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Get ready for your animation training

Updated: Mar 15

You are still young (or not :P)! You want to join an animation course or school soon, and you wonder how you can take advantage of your free time and get ahead? That's great! This time will be very valuable! Here is a list of things you can start doing before joining an animation school.

How to prepare myself to learn 3D animation?

- Engage with creative content:

Youtube animation resources

Start watching videos, tutorials, student films, conferences... Anything to boost your motivation and extend your knowledge of animation, arts, cinema, and software. You can find my favorite list here.

- Read this book:

Animator's survival kit

"Animation Survival Kit" from Richard Williams is the best starting point. Really take time to read it; you will save weeks of animation training. You can find it HERE

- Get to know your way around 3D software:

Blender animation software

Start playing with 3D software. You can begin with Blender; it's great and free.

If you already know you want to work in the movie industry, choose Maya.

For video games, choose 3DS Max.

What to do then?

Start playing around, creating simple objects with cubes, spheres, manipulate the camera, and start animating your first bouncing ball.

- Learn how to use a DSLR or Hybrid Camera.

DSLR Camera

Yes ! There is plenty of advantages to knowing how to use a real camera:

  • Knowing differences between lenses

  • Understand aperture

  • Understand shutter speed

  • Get familiar with framing composition

All of this is a great plus as a 3D software mimics real cameras behaviour.

- Draw!

Art student

I will explain later in another article why I think drawing is not an essential skill to have to be a 3D animator, and you can be a 3D animator without knowing how to draw. But if you have free time, and if you want to develop your skills, then yes, it's a great thing to do and learn. It is also very meditative, so good for your health. It will also sharpen your observation aptitudes.

- Start a portfolio!

Animation character sheet

As you express yourself with any art form (drawing, photography, sculpture...), compile those in your portfolio. It is always a great plus to find a job or a school. If you want to join school, a portfolio might be required.

- Start picking schools and trainings.

Animation school

You might already know which school or classes you are going to join. But if you are not, start compiling a list of the ones catching your attention. Check their styles. Check students' work, contact alumni, find out if they found a job after that. Understand pros and cons about them. For more advice, check this article.

- Stay informed and go to events!

Annecy festival

Visit events like festivals, projections, watch the latest animation movies or animation classics. Read the press, listen to podcasts, visit websites. Find my resources here

- Sharpen your eyes!

Make your eyes sharper for animation. Get use to see animation critics, to understand the most common recipes. There is hundreds of animation critics on 11 sec club, or on the Youtube channel of Jean-Denis Haas

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