escape studios for a while - I had a friend who studied Compositing there, and I had been to a couple of open days - so it automatically popped up in my mind. As I'm sure I've already explained, Escape couldn't help me with my dream to become an animator because they pulled the course, just as I was ready to sign up...but they did introduce me to Alex Williams...so a course in learning Maya with Escape, and a course learning Animation techniques with Alex followed.

I felt confident with Escape, the 3D art they created blew my away. But not only had I been given a personal recommendation from a friend, but the work their students is excellent - knowing Alex had connections with them, and seeing his showreel, I knew I was in the right company with him too. The animation techniques I'm learning are brilliant and easy to understand and follow (however, mastering them, is another matter). If I hadn't found either, I guess I would be looking for more schools or colleges with good reputations, good work to show for what they do and a good feel for their connections with the industry...THEN I'll approach a studio with my "let me become an animator with you" approach. Escape will help you find work when you finish a course, but I understand that they would charge a finders fee to the studio-potential-employer, which studios don't like, for obvious reasons! So, the networking approach is one I hope to explore to its full potential! It's still early days, but it's always good to be prepared!

*Some great uni courses for animation and working with 3D art, as I understand, are at Bournemouth University and the University of Kent.