Dreaming of becoming an animator? Then you’ve probably asked yourself the question “Do I Need to Know How to Draw to Become A 3D Animator?” more than a few times!
It is a common question that students ask us but the short answer is no.
It’s a misconception that you need to be Vincent Van Gogh or Picasso to land a job as an animator. And while it wouldn’t hurt to have some basic drawing skills, it’s not essential if you have a great eye and you get a good handle on the technology.
Let’s take a look behind the question in a little more detail…
Early Hand Drawn Animation
Back in the good old days, early animators had to hand draw everything. This was, as you can imagine, a time-consuming task and of course the better your ability to draw, the nicer the animation.
‘Fantasmagorie’ by Émile Cohl is a French movie and cited by many as the first animated movie. Things have obviously moved on a long way since then but it was certainly impressive for its day back in 1908! Whilst we can’t guarantee it was the very first animation, it certainly represents the beginnings of the industry and it put us on the road to something amazing.
So, what about today then?
Why It’s Not So Important
It depends on what aspect of animation you want to get into. There’s different skills needed for each area. There’s even subtle difference in animating for film verses animating for games!
First of all, if you’re aiming to get into 3D animation, you won’t really be drawing at all. Think of it as more like learning to move a puppet around the screen and bringing things to life – rather than actually drawing them. 3D animators need a whole bunch of other skills to do their jobs but they don’t have to be great artists in the traditional sense.
Whilst it’s not essential to able to draw for 3D animation it can useful to know a bit. For example, understanding how to create silhouettes for the animation can help when animating your characters. You might also want to sketch out some ideas on paper along the way to come up with the best approach.
Having patience and attention to detail is really important though. You need to work on these skills and improve them over time. Have confidence in your ability when you’re learning how to animate and remember everyone has to start somewhere!
Where It Does Come in Handy
In 2D animation you will need to be able to draw. 2D is focused on creating storyboards, characters etc in a two-dimensional environment. In 2D, characters can move left and right, up and down but not towards or away from the viewer.
In a Nut Shell!
The answer to the question at the start of the blog post is “no”!
Even if you’re not an amazing artist you don’t need to worry about your lack of drawing skills stopping you from becoming a top animator. Being a good animator boils down to brining your audience with you – with wonderful lifelike character movement and you don’t need to draw to be able to do that.
The animation industry is booming in Ireland and it’s a great time to become an animator. Learn all the skills needed by taking an animation course. If you need any more information drop us a short message or come along to one of our open days.