Posts Tagged “job”

As the owner of an animation studio, I often get asked “What skills do I need to become an animator?”. The world of animation is forever evolving, of course most of it is computer based these days but core skill still comes from the traditional space. Basically if your drawing is a bit rusty, get back down to those life-drawing classes.

Be forever drawing

No matter how well you know a piece of software, drawing should always be number one on the list if you want to be an animator, if you can’t draw you can’t animate, if you can’t draw you can’t build models, if you can’t draw you can’t design backgrounds etc., etc.

To be a good animator you must understand shape and form, and you only get that from drawing. Make sure you ask people to critic you drawings too, and be willing to accept feedback, it can be hard to take on, but you always need to be practising and improving.

life-drawing

(side note: stay away from copying Manga style drawings!)

This book is great at showing you how to break down shapes that create (super) human form: How to Draw Comics the “Marvel” Way by Stan Lee

Acting up

One of the strangest things I had to do in my first proper animation job, was acting out my scenes, even though I had spent previous years studying drama and doing formal drama exams (LAMDA), it still felt weird. You don’t need to go that far, but understanding how humans and animals move is key to being a good animator.

You will hear a lot of talk about ‘timing’, that’s the bit where there maybe a pause then a fast piece of action, a stare and then a reaction, a recoil and then throw, all of these have been well observed by the animators that created them. I used to watch films and then view them back frame-by-frame, to see how it was all broken down. Have a look for yourself and see how far you can push your style.

The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams and Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair are great starter books.

Know what you want to do

In the world of animation there are many types of jobs, you may want to think about specialising, but also think about being a generalist. There is a place in the industry for both types, but if you specialise make sure that your job has longevity and always keep up with trends. You will also want to think about whether you prefer 2D or 3D animation, or indeed both. Go networking, talk to other animators about what they do to get a feel of the types of jobs there are.

I believe there is no ‘fast-track’ into the industry it’s all about, practice, and more practice! Trust me, by doing that you’ll get there.

Festivus over on Facebook, host regualr animator meet-ups in London: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2375758420/?ref=group_header

Future thinking VR/ Unity

As mentioned above, future thinking is key. One of the biggest upsets in the animation in the last 10 years was the death of Flash. Many animators loved the application (and still do) but its place in the new online space was doomed. Flash was extremely vulnerable from a security perspective, and took up quite a lot of processing power it had to go.

The digital world is a wide open space now, and animation plays a key part in content creation, especially considering new channels such as virtual reality, augmented reality and holograms (watch this space!). If you are thinking about going into this area, do consider leaning more around coding, using apps such as Unity or Unreal.

I hope those little snippets help, feel free to contact me via the channels below…

Written by Jamie Denham
Managing Director of Sliced Bread Animation

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@3djamie on Twitter
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Sliced Bread Animation produces high-impact, bespoke immersive experiences for marketing, corporate communications and e-learning, including virtual reality and augmented reality projects. Our work has won many awards for both us, and our clients.

We have an unrivalled reputation for offering complete and seamless project management, partnering with clients to create innovative, original multi-platform digital content strategies. We transform messages into compelling stories that captivates target audiences. So whether clients are looking to increase sales, develop brand awareness, or reach out to employees, we work hard to get the results they want.

We create games, apps, animation, explainer, films, infographics and illustrated content for education, marketing and internal communications that push the boundaries of technology and design, whilst working seamlessly across all platforms.

To find more perfect gadgets and accessories for your virtual businesses, check out Instash

In certain industries, networking and marketing are just as important as the right skills, and animation is one of those.

Whether you’ve gained the appropriate qualifications as an illustrator, animator or creative director, or you intend to enter the industry without prior training, you will need to work your socks off to make yourself stand out.

Market Yourself Creatively

When applying for a job in the animation sector, try to express your creativity not just in your CV but also in interview. Employers will be keen to see some imagination and ingenuity when it comes to marketing yourself.

Don’t wait for the interviewer to ask a question, but decide what you want him/her to know about you and present this in a captivating way. This will show assurance and personality as well as knowledge of the industry. It’s also a good idea to research the company website prior to interview and repeat the information in interview to show that you did your homework and understand what would be expected of you in the role.

Market Yourself Creatively

A professional and impressive approach is to prepare an original showreel or Powerpoint presentation for your interview which includes some of your most artistic and striking work. Make that employer remember you and want you on his/her team.

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Demonstrate Your Networking Skills

Employers will also be looking for evidence that you can work well in a team, so showing you have strong interpersonal skills is important.

Illustrating your networking skills not only indicates you have good people skills but it can help you to create useful contacts and find jobs that might otherwise go under the radar. Many employers choose to offer vacant jobs to people they have met within the industry who have to good reputation and merit. They may not advertise the job through normal channels at all, but seek out suitable candidates themselves through their social networks or via email.

Demonstrate Your Networking Skills

This is why it’s so valuable to create an intriguing and comprehensive profile and CV for yourself on a variety of job portals and networking sites such as Linkedin and Google Plus.

But this in itself is not enough. To get yourself noticed by employers, networking needs to be proactive. Send out emails speculatively, go and meet your dream employers at events or even at their offices. They will applaud your enthusiasm and tenacity. It may not get you a job right there and then, but you can maintain contact with them and may be considered for a job opening of theirs in the future.

Be Patient

Patience is a virtue you will need to learn in the animation industry.

It can take a few years to build up a good reputation for yourself and finally land your ideal job, so you may need to stick out a few less appealing positions. It will be worth it in the end though.

Get Work Experience

All of us in the arts and writing industries hate the fact that even with top qualifications we’re expected to do unpaid internships before we’re considered for paid positions. Why should we? Teachers, lawyers, accountants and mechanics aren’t expected to work for free, so why should we? It’s unfair, but unfortunately it’s the way the industry is, and it looks unlikely to change anytime soon. So the best you can do is respond to it in the most efficient possible way so that you soon build up a great reputation and employers are falling over their heels offering you appealing paid positions.
If you make a name for yourself and employers are competing to get you on their team, then you can attain great bargaining power and set yourself up for a good salary too.

Find an Apprenticeship

If you don’t have a degree – because in the animation industry many would say it’s not really necessary – then an apprenticeship can be a great foot in the door. You can learn on the job whilst you study at college, and a training allowance will be provided that should cover your living costs. Animator and illustrator apprenticeships can be found in animated film, TV, games and VFX, with placements lasting anywhere between a few weeks to many months.

If you can secure yourself a place in a top animated film production company then you could be set for your entire career. For these schemes, however, some prior work experience is usually necessary.

Exude Confidence and Interest

Finally, belief in your own abilities is always attractive, so long as you don’t come across too egotistic and try to tell your interviewer how to do his job.

Sit up straight, look your potential employer in the eyes, don’t fidget, and express your experience with enthusiasm.

Exude Confidence and Interest

A well rehearsed speech which shows genuine passion and competence for the job is bound to attract interest. Remember that even if you don’t get the job you’re applying for, your interviewer may find another suitable position for you.

Whether you love traditional stop motion or the most modern 3D motion graphics, there will be many companies of all kinds advertising positions and you’ll have a few chances at making applications and even attending interview. Over time you will learn more about what they expect and what a typical interview entails. You will improve and feel more and more confident every time.

A great type of company in which to progress your animation career is through an animated video production company such as Qudos Animations, which make diverse content from explainer videos to music videos.

I hope this advice helps you to tailor your CV and application approach to the animation sector so that you soon get your foot in the door or even land your perfect job.

Stay positive, use your initiative and keep on making those applications.