The creation of the UT Animators Club brings community and learning to UT’s future digital storytellers

Sierra Quarzaza

Whether it is waking up for early morning adventures with “Tom and Jerry” or late nights spent enjoying the adult humor in “Rick and Morty,” animation plays a role in many people’s lives. Although the cartoon days may soon be over for many college students, some wish to carry the art form into their careers.

At UT, animation is not a degree on its own, but there are a few classes offered. For many students, this small pathway into animation is good enough to acquire the skill, but there are some students who wish to further pursue it as a career.

Tiffany Hinojosa, a radio-television-film senior, said she may be moving forward in her career in media, but cartoons have always held a special place in her heart. She said she was disappointed that her degree plan did not have many classes geared toward her passion.

“In RTF, there isn’t a lot of resources for animation,” Hinojosa said. “There is some for 3D but not 2D animation, which is my focus.”

Hinojosa said she looked to student organizations to find an outlet for her passion for animation, and after finding none, she created the UT Animators Club in fall 2017.

The organization teaches animation as a skill or hobby for future content creators. Melissa Lam, an RTF junior and the club’s vice-president, said teaching the skill to others is a major part of the club.

“We teach the principles of both 2D and 3D animation,” Lam said. “We also have workshops and tutorials so students can understand animation by doing it.”

Lam said the club is good for people who are Arts and Entertainment Technologies and RTF majors and hobbyists alike. Their biggest collaboration goal is to one day produce “Animation Jam,”  an
animation project that encourages students to work as a team.

“We hope we can produce ‘Animation Jam’ next semester and have the entire club have a collaborative effort to make a full length short,” Lam said.

The UT Animators club is not only about teaching the skills and craft of animation but also the careers that come with it. Ethan Le, an RTF sophomore and the club representative, said they discuss smaller but important jobs that help make an animated piece successful.

“We talk a lot about a lot of the other roles in animation such as background design and concept art,” Le said.

Le said after joining the club, he saw how much of an important impact the club had because he learned to animate from his fellow peers. For Lam, the UT Animators Club has helped her build confidence, and teaching animation to others has motivated her to continue pursuing her passion for it.

Though the club has finished its first year without any major projects, Hinojosa said the club plans to expand in the future. She said she would like for the club to serve as a place where students can continue to create and collaborate with future animators in the Longhorn community.

“With its first year done and working out a lot of its kinks, we have many goals such as the ‘Animation Jam’ and teaching more of (the) UT animation community,” Hinojosa said.