Basically, the path to becoming a 3D animator is different when compared to a 2D animator. Why is that? This is because 3D animators actually do not need to be proficient in drawing. After all, the job of making 3D animation can be made using computer software. 3D animators just need to control and manipulate the characters they create in a similar way as moving a doll. The ability how to draw is only one way to bring the character to life.
Do Being 3D Animators Need to Know How to Draw?
The question 'Do being animators have to know how to draw?' you may have heard many times. This is usually asked by people who do not know much about the animation. They also think that knowing how to draw is an important thing that is closely related to animation.
When there was only 2D animation, all work had to be done manually. However, over time, making animations is not only by drawing, but you can use software like when you want to create 3D animation. However, the question of 'do you need to know how to draw to become a 3D animation' still comes up frequently.
Therefore, we need to understand this question from different points of view because the question cannot necessarily be answered with 'yes' or 'no.' You need to understand the meaning of the question to know what are the advantages and disadvantages if you have the ability how to draw in create animations.
If you already know what the advantages and disadvantages are, then you can decide whether how to draw is important for 3D animators or not.
Does Creating 3D Animation Require Drawing Skills?
If you want to be a 3D animator, then animators do not need to have very good skills on how to draw to become professional 3D animators. This is because making 3D animation does not require you to know how to draw, but animators are posing a puppet, as explained earlier. The thing animators need to master is only 12 basic principles in 3D animation. This will make you a great 3D animator even if you do not know how to draw very well.
Why Do Not Animators Need to Know How to Draw?
The advantage of 3D animation is that 3D animators do not need to know how to draw very well, but 3D animators can still make great animations without knowing how to draw. Many professional 3D animators also think that the first important thing is to know how to make animations first, not how to draw first. Besides, knowing how to draw well is not that important for 3D animators.
Good animation is not about a good picture but about whether the animation moves well and is stunning or not. If your animation can entertain and amaze a lot of animators, then that is an excellent result. Thus, a professional artist is not necessarily a professional 3D animator and vice versa.
It is different if you want to become a 2D animator, then knowing how to draw well is very important to create stunning 2D animations. However, understanding the 12 basic principles of animation is equally important.
Although good drawing skills are not very important in 3D animators' careers, if animators know how to draw then, it will be a plus and useful. Why is that? This is because if animators can create a clean and well-drawn silhouette, then the silhouette drawing can be translated into 3D animation. Your 3D animation will also be better and more alive.
In addition, the life drawing class is also useful for 3D animators in understanding the anatomy and weight of characters which is very useful in the planning stage of making animation. It is because doing experiments by how to draw on paper will take a faster time than experimenting with 3D animation software.
If you have more time to learn how to draw, then just do this. As you learn, try to find ways to apply your drawing skills to 3D animation. For example, when you observe living things in motion, study how their body movements change. By understanding these motion changes, animators will be able to create 3D animations with lifelike motion.
Besides being useful for understanding the movement of living things, drawing experience is also useful in understanding composition. You will understand better the best angle for an object withdrawing. Moreover, you will also be more proficient in filling empty space and placing objects in the frame well if your drawing skill is good.
However, you need to keep in mind that the abilities mentioned above do not just come from having great ability in how to draw. So do not worry if animators do not know how to draw. Do not let your drawing skills get in the way of becoming great 3D animators.
If you know how to draw, then the opportunities will open wider. This is because many animation studios are still making 2D animation, which means it requires good drawing. Well, if you have skills in these two types of animation (3D and 2D), then you will be more in demand by the studio. In conclusion, it depends on your goal of being an animator, whether you need to learn how to draw or not.
What other skills do animators need?
After you have known the answer to 'do 3D animators need to know how to draw?', then you also need to know other skills instead of drawing that can also help you in creating 3D animation. Besides, 3D animators need to have a high level of accuracy and precision. In addition, 3D animators must also have the ability to make objects look alive and in realistic motion.
This is certainly not an easy thing and becomes increasingly difficult because each animation project has different characters. Furthermore, you also need to be patient, not afraid to make mistakes, and hardworking. It is because the creation of 3D animation will require a relatively long time and maximum effort to produce the desired work.
In addition, 3D animators also need to have good communication skills instead of drawing because 3D animation projects are carried out with a team of several animators. Therefore, good communication skills are needed to exchange ideas and coordinate with the team.
Lastly, 3D animators also have to learn some computer skills, such as coding and programming. You must be familiar with using 3D animation software and other software needed for making the animation. In sum, the most important skill that you need to have to become a 3D animator is computer skills and drawing skills as an additional skill.
Then, What Should You Do?
Simply, if you want to become a great animator but you do not know how to draw, then do not be worry because drawing is not the only factor that determines how good an animator you are. Animation is all about creating believable movements and making the character alive. Thus, drawing skill does not have a direct impact on your career as 3D animators.
In contrast, if you want to become a 3D animator, then you need to understand the processes and skills required in becoming a 3D animator. Further, you also need to learn it deeper to be more professional. To start this process, you can enroll in a college degree program. It is one of the best ways to start your journey. However, you can also take a different path by taking certifications.
Never stop learning and discover opportunities and experiences to create a stunning work portfolio. You can also develop your animation skills by learning how to animate animators fighting or animate animal movements.
After you graduate, do not wait for a job at your dream company, but just take the animation job that is offered to you. Think of it as a stepping stone to get your dream job. In addition, you will also gain more work experience.
Recommendation of 2D & 3D Animation Software
Maybe you are also wondering about what is the best software for 2D and 3D animation. Since there are plenty of choices, you need to look for the best one. If you are curious about that, let’s check it out below.
1. Autodesk Maya
Autodesk Maya was initially released using IRIX operating system. However, in August 2006, IRIX operating system did no longer supported this animation software. Then, Autodesk Maya released a new version, which is version 6.5. that was available in unlimited and complete editions, but these editions were only available until August 2008. After that, Autodesk Maya was changed into a single suite.
You can create 3D animation, presentations, and games using this animation software. Autodesk Maya is also an animation software that can be used for generating 3D assets for movies, television, and architecture.
Autodesk Maya also provides many video effects to make animators’ projects more interesting. Furthermore, this animation software is loaded with interactive features and tools that help animators in creating 3D animation projects and presentations easy way.
If you want to do modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, and rendering, Autodesk Maya is a perfect choice. It is because this animation software has a video-based editor which is non-linear and non-destructive so that it can help animators to create realistic and high-quality 3D animation. Besides, this animation software also has perfect cloth simulation with accurate outputs and results.
Moreover, AutoDesk Maya always has the newest tools because it is updated periodically, so it supports animators’ work. The best feature of this animation software is that you can export and import files easily, especially SVG files. Overall, this 3D animation software is worth buying for any 3D animation project.
The first recommendation for the best 3D animation software used by animators is Blender. Blender is a free and open-source program that you can use to create stunning and amazing 3D animation videos. Since it is free, so you do not have to pay anything for using this 3D animation program. Although it is free, it does not mean that Blender has low quality.
This 3D animation software is really helpful in creating video editing, animation, modeling, rigging, composition, simulation, and even video games. Blender is suitable for animators, including beginners, students, animators, game developers, and even animators.
A complete and complex toolset in Blender supports animators’ work during the process of making 3D animation. Additionally, it is also a good platform for animators who want to do modeling more easily.
Blender also has a Cycles, which is a default path tracer engine. This engine can help animators to get VR rendering support, HDR lighting support, and realistic rendering outputs. Furthermore, this 3D animation software is also equipped with scripting language so you can add text, effects, and custom libraries to your animation.
Besides, this 3D animation software also has sculpting tools and 3D Painting tools that support animators’ work in creating amazing videos.
3. 2D Pencil
As its name, this software has advantages in the feature of creating images or animations with virtual pencil strokes. You can draw animations with a frame-to-frame process so that it produces something better because it is drawn manually. With this application, you can create or use vector or bitmap image types.
Pencil 2D has a simpler interface than other animation software, so you can use it and draw easily. Pencil 2D is also software that is compatible with all operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. No need to worry about the subscription system because 2D can be used for free by anyone.
This open-source software has many features that make it easier for animators to do their work. Some of them are creating wavy distortions, making light dramatizations, scanning four dissimilar images, and changing the style of existing images.
No need to worry about subscription fees. OpenToonz is a free 2D animation software, which all animators can enjoy without having to pay. Whether it is for personal or commercial purposes, OpenToonz has been used by several major animation studios. For example, Studio Ponoc produced Mary and The Witch's Flower, and Kamikaze Douga created Batman Ninja.
5. Toon Boom
The last application animators can consider in creating animations is Toon Boom. This one application is no stranger to many leading animators. Not without reason, Toon Boom is easy to use and has a myriad of excellent features. Thus, even beginner animators can use it to create animation work.
Some of the features that make it easier for animators are palettes and brush tools that can be used to color bitmap or vector images. The camera angle and capacitor make it easy for animators to create a certain point of view on animated objects.
If you feel less than optimal with the final result, animators can use the frame-to-frame feature to produce something better. In addition, Toon Boom is compatible with many computer operating systems. With its various advantages, animators do not need to hesitate in making quality animations.
This is evidenced by the major studios that use this animation software to produce the best work, for example, Dream Works, Universal Studio, and Cartoon Network.
KeyShot is software that can be used for 3D animation. Fast and easy are the main advantages in processing work, including rendering. Real-time rendering allows animators to quickly save animators’ work and produce realistic works.
One of the features that are the advantages of this animation software is Focus Caustics, which makes it easier for animators to ensure focus on an object. There is also Flexible Access and Camera Control that are ready to be a mainstay feature when working on animation projects. Animated landscapes will become even more real with the camera control feature.
7. Daz Studio
Another great and complete 3D animation software is Daz Studio. It is recommended for creating 3D animation and projects. Another great news is that this 3D animation software is free. However, before animators can use this software, you need to register first.
Animators can create rendering using this 3D animation software as well. Additionally, animators can add some details, models, scenes and manipulate the models to fulfill animators' needs. In general, this 3D animation software is made for animators who are used to 3D animation programs.
Daz Studio is an animation software specially designed for manipulating images and ready-to-use models. Apart from that, Daz Studio also has features and tools for creating other 3D content. These features and tools are made for animators who want to pose human figures and non-human figures of 3D animation. It is comfortable to have 3D animation software that can support animators' various needs.
Daz Studio started providing tools and tools for 3D content by selling 3D human (and some non-human) models as well as other 3D content by providing several popular basic models for free. This continues to be done by Daz Studio from time to time. This 3D animation software also sells models for clothing and properties for the same purpose.
Finally, in October 2017, this 3D animation software added the 'dForce physics engine' to the free offering options. The dForce physics engine is the system used by this 3D animation software to simulate draping due to wind, gravity, or colliding with another object.
In conclusion, having good skill of drawing is not a must for 3D animators. However, drawing skills can be a plus if animators have high proficiency in drawing because it can open up more chances for animators.