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Dying to be an animator, Help!

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Dying to be an animator, Help!

Hey all, I'm hoping somebody(s) can help me...

I'm looking to break into the animation circle, but im at the very beginning. (still trying to find a school to go to) My ideal career would be working on feature films, much like the ones made by pixar (Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Etc...) I am 22 years old and reside in Southern California and I'm stuck...

What schools around the L.A. County area would be a good choice?
Is being a great hand artist a necessicty?
Are there any certain 3d packages I should concentrate on? (I have Lightwave)

Any help would be great, I am in dire need, so despirate I'll even put my phone number here, if anyone could help me.

Thanks to all!

I hear UCLA has a decent animation program, if you want to stay local. Or if you want to spend lots-o-money you could try Cal Arts. What everyone will tell you in terms of doing 3d is "don't learn a package, learn how to animate." Of course if you're doing 3d, you have to learn how to use 3d animation software as well. Lightwave is cool, most people are still using Maya or their own proprietary stuff. Don't expect to go right into the feature film industry right out of school (although it does happen, very occasionally).

Draw draw draw draw, learn to animate by hand, learn the 12 principles, all that good stuff. It will help you stand out.

Best of luck,


The Animation Guild in North Hollywood offers classes .

The Animation Academy in Burbank :

This looks very promising :

Online Animation Mentor

Books :

The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair

The Blair book is also offered in a free online edition :

Here's another great online resource :

Animation Meat

"EustaceScrubb" has left the building

Thanks all!

To the guys/gals that have already posted a reply and to any others that post later. THANK YOU for all the helpfull hints and resources, its very appreciated. Thank you!

Any future hints will be remembered!

What schools around the L.A. County area would be a good choice?

Calarts is the most well known. Lots of Pixar and Disney folks graduated there. If you have the cash to burn, this would be the place to go, no doubt. There's Gnomon in Hollywood, and if you wanna go a bit further away there's Academy of Art in San Fran.
Never heard of Animation Academy.

Being good at handdrawn isn't strictly necessary, but it does help. Like Ender said, focus on animation not software.

As far as packages go, it doesn't really matter; but some will be easier to use than others, or they'll have different toolsets. Lightwave is fine for modelling and texturing, but its not very strong in the characteranimation department. Maya is the most used in broadcast, 3DMax in games; and Softimage/XSI seems to be getting more popular. I'd suggest using whatever soft the school you go to uses -which will probably be Maya.


I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy [i]-Tom Waits

What about 3D modeling?

I am 22 years old, live on my own and without the help of parental support; so unfortunatlly I don't have the cash to burn so my choices are going to be pretty limited. But I did take a look at the online courses of and it looks very good, at some point once I find out how much I may end up trying it. The only thing is, is that it focuses on animation only, does any one know of any other online classes that work with 3d modeling and animation?

Animation Mentor looks sweet, but I suspect its not by any means going to be cheap. I'm going to look into it myself for some post-post-graduate stuff.