Character Animation Requirements
Character Animation Portfolio Requirements
The character animation program supports animation focused on character development and narrative storytelling. The faculty admissions committee seeks portfolios that show evidence of strong, creative life drawing skills, artistic originality and the potential to tell stories and develop characters using sequential imagery. The committee values artwork that reveals a unique and imaginative voice, showcasing the applicant’s artistic interests and conceptual abilities. We welcome a range of creative work, including drawings and other traditional artwork, 2D digital art, and computer graphics (CG). Please carefully review the specific Portfolio Requirements listed below.
The Character Animation program is a four-year program. All Students begin at the BFA1 (first-year undergraduate) level because of the highly sequential nature of the curriculum. Transfer students please review our transfer credit policy . Transfer of courses may lighten a student's academic course load, however, they will not shorten the length of residency.
Portfolio and Application Requirements:
All parts must be completed in order to be considered for admission
2. Artist Statement (uploaded to SlideRoom & CalArts Application)
3. Online Portfolio (Three part submission uploaded to SlideRoom)
- Observational Artwork
- Other Creative Work
- Video Essay
4. Sketchbook (Mailed)
Please view the portfolio details and submission format below.
- What inspires you to make your art?
- Why are you applying to the Character Animation program at CalArts?
- What are your artistic goals?
Part 1: Observational Artwork (minimum of 15 total)
A. Observational figure drawings of human models:
- These observational drawings should range from short pose lengths (gesture drawings) to longer pose lengths, and should indicate the models’ faces, hands and feet. Drawings of nude models are preferred, but costume drawings may also be included. Applicants in the Character Animation program must have demonstrated experience working with the live model and ideally have at least one year’s worth of experience studying figure/ life drawings.
B. Observational drawings from real life:
- Drawings and sketches of people and animals from real life
- Drawings of interior and exterior environments
- Urban sketching, location drawings, café drawings etc.
- Drawings should be from observing real life, exploring elements such as shape, form, contour, contrast, ambiance, and mood
- Do not erase your construction lines – they are especially helpful to the faculty in understanding your approach to observational drawings
- Do not submit traced pictures or copies of work by others
Part 2: Other Creative Work
Include any combination of the following:
- Sequential image storytelling: Work that showcases your ability to tell a story and develop a character. For example: storyboards, graphic novels, flipbooks, short animations or short stories with thumbnails.
- Digital creative work (animated or still): Creative work that you produce, or manipulate, in one or more computer programs. This might take the form of 2D digital art, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons, photography, or computer graphics (CG).
- Other Work (non-digital): Paintings, drawings, illustrations, concept art, character designs, prop designs, cartoons
- Plastic Arts: Sculptures, ceramics, installations etc.
- Online presence: provide URL’s to your blog(s), Tumblr, Instagram, website etc. List the URL’s in the SlideRoom “links” section of the online portfolio.
Part 3: Video Essay
Please record a short video of you, introducing yourself.
Tell us the five most important things about yourself.
- Duration: minimum of 60 seconds, maximum of 90
- Speak directly to the camera
- No edits
- No special effects or on-screen overlays
- File should be uploaded or linked directly to SlideRoom
- Does not require professional-level equipment; cell phone camera or consumer camera is okay.
- A filled sketchbook with your drawings, observations, stories, ideas, thumbnails, character designs, studies of images from films or other sources that interest you, etc.
- Please draw directly in a bound sketchbook.
- Drawings in your sketchbooks should be different than the drawings submitted in your online portfolio.
Sketchbooks should be mailed to the following address:
CalArts Office of Admissions
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA, 91355
The Office of Admissions will return your portfolio to you by mail only if you send a prepaid self-addressed package for return mailing. Be sure to complete and include any of the necessary forms required by your service provider. Prepaid mailing labels and packages from USPS, UPS, FedEx, FedEx Ground, and FedEx International are all acceptable. If necessary, your local post office will be able to provide you with an estimate for the return postage amount.
Please contact the Portfolio Room Coordinator, Jon Marshalik, if you have questions about sketchbook submission and shipping: Jmarshalik@calarts.edu; 661-255-1050 x 2187
Online Portfolio Submission
The online portfolio (artist statement, observational drawings, personal work and the video essay) should be uploaded to SlideRoom.
SlideRoom accepts MP3's, documents, images and video. You may scan or photograph your drawings to submit them digitally.
Please submit one image per slide in SlideRoom. Do not combine multiple images into a PDF document. Do not include captions on images. If appropriate, captions should be added to the designated captions section on SlideRoom.
Once your portfolio is uploaded, it can be viewed and rearranged until the final submission is made. No changes can be made following the final submission of your portfolio. There is a fee for each portfolio submission you make through the online system. Be sure to submit your portfolio to the correct degree level and program.
If you experience technical difficulties while uploading your portfolio, you may send an e-mail to email@example.com for technical assistance.