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How do I get into animation without a degree?

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How do I get into animation without a degree?

I am going to major in studio art a Public University and I want to get into the animation industry. Can I get into the industry with just fine art skills?(without an animation degree.) Thanks.:)


the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

I second the yes.

I have no formal art education, or a degree, and yet I have worked for over 2 decades in the animation biz and taught for almost ten years.

A paper pedigree means NOTHING if you lack genuine talent.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Hey - thanks Ken..  What do

Hey - thanks Ken..  What do you think of the work prospects of someone with 3 years work experience as an animator in Vegas sized shows, plus the iAnimate workshop courses?  Thanks! 

I am going to major in studio art a Public University and I want to get into the animation industry. Can I get into the industry with just fine art skills?(without an animation degree.) Thanks.:)

What do you guys think about UC Davis's studio art program? That's where I am going to go.

. Can I get into the industry with just fine art skills?(without an animation degree.)

Yes. (is there an echo in here ? ;) )

All the great animators from the "Golden Age" (of hand-drawn animation) were either newspaper cartoonists, self-taught, or attended classical art schools like Chouinard or Art Student's League. No one had an animation degree. Most of the ones who we really think of as the Greats were trained as illustrators or fine artists, but the Depression era pushed a lot of those guys into animation because that's where they could make a living.

I teach at a school which will give you a degree in Animation (Traditional hand-drawn or CG, whichever your emphasis is) , but the program emphasizes classes in anatomy, figure drawing, perspective, design , etc. in addition to animation. Those classical art skills will apply whether you do hand-drawn or CG animation.

So, I mention that to emphasize I'm not "anti-school" or "anti-degree" , but this provocative essay posted on the ASIFA Animation Archive is worth your consideration:

How To Pick An Animation School

Part of that article says:

Q: How Do you Pick an Animation School?

"Here's the surprising answer... You don't! Schools that specialize in animation as a trade do a lousy job of preparing you for a career in animation. While you're a student, you should focus on your core art skills- drawing, design, composition and color. Look for a school that can give you a solid classical art background. Avoid ones that just teach computer programs. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to learn Maya.

Carlo Vinci was one of the greatest animators who ever lived, but he never took a class in animation. Instead, he spent three years of intense study to learn to be an artist. With the experience he gained at the National Academy of Design, he was able to learn animation and advance quickly on the job. It was the same for great animators like Marc Davis, Chuck Jones and Frank Thomas who studied at Chouinard on the West coast."

Reminds me of someone talking about firefighters school. On this school they don't teach you to be a firefighter, but, instead, everything you need to become a firefighter. To graduate as a firefighter you have to do the actual work for a certain amount of time (six months, I believe) as an efficient firefighter.

I guess animation schools shouldn't let you animate, but rather prepare you for a carreer as a professional animator, allow you to finetune your basic skills, IOW all the things you have no time for once you work as an animator.

I think University is more essential then it was before, as it gives you access to facilities and enebles you to be more applyable to companies as they allmost seem to expect that you know all the basic programs inside out. the most inportant thing for me about university was that it allowed me to focus on animation, the 10,000 word essay was a pain though.

William Wright, its you! the hero of KVATCH!

I'll throw my 'yes' into the pile as well. That doesn't necessarily mean that uni and college are completely useless. They're most likely great places to network and concentrate on developing your skills.

Check out my work!

I'm self-taught in Flash and I actually taught it at two different schools without a teaching degree so it's really about talent and opportunity. Having a degree on your resume will help you get noticed, but a thousand degrees mean nothing if you lack the necessary skills.

Wow! The advice they gave you is a lot more honest than the advice I got on the subject. I'm especially glad ASIFA's seeing the light. I like them.

I have a degree from VFS (see the banner ads all over this site) and it means NOTHING. I can't even get an interview at the studios where my former teachers work!

All anybody cares about is your reel/portfolio. Get the Preston Blair and Richard Williams books on the subject. Those taught me more about animation than that damn $27,000 course!! Definitely learn to use Flash. That's a real job skill. I'm learning Toon Boom Studio 4 right now. It's a bit of a steep learning curve at first, but it uses a lot of classical animation theory, and I like the program a lot.

Do NOT, under any circumstances, go in debt to learn animation. There's a lot of outsourcing, and a lot of corporate back-stabbing in the industry right now. In businessman's lingo, I'd say, "It is what it is." But you don't want to have to depend on that industry to pay off some huge student loan.

wish to become an animator, too!

Hello everyone. I read some of the posts and I would have to agree with everyone. I suppose it looks good to have the degree when seeking employment in the meduim, but then if you don`t have the talent to animate, what the heck is the degree for?

I say if you think you have what it takes, go for it! Usually friends that don`t draw are good critics, show then your work, if they think you are great then thats all you need to hear and just work on an excellent portfolio and a good demo reel and go job hunting. I wish you the best of luck, keep us informed! :D

Upload your Animation Videos

If you want to come in the animation industry without degree but you have good animation skill then upload your animated talent as video/images on that will help you to show your animation talent to the world and will provide you a chance to get a respective industry for your creativity.

Of course not, to get a job

Of course not, to get a job in the industry, you just have to make sure that your work is up to par with the animations that you see in the movies that you watch or video games that you play that are out in the market right now. But at the same time you have to think about your competition. What if a company interviewed you and another candidate. Let's say that both of your works are on the same level but you don't have a degree and the competitor does, who do you think the company will hire?

Yes you can

Why not? My company itself accept those who are not from animation degree, but have particular set of skills that the company needed, the matter is you have to have skill in particular things for the beneficial of the animation industry business company.

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Degree will always be useful

Degree will always be useful and will give you benefits at your future workplace. However, if you want to work a lot on your skills, then why not? :)