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What is the purpose in going to an Art college in order to become a Multimedia Artist and Animator?

I'm a sophomore who would like to know if anyone can still be a multimedia artist and animator even without going to an art college to get a degree. Would that person have a chance to be one? Sorry if I confuse anyone with the question. #art #animation #multimedia

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Laura’s Answer

Hi Dimaris,

Artists don't need a degree to be an artist, there are artists who don't go to school. What it means if you are serious about pursuing an arts profession and do not go to school is that you have to create your own structure, discipline and education. School also opens up networks, creates a peer community for you to learn and grow with, and provides an incubator for you to work on your skills before having to balance art with supporting yourself. Most young people will not be given professional opportunities in the arts right out of high school. There are exceptions to everything, but it is certainly harder to break into a highly skilled field without some training.

I hope that helps! If you are interested in a more well-rounded education, there are also strong art programs at liberal arts colleges. The studio aspect won't have quite the same weight as at a straight art school (time in the studio vs. other studies), but that's also another possible path and allows you to pursue a wider range of studies.

Thank you, Laura , for helping me understand more better about becoming an multimedia and animation without going to art college. Dimaris R.

Absolutely! I was a huge fan of college. I went to a liberal arts college but majored in Painting/Studio Art. It's not for everyone, but if you are hungry to learn it's a great opportunity to do that, and you get to choose what you want to study. Laura Francis

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Aaron’s Answer

Hey Dimaris,
So yeah, you can definitely be a successful artist without a college degree... but you'll have to work extra extra hard at being prolific, finding artists you want to emulate, hunting down and learning as many techniques as possible, and being sure that you are constantly creating and improving. The magic about school is that you have a creative group of peers that you can bounce ideas off of, get constructive criticism, and learn to work as a team. Also, if you are smart, you will pick a school that has instructors which are amazing at their craft and you are excited to learn from them. However, you can also do this thru other online venues such as animation mentor and schoolism. Look at artists that are doing what you want to do, and do everything you can to bring your work up to that level. It might not be thru a college, but you are going to have to learn and grow thru study one way or another. Just be sure that your artwork is top of the line, and you will always be employed. Best of luck on choosing your path.

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Stephanie’s Answer

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Hello Dimaris!

Different studios have different requirements when it comes to education, but from my experience as long as your work is strong and speaks for itself, it isn't really necessary to have a degree.


Its important to consider what you CAN get out of higher education and if it would be truly beneficial to you. You know yourself best - are you self motivated and disciplined enough to demand a strict training regiment of yourself when it comes to practicing your craft? Whats great about the internet age is that you really can teach yourself almost everything you want to know - lots of artists provide tutorials and how-to's on how they animate in a wide array of programs. Some do livestreams and live Q and A's. Everything you need is at your disposal (and free usually!), but it can be very difficult to train yourself to think in a strict studio mindset on your own. Thats where college is really helpful.

Most young artists really benefit from the personal guidance a professor can give them however, myself included. In college you experience a real studio environment and make invaluable connections with your peers, professors, and professionals. You're forced to try things you wouldn't normally attempt on your own. College can provide a solid stepping stone into your career that would be a lot harder by yourself. That isn't to say college is going to guarantee you a job either - it can only point you in the right direction. You have to work just as hard out of school as you do in school.

So, its definitely possible to get a job without going into an art college! Just remember, you will get back what you put in. Work hard, and your art will show for it!

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Elaine’s Answer

I am an artist in the video game industry. I did go to art college, but I don't think you necessarily need to. But it certainly is helpful. The most important thing is having a strong portfolio that is competitive with other professionals who are already in the industry. Some of the things I learned at my college were fine arts (figure drawing, painting & other traditional media), traditional 2D animation, 3D modeling, 3D animation, 3D lighting & rendering, graphic design, user experience design, video compositing, and sound design. I also really appreciated more practical classes like interview techniques, art portfolio building, and resume writing. I didn't get to experience actually creating a game in college, but I really wish I had. That's one thing that they offer in modern colleges. But all of these things can also be learned outside of college if you're disciplined and motivated enough. Most jobs within the game industry are referral-based. Very few applicants who submit resumes and portfolios without a referral from someone already working at the company will get an interview. Therefor, having a resume that lists a certain college may not give you an advantage, but knowing someone at the company definitely will. Most of my connections I got through college, but you may also be able to make connections by working with people online on a mod or other game project independently.

If I were you, I would get as much practical experience as I could by making games (for free) with other similarly-interested people.