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Starting in Animation

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Starting in Animation

Hi, I'm not quite sure if this is where I ask questions like this on the website, I'm new to it and haven't quite figured out the system yet.

I'm 21 who has a bachelor's in psychology in her hands, and has realized that I may want to pursue the animation industry. Although, I'm not quite sure where to start. Should I go back to school? Is it really worth it to get an animation degree? I'm fighting between going back to school for a computer science after-degree, which is more practical and I enjoy it, or an animation degree/diploma. I love to write and draw and create stories, though I know I need more practice in both. I have taken some coursework in traditional art, which I have done well in, but I worked hard to get those grades. I know I can work hard to be a great animator if I tried, and I would enjoy it, but I am having a little heart attack at the possibility that I may have financial issues because it's not the most practical job.

I really don't know what to do or who to talk to, and I need an animator's opinion on the industry and what it's like to start out, and how to even start out in the first place. Thanks.

I can not speak to the income

I can not speak to the income so let's focus on the animation. If you have access to a school that teaches animation, then take it. After a few with the drills, you will have a better idea of the time you will be spending if you choose to make it your career. There is a online animation cource but that is expensive. Good luck.

Let's be candid here:  an

Let's be candid here:  an animation degrees will not mean you can do work at a professional level.  All a degree means is that you have met the academic standards of the school programmme that offers the degree.
It is entirely possible to complete the programme to a high grade, and still lack the talent neede to gain work at a studio.

The thing to take stock of is not the schooling, but your own level of talent and output right now. Who close to professional is your work right now? How close is it to the level of the work that the studios are putting out?  How long is the schools programme?  1 year? 2 or 3 years?  With all the various assignments during the course, how much time are you going to get for self-development? Homework loads at most schools are such that there's little time for anything else, and processing time is very limited.  Processing and experimentation are the keys to successful self-development.  
The schooling will MORE THAN LIKLELY not provide you with insights or information that will give you artistic breakthroughs, but will instead just have you work to complete basic assignments that you can find on-line anyway.  The school isn't going to teach you how to draw better. It WILL more than likely introduce you to  some techniques and procedures for creating animation, but the stamp that makes it appealing or entertaining will have to come from you.

If you are already not producing appealing, near-professional work ( such as animated films, illustrations, comics, cartoons etc) then schooling may not help you.

But I'm not trying to dissuade you from further schooling, but shining a light on the expectations that will be realistic or not.

Animation, as a career is NOT dependant on a degree, or where you went to school.  There's many, many talents that have had NO formal schooling at all that have gone on to have very long and successful careers.  I am self-taught myself.  That option always remains.
What schooling can do is take an artist who is near-professional already and give them the techniques and procedures to efficiently create animation with little or no on-the-job training.  That is what a good school can do for a good prospective talent.

As far as income goes........and animation being a practical job......yes, continue to have a coronary.   depending on the kind of animation you end up doing, the actual task you are hired for,  the studio itself and the project you work could work steadily for a year or two until the project ends and then be laid off.  There is NO guarantee you will carry over to the next project, but high-level talents frequently do carry over because they are in demand.   This is why your talent , not your degree, is the real asset in a animation career.  
Mid-level talent often end up being journeymen artists.  Moving on to other projects, at other studios, often in other cities.
The traditional job culture of working for years at a given employer is frequently alien to the animation industry..........even with gaming animation.  Yes, there are those positions and companies that do hire and hold people for a number of years......but that can be a bit like a raffle.  A period of stability can be offset by a following period of turmoil.

The thing that mitigates all of this is..........yes, you guessed it, your level of talent.  Take stock of where you are, ask some pros around you where they think your level of talent will be after schooling and decide if this is realistic for you.

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

Workshop online


If you really love to draw and to write, love animation for real not because it's more practical, you can go to an university coursers. At home you can also buy a animation book for the beginner or watch a workshop online

Take a look and Good Luck,body!



I think that one can learn anything anytime. If you really love animation and want your career in this fiels, than go for it. As you said that you can work hard to do better in this field. Choose one of the best animation institute to start your career. You can also make money in this field only if you will work harder. 

 All the best buddy....!


Starting in animation

Hi Hazel,

I agree with the comments above, but still! wanted to say thathaving worked on the producing side of animation for ten years, your qualifications mean squat. Like most things in life,and perhaps especially creative fields- its more important as to what you can actually do, and how long this takes you. When I receive CVS without any showreels, or if a design - no storyboards or samples of work, then they immediately go in the trash. 

I think the first thing to decide is what area you want to go into. I've worked in feature animations, and clearly the skill level is high, but there is also the commercial animation route, by which I mean 2d corporate explained videos and such like. That's not to say its any less skilled, It just means its more common for people to be versatile in their roles.  


Assuming you wanted to go down the 2d vector based animation route, then I know several people who have had no formal training but are some of the best in business at what they do. They're good because they have focussed on one or two things that they are good at, and then people come to them to fullfil this role. For instance, they have a specific look to their work and are very good at animation.

You can learn a hell of a lot online, for example at but once you have the basics down, it then comes down to how much time you put it and basically it being something that is always on your mind and how you can improve.

I wish you the best of luck,


If I can help with anything else, themailail me through my contacts page on my blog

There you should also find other good content to help you understand the commercial world. And I recommend viewing my reference videos.