Getting your foot in the animation door…
People are always writing to me asking, “How do I get a job in the animation industry?” Of course, everyone wants to start at Disney or some big name studio, but bear in mind that there are plenty of ways to build your showreel apart from a huge corporate scene. (Plus, you could put a few bucks in your pocket while doing it.)
Exhibit “A”, whiteboard videos:
You’ve probably seen whiteboard videos around for a while, but they’re really gaining popularity as more and more large corporations are using them to attract attention to their products. The nice thing is, while they won’t win you the Oscar for best animation, there are plenty of companies out there looking to hire these out (do you really think a manufacturing company has an animation department???), so there’s no shortage of these jobs, plus, they can pay pretty decent, too.
How to get started with a whiteboard video..
First, lets look at this video on manufacturing execution systems, below.
Here’s a screenshot from :21 into the video.
If you’re like most people, you probably saw this as a hand drawing the image from left to right, but was it? It’s time to start thinking like an animator. How much change do you see in the way the hand holds the pen? Any? No. That’s because it’s NOT DRAWING ANYTHING!
Here’s the simple way to make something like this MES video, even if you don’t know how to draw.
- Find some art that looks hand drawn.
- Mask the art. (If you don’t know what animation masking is, it’s a way of hiding a layer.)
- Take a picture of your hand holding a pen, and turn it into a transparent png with Photoshop, GIMP, or some other program.
- Layer the pen-in-hand image on top of the art layer.
- As the pen moves across the screen, unmask the art layer, making it visible.
Since masking can be a pain, an even easier way is to use a shape (or shapes) with the same color as the background of the art. Then you can move it accordingly to uncover the art. Voila! Of course, if you’re willing to deal with the hassle of making a video with the masking technique, you can save it as a .anme file reuse your animation once for every video you make. Simply swap out the image layers. $50 please. Cha-ching! Here you go big manufacturing company.