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Where is 2D headed?

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Where is 2D headed?

I'm just wondering, since I'm just now thinking about going into animation college, I'm very interested in persuing a career in traditional animation. I want to know where you think the traditional animation industry is headed, and where it'll be in a few years, because I'm hearing that there's not many jobs anymore for that sort of thing. That it's all going 3D and pretty soon 2D will be almost obsolete. This is a frightening thing to hear, so I'm just gathering opinions. I am avid in art and such, but I just got turned on to the animation thing a few months ago.

And now that I think of it, I haven't said anything about what really interests me, which is independently creating and animating films. How much of a profitable option is that? And can the National Film Board of Canada play a part in that? Once again thanks for all your help all, I couldn't be doing any of this without you. :)

Profitable? It isn't (unless you are independently wealthy and can afford a big budget for a short that someone might want to pay for).

The NFB is no longer a huge player in the field either. They are still making films, but at nowhere near the capacity they used to. And if your film is not weird in any way, utilizing scratching on film or moving sand particles and with VERY strange (horrible in fact) music, they will probably not be interested. This is one thing I have noticed of the board as of late. There are no more Cordell Barker or Richard Crombie films being done there. I had that revelation a few months ago too, after going to the Ottawa animation fest, and seeing all the horrible films; "I will make my own film! Maybe I could get the film board into it!". I was told by a friend who is a lawyer there that I had a better chance of winning the lottery.

Anyways... I would not worry so much now about what TYPE of animation you want to be doing. Study your traditional animation (sounds like you are in Canada... Let me know if you want any advice about schools) an ddecide where you would like to use that knowledge later on. YOU NEED TRADITIONAL ANIMATION AS A BASE FOR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Has anyone ever heard of the college SCETCH? It's shut down now, but a couple people from there were the ones that started up Redhouse.

Haha, alright thanks Wade. Yeah I am in Canada, but the thing is, I can't get student loans, so whatever school I go to I'll have to save up for here in saskatoon beforehand, so it would be more difficult for me to attend any school outside the city. If that was no problem I'd love to go to Sheridan or Max the Mutt or Vanarts etc. etc. but that's a tough one, as I'll have to spend even more money on living costs, and I'm pretty broke right now without a job. My parents are paying for part of the tuition though. :)

If you want guarranteed employment go into nursing. I know of no other occupation where you can count on a job after graduation.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

That's not exactly my life's purpose, it's more doing something that I enjoy, but thanks anyway. ;)

Max the Mutt... I would not put my trust into that school if I were anyone yet. They are a new program, and there are many bugs to work out of it still, I am sure... Give it 5 years, and MAYBE they will be ready. Aren't they very pricey as well (private school?)??? I have learned first hand what new programs have to offer problem-wise. I was one of Algonquin college's first sets of graduates back in the early 90's. Now, after 15 years of teaching, they have ironed out the bugs.

Three schools I would suggest here in Canada are:

Sheridan - Oakville
Algonquin - Ottawa
Capilano - Vancouver

Van Arts is very expensive... These three schools (above) have wonderful programs and they are affordable for Canadian residents.

Unfortunately, i don't think there are any schools in Sask. Animation is not a big business out there... Wheat farming though... THAT you could find a course for I am sure... (I was actually born in Kindersley, and have lived in Moose Jaw and Alsask)

Good luck, dude...

And Phacker... Good point about nursing... Jeez... Maybe I could change vocations. I hear there are a lot of chicks in nursing :eek: . I don't imagine my wife would like that so much...

"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

CG looks like it will become the flavor of choice for a few years especially after the success of all the features. the studios in the US are trying to replicate that on TV but its going to be quite hard what with the limited budgets. So they're designing 2d shows for flash - so I think we'll see more of CG for features, lots more of flash for tv and maybe over time CG as cheaper studios in Korea and Asia start doing good CG work. :rolleyes:

Yeah that's what I'm thinking too, and Redhouse is fairly new as well, although everyone's raving about how good it is, and how they're churning out demo reels with quality like Sheridan, even though it just opened, so I dunno. It also depends how many years a program is too. So many factors, head exploding. But yeah, I've been single for a while, maybe nursing is the way to go after all. :D

I appreciate you guys' help so much, but I have another question to ask. Now that I'm thinking about all this I think I might take a course with 2D and 3D, which sounds very good, it's been around for 20 years, and they sound very knowledgable. They have 250 hours of traditional animation in the first year, and it's all computer in the second year, is that enough to be a good animator in traditional? How much training is required until I know enough to just practice on my own? I almost feel like I'm abusing all you, I'm just bombarding you with these questions, I hope I'm not annoying you yet ^_^

i personnaly think that all the training in thw world is not going to make you a good animator ..
It will make you a skilled technician probably..but, you will become a good animator when you start doing it !

most of us know how to write and read, very few of us or mark twain or victor hugo
skill is one thing , talent is another.

Just think about why you want to do animation..
do you just want to get a which case, i hear nurseries are hiring..or do you want to live a passion???


The course sounds okay to me? What school is it and where, if I may ask?

"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

It's at the Heinz Institute in Saskatchewan. It's not bad, but I'm not all that impressed with the student gallery so I'm suspicious. And I mean, how long should it take to learn the basic principles, slow in slow out, portraying the weight of something etc. before you "know" everything and it's just a matter of perfecting your style or what have you.
Also they modified the program from what it says on the website, it's no longer classical or 3D animation, they just have one animation course, as they took out the classical animation course.

You could probably learn the basic principles of animation within a few days, but to actually "know" everything could take a lifetime. Animation is a work in progress where you're always confronted with a new challenge. Something that worked for one thing may not work for something else. As you gain more experince you create a library of techniques that you can call upon to help you animate a scene, and you only gain experience by actually animating. But there are times where you have to call upon your own creativity to create something new, and not just follow a set formula. Everybody learns at a different pace, so you may find that you picked up some of the principles quite easily but that you are still struggling with others.

At any rate, don't concern yourself with how long it takes you to learn something. Just focus on actually learning it. As you practice the craft, you will gain more confidence in your skills. Then instead of "learning" you will actually be "doing".

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listen to wade and sharvonique..
they are very good advisors.


To be honest, animation is not something you will learn overnight. They will teach you at school what the principles are, but it is up to you to put them into use and expand on them. You will actually learn more in 2 months of working than in a 2 year course, but that does not mean the course is unnecessary. There are just so many subtleties in animation that you can only learn from trial and error, always expanding on your knowledge first obtained in school.

One year is not sufficient in my opinion to learn the traditional aspects, but it is certainly better than what I have seen in some other schools which mass-produce grads in 6 months total. My traditional course was 2 years, and that still was not quite enough to learn all that you need to know. Since then though, Algonquin has made their course into a 2 year diploma in traditional, and then a third year in either computer 2D or 3D animation. This would be the best scenario for you (or anyone else who was thinking seriously about getting into animation) I believe...

As for Heinze... Never heard of it. Sorry. I cannot give good or bad critiques on that one, but the fact that I have never heard of an animation school in Canada, quite frankly, would make me suspicious. This is a small industry, especially here in Canada, and a very tight-knit community, and we generally hear of everything that happens... I can honestly say that I have NEVER had a portfolio submission from that school. Kind of reflects on them and their capacity to be a reputable institution... Ask them for numbers on how many of their grads actually found work after school compared to the number of grads who went into wheat farming or nursing. All schools have this information and will be happy to share it.

As for you Pascal... Hehehehe. Thanks for the comments (Pascal is a good guy to listen to as well, with some experience to back up his statements)!


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Thanks pascal! :D

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Yeah that's what's confusing me now, I want to go somewhere good, that's going to develop my skills as fully as possible, and I don't think a 2 year course can deliver that, as I've seen with their student examples. And I agree that the Algonquin school sounds very much up my alley, but it's just a matter of developing a proper portfolio to submit, and getting the money, because I cannot go out of the province without any money to pay for living expenses, ontop of tuition, especially if I'm going to school full time. After the first year though, everything will be fine I'm sure, it's just getting set up somewhere initially. Picking the best school/schools for me and commiting to it.

I strongly believe that animators will never let 2D die. Just because the big movie studios are focusing on 3D right now doesn't mean 2D is a thing of the past. The majority of television animation is 2D and many independent animators continue to work in 2D. I personally like all styles of animation, and I pick the style that's best suited for the story.

If you do decide to study animation, you should keep in mind that the principles learned in 2D animation will also translate to 3D animation. And 2D animation can also be digital. Instead of doing every aspect of 2D animation by hand, many animators use 2D animation software to draw and color their work directly in the computer. This process cuts down the work load of 2D animation but still keeps the traditional hand drawn look. So if 2D is the way you want to go, I say go for it! :p

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So I read up on the three schools you listed Wade, and from what I gathered, the capilano college seems to be my best bet, although a bit more expensive than I'd like. Sheridan's requirements were too strict, I never even took a senior level visual arts, and my average wasn't that great, same with Algonquin, I'd like a place that looks at my skill rather than my marks. Although the 4 year courses would've been nice, I think that Capilano would suit me best in my superior opinion :D... or any other suggestions? I'm always open to comments of course ^_^

Thanks for your input! I was actually looking into getting a wacom tablet a while back for use with photoshopping some images I had scanned, so I'm not completely against computer animation or anything, it's just I prefer the look and creative feel of 2D. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada, so there's an option of basically three different colleges I can attend. Redhouse, a 3 year course of strictly traditional animation, using Toon Boom, and a steady foundation of life drawing. The Heinze institute, that had a classical animation course at one point, but now has one foundational year of life drawing, with a bit of traditional and a lot of computer training, and the second year of strictly 3D animation, with courses on budgeting, how to get in the industry, things like that. The third the New Media Campus, which I am not interested in at all, which focuses only on 3D animation, and uses no pencils, or paper of any form, and does not highlight life drawing at all. I am not interested in this one. Each is about $10,000 CAD per year, and my parents want me to go to Heinze, as it has been around for longer and they're more of a proffessional outfit. I'm just concerned now as to what my best option would be, seeing now where my passion lays, in 2D, and where the industry seems to be headed. I don't want to make a lot of money, just enough to live off of. First I suppose I need a job in order to get into any school right now though. ^.^

Capilano is a good choice, man. I was impressed by their grads' work. Plus... The guy who runs that program is an old friend, and before that, MY teacher, and a member of this forum, Don Perro. He is always happy to offer information to newcomers about the school. You should contact him on here (his user name is just that: Don Perro).

Good luck!

"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Thank you sir, now is only getting 20,000 dollars saved up and finishing my portfolio :p

Here we go again. :rolleyes:

It looks like we're seeing the death of the cookie-cutter style Disney/Dreamworks 2D animated feature, at least temporarily. No big loss there, considering how awful most of those movies were over the past decade.
The future might lie with the independent and foreign-produced 2D feature: movies that are more stylistically interesting.

The good news for 2D is that 2D television is as popular as ever, and if studios keep turning to Flash it's probably more likely that those shows will be animated locally, rather than be shipped to Asia.

People who say 2D will die - now that 3D is here - really had no interest in 2D in the first place. These kind of statements are made casually by know-nothing entertainment pundits. They are the same sorts who said that television was going to destroy cinema and radio. No, but both media DID have to reinvent themselves somewhat.

SIX 2D features (so far) are scheduled to hit theaters next year - Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Curious George, Hair High, Howl's Moving Castle, Steamboy, and A Scanner Darkly - so, no, 2D ain't dead; and I expect all of you who whine about the demise of 2D to support the craft by seeing every one of these movies at least TWICE!

Thanks for your thoughts sir. Once again, I don't think 2D is dying, I simply ask for others' input into a few years from now just so I have an idea, as I'm fairly new to the whole animation thing, just so I have some basis knowledge going into things.

I'm not familiar with any of the schools that you mentioned, but you should pick the one that you would feel most comfortable attending and would gain the greatest benefit. Based on your descriptions, Redhouse seems more in line with what you want to do but Heinze appears to be the most well-rounded. I also think you should avoid the New Media Program because every good animator needs a solid foundation in life drawing, and it concerns me that an animation program would not include it in its curriculum.

You should tour the schools if you're able to see how you like them, especially while the school is in session so that you can get feedback from current students. One tip to help your selection is to research companies that you would like to work for and find out their job requirements. Then you can compare if the school you want to go to will teach you the skills required to get the job.

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This is actually a very good question to ask Krakler for a young pup looking for what he/she is going to do with his/her life. I too was faced with the same questions at one time, and my old man wanted me to do the research before going out and studying 2D animation. Unfortunately, back then I did not have the luxury of internet to ask these questions (I don't think it really existed then. I can't remember). But you do have this resource to help guide you.

Here is an article that I wrote for an animation magazine about this very topic:


This discussion has in fact happened in here before (a lot), and has always sparked some heated debate, but nonetheless...

Good luck!

"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Reading that article Wade...I was only under the impression they sent out work for inbetweens and rote, mechanical stuff that didn't require any exceptional artistic prowess. They actually move ALL of the development, like boards/layouts/BGs, etc. overseas!?

I am afraid so. Boards, usually, are done here... However, when I was in India, there was a studio in Bombay called UTV that had done some boards for Disney TV, believe it or not. I saw some of them, and they were HORRIBLE!

Usually, it is just layout to digital output done overseas though (which is still weird enough to me... layout should at least be done here), but I believe that this will change with time as well, as the overseas animators get more and more experienced and start taking on more and more responsibility. Money talks, my friend... Money talks.

It is not the same on every series... But most are going this way.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

It's not that there aren't talented artists elsewhere in the world. Indeed, some of the finest artists are foreign to us (sometimes never changing that status). Some cultures though, you hear them talk about how the whole concept of work and a job is this enormous source of pride to them. I watched a documentary once (which makes me an expert haha kidding of course) and these Chinese men worked in a factory making -one- accessory to -one- part of an adhesive metal stick that goes into automobiles.

Not only was the structure of the organization more like a family than the people's families, but even though they'd have a job that we'd consider uninteresting and menial, they were totally devoted to it! 12hr days sometimes, and their attitudes were akin to "Wow, this is pretty glorious that I have an opportunity to have a job. I should be thankful to my ancestors and anyone around me." and they respected it. I'll be darned if the numbers they put out for sticky things didn't blow everyone else's sticky things numbers out of the water.

Anyhow, my point is, from a -cultural- standpoint, there are some devices/gags/artistic concepts that are uniquely ours. Will those translate well if we're giving the work away? And if we have a medium that thrives on inspiration, what happens when the devotees go adhesive-metal-stick on the animation?

It sort of throws into the question how big of an impact the ART aspect of animation has, that "life" and that "acting;" will we see things like 2D held down because all of the traditional that gets done getting crap-ified by world-class crafstmanship and totally dead and therefore useless drawings? (Or some similar situation in other parts of the production process).

Of course, I am writing in a very sensationalist manner and it all sounds extreme as a result. But the overall idea is there. How concerned should we be?

Very insightful thoughts guys, I'm both im, and depressed. I have already taken the tours for your information, and it's been very interesting seeing all of these projections. Just wondering, what classifies computer assisted 2D, aside from flash? I know for example, in Aladdin, they used computers to texture the pattern on the magic carpet, but how far does this go, and how practical is it to learn, or is there more than even this?(Sorry for all the questions :p) Or does flash contain more than just the movies I see on newgrounds? Because from what I see, flash is very limited and I generally never liked webtoons for the reason of being so choppy and flat. I know some of that is because of lack of talent and effort on the animators part, but it looks like more than that to me, I couldn't see myself making webtoons/games for a living.

Most people on Newgrounds don't animate in the way you're thinking about. That's not a slam or anything, just going by definitions. It might move around but a lot of it is cut-out style, rotations, flickers, bobs, if there is anything moving at all. So basically, they use the shapes/movieclips aspects of Flash. You don't see a great deal of people who just use mice and tablets to replace pencils and animate with drawings, etc. Just make sure you don't spite the oven for the work of the chef.

Oh no, I've seen a ton of flash frame-by-frame animations and I respect people who do it tons, but I'm just saying it looks like you could do a whole lot more with a pencil.

In its simplest terms, computer assisted 2D is 2D animation that is partially or entirely created with the aid of a computer. This ranges from people who use the computer to color and texture their hand drawn frames, to people who use 2D animation software, to special effects, and maybe even to editing the animation.

I also don't consider Flash itself to be limited, just the skills of the animators using the program. Even if a flash animation is done frame by frame, it's still not going to seem "animated" if the 12 principles of animation aren't applied. But some animators use the choppy effect as a style choice and not because they're not able to animate. If the choppy motion of the animation looks like it fits well with the story and characters, then it was probably done on purpose.

I used Flash to create my short The Frog and the Princess, but I wanted a painterly line quality and smooth motion. I used a combination of animating with symbols and drawing out individual frames in Illustrator. Even though it's not as fluid as I would've liked, I'm still happy with the outcome and I think it looks different from most Flash animations. Here's the link if you want to see it Click on the Projects link, then The Frog and the Princess thumbnail button, then the Watch link.
I never got around to streamlining my site, so it takes a while to load. If you want to see the animation and you're not able to, just post a message here and I'll create a direct link to it.

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"Oh no, I've seen a ton of flash frame-by-frame animations and I respect people who do it tons, but I'm just saying it looks like you could do a whole lot more with a pencil."

I think you getting suckered into the "frame-by-frame" school. What's great about doing computer animation is that you don't have redraw every single frame, and with planning computer generated tweens can work, but you have to know when.

NewGrounds isn't the ultimate in seeing what's out there in fact a lot of what is showcased at NewGrounds are newbie and hack jobs...just try browsing the net there are some great things out there.

Check out this site:

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

I know this, and I have seen a lot that isn't from there, I actually hate it because of the "oh I can put anything up on this site, poopie bum bum" stuff. But you're right, as much as I'd like to think so, I don't know everything there is to know about animation, so thank you for educating me a bit. What kinds of programs do people use for computer assistance?

I am afraid that I will have to interject here...

I agree with you, Krakler. Flash animation (or other computer generated 2D stuff) does not have the same feeling or fullness about it that traditionally drawn animation has. Yes, the computer generated stuff can be done very nicely now and is getting better if done by the right people, but it still just does not have the same look at all that the old school anim has.

I am not poo-pooing it, but I can understand where Krakler is coming from when he says that "it looks like you could do a whole lot more with a pencil". Yes, Krakler, you are absolutely right. Both mediums have their advantages and disavantages. The computer generated stuff is a lot faster/cheaper to produce, but lacks a lot of volume, fluidity and life (in terms of fullness of the motion). It is very limited as to what you can do. Traditional is the opposite, as it takes a helluva long time to produce, and costs a great deal more. BUT, you are far less limited with it, and for me, it just looks so much more beautiful.

Regardless, in order to be a good animator in any medium, Krakler, I suggest that you learn how to animate FIRST in traditional 2D, and then move in the direction you see as most fit for you, whether it be computer gen'd 2D, 3D, stop motion, or what have you. In a good 2D course, you will learn how MOVEMENT works and all the animation principles that go with it. In a 3D program or a 2D computer gen'd program, in most schools, you will learn how the software works more than how movement works. You will come out of the school knowing a software package, but still won't know what overlapping action or an anticipation is (I am speaking generally, and this does not apply to ALL 3D schools, but does however apply to many).

All the best flash animators and 3D animators were at one time in 2D, and learned the principles from it.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

The guys at "goober" started out with just Flash and Photoshop, looks like they are experimenting with Moho now too. But Wade's advice is good too, if you know how to animate it doesn't matter what you use. I know a lot of Flash animators are now going the the Premier/AfterEffects route.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Also keep in mind a lot that is designed for web delivery is not going to meet "Disney" standards. Other issues come into play such as file size and cpu load.

Pat Hacker, Visit Scooter's World.

Thanks for the support Wade, and I checked Goober out, and I was impressed actually, I think it's just my computer that makes it so choppy. But I checked out Moho and that looks like a really amazing tool. But I guess we strayed away from my initial point a bit, which is not a bad thing. In any case, in your proffessional opinions, if I come out of college a good animator, will I be able to find a job in 2D, 3-4 years from now? :confused:

Animating traditionally in 2D... Probably not. Those jobs are VERY scarce in North America as all the work is sent overseas to Asia and the Asian sub continent and some parts of Eastern Europe. Animating in Flash or After Effects in 2D, possibly. This is becoming popular as a tool, but in 3-4 years, maybe it will have evolved past these tools (probably will, at the rate that this is going at). Animating 3D as well will have opportunities for you to work.

But please keep in mind what I said before, and that is why I brought it up.... You should learn traditional animation nonetheless first, regardless of the fact that animation jobs are sent overseas. This will give you the base on which you can develop your skills as some other type of paid animator here in North America.

However, it is my belief that all animation, Flash, After Effects, traditional, AND 3D (and whatever else you can think of) will all end up in a cheaper country to be done, unfortunately. I believe that noone will be animting here any more in 5 years, with the exception of small commercial work and flash hobbiests.

It is hard to predict, because the business is changing so rapidly.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Mmk, because animating in after effects, and moho seems like a not bad route for me, but I'm just not sure about 3D, I do really want to stay in animation, but I just don't know how much I'll enjoy 3D. Who knows though eh... I'm just really freaked out by what I'm hearing, and as much as I would want to do what I really want to do, I'm not sure I want to dive into an empty pool so to speak.