Hey, Highschooler needs insight for the future..

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
Talking Hey, Highschooler needs insight for the future..

Logan Bethke
3/30/13


Dear fellow lovers of animation.

Hello My name is Logan Bethke and I am interested in the career path of computer animator.
Naturally I have a few questions on how I might achieve this goal. I would like to graciously ask you to answer these questions for me.

1:Why do you enjoy computer animation?
2:How important is a art portfolio?
3o you have any school recommendations?


Multiple Answers encouraged .
 
Old 04 April 2013   #2
Hello Logan, welcome to the community.

Quote: Why do you enjoy computer animation?


Animation combines many of my interests with varying uses in the field such as psychology, acting, technology, design and art. It is enjoyable looking at a shot and planning out how a character would act given the situation, background of the character and other aspects.

Quote: How important is a art portfolio?


This can vary depending on your intentionn, overall quite important though given it can be a foot in the door of most schools and even more importantly waiving courses and scholarship funding (depending on institution and scholarships of course). Your art is a first impression on anyone you speak to, if it is very impressive the school may be more willing to toss a bone your way to get you on the roster.

Quote: Do you have any school recommendations?


When I searched I was fairly happy with what I found for Ringling, SCAD, SVA, AAU, VFS and CalArts. I only have experience with AAU though but have friends that went to SCAD and Ringling both with good thoughts of the schools.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #3
Start now. Get your mom to buy you a month of digital tutors, and download a trial of any 3d software and start trying it. See if you love it, or just like the idea of being an animator.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #4
Originally Posted by scrawford: Start now. Get your mom to buy you a month of digital tutors, and download a trial of any 3d software and start trying it. See if you love it, or just like the idea of being an animator.


This is the best advice.

As for your questions, does it matter why others like being animators? (Plus, you don't specify all the different kinds of animators. Maybe someone would love being a character animator for film, but hate forensic animation.)

Portfolio is everything. Do a search here on the word an study the hundred threads asking the same question.

Ignore school recommendations until you know better what type of advanced education you might best benefit from. There are so many different types of CGI/animation schools of varying qualities and costs that you should have a better grip on a specific area of study before focusing on one.

Animation, or CGI in general, is not a career you choose because others like it or it seems fun. In many ways, it's a career that chooses you, rather than he other way around.
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Last edited by Artbot : 04 April 2013 at 10:36 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #5
Do online classes, like Digital Tutors with a software program you an afford to have. Get a great reel going, get a job.
Bare in mind, you have a far better chance of getting a job if you're involved in the community and are actively creating art and projects posted to sites like this one.

IF you go to college, study something that goes with it. Like computer science (programming) or engineering...minor in art/animation or do it on the side. Don't focus on art and animation, that costs WAY to much at a school for little reason. You don't need a degree anymore to do that. You just need online training and skills.

This is a SHOW ME WHAT YOU CAN DO oriented business, not what paper do you have.

On a side note:
The courses through CGTalk, though a bit of cash upfront, are amazingly detailed and the instructor mentoring is worth every penny.

Last edited by pipdixel : 04 April 2013 at 09:48 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #6
You are gonna do what you are gonna do, but I would recommend to not make your #1 interest into a job.

A job is something you do in exchange for stored energy, typically in the for little green rectangles.

Things that you do that you love are things that you do with that stored up energy. Things are this way because, rarely (if ever) do economics (supply and demand) match up with what you love to do. So, don't spoil it by making things that you love into things that you hate.

The universe will never pay you for what you want to do, it will only pay you for it wants out of you. Learn to use that and flip the tables on chance.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #7
Originally Posted by mr.bean: The universe will never pay you for what you want to do, it will only pay you for it wants out of you. Learn to use that and flip the tables on chance.


The universe pays me to do what I want to do... or, more accurately, different studios do.

I get the point you're trying to make, but I think it's somewhat counter-intuitive, considering someone is going to have to love animation to make it in this industry. The passion to practice, to improve, to become better and better, would be extremely hard to find if you didn't enjoy it.

He's lucky to be in a position where the economy is willing to pay him to do what he loves. Many, many people are not that fortunate. Not sure why he needs to flip the tables...?
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Old 04 April 2013   #8
Because, you really are not telling him the truth.

He thinks this industry is about art, about passion, about self expression, about animation. It actually is about none of that. He will not become an animator, he will become a carnie.

You all float from one tent pole show to another. You are not animators, you are carnies.

That is the ACTUAL nature of entertainment production for everyone involved.

There is nothing wrong with the carnie way of life, of course. The best people I have ever met, I have met on film sets and in studios. The carnie way of life has no room for bullshit -- it truly filters out the passionate and true from false and pretentious (naturally, those end up as producers and actors and middle managers).

Just be honest with the kid and tell him the truth about being a carnie. The truth is, he won't have a steady income bar the 2 year contracts (at best), he will always be looking for the next gig and his life will always be uncertain. He will hit 30 or so and try and figure out how to have a house and kids and a stable relationship and realize he has no skills of any kind that he can transfer to any other industry.

Having said that, a cubicle farm is no substitute either (unless that is his cup of tea, in which case good sailing!). There are a lot of ways to approach a career. One of which is to list the top 3 things you are pationate about and try to make 2 and 3 your career in order to pay for 1. Another would be to do a bunch of apprenticeships (particularly in sales, this would be one of the most valuable skills to have) while taking economics in university and trying to understand the supply and demand opportunities in the market and targeting that. Another would be to pick the most insane and obscure career possible and get on a plane and try and do it. The most common approach is to just ignore all the advice you hear and do whatever the f you want anyway.

What I am driving at, it isn't all about passion, art and all the regular bullshit people feed to kids. It's a lot more fun than that.

He will do what he will do. I just want to provide, hopefully, some perspectives he may not have considered.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #9
Originally Posted by mr.bean: Because, you really are not telling him the truth.

He thinks this industry is about art, about passion, about self expression, about animation. It actually is about none of that. He will not become an animator, he will become a carnie.



Originally Posted by Jack Welch:
If you donít fulfill your own joy with your work-life plan, one day youíll wake up in a special kind of hell, where everyone is happy but you.

If you want real work-life balance, find a company that accommodates it as part of its everyday business.



Just thought I'd post a couple of life perspectives you may not have considered.
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Old 04 April 2013   #10
With respect to college, I can't recommend some form of college preparation course more highly. I run college prep courses through my school in LA, and students of mine have earned over $1 million in scholarship offers from major art schools, because they did college prep that focused on traditional art, which is what most major art schools (including animation oriented schools like Ringling, Cal Arts, SCAD, etc.) want in an entrance portfolio. Ironically, even the most digitally oriented schools do not want to see digital work in your portfolio (with the exception of Art Center's Entertainment Design program - which, btw, is not an animation program). I can assure you of this fact from many years as a college prep teacher and talking in person with reps from all of these schools.

Do community college life drawing courses as a high school student, or take extension / college prep classes at a local art college. In what part of the country do you live? Every state is going to have community college and private art schools, in addition to private prep programs like mine, and I recommend looking into all of them.

Try to earn as much scholarship award money as you can, because college is expensive, and as a digital artist, you will always have to be learning new things and adapting to technological changes, which will entail some form of continuing education throughout life. The less debt load you carry, the better. Most high school students are unaware of what it means to take out huge loans and the more armed you are with information and preparation going into college, the better off you will be. Start preparing as early as you can.

As a side note, for traditional art, I don't believe that online classes are going to be that efficacious.
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Last edited by Rebeccak : 04 April 2013 at 04:56 AM.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #11
Logan welcome to cgtalk!

Yeah for answers on education you cant find better advice than Rebeccak's.

1:Why do you enjoy computer animation?
Because as a story tool it kicks butt. Interactive animation kicks linear animation's butt

2:How important is a art portfolio?
Ultimately important.

Because so many people do this and aspire to be active in this field looking at the folios of successful artists is important because standards are very high. Studying top quality work will tell you exactly what you need to make. Although I think your portfolio is the most important thing it is also vital to put a lot of energy into selling your work and yourself. If you try animation and like it then it would be a good idea to read some books on selling. If you are in high school maybe it would also help to get vacation work in sales. Who knows what you might pick up?

Good luck man and may the sun shine on your path.

Cheerio
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Old 04 April 2013   #12
Originally Posted by mr.bean: Because, you really are not telling him the truth.

He thinks this industry is about art, about passion, about self expression, about animation. It actually is about none of that. He will not become an animator, he will become a carnie.

You all float from one tent pole show to another. You are not animators, you are carnies.

That is the ACTUAL nature of entertainment production for everyone involved.

There is nothing wrong with the carnie way of life, of course. The best people I have ever met, I have met on film sets and in studios. The carnie way of life has no room for bullshit -- it truly filters out the passionate and true from false and pretentious (naturally, those end up as producers and actors and middle managers).

Just be honest with the kid and tell him the truth about being a carnie. The truth is, he won't have a steady income bar the 2 year contracts (at best), he will always be looking for the next gig and his life will always be uncertain. He will hit 30 or so and try and figure out how to have a house and kids and a stable relationship and realize he has no skills of any kind that he can transfer to any other industry.

Having said that, a cubicle farm is no substitute either (unless that is his cup of tea, in which case good sailing!). There are a lot of ways to approach a career. One of which is to list the top 3 things you are pationate about and try to make 2 and 3 your career in order to pay for 1. Another would be to do a bunch of apprenticeships (particularly in sales, this would be one of the most valuable skills to have) while taking economics in university and trying to understand the supply and demand opportunities in the market and targeting that. Another would be to pick the most insane and obscure career possible and get on a plane and try and do it. The most common approach is to just ignore all the advice you hear and do whatever the f you want anyway.

What I am driving at, it isn't all about passion, art and all the regular bullshit people feed to kids. It's a lot more fun than that.

He will do what he will do. I just want to provide, hopefully, some perspectives he may not have considered.


Where did I say it's all about passion and fun and games? Where did I say it isn't hard work? (in fact I said the opposite) And we're not animators, we're carnies? What does that even mean?

Come on, all I'm doing is presenting the basic idea that just because he enjoys animation doesn't mean he should cross it off his list. You're taking my post and interpreting it as an extreme of it's a dream come true.

I'll put it this way, I enjoy going to work each day and I earn enough to live the lifestyle I want. I could complain about the rough times, and sure, there are rough times, but every job has rough times. I'm glad I at least like mine.

Anyways, sorry to derail this thread.
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www.MichaelSime.com
 
Old 04 April 2013   #13
I worked in TV for a LONG time and got great pay, great benefits, and never lived a carnie lifestyle....I did when I worked in film, and I choose differently. There are places for every type of life you want in this industry. I can't stress enough the importance, however, in this day and age, of having some understanding of computer programming. You can then do ANYTHING.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #14
I've been working for the same studio for over 8 years as a 3D generalist, own a home and have a family. It's not unheard of.

To the OP: I feel like it's more valuable to have a broad skillset, but I might be biased because I work in a small studio and I'm a generalist. I agree programming skills are always useful.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #15
Originally Posted by mr.bean: Because, you really are not telling him the truth.

He thinks this industry is about art, about passion, about self expression, about animation. It actually is about none of that. He will not become an animator, he will become a carnie.

You all float from one tent pole show to another. You are not animators, you are carnies.

That is the ACTUAL nature of entertainment production for everyone involved.


Honestly, perhaps in film work its like that (I cant tell, I've never worked in film), but thats not the only job in 3D out there.

Architectural Illustration is very stable. I have an active social life, more than enough time to work on my personal projects, and have a very stable income. Most of the people in my company have been here for more than 5 years, with the one guy sitting on year 8, and the other on year 7.

My business partner, and brother, is happily married, and found time for a family during the grueling 10 years of us building a company together (which, I may get some flack for saying, is MUCH more stressful than being an employee).

Having no 'transferable' skills is nobodys' fault but their own. In my spare time I study game design, writing, music, compositing and editing. I'm pretty confident that I could get a job in most of these fields (except for music... I'm horrible) if I wanted. All of these skills have come as a result of working in my chosen career. I know of one very successful artist who has recently made a jump to doing photography.

Now granted I cant use my skills to become a car mechanic, doctor, or an accountant-but an accountant cant pull off a beautiful architectural rendering.

The fact that you have a 'its either this, or work in a cubicle' attitude to work is very sad. Your advice is basically 'do what you love second to things you kinda like.'

There are stable job opportunities out there, and people are more than capable of creating a life for themselves in any chosen career.
 
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