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Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby Greg B » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:03 pm

Looking at the various animation education programs and I'm confused as to why does it take four years to become a 2D animator.

Am I wrong? Are there accelerated learning classes around?
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Re: Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby Charles » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:59 pm

Of course there are.

Here's the accelerated program that I took to learn how to animate in 2D. Printed in 1960.

Reprinted in 1994.

There's also my school The Animation academy in Burbank that charges such reasonable fees it's ridiculous. But our prices are going up too. Still it's nowhere near what you would pay at another university in Burbank and our students are far beyond what they produce.

You can learn to animate in CG as well in 18 months thanks to online programs such as Animation Mentor and iAnimate for way less than what it would cost to go to a 4 year program at a college or university.

The animation industrial complex would have you go into debt from your education to the point where you'll never be able to pay it off in your lifetime. I'm aware of 2D Flash animators who've never gone to school yet make their own cartoons and have almost a million subscribers and millions of views on YouTube.

There's other ways besides high priced debt oriented education programs for animation.
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Re: Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby Greg B » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:06 pm

Charles the last time I asked you said AA stopped teaching 2D and focused on character design.

Didn't know you were teaching 2D again. Thanks for the info.
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Re: Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby Charles » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:33 pm

Started with a small group of students in the basics of character animation. They're doing a good job! Still mostly a design / development oriented program but we're expanding as much as we can considering the limited budget I'm working with for animation classes. Things are changing though. Students at the Academy comparatively speaking usually body slam others in a short period of time thanks to the emphasis I place on fundamentals. If I took the program and charge what other schools charge we wouldn't even be dealing with assignments. We'd be making movies. Progressing in a good direction.
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Re: Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby Greg B » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:02 pm

I remember doing my own little animations as a kid and teenager. In college things got nasty as one of my professors, well a couple of them had animation classes for the second year. There was so much theft and racism at the time I didn't get the chance to take it.

What I am understanding now is that some people grasp it quickly and excel and others need more time. Even with all the CG stuff, people still love the classic WB toons and wonder why WB stopped making them. The Disney shorts never had the humor that the WB and MGM toons had. The Disney 2D shorts were brilliantly executed but didn't have the zaniness of the WB and MGM toons. You have to be crazy to draw crazy I figure.
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Re: Does it really take four years to be a 2D animator?

Postby ChanceRaz » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:36 pm

A lot of people think and say, "You have to be crazy to draw well!" =) What I mean is that animation is quite possibly the most complex, laborious art form every known and if you don't love it with a passion that is all your heart and soul, you'd never choose to master it as your life's work (or even a hobby.) It embodies and combines every fundamental skill of the artist, and a good friend and teacher of mine once said, "Animation Artists are the best of the best - only the greatest artists in the world would even attempt to do it." - Charles Zembillas =)

That said, your question all depends on the individual - in this case, Greg, you. Some people have the true gift of understanding and being able to quickly pick up and perform animation. Others have it in them, but do take longer to master the craft, while others still possess the ability, but give up, burn out, or change their minds/passions before they ever become masters. If it's simply the matter of education you're asking about, Charles is right and his school is the best I've ever seen. I was there as a student for just under two years and learned more about animation in that time than any time at any other school.

The most important thing to remember is that all the hard work pays off and is worth it, so never give up or quit! If you love animation and it's all you want to do, don't let anyone discourage you from pursuing it in ALL of its forms. Ever! There are more opportunities, resources, and "Ins" for animators now than ever before. The studio job market has always been limited, competitive, and extremely difficult to break into, but never impossible - I did it and so can you. So can anybody that is willing to do the work, give it their all, and stick with it!

The NEW good news is that the studio job market is no longer the only "In" or way to succeed in animation - in fact, it's recently been challenged by (and may soon take a back seat to) resources like personal crowdfunding campaigns (Kickstarter.com), independent online networks (Machinima & Toonacracy on YouTube), and projects like mine (link below.) I send out a newsletter with updates and occasional tips, techniques, lessons, web resources, and stories about surviving in the Animation Industry. If you'd like to get it, it's FREE and the sign-up link is below. I hope this helps you, Greg! =)

As the man himself would say...

Keep Creating,
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http://www.HesLittleBilly.com (My Project - Leading by Example)
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