Computer Animator

Jack, 28, is a computer animator on a children's television show. After taking the three-year Illustration program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, he continued on in the Computer Animation program for one year. With the offer of a job in Nova Scotia to animate a television series, he packed up and moved to Halifax.

Sarah: What made you choose the field of computer animation as a career?
Jack: I discovered computer animation when I was 12, after reading a newspaper article that described how Canada was a leader in producing computer animators through Sheridan College's Computer Animation program.

I found the idea of computer animation fascinating, so after that initial discovery I sought out more literature on the subject. Until that point I had wanted to become a comic book artist or a make-up effects artist.

Of course over time as you change so do your interests, and one finds they must try on many hats in order to find one that fits, but computer animation always found a place in the back of my mind. Eventually I applied to Sheridan College's Computer Animation program after having completed their Illustration program.

Sarah: What do you like the most about what you do?
Jack: Being able to design something on paper and fully realize it in 3D through modeling and texturing is very satisfying. It's your art, and after the modeling process you can really do anything imaginable with it.

Sarah: What do you like the least about what you do?
Jack: With any job there are going to be little things you may not enjoy. I find that when working on a model that is based on someone else's conceptual design, it can be difficult if the design is not finalized.

Changing the design after having gone to the modeling or texturing phase can be frustrating for a 3D artist. Whether the original design is yours or someone else's, all design decisions should be made before bringing any project to the modeling stage.

Sarah: What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a computer animator?
Jack: Though many computer animators do not have an art background, I feel it is essential that you have a solid understanding of how to draw from life. The skills one develops through this practice are used throughout the modeling process; modeling in 3D is essentially sculpture.

Sarah: What kind of an education do you need to become a computer animator? What kind of education did you get?
Jack: Though it is not impossible to get a job in computer animation without accredited training, many people without a degree or certificate in Computer Animation have found it very difficult to break into the industry.

I took Illustration at Sheridan College for three years, and then I completed the Computer Animation program.

Sarah: What is your favorite animated movie?
Jack: The Incredibles.