Animation has been around for over 100 years, but thanks to the help of constantly emerging technology its applications is now endless. When most people think of animation they think of storybook characters coming to life or Saturday morning cartoons, but it has evolved into so much more.
Clint DiClementi, a 3D artist and Rasmussen College Instructor, has used his animation talents to create video games, Internet and T.V. commercials and even animated training programs for the military. Animation is also used in flight simulation, to teach surgical techniques, to create virtual home tours and even to recreate a crime scene. But have you ever considered what it takes to bring those still images to life? Ask any of the over 700 students currently enrolled in Rasmussen College’s Digital Design and Animation program, and they will likely answer, “a lot”.
Rasmussen College offers 20 different classes in the field ranging from The Business of Digital Media and Figure Drawing to Digital Effects Creation and 3D Game Character Creation. DiClementi says while movie animation may sound cool, it is not for everyone. He says the first trait a future animator must possess is passion.
“I loved animated cartoons for as long as I can remember. My first hope for a future career was as a Disney animator when I was in third grade,” says DiClementi. When he got older, he enrolled in a Digital Design and Animation program. “The second my first character came to life on a computer screen and moved around, I was hooked permanently,” he adds.
Other key qualities to becoming a movie animator, according to DiClementi, are “a tremendous amount of patience, determination, and a lot of hard work.” He says animation requires a lot of “busy work”, but that it results in something truly spectacular in the end.
“Anyone afraid of doing a lot of hard work should not choose this career path. It takes thousands of hours to hone your skills,” he says.
DiClementi says a good animated film takes anywhere from four to seven years to complete, and that is with a team of hundreds of creative, inventive and experimental minds. Most 3D artists specialize in certain areas like modeling, texturing, lighting and special effects. One artist may specialize in hair and fur, another in liquid and fire simulation and yet another in putting skeletons into characters.
There are also visual effects artists who create animation for live-actions films and post productions artists and editors who help create a seamless movie once all the filming has ended. Then there are the behind-the-scenes jobs some may not even think of such as storyboard artists who are responsible for laying out the story line, writers, directors, art directors and producers. The opportunities in animation are countless.
For those who possess the passion and work ethic, DiClementi suggests beginning by enrolling in a school that teaches animation. He recommends taking any art-related classes, such as photography or clay sculpturing, as well as 3D animation, modeling, animation, lighting, digital effects, texturing and drawing classes. Lastly, he says practice, practice, practice. He encourages all future animators to draw, sketch and hone their skills any chance they get. From there he says the demand and possibilities are wide open.