Is A Degree Vital For Working In Animation?

Many people associate working as an animator with a job in film, but the actual scope of jobs in this industry is vast and ranges from work as a concept artist to one in games development, graphic design, or even VFX art. Whether or not you will need formal qualifications to find the job of your dreams essentially depends on where you want to work. Some studios – including Whiteboard Animation – assert that they “only care about your demo reel.” Others – think Disney – stipulate that they only hire people with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Animation or equivalent work experience. Take note of that – even Disney could be interested in hiring you if you can show you have worked with Maya or similar programs for at least two years.

Why Do Some Companies Prefer Candidates With Degrees?

Companies like Disney mention the importance of a degree because a Bachelor’s course covers the full gamut of subjects you are likely to need to rely on when working as an animator. These include everything from 2D and 3D animation, right through to character design and creations, compositing, geometry, physics, and special effects. You may mainly work on one program when you’re hired for a job, but extending the range of programs you are accustomed to will increase your chances of being an interesting recruit for more than one studio.

Cultivating Your Mind At University

The richer your cultural and artistic knowledge is, the better, since an animated film may be set in another era or involve cultures that are distinct to your own. Some students find that Art History is so important that (while working) they opt to complete a doctorate without dissertation program to hone their knowledge in vital artistic, musical and architectural works that can help lend depth and richness to their animation ideas. If you’re already working in animation, then furthering your education online is an excellent way to enrich your knowledge. Your university may also offer a chance to work part-time in collaborating studios, so make the most of your online network if you go this route.

Related Degrees

If you have already produced a fantastic demo reel and you wish to specialize in another area, other degrees may be of use when it comes to future employment. These include a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, design, computer graphics, or art and illustration. Indeed, many fine arts degrees place a strong emphasis on 3D graphics and animation. Students learn techniques like traditional animation, puppet animation, clay, and computer animation. Part of their course usually involves designing, animation, lighting, rendering, and other techniques. Specific projects enable students to work under the guiding hand of professors, who are an excellent source of ideas and can help students learn to troubleshoot as problems arise.

Strictly speaking, a degree in animation isn’t always necessary in the industry. Some studios demand one; others don’t. However, students who wish to extend the range of possible employers often opt to complete a degree. Not only do they learn a wide array of useful techniques, but they also have a chance to pick up knowledge in areas that may not seem directly useful, but which are vital when it comes to cultural and historical enrichment.

By Jane Evans

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