Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Portfolio Requirements for Our New Online MA in Animation

Life drawing - excellent training for animators
Thinking of applying for our new online MA in animation? One of the most common questions we get asked by prospective students is: What should go into my portfolio? The answer is - a bit of everything. Drawings, Painting, Life drawing, sketches, scribbles. But most especially - 3D digital artwork. So, what exactly do you need?

Ever tried Blender? It's free!
What kind of candidates are we looking for? 

We want candidates with good all-round art skills, including drawing, design and animation. You should also be comfortable with computers and computer software, and be curious enough to want to know more.  3D Animation is a blend of art and technology. Ever tried downloading Blender and trying it out? These days there are tons of free animation tutorials at YouTube, and Blender is completely free.  If you'd like to do a free Blender test that we recommend, follow this link. See how you get on!

Autodesk Maya is also free for students

Do our applicants need good tech skills?

Ideally, yes. It helps a lot if you don't get too frustrated when computers go wrong - which they do all the time.  Software malfunction should be a challenge to be overcome - not a reason to stop work.  Why not download a free copy of Autodesk Maya? It's the main software we use to teach animation, and it's free for students.

Drawing is a plus, but not essential

Do our applicants need to draw well?

Good drawing skills are a plus, but they are not vital. We live in a digital age, and most of our work is now done using computers as our tools.  Of course, we do want to see signs of creativity and visual invention. Animation is not just about mastering the software, it's about having ideas, and giving a performance. So a sketchbook or blog full of ideas is a definite plus.

Blogger: a quick, simple and free way to showcase your work. Start a blog today!

Should our applicants have an online portfolio?

Ideally, yes. The best kind of digital portfolio is a website or blog showcasing your work. Check out our post here on how to create a free blog and/or website, and start uploading your work today. It's never too early to have your own online showcase, and it's completely free to build a website at wix.com. You can also upload to tumbler, which is really a simplified kind of blog.

Wix: free websites!

What if an applicant doesn't have a blog or portfolio?

If you're not ready to put your work online, or you simply don't have the time, just email us your artwork. This could take the form or a JPEG or a PDF document; something that is easily opened with standard software. Movie files in simple formats like .avi or .mov are also welcome.

Quick sketches help to capture movement, and can be used for animation poses
What don't we want to see?

What we don't want to receive are specialist program files like Maya files or 3D Studio Max files, or Flash, or AfterEffects files. Specialist files like this take too long to load up and the person doing the interview may not have the software on their laptop.  What you should send are simple files like PDFs, JPEGs, or movie files ending in .qt or .avi.

Should applicants do a tech check before the interview?

Definitely.  Just like if you were applying for a job, make sure you present your work in a format which is easily opened. Do a quick tech check - do the files actually work? And can they be opened in standard software like QuickTime or Adobe Acrobat?

We love Skype interviews

Do We Do Skype interviews?

Definitely. We will be delighted to do a Skype interview. Just ask admissions at Bucks New Uni, our degree-awarding partner, to set one up. Of course, you will need to have your work online, or be able to send us a PDF of your artwork.

To find out more about Animation Apprentice, click here for a link to Frequently Asked Questions. To sign up for our next classroom at Animation Apprentice, follow this link. For more information on finding work and surviving in the animation and visual effects business, read our post on how to find a job in the animation industry, and check out our post about what not to do at a job interview. Also see our post on starting your own small animation business, learn how to create an invoice, and see how we arehelping our students find work through our film co-operative Nano Films. Download the free Escape Studios Careers in VFX Handbook. Take a look at how awn.com can help you find a job, and read our piece about how to survive as a freelance animator. Also, find out what Cinesite look for in a student's demo reel, and read our post on setting up your own animation business. Also see our post about freelancers and taxes.

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