Becoming an animator allows you to use your creative abilities to bring a limitless amount of stories to life. While it can take time and dedication, the hard work you put into learning how to animate to the best of your abilities can pay off tremendously for your career and your happiness with your work. Read on to find the essential steps to becoming a successful animator for anyone interested in learning more about what it takes to thrive in animation.
Start Taking Animation Courses
While it may seem obvious, one of the best things you can do to become a successful animator is to learn as much as you can from people with experience. That could mean going to a college or university and completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program. While obtaining a degree can give you many tools to find success, it’s not an absolute necessity to become an animator.
Taking online animation courses from industry experts can also teach you the abilities you’ll need to succeed in the industry. Having someone ready to answer your questions will help you grasp the fundamentals faster and improve your skills. The essential thing you can do for yourself is gain practical experience; having someone to point you on the correct path can be highly beneficial.
Practice as Much as Possible
Becoming a successful animator doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of time and dedication to improve your skills so you can comfortably navigate different facets of the profession. At the end of the day, the only way to get better is to practice as much as possible on your own time.
The practice goes beyond simply working on animation projects. You should work with other people whenever possible to grow as a team player and learn the best practices for collaborating with others. Take the opportunity to learn complementary skills such as improvisation, acting, filmmaking, and more to help you become a more nuanced animator.
Take some time to walk through the park or sit in a café and let your mind wander. Observing how people interact with others and the world around them can help you learn how to animate people and objects. Notice how people walk or shrug their shoulders, or the manner in which someone sets down a cup compared to someone else doing the same action. How are their motions similar? How are they different? Implementing such details will fill your animation with life. You may surprise yourself with how many tiny nuances you can apply to your work.
Employers and clients will be looking for distinct aspects of your work that help you stand out from the crowd. The more you find yourself noticing tiny details—such as the way a particular person walks or how the wind rustles through a rosebush—the more you imbue your personal vision and observations into your portfolio. When people see how original, unique, and creative your animations are, they’ll be drawn to them.
Craft a Dynamic Portfolio and Reel
Your portfolio will be the first and best impression you can make on potential employers. No matter how great your resume is, animation is a visual medium, and your work will speak for itself regardless of your credits. Always highlight your finest work and keep your portfolio and reel up to date as you develop different and improved pieces.
Make sure your portfolio is available online and easy to navigate for those who view it. For every piece of work you display, have a summary of the work you put into the project and the objectives you completed. Look around and see examples of animator’s portfolios to get an idea of how you should set up yours.
Pay Attention To Trends and Classic Works
It should go without saying that the more animation you see, the better your work will get. The industry is constantly evolving, and you must keep on top of what’s new. Watch Oscar-nominated animated shorts, films, and other animated shows and games to obtain inspiration for your own work and learn what you enjoy. Seeing how other artists animate will motivate you to continue learning and creating in your own style.
Additionally, study renowned works from the past to understand how far animation has progressed since its inception. Learn your favorite animators’ best practices to acquire a sense of what you should be doing in your work while continuing to modify them into your style.
Gain Practical Experience
Once you’re comfortable with your skills as an animator, try to get as much work as possible. Take internships, freelance work, or whatever you can do to gain real-world experience. Networking is key to finding the best potential opportunities. Try networking online through animation forums, LinkedIn, advertising your projects on social media, and asking friends and coworkers if they need any work done.
Once you’ve established yourself as a professional and begun working regularly, strive to take on new side opportunities when they arise (as long as you’re comfortable with your workload.) The more time and effort you spend on your craft, the more chance for success in the industry you’ll get.
While these are some of the essential steps to becoming a successful animator, each person’s journey is different. Some people may love working on 2D animated comics, while others may find they love creating video game animation. At the end of the day, as long as you’re striving to be the best animator you can be, you’ll be satisfied—and creatively fulfilled—with the results.
The professionals at MoGraph Mentor can assist you on your animation journey. We have classes and workshops designed to educate you on the foundations of animation, improve your skills, and help you build a dynamic portfolio. We provide a variety of courses, such as 3D animation training, to assist you in determining your career trajectory. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.