How to Sharpen Your Skills as an Animator
People who are creative and enjoy drawing are often interested in animation. After all, the animation is really just like taking drawing up another notch! Film buffs and artists alike are drawn to animation for its ability to engage audiences with beautiful visuals.
Like any creative skill, making a living as an artist or animator can be a challenge. It’s a highly competitive and demanding field. On top of that, new animation tools require knowledge of advanced tech skills and the ability to learn quickly.
With that said, animation can be a lot of fun and can make for an extremely fulfilling career. If you’re drawn to the excitement of bringing art to life and you’re prepared for the challenges of the field, here are some ways to sharpen your skills as an animator so you can be competitive in the job market.
Become a Master of Animation Tools
Traditional animation involved thousands of drawings to create movement. Today, advanced computer programs have made animation extremely sophisticated and even realistic. But in order to create modern animations, you must be more than familiar with the latest animation tools—you have to master them.
Some programs have a steep learning curve. It’s important not to get discouraged and to persevere. Becoming a great animator in the 21st century requires skill in both art and technology. Start simple and practice until you know the most important tools like the back of your hand.
Take some Side Gigs in a Variety of Industries and Projects
Before you can land a job in the animation and film industry, you have to prove yourself. You may have to “moonlight” for a while and take small projects on the side while you work to support yourself. These days, all kinds of businesses use animated videos in marketing, training, etc.
Not only will these small jobs earn you cash and help you build your portfolio, but they’ll also help you build your confidence. In any creative field, you need to believe in yourself. Get more confident by working in a variety of industries and practicing different types of animation skills. Hone your skills with real-life jobs!
A Degree or Online Classes Could Be Helpful
Going back to school could be helpful if you want to get into the animation industry. But you don’t even have to get into a specialized animation program to gain valuable skills for your career.
Understanding how people think and react to visuals can be extremely helpful. A bachelor’s or master’s in communications, PR, digital media, or psychology will serve you well in understanding what audiences want. These degrees will also help you develop emotional intelligence that will serve you in any workplace.
You don’t have to go back to school full time to gain the benefits. Even a few classes in communications, animation, and other relevant subjects could be helpful. Online classes might fit into your schedule more easily, especially during the shorter summer term. There are lots of flexible options available!
Seek Feedback from Peers and Mentors
It can be hard to see the good and bad of your own work. You get so wrapped up in it that you can’t have an objective opinion. You might think it’s much worse or better than it really is.
Of course, art is subjective, but it’s still extremely important to get feedback from someone knowledgeable who can help guide you. Your mentors and peers should be supporting people who will be both honest and kind.
Feedback will help you become more confident. It will also help you improve skills that may need some work. Plus, it’s just good to get encouragement from other people who are interested in the field and can be objective!
Stay Patient and Determined
When it comes to animation, it’s important to remember that it takes time to sharpen your skills. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect perfection. Just push yourself to do a little better each time you sit down at the computer.
If you really want a career in animation, you need to be determined. It’s a fun and satisfying career that lots of people want. You have to be ready to persevere when things get challenging and just keep trying.
Getting your big break could take a while. Have patience and continue to sharpen your skills. Take every opportunity you can get. When you see your first major animation project, it’ll all be worth it.