Is drawing important for Animators? This is a frequently asked question by students pursuing a career in 3D Animation. Mostly, we get generic answers to this question. But here we delve into this topic deeper and twist the question a little to cover a broader aspect, “Is it required to be an artist to become a successful animation professional?”
To start with, we need to understand the 3D animation production pipeline. In a studio working on 3D animation production, we have separate departments for pre-production, modelling, texturing, animation, rigging, lighting, rendering, FX animation, compositing, and editing.
Out of these above mentioned departments, rendering, editing, and FX animation fields generally don’t need any direct art medium expertise. Barring these departments, others are linked, directly or indirectly, with artistic forms like drawing, painting, photography, etc.
If you want to build a career as a pre-production artist, then a sound drawing skill is a must. You should be able to put your thoughts and your visualisation on paper or on to the computer screen through a digital tablet or mouse. As a character designer in the pre-production department, you may be asked to design characters, props, and BG Layouts. Or as a storyboard artist, you may be asked to make storyboards, for which you need to have good drawing skills. As a concept artist you may be required to do inspirational sketches and paintings. As an art or creative director, you may have to create the colour palette with the director for the final look of the film.
Modellers need to be well-versed in anatomy studies, which would help them to maintain mesh flow and proportion.
Texturing and lighting artists should have a good light and shadow, and colour sense. Experiences in painting or photography help to enhance these skills.
In the present industry scenario, lighting improvisations are done at the compositing stage too. Thus, it is essential that the artist has some inclination towards photography or painting.
A character animator must have a sound knowledge of posing and facial expressions. Gesture drawing is the stepping-stone for a good character animator.
A rigger applies joints and controls to the characters, thus he/she should be knowledgeable about the workings of how the anatomical mechanism works.
Animation, as an industry, provides enthusiasts various options to explore their creativity and project their ideas to the world. Not knowing how to draw is not a major roadblock. The key to this industry is a creative and imaginative mind. If you are creative, it’s time you get the skills to become an animator.