Futures Found in Animation


Tyler Olmo


Students sit huddled over their desktops, creating works of art effortlessly that are brought to life by the beauty of animation. The process is long and tedious, but the results are entire digitized worlds that can immerse any viewer. Landscapes derived from grand imaginations allow for animators to displace viewers in to worlds completely foreign and novel to them. Within Digital Graphics and Animation, students can expect to be on their path to being those creators.

“There is a wide variety of careers within the skillset of animation. The highest profile positions are, of course, with the big animation studios such as Pixar and Disney. Working with a large production company will likely mean that you have a very specialized position, for example lighting, character rigging, or concept drawing – you do your part and pass it along to the next step in production along with hundreds and even thousands of co-workers. Working for a smaller firm means you will see projects through from start to finish and therefore need expertise in a wider range of skills,” said Marni Wishart, one of the Digital Graphics teachers at Tompkins.

Animation is a growing profession within America, although little know of the opportunities they have to learn about it at school. Oftentimes, animation along with another skill, marketing in the example of an advertiser, allows for one to incorporate several different interests within their profession.

“It’s a very competitive field, so breaking into a position or booking freelance jobs can be difficult. Having personal projects that show off your skillset is a great way to get noticed. Work hours can be long because the work is very detailed. Some might even say tedious, so you need persistence and stamina. Depending on the type of work, projects can take years to complete – as is the case for feature length films, or the completion time could be as short as a week,” said Wishart.

Animation is a profession which takes a great deal of patience and attention to detail; one must both be technologically adept and creative enough to come up with the artistic visions that go in to most designs for animation.

“Class time in Digital Art and Animation is balanced between learning about design principles and history along with creating original projects using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Animate. Many students are surprised that there is also a great deal of planning that happens on paper, from sketching to storyboard development. The key term for the course is ART and the tools employed are both analog and digital, it’s a great fit for students who like to draw and paint and who are also interested in building their computer skills at the same time,” said Wishart.

Animation and Digital Graphics classes require students who possess traditional artistic interests and skills along with an understanding of computers and various art programs. The course will allow students to build upon these skills and could prove itself as invaluable skills moving forward in either field.