Disney Advice for Students Considering a Career in Animation (From 1993)

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  09 September 2012
Disney Advice for Students Considering a Career in Animation (From 1993)

Walt Disney Feature Animation

Advice for Students Considering a Career in Animation

The following describes the various skills students may wish to develop during college if they intend on applying to Walt Disney Feature Animation upon graduation.
Animation is a unique medium that requires the collaboration of various skills to combine in
the creation of a finished film. This process can involve a single individual or a cadre of artists and technicians numbering in the hundreds. Many students make the mistake of supposing that working in an animation studio requires that they be "an Animator."

Nothing could be further from the truth. While the Animator fulfills the critical role of bringing life, performance and emotion to a series of flat drawings or a static 3-D model, it

is just one aspect of the profession. Just as important are those who create the environments, paint the backgrounds, color the eels, build the 3-D models, composite images together or manage the flow of scenes as they travel between departments.

Students who wish to prepare for a career in this exciting, collaborative medium need to inform themselves about all the various roles and responsibilities that are required for creating an animated film, so that as they mature and grow as artists, they can clearly target the area that best fits their core skills and talents. Only then can they create a portfolio that takes the guesswork out of the sometimes confusing process of their first submission to a professional studio, large or small. If the students or candidates understand where they‘re going to fit in the production process, the studio can immediately determine the viability of an individual portfolio in respect to its need.



For the art student interested in animation as a career, it is essential to understand all the ‘artistic roles required. Story, Visual Development, Character Design, Animation, Layout, Backgrounds, Special Effects, Clean-up/Inbetweening—most often, these are unique departments in a studio. While artistic skills may cross department boundaries, artists often find their individual abilities will make them particularly suited for one area over another.



Understanding these varied tasks will allow the art student to see if there is an area of animation that particularly interests him/her. A career in animation is one where specialists work together to create a film. Each speciatist must excel at his/her craft. However, there are general skills which pertain to most all of the artistic areas that encompass this art form. The student desiring to succeed in animation is advised to be well grounded in drawing skills, not only drawing that shows the literal subject matter, but also drawing that tells a story to the viewer. This requires a thorough grounding in realistic, representational life drawing. Anatomy, clothed-figure studies, quick studies, head drawing, hand drawing and animal sketching should all be studied. These topics can run over the course of several years while also studying the specifics of drawing for animation, such as squash and stretch, anticipation, follow through and overlapping action. In addition to drawing skills, a command of design, composition, perspective, color, and the creation of depth by the use of values are also advisable. This should also be a long-term endeavor, covering several semesters. It must be remembered that animation is a film medium. Thus, classes in live-action cinematography and film history are important, as well as a thorough understanding of film language, editing, film design and sound. If the student has the ultimate goal of becoming a character animator, acting or improvisation classes would be beneficial.



© Disney Enterprises, Inc. v_ 1,4 7/23/93

VVDFA: Course of Study, page 2

For almost every area of the modern animation process, it is beneficial to have a basic understanding of the computer. A grounding in 2-D drawing, painting and compositing software can prove very useful, even to those certain they will use traditional art tools in their day-to-day work. This background is most important if the student desires to pursue

full-time work in digital art mediums. A knowledgc Of 2-D computer tools or 3-D Software programs that have modeling, animation, lighting and rendering capabilities can all be of great value. Keep in mind, the computer is not a substitute for any of the core skills ' mentioned here. Like a pencil, a brush or mound of clay, the computer is a tool the artist will use to create his/her work. Creating art or animation on the computer requires that the mind control the form of the end product. Woodworkers say, "It‘s a poor craftsman who blames his tools." Likewise, flawed design or concept is not saved simply by having been created on the computer. The goal for the student using the computer is to translate examples of his/her skill in art or animation into the digital medium.



Once a student has had a reasonable amount of exposure to the basics, he/she should start in-depth classes in animation and animation history. An extensive knowledge of world art history is also a plus, as well as seeking out particular areas of artistic interest for research. Two years of moderately in-depth study of the major aspects of the animation process should occur. This should include hands—on classes, accompanied by lectures and video studies. The video studies should include the best of the animated classics, individual past masters of the medium, as well as the current state of the art. Strongly recommended is the definitive animation book, The Illusion of Life, by legendary Disney animators, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. This book is recognized Worldwide as being an exhaustive guidebook to the history, concepts and execution of animation.



During the final year of schooling, the student would do well to pursue in-depth the area of animation that interests him/her most, while continuing to hone drawing skills. Every

possible moment should be spent gaining experience and confidence in the chosen field. ‘ -
Schools often request, and sometimes require, that students produce a complete animated
film. Done well, this can be a strong centerpiece to a portfolio. Done poorly or hastily, it
can spoil an otherwise strong presentation. It can sometimes prove beneficial for students
to work in well-chosen teams, so that each can focus on his/her individual strengths.

Students who succeed in producing individual films may find that their strong design or ,
animation is hampered, as an example, by weak story concept, thus lessening the viewer's
perception of their actual ability. This is not meant to discourage, but rather to advise that
students carefully select only such projects that are pertinent to their skills and achievable in the available time, so that they best show off their true potential.

Animation is a team effort. Being able to Work with others and effectively communicate ideas will prove to be highly valuable alongside artistic strength. The most promising
employees for any studio are those who combine artistic skills, a strong work ethic and the
ability to collaborate with other artists to achieve the best possible results in design, concept and animation.

© Disney Enterprises. lnc. I v_ 1_4 7/23/93
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 09 September 2012 at 07:13 PM.
 
  09 September 2012
that was when getting animators was like recruiting star athletes. Warner Bros was stealing from Disney and the other way around. People were getting new cars, stock options and profit sharing deals to jump ship back in the day.

What the hell happened?
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by XLNT-3d: that was when getting animators was like recruiting star athletes. Warner Bros was stealing from Disney and the other way around. People were getting new cars, stock options and profit sharing deals to jump ship back in the day.

What the hell happened?


The competition drove up salaries and produced a string of bloated, mediocre, expensive films, expecting Lion King like box office. This gold rush attracted more and more talent to the business, and the supply and demand situation went into reverse.
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Papa Lazarou: The competition drove up salaries and produced a string of bloated, mediocre, expensive films, expecting Lion King like box office. This gold rush attracted more and more talent to the business, and the supply and demand situation went into reverse.

I believe the latter half of the documentary 'Waking Sleeping Beauty' went into that. It's been a while since I saw it though. It's worth a watch.
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Papa Lazarou: The competition drove up salaries and produced a string of bloated, mediocre, expensive films, expecting Lion King like box office. This gold rush attracted more and more talent to the business, and the supply and demand situation went into reverse.


yep. I remember the day the two top leads at Disney went from $36k per year to a seven figure income just so they would not loose them. Now huge layoffs are the norm and crap conditions. What a yo-yo ride.
 
  09 September 2012
7 figures!!! Crazy man, I think now days thats how much money is divided among 60 artists at a studio, and that doesn't include all the interns working for free.
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Papa Lazarou: The competition drove up salaries and produced a string of bloated, mediocre, expensive films, expecting Lion King like box office. This gold rush attracted more and more talent to the business, and the supply and demand situation went into reverse.


huh, i figured it was everyone just knocking out the same boring looking tired anime inspired crap now.
 
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by XLNT-3d: yep. I remember the day the two top leads at Disney went from $36k per year to a seven figure income just so they would not loose them. Now huge layoffs are the norm and crap conditions. What a yo-yo ride.


To be fair, I wouldn't be surprised if Glen Keane was making seven figures on Tangled.
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  09 September 2012
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