Search form

Is it too late?

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Is it too late?


This is my first time posting in these forums, and I've just discovered it, so I'm so sorry if a similar question has already been posted and answered! But I am currently in my 3rd year at college and have recently decided to pursue art -- namely, animation -- instead of dentistry. I have been pre-dental for three years now, and everything I have done so far reflects this. But I have been interested in art from a very young age, trying to teach myself to draw by studying others' works and gradually moving from hand-drawings to learning digital art as well.

This semester, I took my first animation class at my friends' urgings...and I can't make myself to into dentistry when I feel such a passion for this! I want to go into animation, but I'm wondering if it's just unfeasible for a junior who is starting to build her portfolio now and learning 2D animation this late into college! I want to intern at an animation studio hopefully by this summer, and I was hoping to go to some grad school after my senior year. I will be taking a 3D animation class next year and a computer science class as well, in addition to two animation classes next semester and around 2 or 3 more my last year. I'm just wondering if at this point, it's practical to just give up a potential career in dentistry?

I'm looking through some of these posts about what being an animator entails, and I'm not deterred. I guess animation studios sound a lot different from what I thought they'd be like (judging from their websites) but of course, it's the "real world" and they might want to put up a friendly, good-work-environment front. Specifically, I'd like to do character animation or create animations with non-profit organizations on human rights or other global issues, but I guess when I made that choice, I wasn't really thinking realistically? I just want some practical feedback so that I can have a heads up on how long it might take before I actually get work in an animation studio past grad school and whether I'm just being too idealistic by pursuing (what I feel is) my passion.

Thanks so much!

It is never too late and I hope the working animators here say the same thing.

I second the, "it's never too late!" sentiment. Today the possibilities are endless. Technology has made it so that you have numerous avenues open to you for both learning and doing animation. Take advantage of what's out there and follow your passion. Even the rough times doing what you love will be better than the best times at a gig that just wasn't meant for you.

Sounds like you have the passion, the next 2 important things are time and money. Do you have the time to dedicate to your studies? To really get the most out of your classes? To explore other resources like tutorials, books, videos? As for money -- Can you afford a kick-ass computer, monitor and expensive applications?

Not saying these things are absolutely necessary but if you have them your chances of success (IMO) increase exponentially.

Looking back at my schooling and attempt at becoming an animator I really didn't have the time and stamina to go to school, work, take care of my family, handle a thesis and an internship. I found another path in the animation field but not the one I started out on. I found the the students that really succeeded dedicated 8-12+ hours a day at the school, on their projects, working with other students. Or they were super independent with their own home studio.

Good luck.


Thank you for all of your replies! Would having all the electronic equipment be really helpful? And to the most recent reply, by school, do you mean undergraduate years, or in grad school?

I'm currently taking an intro course in animation and am working on my project - I'm not sure what to include in my portfolio or anything, so really any information would be helpful :).

Oh! And as for they generally not accept students who are beginners? As in, I would ideally want to intern this summer at some animation studio, but I'm not sure if I'll be qualified enough - is that generally true?

as far as being picked for a job. skill has more to do with it, than anything else. if your a beginner and your skill is noticeable. it will not go unnoticed.

but usually beginners dont know how to animate. meaning their is a science to it. that has nothing to do with the software.

that a beginner may not have learned or honed yet. this applies more so to 3d animators because so much of it, is and can be automated. knowing how animation works outside of the software really helps

be careful with internships, its a double edged sword. they could just want someone to work for free, but you never no. if you dont try

There's some questions here that need answering, before you can get the answer to your main question of "is it too late". If you have read a lot of the material in these forums, then you likely have a good idea of what to expect.......but lets feed you some questions so you can self-evaluate:

Do you draw, or more specifically, HOW MUCH do you draw??

WHAT do you draw?

Are you drawing cartoon characters, or just........stuff?

What LEVEL do you draw at right now---how close to professional is it?

If you can answer these four questions for yourself, you'll probably have the start of a good idea of where you stand.

Let's be frank here, and blunt......if you draw LESS than an hour a day every day........if you draw just .......stuff.........if you are miles away from being professional.......its probably saner to stick with dentistry.

Dentistry, as a career, is ALWAYS going to be a constant in terms of employment. People are simply always going to need dental work. You can enhance your career path therein by moving to a population centre with fewer dentists and can probably do quite well.

Animation is a fickle entertainment medium, and although people do tend to demand entertainment, the demand for animation rises and falls. Its a competitive biz, because it demands of a talent's ability to perform, and those with the best "performance" get hired more often. Its fickle in that hiring regards too....because personality plays a role therein--if studios LIKE you, you tend to get hired more often.
Your ability to do the work is your cachet, your asset and stability, but bear in mind that trends change constantly.....if you cannot do funny animals, and the trend goes from superheroes to funny have a problem. Likewise if the trend goes in the reverse, or in another direction, you either sink or swim. You need to be adaptable, versatile.
A LOT of people actually jump into this as an affectation........they are lured in by the glamour. The glamour is bullshit.
If drawing is not an obsession with you, right now......then this is the wrong career path to take. If you cannot see yourself drawing superheroes, or funny critters, or doing perspective drawings, or pre-school cartoons or......or...........stick with dentistry.

Yes, there will be voices that say you don't need to be able draw....think about what they are telling you?
Talent that does not draw, that cannot generate appealing imagery by their own hand, will only progress as far as their niche job skills allow. Once the craft evolves beyond those skills......well, they are hooped, washed up.
It'd be like someone skilled only in applying the fluoride wash to the teeth trying to get to another position in dentistry.
And as another recent thread here is discussing, even just animation skills might not be enough for the job market these days.
Adaptability as an artist is a survival skill, these days.
It can be challenging enough for very skilled talent to keep enough work on their plate year-round, much less some newcomer who is trying to develop their own professional skills AND land work at the same time....

So........if you are not drawing like a crazed person, if you are not drawing cartoons, superheroes, live people, caricatures, doing backgrounds and perspective shots, studying cartoons/movies/tv, study story structure, comic strips, editorial cartoons, painting,.......inking, lettering, design, props, comedy, pathos, ............well, what the hell are you doing thinking animation is a sensible career path??

If you are not ALREADY well on your way to developing these skill-sets, then look at a decade of frenzied development least. If you are just starting out as an artist, just getting "serious" then you have an incredibly steep path ahead........even if you can muster intense focus. You'll need to supplant friends, family, loved ones, develop your skills.

School will not help.
I know what you are, schooling will not help you develop talent, it will only show you procedures for things like software. The REAL aesthetic sense has to come from you........and you either learn to see it/express it or you don't. Its very unlikely any school will help you find that, if you do not already have it.

Is that intimidating enough for you?

Yeah, it probably is.
If you are having second thoughts, then realize that is your brain telling you this is NOT a good idea.
If, on the other hand, you've read this and spat at the screen in defiance/contempt......well, then you MIGHT have the moxie to do this.
That "moxie" is the stubbornness to do this NO MATTER WHAT, all other considerations pale, fall by the way side.
It has to be an obsession.
There's no half-measure.....because the talent you are competing against ( as of right now) is very good, and you have to be..........MUST BE as good or better than they are.

So, is it too late??

I don't know........because I don't know what you can, or are willing to, bring to this. But no need to answer that, because if you are truly due'll be able to show it. Good Luck.

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

Well honestly, if your asking this question it might not be a good idea to think of grad school yet. After all getting a Masters in a field your not going to use is somewhat pointless and expensive. Make an attempt to animate as much as you can, if you find it more fun than fixing/cleaning teeth (what i assume you would be doing) then move up. I'm going apply for a masters in film in the next few semesters but i would only suggest doing it, if your well motivated and independent. The art world and usual world are both difficult to find a great job unless you have extreme levels of talent. Do what you do best, the jobs and money will find a way into your life.