Sunday, 24 August 2014

How Long Does it Take to Become a Great Animator?

Canadian animator Norman Maclaren at work. Photo: Wikipedia
Animation is a complex craft and it takes a long time to master.  I have been teaching animation since 1996 and I have spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what should go into a really good animation course. How does a school get its students to a professional level of skill within the shortest possible period of time?

Until joining Bucks in 2012 I was teaching at Escape Studios in London where the animation courses were just 3 months long, which is a very short space of time to teach someone to animate. We had very little time to spend on any individual exercise - no more than a day or two.

What surprised me most about this approach was how well it worked. Everyone worked like crazy and we didn't waste any time. Every hour of every day was precious and the challenge was always to figure out the fastest and most efficient way to get the best work done. In three months almost all of the students had become proficient in the art of animation.

Above is an animation demo reel by Rich Jeffrey, a student who had never done 3D animation before. This reel was assembled at the end of the three month course.

Here at Bucks we apply the same principles; that is to say intensive animation training to get students to a professional standard as fast as possible. By the end of year one all of our students should be feeling reasonably comfortable with the medium, able to give a performance and create an entertaining piece of work. By the end of the final year we want to see the students completing high-quality short films, able to compete and succeed at the highest level in the industry.


For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days,  take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn about motion capture at Bucks. And find out about how our online video tutorials work.

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