Animator Job Description

Find out what an animation career is all about.

What's an Animation Career Like?

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Animated heroes and heroines need more than anvils and Acme rockets to develop their plotlines. And animators need more than drawing ability and technical skill to have successful animation careers. They need to be storytellers with a flair for the dramatic.

The use of animation is more varied than ever—from special effects to video games. Animation is not just for kids to enjoy after school or on Saturday morning. Whether online or on the big screen, animation is in high demand. So if you're thinking about starting an animation career, your timing is impeccable.

Everyday Tasks in an Animation Career

While there are many fields that have animator job openings, there are some common tasks that animators in any field do in the course of a normal day's work:

  • Drawing storyboards for key scenes and creating realistic models
  • Designing an animated environment that includes backgrounds, sets and objects
  • Designing characters
  • Photograph actors' movements and animate as 3-D characters
  • Creating each frame
  • Working out the timing of movements and making sure everything meets the script and soundtrack requirements
  • Using computer software such as Modo, Maya, Lightwave and Softimage
  • Working as part of a team (directors, game designers, actors) to create games, movies and visual effects
  • Working with clients (pitching ideas, developing concepts and timelines, monitoring deadlines)

Necessary Skills for Animators

  • Artistic Ability – Whether you're creating storyboards or putting the finishing touches on a series of computer generated images, you'll need to have a good grasp on basic artistic skills.
  • Storytelling Ability – You need to be a good storyteller. This includes having a good sense of timing and pacing, and knowing how to get your characters to express themselves in a believable way. As an animator, you'll be responsible for portraying characters' emotions—which means you need to understand character development.
  • Technical Skill / Software Knowledge – With the increased use of computer generated imagery (CGI) technology in the film industry—in both live action films and animated movies—animation careers are becoming increasingly technical. You'll need training in various software programs that are standard in the industry. In some animation jobs you may also find math and physics helpful, as well as a general knowledge of various computer operating systems.

If you want a job that will allow you to walk the line between art and technology, with a little bit of drama thrown in, an animation career could be a great choice for you. With the growing demand for animation, there's no time like the present to find an animation school and get started today.