Search form

Education level/ requirements-plz advise

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Education level/ requirements-plz advise

Hello all,

I am curious as to how much education (other than learning a specific software) is really required in order to become a 3D Character designer, Rigger, Animator, etc.

I understand that a certain amount of training is obviously needed along with a decent reel. However, recently I have been thinking: "Is it actually necessary for me to be taking this history class right now?"

Do studios look for a full four-year degree, or is talent, knowledge enough to get a foot in the door? Would classes pertaining only to this field be enough?

I appologize if this question is posed often- I couldn't find anything in the search option.

Any and all feedback would be great.

Thanks a lot.


Thanks EMoose :)

I guess I am trying to circumvent the general study classes if possible. I was thinking if I took all of the classes related strictly to this field, and then produced a decent reel, maybe they would overlook the degree thing.

My reason for thinking along these lines is due to the fact that the only decent animation program where I live (actually the only four year college in my area that offers a program.) is in the neighborhood of 11,000.00 per SEMESTER!!! That's a lot of cake, and I don't think I could even get loans to cover half of that amount.

I am currently pursuing classes at a community college that has an articulation agreement with this school....but for what?? The four year doesn't even have a rep in the industry.

I would probably be pursuing the modelling/character development end, but the person I am, I would like to get my hands dirty in as much of it as possible, I.E. Texturing, rigging, animation.

Thanks again for all of your advice.


John Urbauer

You probably want a major in either 3D Modelling or Animation if you want 3D studios to take your seriously. They may not care if you have an education sometimes....but they want PROOF you have the skill and the ability to work on whatever quality 3D animation, which usually results in an education.

Most schools work your portfolio and shows studios how much you can do....and maybe just doing your own hobby 3D can match that....but your question is kind of un specific on what your getting at, but hopefully my advice helped anyway.

Animation writer who loves...Animation!

I am curious as to how much education (other than learning a specific software) is really required in order to become a 3D Character designer, Rigger, Animator, etc.

I would say to go to the studio's websites (or even email or call them) and see what kinds of skills they are looking for in new hires.

Personally, I think learning a software package should be at the bottom of your list. You'll need to learn one eventually, but in the end it's just a tool. Kinda like focusing on learning all the uses for a hammer and saw if you want to be a carpenter.

Work on learning the fundamentals of animation. Watch (not how you'd watch TV, but really observe and study) people, animals, machinery, and good animation. And (at the risk of getting people all riled up again) draw, draw, draw, draw, draw....and then draw some more...

That should start you out with a basic foundation to build off of. From there I'd say you'll have to decide what you want to do.

Do you want to continue on this path? What kind of studio do you want to work for (bigger studios will likely want specialists, smaller studios might be more interested in jack-of-all-trades types)? etc. and how all that will affect how you will continue with your education.

In the end, it seems to me, that your reel will get you your job, not the degree. But a good education never hurt anyone (*see note below).

But, there are many, much more qualified people than me here to answer this in greater detail.
*side note: From your mentioning a history class, I'm assuming you're already in college. I have strong reservations even hinting that anyone should drop out of school. A degree (in anything) will open doors for you that would've been shut (or very hard to open) otherwise.[/I]

I really appreciate your responses.

I have been a figurative sculptor for 20 years (yeah im a little bit older) and can draw as well. I am also a writer.

The idea of becomming an animator, character modeller, what-have-you came to me after years of using CAD programs (no degree though) for designing tooling (for work),my own inventions, etc. I really enjoyed designing on the computer, but have no interest in pursuing a degree as an industrial designer (i'm through with that world)

After a lot of reflection, it hit me that I could perhaps pursue animation, etc. as something that could ultimately fulfill all of my interests in one job. I decided to start school, but after hearing about people getting picked up from U-tube and the like, I started thinking along these lines. My exact thoughts were: "if I just took all of the classes related to this career, and then develop a good reel over time, would that be enough. I'd save myself a lot of time and money."

Dumb idea?

I appreciate your feedback, thanks.


I have been a figurative sculptor for 20 years (yeah im a little bit older) and can draw as well. I am also a writer.

oh... :o Sorry, I completely misjudged your question...

As I said before, there are much more qualified people here to give you more in depth and relevant answers. I'm actually on a somewhat similar path as you, but I'll relay what I've picked up along the way and let others correct me where I stray from reality...

I guess my next question would be, how much have you researched the animation field and what exactly you'd like to do in it?

As a sculptor and CAD modeler, I'd say your background skews you toward the modeling end of 3D, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look at animating, if that's what you really want to do.

From what I understand, a degree is not necessary to get a job in animation. The reel gets you the job.

That's not to say that a degree won't help. Plus, connections made at school can help you over your career. And, if you're really new to animation, there's nothing better to keep you on track learning and doing than assignments and a grade at the end of a class.

Really, which way you go is up to you, your finances, your time, your knowledge, and your ability. But in the end, your reel is what the employers will judge you on.

If you're looking for an education that is solely focused on animation, you might want to check out Animation Mentor. I have not taken classes there, but I've interacted a little with some of the teachers and students and they are top-notch.

Anyway, hope this helps a little. Good luck!

Perhaps this is the main

Perhaps this is the main problem of learning with a teacher. Of course, sometimes we are just lazy, and we need to push ourselves a little in order to go to a class or learn something new, for example, new vocabulary or grammar of a foreign language. However, I am more comfortable doing it myself, here I can find great applications for this, as well as online courses. Thus, I select the ideal language learning schedule.