Have you ever wondered what it takes to create an animated movie? From its conception to production, animation takes effort. However, as people who enjoy watching such movies, we hardly ever think about the process involved in making them. It is hard to think about such matters because we are too busy enjoying the movie and connecting with its characters. But if you are interested in becoming a professional 3D animator, then understanding the process involved in making such movies could help you pursue your goal.
To give you a simple answer to the above question, patience. Making animations is no easy task and learning it isn’t a one-day activity either. You will need to familiarize yourself with the human body and really understand how it moves. This would mean taking the time to observe people and understand their actions. You will need to study the way they walk, talk and convey emotions because you will need this information when you start animating.
Additionally, perseverance is required because the process of animating something takes a really long time. Even a 1-second animation takes effort because each second has about 25-30 frames and that means 25 to 30 movements. Although animating is difficult, if you have a love for it, you will surely enjoy it. Just like guys from wow-how.com!
The best place to start will be to ask yourself if this is what you want to do. Remember, you will be known as an animator your whole life, so this will eventually become your specialty. Once you have decided on it, its time that you get the hang of the software you’ll be using. A software used widely for animation is MAYA, although 3DS Max is also used. You need to figure out what you’ll be animating, namely characters or backgrounds. Remember, the type of animation is different for both the areas so understand your interest and go forward. The more you use a software, the more adept you will be at using it and this will help you get work done much faster.
Another important area where you will need to make a major decision is if you will animate for movies or games. Do you enjoy the animations in a game? Game animations aren’t necessarily focused on bringing out emotions as opposed to enhancing gameplay. However, this is different with movies as they need to focus on emotions so people can connect with the characters in them. Either field is amazing and has its perks, you need to take time and understand which one is better for you.
There are plenty of real world and online animation courses that you can choose from. Each course takes a systematic approach to learning, starting with the basics and eventually delving into the deeper aspects of animations.
As an animator, you will need to familiarise yourself with body physics. You will need to know how the human body works and how best you can portray it in your animations. This can be done by learning the human anatomy and with constant practice.
A suggestion, if you’re talking animation seriously, is to always have a drawing pad with you, and keep drawing. What will you draw? Well, people of course. People are always doing something and if you can capture that act on paper, you will eventually get the hang of how the human body works. However, as you observe people, try not to look “stalkerish”. Avoid that, and you should be progressing really well as an animator.
As an animator, make yourself familiar with acting. Think about it, animating is all about acting, so if you don’t understand the concepts behind acting, then animating something is going to be hard.
Another thing you will have to know is body mechanics. Learn how the body works, how to responds to situations and emulate that into your character. Animators are people who have to interact with many others, like the ones who make the 3D model, the experts who add texture and develop the character further, and many more.
That means, its good to be familiar with the work of all the other teams as well. This is because if another team makes a mistake, then you know where
to find it, and this is a definite a value-add.
Learn how to animate is one thing. However, being good at it is another. You will be good at it only if you practice, because as the old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.
This job can get frustrating because the software might not always give you the desired result. Additionally, you will have to spend long hours on this job, and that adds to the frustration.
So, how does practice help? Firstly, it makes you adept at using your software’s deepest features like a pro. If you encounter a problem, you will know how to fix it immediately. Also, remember to put into practice everything you learn, and do so as soon as possible.
Having a portfolio is a common practice among animators and a must do for anyone in the animation industry. A portfolio is a representation of your work and it does all the talking for you. The better your portfolio, the more recognition you will get.
So, start from an early stage and don’t worry if it’s not exactly impressive initially, almost everyone starts this way. In fact when people see the progress you’ve made it becomes a great USP.
Additionally, a portfolio is also a judging platform for yourself. You get to see your work improve over time and you can have a fair idea of how much more you need to improve. So, build a portfolio and keep working toward making it better. Showcase good content and eventually, you will be a much-desired animator.
Moves like Toy Story and Ice Age have for a long time captivated us and amazed us. Movies like Transformers and Avatar showed us what new age CGI can do. The animators in these movies worked tirelessly to make the animations look lifelike. If you’re thinking of taking up animations, then you need to put in the kind of effort that these elite men and women have done, to create memorable and thoroughly entertaining content.
Firstly, be patient, it may take you longer than you expected, but its worth the wait. Secondly, figure out what you’ll be specializing in. Thirdly, learn your trade and make it your own. The fourth thing would be to practice.
This effort needs to be a part of your system because, in the word of animation, you can never stop getting better. So, keep practicing and keep getting better at what you do.
Well Lastly, build your portfolio. Having a strong portfolio is like having Lewis Hamilton racing for you. You don’t need to do any convincing because that portfolio will do all the talking for you. Keep these things in mind and you should be well and truly on the route to becoming a great animator.