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Animation Portfolio

I am applying for animation for university in 2024 and I am not sure what I am supposed to do for my portfolio. I have pieces of work that I've done over the years but I dont know if they are good enough. Also what format it supposed to be done in? Powerpoint? Website? Please help
Reply 1
Each degree will have their own requirements, so it is best to check with the ones you are interested in. Most (these days) will be happy with a link to an online portfolio (I would strongly urge something like rather than some terrible wix site that takes ages to load and doesn't work properly) but that's up to you of course. In terms of what goes in the portoflio, that will depend on the type of animation degree you apply for - it's a good idea to have example animations in the type of degree you are applying to - so if you want to study for stop motion animation, makes sure there is stop motion animation in your portfolio! If you want to study 2D Animation, then show 2D Animation...

Having said that most places will want to see life drawing, maybe perspective drawing, character designs, storyboards or comics, 3D digital models or animations (if relevant to the degree you are applying for), background art, photography, maybe realtime work if applying for a games based course... the list is long and you'll need to ask the specific university to find out what they want.

If it helps, this video will talk you through the requirements for the degrees that I teach on at the University of Hertfordshire; I suspect the vast majority of this video will be relevant to most animation degrees but I do think you should ask the specific courses for their actual requirements if you want to maximise your chances of getting a place.
Reply 2
I know how you feel. I'm in the same boat, ended up researching and finding videos of portfolio reviews for hours the past few weeks. Current just trying to put everything together and iron out some gaps. But anyway here's some advice I found that covers most unis, obviously some may want something specific but this is just a general idea that almost all have said.

It can be in almost any online format! (some also do in person portfolio interviews if you prefer). PDF files, Power Point/Google Slides, Making your own website, Art Station, even a video format through Youtube/Dailymotion/ a video file, there's loads you can choose.
If you get an offer your unis will send you information for how/when to submit your portfolio and if they have a preference for a particular format. Save each individual piece in a folder so that you can adjust to fit the uni's format requirements if need be. But otherwise make a couple different versions, Its good to be prepared.

As for what to put in it:

OBSERVATIONAL DRAWINGS!!!! almost every talk I've been to has asked for this. Drawing from life especially. Draw friends/family/yourself/random people in coffeeshops. Draw any pets or go to a zoo. Focus on figures/line of action especially, but its also good to do some close ups of hands and scale textures, that kinda stuff. Here's a PDF to Andrew Loomis's book:

Character Design, your applying for an animation course more than likely your going to be animating some characters. Try not to overflow your work with too many characters keep it to your favourite ones (1 to 3) and expand upon them. Do a turn around sheet for one and a variation of expressions. You can also show experimentation collages with them in different outfits/colour schemes or complex poses. You don't need to include a lot of writing on their backstory or traits, try instead to show it through your art. (Shy character? draw them in a pose to reflect that. Character fought in war? Give them scars, amputations, weapons, a stern face. Happy bubbly character? use bright colours and wide exaggerated lines of action). Google, Pinterest or go on YT to find some inspiration and you'll find loads!

Environments and Backgrounds! Play around with this, pick out certain objects to draw too (again more observational drawings). Draw a selection of them in different times of day or year. Learn 1 and 2 point perspective as much as you can and play around with 3 point and fish eye sphere perspective.

Story Boarding. Doesn't have to be too long or have too many panels keep it short but interesting. As its just a storyboard you only need to do a sketch, just make sure its clear. You can reuse characters and environments from your design sheets for this.

Any general art you're really proud of.

Any animatics and/or animation practice you've done already. Not all unis require this as mandatory but it can show enthusiasm for the subject and that you already have a previous interest in the subject. If you want some free resources for digital animation you can download Krita for 2D animation (although its a bit of long and complicated process to export), Blender for 3D or if you don't have a laptop or it just can't handle the software Flipaclip is good to even use on a tablet or phone. For traditional just get a bunch of paper and a light box (I made my own lightbox by cutting out a cereal box, lining the inside with foil and putting a clear piece of study glass/plastic I found in the garage on top. Place your phone inside with the torch on and you got a light box! You can also just use a window too when its sunny.) Stop motion with clay or legos is also good if you have the resources available.

Here's some links for more ideas:

Reply 3
Thanks PaperCrow - in relation to the link you posted of mine about content for portfolios (,-games-and-visual-effects-applicants/skills-we-look-for - really good info), I made that into a video which shows visual examples and that might be a better way to understand the requirements:

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