Is a Computer Animation Degree Right for You?
Computer animation is a fast growing field with many opportunities for skilled designers. Those who are talented and successful can enjoy an exciting career. They have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including web design, movies and television, computer gaming, advertising, research, training, and other commercial and industrial areas.
Despite its attractiveness, building a successful career in computer animation can be difficult. Since it's such a trendy and cutting edge occupation, thousands of students graduate every year with the hope of being the next great animator. Make sure you have what it takes to compete and succeed in this highly competitive field before making a commitment to a degree in computer animation. Evaluate your skills, personality traits, and career expectations to reach a decision.
A talent for animation and graphic art is a basic requirement for a computer animation career. You should also have an intense interest in the field, with a passion for computers, movies and graphics. Proficiency with computers is also an important basic skill. You must be adept at using unfamiliar software, with the ability to learn new programs quickly.
The ability to communicate complex ideas verbally and visually and in writing is crucial. Computer animators usually work as part of a team, and may collaborate with other professionals from around the globe. You'll need to be a team player, with the ability to work with others who are competitive, talented and possess a variety of backgrounds and quirks.
Before making a decision, develop a thorough understanding of the computer animation field and the various roles within it. There are many specific jobs in computer animation, including character animators, texture artists, modelers, programmers, and directors. Deciding early on which job is the best match for your skills and interests is important, since you can focus on that area in your studies.
You should be self-motivated and energetic to succeed in computer animation. While in school, you'll need to work independently to put together a portfolio and demos. Internships, including unpaid ones, are some of the best ways to get experience. You'll need to be committed to hard work, even when the pay is small or non-existent.
Throughout your career, it will be necessary to keep up with the latest software programs and design trends. You may need to do freelance work in addition to a full-time job to keep steady income and fresh skills.
Some other traits that are important are flexibility, time management, and the ability to work under tight deadlines. You'll need to be flexible to consider opposing ideas and embrace new trends in the industry, and will have to manage your time and meet deadlines without a lot of supervision.
You must be prepared to make significant investments of time and money to get an education that gives you a competitive edge. While a two-year degree is acceptable for many jobs, a Bachelor's degree will put you ahead of other applicants. The school that you choose is important. Look for a program that goes beyond the basic technical skills to develop your design and conceptual skills. Courses outside of animation - like film, drawing, scriptwriting and marketing - will enhance your expertise. The school should employ teachers who are accomplished in the industry. It should also have the latest hardware and software technologies in a lab that is accessible day and night. A school that meets all these requirements may be expensive. Even if you decide to learn programs on your own, obtaining the software and hardware that you will need, will be very costly.
Security and stability are some practical aspects to consider when deciding on a career in computer animation. The computer animation field may not be the best choice for secure, long term employment. Employees often get laid off once a project is completed. As a computer animation artist, you may need to relocate frequently to keep up with opportunities and maintain regular employment. While the industry is growing, most jobs are located in large metropolitan areas on the East and West coasts.
Examine your skills and personality thoroughly. Get a realistic understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of a career in computer animation. These are important steps in deciding whether a degree in computer animation is right for you.
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