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What does the future hold for 3d animators?

Remember when cartoons were made of hundreds of thousands of animated cells, places over a static background? When an animator's job was to spend hours at a time, hunched over a desk, drawing?

Lately though, it seems that two-dimension animations have all but gone extinct. Computers have found a major role in today's animations, removing much of the tedious and repetitive drawing from the process. But is 3D animation here to stay? What does this mean for animators?

It's always a little suspicious when flashy new technologies replace old practices. Over the past 20 years though, 3D animation has risen from being flashy and new to acting as a new standard for animation.

Why 3D animation is so popular

3D animation adds a third dimension to traditional animation, giving scenes and characters a more realistic and engaging feel. The realism also makes 3D animation a useful tool for medical instructional videos, interior design plans and military training. With a mix of for-fun and extremely useful functions, 3D animation is here to stay.

We can only expect that 3D animation technology will continue to change and develop at a rapid pace. With so much potential, and so many industries that could potentially benefit, 3D animation technology will only improve.

Training for 3D Animators

Training for a job in 3D animation requires a thorough understanding of several computer programs. Typically, students will become comfortable with using:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Apple Final Cut Pro
  • Apple Soundtrack Pro

Through a 3D animation course, a student will learn to use these programs to model 3D forms using light and shadows to give it a realistic look, create and manipulate images, animate characters, create realistic special effects, record sound effects and speech and edit the final product.

Is artistic ability still necessary?

Now that computers have entered the picture, it seems like animation jobs should be shifting away from artists towards computer scientists, right? Wrong. As a matter of fact, artistic ability is as important as ever.

While computers are integral to the 3D animation process, they still can't do the creative work. A real live person is still needed to come up with the concept, imagine the landscape, design the characters and then make it all come to life.

You could even say that artistic ability is more important than ever… Computers have expanded the realm of what is possible and to take full advantage of the possibilities afforded by the technology, 3D animators need to constantly be stretching boundaries and innovating.

Animation jobs forecast

As 3D animation develops and expands, animation jobs appear in new areas. 3D animators are no longer required to live in southern California, but rather can take up employment all over the world. 3D animators work to create movies, television, commercials, video games, online video and instructional video. Animators can work for the government, the private sector and non-profit organizations; animators can take an artistic or commercial focus.

The opportunities for 3D animators are growing, and are unlikely to slow down any time soon. Rather, talented and passionate animators will find themselves presented with more opportunities than ever.

This article was written by Natcoll, a top New Zealand animation school. Natcoll offers courses in all areas of the creative digital arts, including graphic design, web design and 3D animation courses.

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