Sunday, June 29, 2008

Starting studying in animation

Hey fellas!
This is a slightly long post I did on one of Orkut forums related to animation. It was about how to start studying animation. I thought I should write it all just to help fellow animation aspirants start studying. I am posting it on this blog to share it with everyone, even outside orkut.

So, heres my post. Please note that this content was posted on a community called "animation aspirants - Indians", so it is in reference to the animation training scenario in India and might not apply to other countries.

Hi everyone,
I felt that theres a need to put all information on how to start in animation. Instead of people starting new thread again and again asking the same question, I thought I could put up all my thoughts here.
Animation is ART. It takes time to learn it. Education in animation is never complete.
Check out possible options for studying. There are schools like NID, IIT Powai, IIT Guwahati that teach animation in India. ou can study by your own too. There are many animators like Victor Navone from Pixar who are self taught. I have some points about how to go about this below.
Learn about other schools, what you need to get there.., CalArts, Sheridan College, Ringling school . AM is more possible options for us Indians as its easier to get into AM than into CalArts becuase the number of seats are a little more and it turns out less costly.AM was suggested 2 years ago to me by an animator at Prana Studios, one of the best animation studios in India. Students are mentored by real animators from major studios in the US and beyond like Pixar, ILM, Dreamworks, Sony, Weta, Tippet and so many awesome studios! You get professionals to critique your work. They "mentor" us in the real sense of the term. I know its costly, but it pays off in the end. But mind you, it is not that once you get into AM, you will simply emerge out to be animators. Its difficult to keep up to their expectations. Yes, animation is extremely difficult !

Most "academies" and "institues" are places where they teach how to click buttons in softwares. It has been long since people are being cheated without even knowing it. Wake up guys!! Stop from being fooled.
Forget words like "diploma", "degree", "PG", "Engineering in animation", "animation specialist professional". Animation Studios just dont give a damn to what papers called "course certificate" you have. Its only your work thats going to get your foot inside the doors of a big studio. Demo-reel is one of the most important things a student of should focus on. Find out what makes a demo-reel stellar and different than others.

Dont get caught up into institutions promising to make you into animators by learning software! Dont get carried away by people telling you learning software is animation. They'll mostly teach you modelling,rigging n Not the Real art of animation.SOFTWARE IS JUST A TOOL just as Pencil is a tool. You have a pencil in your hands since you were a child. But not everyone who can hold or scribble with a pencil is an animator. In the very same way, not everyone who can use Maya or Flash or 3ds Max is an animator. Get into Animation only if you are really Passionate about it!
Watch a lot of animated movies ! Understand the motion, dynamics, acting. Also watch all types of movies, dont restrict yourself to animated ones. Get these books "The animator's Survival Kit - Richard Williams" and "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation". Study those books, Read them, dont just flip through looking at beautiful pictures, Dont copy from those books. Get a pencil and start sketching.. go out.. a nearby park, a Cafe and observe people and their movements, behaviour. Start making flip books.
Get a webcam and shoot images of each of ur drawings and make videos and check how it looks. Draw, Draw and Draw ! Search the internet for articles.
Watch a lot of movies - live action as well as animated. Watch movies more meaningful than staple bollywood masala flicks.
If you want to learn software to complement your animation skills, you can just buy tutorial dvds from digital tutors ( and learn from it. Each dvd will cost you some $46. You get to choose which specific topics in the software to study. In the end it turns out a lot cheaper and even LOT MORE useful.

BUT remember, this is only for understanding the software which is just a pencil and paper for an animator.
If you really wanna study animation and not remain jobless or work in some dingy institute, dont put importance on the software. S/W is totally secondary.

Now is the time !!
The Internet is here at your finger-tips, make use of it.
Go to youtube, search for demoreels of animators.
Check out blogs of animators.
Visit, , , all of them have a lot of valuable stuff to read. Search for more stuff such blogs.
Check out for Video Tutorials (paid).
Go to and get yourself the e-book. It is n amazingly helpful book.
Join free online forums like , CGTantra if you want to discuss animation and learn more from upcoming animators.
Many will point that most of the resources are paid. Yes, nothing comes for free, almost. Except for some blogs and articles on the internet a lot is paid stuff. Well, you should be grateful that so many people are ready to open their knowledge to us ! If they arent paid for their efforts, they would stop doing it and the art form would neve reach us !
YouTube is a great thing happened to our world. There are so many videos for reference, so many clips and documentaries to study from. We are lucky to have such a source just a click away.

Its time to change the animation training/learning scene around us guys. It will change only with us. If you want to learn the art badly, go for it.
Dedicate yoursef 100% to it and remember to have fun all the way.

Good Luck ! :)

If you want to take at the original topic I started on the orkut community, here it is..


Mahesh Bisht said...

gr8 post....


Wes Riojas said...

Thanks for the great post! I'll be starting AM in the fall and your post is very helpful. I just bought my first animation disk because I want to be able to animate well without a computer. Your post supports that purchase.

Randy Decker said...

Hello. I actually just put in my app there and took the wonderlic test. I'm a bit nervous since I just did all of that today. I'm pretty sure I got them all right, but I only got 24 done in the 8 minutes. Any idea if that is any good? I really don't know what their standards are. Hopefully soon enough I can say I've joined you as a student.

Chaitanya Limaye said...

Hey Randy!
If you got 24 correct out of 30, thats good ! I feel you will get in, you will shortly get the result of your test from AM. Good luck to you and see you in there :)

greatchinu said...

i recently got to know about AM...and it really seems wonderful how they are spreading the knowledge through the power of internet!

Can you guys tell me something about this wonderlic test..
i'm currently studying undergraduate B.E. Comp. Sc. in Bits Pilani Goa campus. i'm in my 3rd year...
and my heart's just longing to join AM and be part of this really great experience from what i have heard from so many of the blender forums and after lots of feedback from our faculty too!

Hopefully you guys have already made it into AM.
Please lemme know smthin more about it.
I'm really eager to know.

blatio said...

This is sort of an odd question so I'll give a little background:
I'm 28, and a Network engineer and just finished my masters a couple of years back. So I have invested a lot of time and money into my career. However, I've found that I'm not enjoying my work as much as I should. I love watching anime and am quite creative overall. I was thinking working in Computer Animation might be interesting. However, I've never been artistic in the traditional sense (with a pencil). How much of that is required for a career in Digital Animation? Now I understand it would be a pretty important aspect of animation but could I get by (be successful) without that skill or is it absolutely essential since I want to do computer animation?

Chaitanya Limaye said...

Hey Blatio !
This is not an odd question, in fact its good that you are asking to get a more clear picture. In the days when there was no CG animation, an animator had to be a very good draftsman. Today, since animation is not hand-drawn in CG animation films, its importance has reduced in some way.

To be a CG animator, you wont need to be great at sketching. But, at the same time, there are some things that you will need to work on like posing, balance, weight, clarity and other composition related aspects to animate a character.
Before an animator starts with a shot on his computer, he has to plan it all on paper. The drawings which are done to explore the possibilities in the shot are called 'thumbnails'. These thumbnails need not be pretty, infact they should not be detailed, they should be good enough to communicate your idea with your supervisor / director. Many animators just do stick-figures for this purpose.

So, even though you might not be good at drawing, it can certainly be developed as much necessary for planning of animation. I hope I answered your question right.

Cheers !

Blatio said...

Thanks Chaitanya. Really appreciate your comments. I will research some more. I'm sure I will have more questions for you :).

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Vishnu Shankar said...

Thanks a lot bro! It was really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I came across your post by Google searching Animation. Your advice was refreshing. I was feeling bummed about pursuing animation based on only my demo reel and no degree. It's nice to hear that there is a chance that the artwork will speak for itself. Thanks so much!