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What kinds of career opportunities come to those with a background in animation?

This question comes from a young man who has a love for drawing cartoons and aspires to work at Pixar, one day. He wants to keep his options open (he's considering Dreamworks as an option) and would love to know where else he can work and in what capacity with a background in animation. I would like to share this question with the CareerVillage community to offer a learning opportunity to all of our young men and women who have an interest in turning their love for drawing into a career. #animation #computer-animation #character-animation #animation-writing #facial-animation

Thank you comment icon Do you the career of art in New York ? Judith

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Andy’s Answer

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Hi Jaleel,


That's a great question and it's actually quite nuanced. Animation is primarily broken up into 3D animation and 2D animation. 3D animation can include computer animation (like Pixar) and stop motion animation (like Laika); while 2D animation can be further broken down to computer animation (like Flash) and traditional (or hand drawn) animation. These are still pretty broad and these days studios often employ computer graphics to enhance traditional techniques.


So while the feature animation industry is primarily 3D these days, there are still quite a few opportunities for 2D animation in the television realm. Just look at the animated shows on Nickelodeon, Disney XD, and Cartoon Network. So definitely keep your horizons open for many of the different opportunities out there.


You also mentioned a general love for drawing. So another thing to keep in mind career-wise is concept artist. Concept artists work in film, television, and video games to develop the look and feel for the projects that they work on. If you look at any of the Pixar art books, the illustrations and sketches there are generally done by the concept artists. We get to draw and design everything from the characters and the backgrounds to the weapons and vehicles that get put into the projects.


One thing that is not always understood is that while the animators get to breathe life into the characters they are not usually the ones who create and design them. Just something to think about as you look into the art industry.


I hope this information helps.


Sincerely,
Andy Wang

Thank you comment icon Thanks, Andy! Jaleel Mackey
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Alex
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Kip’s Answer

Animation jobs are present in so many fields today that it really depends on what you want to ultimately do. The interesting thing is that you may have one goal, such as working at Pixar, and on your way there, you may work in a multitude of different industries. It's probably unlikely that you will start at Pixar or Dreamworks as your first job. Almost all of my friends that work in those places have spent time working on commercials in smaller houses or doing animation loops in video games. I personally have worked on video games, commercials, scoreboard graphics, architectural pre-visualizations...even a Super Bowl ad. I learned something with every one of those projects. The easy reason is that those studios are "holy grail" jobs for so many that they literally have their pick of a ton of very good animators. The best most effective way to become an fantastic animator is to animate, animate and animate some more. Observe and replicate movement. Breathe life into your characters and make them come alive with real emotion and movement. It's never too early to start animating and practicing; the more you do, the better you become.


-kip

Thank you comment icon Thank you, Kip! Jaleel Mackey
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Thank you comment icon Appreciate it. Judith
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Joanna’s Answer

Here is an Animation Career Review website that provides a lot of helpful information:
http://www.animationcareerreview.com/careers-animation/types-jobs

Thank you comment icon This is great information, Joanna! Thanks! Student Voices by CV
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Kalia’s Answer

Hi Jaleel,


I'd second everything that Kip said, above. Animation's really broad and you can end up in a lot of different places. It seems like many animators spend time working in games, doing 2d and/or 3d animation, or working in television at studios like Nickelodeon. There are also animators who make visualizations for the architecture, the tech industry or in science-- flythroughs of buildings, animations of how a crane works or of how DNA replicates, stuff like that. Not all of it is glamorous, but you will always have opportunities to exercise your creative side and learn more about animation as a craft!
If you are interested in character animation at a studio like Pixar, then especially practice animating characters-- I would recommend the 11 Second Club as a great place to get more experience and feedback (if you haven't already seen it).


Best of luck! :)

Thank you comment icon The 11 Second Club looks awesome, Kalia! Thanks! Jaleel Mackey
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Stephanie’s Answer

Whats nice about a background in animation is that it is very versatile. You can take what you learn in college (should you choose to go) and apply it to a LOT of things both in and outside of studio animation. As an animation graduate I was trained to do a lot of things, running the rage of graphic design, illustration, 2d and 3d animation, video games, comics, graphics programming, storyboarding, post production compositing, audio editing, and traditional painting! Now just think of how many venues you can apply those things to inside and outside of the animation field, there are lots of possibilities!

Thank you comment icon Wow! Thanks, Stephanie! Jaleel Mackey
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Valerie’s Answer

Concept and Storyboard artists can have amazing career's working in the TV and Movie world, they help bring ideas to life before they come any where near the screen. If you love drawing, this can be a great way to use your talent and work with amazing people.
Best of luck.

Thank you comment icon Thank you, Valerie! Jaleel Mackey
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Ted’s Answer

I work in online education, and I've built online courses for universities, a textbook publisher, and now a tech company. Animation skills are very valuable in our world if you can use motion, graphics, text, and sound to clearly communicate ideas.
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Annemarie’s Answer

Hi, I am not an animator, but I work with animators in making digital educational content. The animators help to bring the educationalists goal to life, to make the learning engaging for the student by bringing concepts to life. It is wonderful to watch teams working together including the animators and bringing wonderful engaging educational content to life. I know that is one avenue for someone with a background in animation.

Another place where Animation is used is in science, have a look at this great video that shows how animation helps scientist to test their hypothesis...
https://www.ted.com/talks/janet_iwasa_how_animations_can_help_scientists_test_a_hypothesis?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare
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