Imagine a world where you can step into a movie and experience it as if it were real!

This isn’t farfetched. With the rise of virtual reality and the potential it has we might be enjoying movies in a whole different way in the future. What precedes virtual and augmented reality is the astounding work with which animators and artists have paved the way. 

With International Animation Day happening on 28 October (Originated in 2002 through ASIFA we had to dig a little deeper into the world of a 3D Animator and what makes 3D Animation one of the leading industries that will help to shape the future.

Master animator, Glen Keane, is an industry giant who animated characters like Tarzan, Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for Disney, to name but a few, and who has been at the forefront of animation. He explains that animating a character is more than just creating the way it looks and moves.

Mr. Keane explains, “I used to think that animation was about moving stuff. In order to make it really great, you bounce it, squash it, stretch it, make the eyes go big. But as time went on, I started loving animating a character who had a kind of burning passion in her heart. Suddenly, animation became for me not so much about moving stuff as it was about moving the audience.”

It is with this passion that many of the Disney characters we see today were created. One of his inspiring works is that of Duet 2014Watch this short film HERE.

Animation really took flight due to a short film by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay that created Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 where Gertie was drawn, photographed and edited, frame by frame, to fit into a sequence that created movement. From there the industry grew rapidly and today we watch movies like The Avengers, Jurassic Park, The Fast and The Furious and How to Train Your Dragon. When watched by a movie fan the animated details seem flawless to the untrained eye. But when you have a keen interest and passion and become an expert in the field in 3D animation you will never look at an animated movie the same way as you did before. But this is a good thing! This is where animators improve and produce work that leaves audiences feeling connected and drawn to the characters they see on screen.

But 3D Animation is not all about creating characters for film or 3D concepts for television advertisements. (Yes! That fresh lettuce breaking apart with drops of water splashing in mid-air is not always real when you see a hamburger advertisement!)

3D Animation is used in many industries such as modelling and creating animation for mechanical engineering, architectural design, featuring products before a prototype is created, modelling the safety features of a new car, gaming, and medical operations such as viewing how a heart will pump blood to modeling a 3D version of a toothbrush for dentistry.

“3D Animation is a powerful tool to sell a concept and not an actual product,” says Pieter Swart, first-year 3D Animation Lecturer at Prestige Academy. He mentions that animators must use their in-depth psyche to illustrate the sensitivity of emotion that is shared with an audience. “What technology is trying to achieve today is to completely immerse the audience into the world that animators create and doing it so that it feels seamless.”

He instills his passion for 3D Animation into lecturing his students and explains what the first year 3D Animation students learn in class.

For your first assignment, you will plan and sketch still life images. These thumbnail sketches are transposed to paper, planned to proportionally fit and capture the boxes, circles, lines and geometric shapes, shading and cross-hatching to eventually develop the sketch into a 3D animated image with photo realistic results.  From here, you will be introduced to Adobe Photoshop, taking the concepts learned during the sketch and using them in on a digital medium. Some of the other digital platforms you use during the first year are Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Audition, and Autodesk 3D Studio Max.

During your first year, you will be introduced to many different theoretical concepts starting with planning a project, composing meaning full shots, software training, and basic post-production techniques. More importantly, however, students will be introduced to a relatively fast-paced working environment, in which they will learn to manage their time effectively.    

By the end of the first semester, you will have learned how to use Autodesk 3D Studio Max to model fairly complex models. In your second semester you will design and produce a unique car chase animation while collaborating with your team and while learning about advanced concepts such as rigging and advanced lighting What is really great is that the foundation is then set for the next year or two (Diploma in 3D-Design & Digital Animation or Bachelor of Applied Arts in 3D Animation). After studying you could work with an Art Director for companies like Triggerfish and Black Ginger.

Once your studies are complete, you will be set to enter the wide world of the creative animation industries where possibilities are endless. Whether you choose to collaborate with others or start your own company, the world will be your oyster.

If you have what it takes and you are willing to be creative, think out of the box and ready to submerge yourself into the world of 3D Animation, register on International Animation Day and receive a 50% discount on your registration fee!