hakase
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Hi!
I'm interested in animation (mostly traditional/2D and stop-motion. I perceive 3D animation/modelling as an additional tool for stop-motion). I want to learn everything about it - from basic animation principles and story-boarding to character design and puppet making. And more.
If that matters, my dream job would be working at Laika, Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Basically making cartoons and animated films. Yeah.
These courses have caught my eye so far:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergr...amme&code=W615
https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/fin...ation-fulltime
http://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/...d-stop-motion/

Would you recommend any of these? Is there something else worth consideration?
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PQ
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(Original post by hakase)
Hi!
I'm interested in animation (mostly traditional/2D and stop-motion. I perceive 3D animation/modelling as an additional tool for stop-motion). I want to learn everything about it - from basic animation principles and story-boarding to character design and puppet making. And more.
If that matters, my dream job would be working at Laika, Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Basically making cartoons and animated films. Yeah.
These courses have caught my eye so far:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergr...amme&code=W615
https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/fin...ation-fulltime
http://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/...d-stop-motion/

Would you recommend any of these? Is there something else worth consideration?
http://creativeskillset.org/search/3...=Undergraduate <= these are the animation degrees accredited by the UK industry body
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artful_lounger
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You'll find it challenging to break into the US animation industry if you didn't go to CalArts, unfortunately. They're very protectionist in that way, although it's not impossible it will certainly make networking and getting an interview etc more difficult. There are a more than a few stories of studio lead animators/designers and showrunners literally just ignoring people or walking away at networking events when they find out they didn't go to CalArts, and just generally being very dismissive of their qualifications.

Beyond that, for animation generally elsewhere, where you studied is usually a lot less important than what work experience you have managed to get in the industry, how well you network in the industry, and related to that, the content of your portfolio and how well that can convince prospective employers you both have the necessary technical skills to pursue the role, as well as whether you are able to adapt to their design process and style. I know someone who went to ARU who worked at Aardman Animation for several years, after working in the industry for about 2-3 years after graduation (she's now pursuing PhD somewhere else though). Equally several of her cohort don't work in the industry at all - some by choice, and some by necessity.

It's also worth noting there is a massive shift towards 3D animation these days - it's really where a lot of the money, and more desirable positions, are. While there have been a number of successful 2D animated cartoons and so on, network television like that tends to be a lot ore cutthroat and a lot less stable in terms of job security to my knowledge. Moreover, they'll generally expect you to have the suitable design background to go into 2D animation no matter what - however if you can't demonstrate you have the technical background for 3D animation (which often is used in 2D animation, very subtly) then you may struggle to get a foot in the door at any major studio/corporation, and be limited somewhat to more independent work. It would be inadvisable to just write it off because you don't like it - whether you like it or not is irrelevant to whether you can do it.
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hakase
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Thanks for the answers.

(Original post by artful_lounger)
You'll find it challenging to break into the US animation industry if you didn't go to CalArts, unfortunately. They're very protectionist in that way, although it's not impossible it will certainly make networking and getting an interview etc more difficult. There are a more than a few stories of studio lead animators/designers and showrunners literally just ignoring people or walking away at networking events when they find out they didn't go to CalArts, and just generally being very dismissive of their qualifications.
Well, that's some bad news, but I'm not surprised to hear that. Though I've read that (for example) Laika's artists graduated from many different schools, not only CalArts. Given what you've said, do you think studying in the UK is worth consideration at all?

(Original post by artful_lounger)
Beyond that, for animation generally elsewhere, where you studied is usually a lot less important than what work experience you have managed to get in the industry, how well you network in the industry, and related to that, the content of your portfolio and how well that can convince prospective employers you both have the necessary technical skills to pursue the role, as well as whether you are able to adapt to their design process and style.
But isn't it important for me to attend a good school where I'd get a chance to improve and learn new skills in the first place? Even if the potential employers don't care where you studied, it doesn't mean you shouldn't care about it either.

(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's also worth noting there is a massive shift towards 3D animation these days - it's really where a lot of the money, and more desirable positions, are. While there have been a number of successful 2D animated cartoons and so on, network television like that tends to be a lot ore cutthroat and a lot less stable in terms of job security to my knowledge. Moreover, they'll generally expect you to have the suitable design background to go into 2D animation no matter what - however if you can't demonstrate you have the technical background for 3D animation (which often is used in 2D animation, very subtly) then you may struggle to get a foot in the door at any major studio/corporation, and be limited somewhat to more independent work. It would be inadvisable to just write it off because you don't like it - whether you like it or not is irrelevant to whether you can do it.
It's not like I don't want to have anything to do with 3D animation, I'm aware it's important in the industry nowadays, I just don't want to focus solely on this technique.
Actually, I've been wondering... is it a good idea to study 2D/3D animation and learn stop-motion on my own? Is it how Laika's stop-motion animators (or modern stop-motion animators in general) usually get their skills?
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artful_lounger
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I have no idea how any given studios animators got their skills; I assume from whatever their education in the subject was. I imagine most animation courses will have you cover all the forms of animation, although you may well specialise in one or more of these over others later in the course.

There isn't a reason to not study in the UK, and if you can afford to study in the US and are solely interested in working there it would probably offer better opportunities to network there. It's worth taking a moment to step back and realise those are among the most well known and popular animation studios in the world; saying your dream is to work there is like someone saying their dream is to go to x college at Oxbridge, or work at NASA - it's possible but it's important to realise it may not necesarily be probable - so you shouldn't make all your decisions based on wanting to work there.

There are plenty of good animators who have good careers and enjoy their work who don't work there. Arguably more of those who do end up in those studios are less satisfied overall due to the much more demanding and thankless environment - as regardless of how the creative teams feel, the business teams know they can replace any of them at the drop of a hat if they needed to because there is so much concentrated interest on them.

You are right though, it's important to study somewhere you can develop your skills, and often just liking the place you're studying can make more of a difference than any curricular elements. I would recommend you apply to the ones you actually can see yourself going to, the cities you can see yourself living in, and then work out the other details once you get to them. The problem with creating a 10 year plan of what you're going to do and where you're going to study and work etc, is that realistically within one year of commencing it half those details are going to no longer be correct, because you will have changed your mind, or done poorly on some given piece of work, or found something unenjoyable or difficult, etc, etc.

If you think you would actually like studying at CalArts (and can afford it) then by all means apply there. However, if not, don't. Just apply where you want to go, and focus on that while you're there, and on how to make your application there successful - remain in the present. This isn't specific to animation, and I can tell you from experience is more important than the other things. But do keep the other stuff in mind, to an extent - if you find networking events extremely stressful and don't like going to them, then there may be better roles to pursue, either in design or outside of it. Equally if you start the animation course but find all the work really tedious and unrewarding - that probably isn't going to change even if you do work at one of those studios.
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Ravensbourne
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(Original post by hakase)
Hi!
I'm interested in animation (mostly traditional/2D and stop-motion. I perceive 3D animation/modelling as an additional tool for stop-motion). I want to learn everything about it - from basic animation principles and story-boarding to character design and puppet making. And more.
If that matters, my dream job would be working at Laika, Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. Basically making cartoons and animated films. Yeah.
These courses have caught my eye so far:
http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergr...amme&code=W615
https://www.shu.ac.uk/study-here/fin...ation-fulltime
http://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/...d-stop-motion/

Would you recommend any of these? Is there something else worth consideration?
Hello Hakase,

You may want to check out Ravensbourne for Animation. We cover most of the stuff you mentioned if not all. Just click on the link to find out more.

I personally study design & coding but I know a good bit about the Animation and Motion Graphic courses here, as I have a bunch of friends that do it, and I did some stuff related to it too, such as life drawing classes which are a part of the Animation course. A lot of the students that do work on both these courses often utilize Mia, Cinema 4D and after effects to achieve their goals, but it doesn't mean you can't use other stuff. There is a lot of freedom with what you can do for your projects once you get into second and third year, so you could learn any of those skills you mentioned as part of those projects with help from our excellent tutors, so I have heard. You would be taught by industry professionals and work closely with industry on briefs and collaborative work.

Here is a lovely example of a Stop Motion peace a friend of mine did that just graduated Animation from Ravensbourne you might like.

You may want to consider poping by for an open day if you want to meet the tutors in person and get a better feel for the course.

If you have any questions feel free to ask
Michail
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