Animator

$300 - 800 / Per Month
Any
Aug 11, 2021

Job Overview

An animator produces multiple images called frames, which when sequenced together create an illusion of movement - this is known as animation. The images can be made up of digital or hand-drawn pictures, models or puppets.

Animators tend to work in 2D, 3D model-making, stop-frame or computer-generated animation.

Computer-generated animation features strongly in motion pictures (to create special effects or an animated film in its own right), as well as in aspects of television, the internet and the computer games industry.

The basic skill of animation still relies heavily on artistic ability, but there is an increasing need for animators to be familiar with technical computer packages.

Responsibilities

Producing animation involves a number of stages including generating ideas, building models and rigging lighting.

Computer animation uses software known as CGI (computer-generated imagery).

Tasks typically involve:


  • liaising with clients and developing animation from their concepts

  • creating storyboards that depict the script and narrative

  • drawing in 2D to create sketches, artwork or illustrations

  • designing models, backgrounds, sets, characters, objects and the animation environment

  • using a range of materials, including modelling clay, plaster, oil paints, watercolours and acrylics

  • developing the timing and pace of the movements of a character or object during the sequence of images and ensuring they follow the soundtrack and audio requirements

  • using technical software packages, such as Flash, 3ds Max, Maya, LightWave, Softimage and Cinema 4D

  • building up accurate, detailed, frame-by-frame visuals

  • recording dialogue and working with editors to composite the various layers of animation (backgrounds, special effects, characters and graphics) in order to produce the finished piece

  • working to production deadlines and meeting clients' commercial requirements

  • working as part of a broader production team, which might include liaising with printers, copywriters, photographers, designers, account executives, website designers or marketing specialists

  • dealing with diverse business cultures, delivering presentations and finding funding.

Much of the work involves pitching and being proactive in selling your ideas and work to prospective customers and clients. This applies whether you're self-employed, working freelance or employed within a company.

 

For information on animation freelance rates, see the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU). Starting salaries are low, but it's important to build up experience and contacts to secure future work.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Working hours are regular office hours (approximately 40 hours per week), but as deadlines approach you may need to work overtime, including at the weekend. Flexitime is quite common.

What to expect


  • Animation is an office or studio-based profession. Some experienced freelancers have studio equipment set up at home.

  • It's a global industry and many projects are for international clients. Most production companies have a list of animators they use, so maintaining regular contact will prevent you from slipping off their list.

  • The animation industry is global, but there are regional UK centres based in London, Bristol, Manchester, Dundee and Edinburgh.

  • Overseas and UK travel may be necessary to showcase your work at festivals or to negotiate commissions with clients.

Qualifications

Although this area of work is open to all graduates, the following degree or foundation degree subjects are particularly relevant:


  • animation

  • art and design

  • computer-aided engineering

  • design for moving image

  • electrical engineering

  • film and video

  • graphic design or illustration

  • model making or sculpture

  • multimedia

  • spatial design

  • 3D design.

Entry without a higher education qualification is unusual, but not impossible. Exceptions may be made for very talented candidates. Many animators consider having an artistic background just as important as having skills in IT.

Although not essential, a relevant postgraduate qualification in animation may enhance your employability. Search for postgraduate courses.

Skills

You'll need to show:


  • artistic talent and technical skills

  • a good eye for detail

  • communication and storytelling skills

  • ability to work with others and to take direction

  • networking skills and commitment to projects through previous work experience

  • an engagement with the industry from submitting work to festivals and competitions

  • the flexibility to switch between several projects at once.

In character animation, specialist talents may be required - such as in comedy, dialogue, action or singing and music.

Skills Required

  • Speaking
  • Translation
  • Writing
  • 3D Modeling
  • Graphics Editing
  • User Interface Design
  • Video Editing

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