Deciding to pursue a career in animation is both exciting and confusing. It is thrilling to chase your passion and make a living through animation, but getting there can be quite a difficult process. One of the first questions many aspiring animators have to ask is whether or not to enroll in animation school.
Do I need to go to animation school to be an animator?
Of course, there are always multiple paths to any goal but the clearest and most direct route to a successful career in animation is to enrol in some animation courses. Most entry-level jobs require a degree in a relevant field, like fine art, digital art or graphic design. Having an animation school on your resume also demonstrates dedication and drive to your potential employer.
What will I learn in animation school?
There are a number of skills you’ll learn through an animation course, including image manipulation, design, storyboarding and 3D modelling. Though your particular interests will dictate the courses you take, animation school will ultimately teach you the technical skills needed to capture movement and images on a variety of computer programmes as well as the artistic training to design captivating images.
Not only will your professors teach you how to be a better animator, but you also will benefit from a classroom full of peers. Your classmates will represent a variety of experience levels, styles, preferences and habits that you can learn from. In-class critiques are a great way to receive constructive criticism from people who understand the animation process. Their styles may inspire your own work, their strengths may complement your own, and you may discover a new partner for collaborative projects.
What happens when I graduate?
One of the major benefits of attending an animation school is the advantage you will have when you enter the job market. Not just through a qualification on your resume, but because of the infrastructure animation schools develop to prepare their students for life after their degree. For instance, many schools use their connections point students towards internships and work placements that can turn into full-time employment.
Your school will also help you prepare a portfolio of your work that can be sent to potential employers. Many schools also offer help with resumes and cover letters. Remember, it is in the school’s best interest to have their alumni secure jobs in the animation industry, and they are in a position to help you.
What are the top animation schools?
It is impossible to comprehensively rank the world’s top animation schools. Each student has specific aspirations and interests and no one school is perfect for everyone.
There are a few other things to consider when choosing an animation school, such as the qualifications offered (choose a school with an Animation degree, not just a few elective animation classes), the facilities, the location and the cost. With consideration of these factors, you should be able to find a school that’s perfect for you.
You should also be careful to choose an accredited institution. This is how you know the school meets high, international standards.
To get you started on your search, here are a few schools that have strong reputations for quality animation programmes:
- Vancouver Film School, Canada
- Savannah College of Art and Design, USA
- Ringling College of Art and Design, USA
- RMIT, Australia
- Natcoll, New Zealand