Computer animation specialists work on motion pictures, computer games, billboards, TV, the Web, even business and scientific projects. Here’s background, and tips on how you can transition into this expanding field.
There! I just put the finishing touches on a brand new animated character.
My career has blossomed since I became a computer animation specialist. Now I work on motion pictures, computer games, billboards, TV, the Web even business and scientific projects.
My new character – Cat – will help me tell you about the industry and the story of how I transitioned into this expanding field. I’m Cat Miller and this is DiceTV.
Once there was a starving artist named Cat, who tried to eek out a living painting portraits of “aristocats.”
To take her mind off her troubles, she went to see Toy Story 3. Suddenly she had an idea. “Maybe I could be a computer animator,” she cried.
She stumbled upon a kindly career counselor who told her that anyone with a creative background or art degree can succeed; but she’d need to learn basic creative software like: Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, 3D Studio Max and Softimage.Wow, that seems like a lot to learn, thought Cat. But she enrolled in a creative college and applied herself to her studies.
She also learned Photoshop, After Effects, ZBrush, Mudbox, Nuke and… PFTRack.
But when she discovered that she would also need to learn rendering, motion builder and motion capture applications, and other animation techniques, she became very discouraged.
Then, a wise old animation instructor spoke to Cat’s class. He explained that the top priority for computer animators is learning the 12 principals of animation originally developed by professionals at Walt Disney. He demonstrated each technique and Cat was encouraged.
Finally, he said: “As long as your demo reel shows industry-standard quality, you’ll get hired no matter what your educational background.”
Cat had learned enough to create a demo and submitted it to several employers. Soon she was earning a paycheck, eating regular meals, collaborating with writers and learning even more techniques on the job. Best of all, she really enjoyed her work.
So the moral of the story is: If you’re creative and you take the time to learn computer animation techniques and software, you too can look like the cat who swallowed the canary.
I’m Cat Miller and this has been DiceTV. We now return you to your regular desktop.
Editor’s Note: Yes, Cat did the drawings herself.