Finding your niche in the animation world

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Chimarusti

Animation is the art of bringing life to an otherwise lifeless form. It is the merger of technology, artistry and storytelling at its finest. There is no limit to what you can create in the animation world.

What makes a good animation student is a mentality of wanting to get better. Our most successful students are the ones who ask questions and are willing to take chances without fear of failure. At RMCAD, we want you to thrive, which is why we believe in your ability to go beyond your limits in the creative world! We sat down with faculty members of the Animation and Game Art departments to discuss what will make you stand out as you prepare for your career.

What makes a good animation student?
A successful animation student is someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to improve their craft. Animators who seek constructive feedback from their mentors and peers are the ones who will grow the fastest. As you start your career, you need to have an open mind by understanding the standard for quality work is set between you and your client. Understanding other points of view will help you try new things and appreciate your work differently.

Another thing to keep in mind is to have a firm understanding of how things move. Get out of your seat and act out the movements you are trying to create. You may find that you are fantastic at animating high-action, subtle expressions and reactions.

What’s one of the biggest misconceptions about studying animation?
As artists, your ability to create relies heavily on your life experience and how you perceive your surroundings. However, it takes more than consuming content to understand the skill of animation. Having said that, it takes more than playing video games and watching television to know what is and isn’t quality work.

How do good animators stand out?
As an animator, your work will resonate with your audiences when you include original acting. Avoid clichés and what you consume as a fan of the art when you are creating. Overall, every decision you make in your work should reflect the narrative of the story you are trying to tell.

Thank you to the following staff members for providing their expert advice on how to become a better animator: Sean Brown, Ian Southwell, Alex Weeks, Ben Karr, Mike McKenzie, Shari Fleming, Ed Kramer and Stig Plantell. We encourage you to reach out to these faculty members who are eager to help you prepare for your next chapter.

Note: Some of the questions in this interview have been edited for clarity and brevity.