Getting a job in animation

What type of degree would I need to take? Do most colleges offer it? I usually try to find some type of animation degree at colleges I visit, but usually don’t see any. Is it grouped mostly with art? Will I have to take lots of art classes if I major in 3D animation, even though it is computer stuff?

Here is what I’ve found from my school RIT in Rochester, NY. From my quick look, they offer both a BFA and a BS, the BFA being more arts based, and the BS being science based.

Regarding the comment about taking a lot of art related classes, I think you would be required to take a few. Even though 3D animation can be mostly computer based, it is still very visual. As an animator you are taking an idea or scene and representing it with your animation. The art classes help with that ability. While you may think that drawing classes, and other art classes may not be useful to you much (because you want to do computer animation) you have to remember that it is really giving you the training to be able to accurately show things visually in your animations.

There are a few thing I disagree with your answer Art is very much apart of computer animation.

Alright here is the scoop. There are two major places you can land with Computer animation An animation studio or an Game Company. Those are the ideal place you will want to end up. There are two major ways to get into these companies.

Programing Route:
You can get into a gaming company with knowing programing. You must know and be very fluent in C, C++, Java, Lunix, and any other programing language you can think of. If you enjoy writing code and making game mods this is the rout for you. You will more likely land a job in a gaming company than you will in animation studio. Once your in the company you will designing the latest render algorithms and lightings. This route will have more security because if you don’t succeed at getting into a gaming company, you can most likely take your programing skills and work for just about any company.

Artistic Route:
This is the route I am on, I believe its more challenging to get it done but more rewarding. You have to be an artist because what you are creating with computer animations is art. You have to become an excellent drawer. And don’t give me that “Oh I Can’t draw.” I can’t draw either, but you can teach yourself how to draw. Its just about as hard as teaching yourself graduate mathematics or another language. But it can be done.
With this route it comes down to two things, your portfolio and people you know. Employers will look at your portfolio and see if you can contribute to there studio. You have to make a lot of projects for yourself. and draw every day, get books on drawing. Go to life drawing classes. Most of Art is self taught and it is a skill that you will need.

other routes:

Programing and Artistic route:
If you are a master at Art and Programing. You are a god, and doors will fly open for you.

Going with the flow:
Most animation studios are looking for well rounded people. So they can contribute many different ideas. If you have more experiences in your resume they might hire you.

My advice would be to not spend time just learning different programs so you can say you know these programs. Studios expect to teach you there way of using the program. Create projects. Create animations and submit them to film festivals to get your name out there. I recently had an animation screen at Chicago Comedy Film Festival.

My fingers hurt… I should stop typing.

haha it’s funny how things work, I responded to some of Peter’s questions a while back and I think my responses still hold true so here’s a link to that thread:

But just a quick plug, Purdue has a program called Computer Graphics Technology which includes an animation specialization. Feel free to PM me with any questions as it’s my major, though I’m concentrating on the manufacturing side of life.

HA! I completely forgot that. Wow, looking back It shows I’ve come a long way.

And I’m going to say, “I knew him when…”

Right now my intended college major is computer science(emphasis on programming). I am aware that most college freshman change their major at least once. I would like to keep my options open, but I think going to a school specifically for animation would limit my options. I visit colleges and they say they offer 60something majors. I look and see animation is not one of them. Is it called something different or is that just not a very common area that most colleges offer?

Which colleges are you specifically looking at? Some of them won’t have animations programs, that’s a fact. Others may run it through their art department areas while others will keep it within technology under computer graphics or something along those lines.

I agree with your thinking though, going to a larger University that offers a diverse number of majors is a good choice if you’re not exactly sure yet on what you want to do. Definitely send out e-mails though to prospective colleges as they will be able to tell you what they offer sometimes better than their websites even do (sadly).

“Check out the National Portfilio Day Association”

These guys organize events where you can interview multiple colleges at one time and present your portfolio. Different schools host the events, so you have to contact them to find out which schools are attending.

Do your homework on the schools represented, then go check it out!

No appointment required - just show up …

More info:,com_eventlist/Itemid,47/

The colleges I am looking at right now are
Washington University in St. Louis
Notre Dame

College search engines show a very limited number of schools offering programs in 3D Animation.

Schools with animation programs listed by state.

I posted this link last January.

3D World magazine posted a spreadsheet showing animation colleges that produced students who won awards at major animation festivals.