Why Drawing Trumps 3D in Colleges

As I come to the end of my (almost) last semester in college, I have had a chance to reflect on my experience of studying animation in college. I feel like the 3D animation aspect of my major is floundering and getting weaker with every new generation of students. Most students in the program (as I see it) work primarily in traditional mediums.

Now this isn’t to criticize 3D or my college, and there are multiple reasons for this. However, I think the core reason is that a lot of students attracted to the program are already good artists. They have been drawing for years and, in many cases, have become quite good.

Now enter 3D. The technical aspects are difficult to grasp, and the learning curve is steep. After a couple of years of taking both 3D and traditional courses, many of these future animators do not have any affinity for 3D, for which there is today an enormous demand. Now more than ever (as one of my professors would say), I realize that this should surprise no one.

If I were to start learning how to draw without having any previous experience, it would not be reasonable of me to expect to be drawing great art after a year or two. I would have to work at drawing for a long time to get good at it, just as learning 3D requires.

The problem that I see is that students at my college and elsewhere don’t take enough time to learn the technical and creative aspects of 3D before deciding that they’re not good at it and better off animating in 2D. With more practice, they might decide that have more positive feelings toward the field. This could happen either through continued study or beginning to model and animate in 3D before college, similar to what is prevalent in most areas of the arts.