Can I Get Hired as an Animator without a Degree in Animation?
Employers often require or highly recommend their employees have a job-related degree, and some potential employers will not even look at applications without this requirement. The field of animation is different, however. While a degree in animation or art will certainly not hurt your chances with an employer, most animation studios don't care if you have a degree, and they don't care what school, if any, you attended. They are more concerned with an employee's established success and possible potential. All you need to be hired as a 3D animator is experience and motivation.
Many learning resources are available online for animators, starting with introductory classes for amateurs and working all the way up to specialized classes for experts. If you have little to no experience with animation, we suggest you begin with an introductory course focusing on the subjects like timing and spacing. Once you become familiar with the basics, you can increase the content difficulty by taking courses in modeling, texturing, and rendering, and/or specialized courses for certain animation software such as Blender®, Maya®, and Unity®. When you reach an advanced level of animation, challenge yourself with courses that test your ability to create interesting and dynamic characters with detailed stories and settings. This information is all accessible online for you to select the courses and content focuses you want. There are also comprehensive options you can choose such as EduMind's 3D Animation course, which was designed to provide the building blocks for beginners and take them all the way to becoming competent animators with the skills to confidently enter the industry and get hired.
Once you feel confident in your animation skills, your next priority in attracting employers is to establish work experience in the field. Animation experience is one of the best ways to gain an employer's attention. You could have all the education in the world, but without any real-life experiences, potential employers have no reference on which to judge your qualities as an employee or the qualities of your animation skills outside of the classes or courses you've taken. Work experience can show employers not only that you are a team player who can work with others and respond to constructive criticism but also that you're a competent animator with a variety of experiences in your repertoire. You could create a freelance ad for yourself to gain career experiences or contact businesses with the offer of pro bono work in exchange for relevant job experiences and character or work references. Employers will love to see positive reviews from companies or individuals for which you've completed quality work.
In addition to work experiences, relevant portfolios and demo reels are likely the most important way to attract and engage employers. Your portfolio will consist of a wide variety of your work and reflect on the versatility and range of projects you have completed. Your demo reel should be your focus in terms of providing an example of your work for potential employers. It is a video compilation catering specifically to the position for which you are applying. Your goals of a demo reel should be to grab and captivate your intended audience within the first few seconds, then keep them hooked and curious throughout the rest of the reel. You should specify the details of each clip in your reel as well as give credit where applicable.
Animation is one of the few fields where talent can override education. Merely having a degree does not show employers that you are a competent animator. Instead, relevant experiences can prove more beneficial in bolstering your resume in animation. If you want to become a professional animator, it is not a requirement to obtain your degree. A strong combination of self-taught education and work experience can help your resume stand out when applying for careers in 3D animation. Check out EduMind's next blog, Top 10 Things You Need to Get Started as an Animator for a more detailed list and explanation of everything you need to begin your career in 3D animation!