What is animation?
“Many believe it’s just cartoons but actually, this is a medium in which different objects or images are manipulated to appear as moving images. These images are traditionally drawn by hand or digitally with thanks to modern technology”. This according to Mahendra Naidoo, animation lecturer at Boston Media House in Sandton.
What is graphic design?
Flip Hattingh academic manager for graphic design explains; “Also known as visual communication, graphic design involves planning and projecting different and creative ideas using visual and textual content.” Hattingh continues that, “As a graphic designer or an animator you should be a person that works well with others making sure that you think out of the box. Ideas that are out of the ordinary work best in graphic design. You need to be focused because what is learned in graphic design can be confusing.” According to Hattingh, these two fields both manifest as a way of expression, of telling a story as a way of getting a message across.
So what is the difference between animation and graphic design?
Naidoo says that one might assume that Animation and Graphic Design are based mainly on 2D aspects, think ‘flat’ drawing and a lot of advertising. “Actually animation is based on 2D and 3D aspects – these allow the window to open further and the opportunities for creativity to grow, becoming vast and never-ending”.
Naidoo explains that there are many different types of animation studios in South Africa. “The majority of them work in very similar aspects of the field, however, some specialiwe in certain aspects of animation.
Hattingh discusses the work opportunities, which can be for full-time employment either in studios or advertising agencies for graduates in this field. “You can also freelance as a graphic designer and animator depending on which company you work for and the type of contract that you have signed. And of course, graphic and design form a huge part of the gaming industry, opening up even more employment opportunities” he says.
Tips from Hattingh and Naidoo on what it takes to make it as a good graphic designer and animator
- Work well under pressure
- Meet deadlines so that you don’t delay any other production happening around you
- You need excellent communication skills in order to effectively communicate ideas and feedback with clients
- Work as part of a greater team
- You’ll need to possess creativity and artistic talent
- Be able to think out of the box! Approach each challenge with new thinking
Boston Media House offers three-year and four-year qualifications both of which provide the option of specialising in animation and graphic design.
“Career options are global due to the fact that your institution is internationally accredited,” says Naidoo. “Animation and graphics are globally in-demand skills – animation studios look for animators all the time. Entertainment and corporate companies need graphic designers as these are still growing industries even though they have been around for a long time”.
As a graphic designer or an animator, you’re open to a whole new world every day. You get to work hand in hand with other industries and fields within the media industry. There are various paths open to you like public relations where you would work with designing a company’s corporate identity illustration. You could work in newsrooms, marketing agencies, and in film and television industries.
Jarid Naidoo (2nd Year Animation student at Boston Media House)
“Our lecturers are preparing us for the world out there and still are. Our two lectures Mahendra Naidoo and Amy Williams have been such an inspiration and offer assistance to us as students when undergoing this course”, says Jarid, a current animation student.
“Boston Media House does its best to prepare you for the industry as best as they can. But you can never be prepared enough! Especially on the business side of animation or going on your own, but the knowledge we are given does prepare us for the industry” says Makungu, an animation graduate from Boston Media House.