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Creating Reality: Your Complete Guide on How to Become a 3D Animator

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You’ve grown up with incredible works of art like Wall-E, Toy Story, and Finding Nemo. You’ve wanted to create incredible 3D images your entire life.

Maybe now you’re just graduating high school. Or maybe you’ve been working a dead-end job and want to fulfill your dream.

Whatever your reason, it’s time to launch out and it all come true. 

Today we’re going to give you a brief picture of what it takes to become a 3D animator. 

1. Learn Basic Animation First

Before you learn to animate 3D objects, you need to learn the basics of animation. You may not think that animating with computers is similar to animating with paper, but you’d be surprised.

First, both use simple framing to predict character motion. And each uses a frame-by-frame approach for most of the work. 

To start studying the basics, you should pick up a few books. One of the quintessential books in any animator’s collection is Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life

You’ll learn about the 12 basic principles of animation and see 489 plates of full-color animations. 

2. DIY or School?

If you’re just going to create your own stuff for YouTube, DIY learning is great. You can pick up this hobby for pretty cheap compared to a full education. 

There are plenty of tutorials online. You can search for the best laptop for 3D modeling with the click of a button. And you’ll be rocking some pretty decent videos within a few short months.

But if you want to make a career of animation, you’re probably better off trying to get into a premier school. 

School will give you more than you could learn on your own. This includes techniques from the masters. And if you merely learn online, you won’t garner the connections that are so necessary to launch your career.

In the world of animation, it’s about two things: skill and who you know. If you can get in on a few decent sized projects in school, you’ll be able to get an even better job when you graduate.

Who knows, you could even end up working at Disney’s Pixar.

3. Become an Actor

The best animations mimic life. Yeah, some animations are caricatures. But even the best caricatures accentuate reality.

This is why it’s of utmost importance that you embody your animations. To create realistic action, you’ve got to think about how people and animals move. You’ve got to be able to recreate those movements without creating cognitive dissonance in your viewers.

4. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Just like any skill-based job, you need to take the time to gain those skills. This means hours and hours of practice.

Spend time drawing full sequences. Spend time working on the motion of little things like grass and fingers and hair. 

The best animation focuses on detail. If your lines are clean when you draw, you’ll be more likely to create perfect mesh models when you’re animating on a computer.

Now is the Time to Begin, 3D Animator

Even if you’re still in high school, start learning now. Get books on illustration. Start drawing. Download programs and tutorials.

The sooner you start the sooner you become a 3D animator. 

If you want to learn about more incredible careers, check out our jobs and work section

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