How to become an Animator
Animator job description
Animator skills
Animator salary
Influential professional Animators
Organizations for Animators
Top cities for Animators
Other Careers of Interest

How do I become an Animator?

Animators can work in many industries. Web sites, commercials, video games and films are the primary industries where animation is used. Web sites and advertisements also often use animation. Most of these are created with Adobe Flash. Character animation is used for realistic visual effects in live-action films, as well as in completely computer generated films. Animators can create 2D and 3D animation by hand or by using a computer. To become an animator in many of these fields, you need natural artistic talent, computer skills, a formal art education and an outstanding animation portfolio.

Choose the industry or type of animation you would like to create, and gear your education and portfolio toward that type of industry. Some animators receive a four-year undergraduate degree or a two-year masters degree, which can help you create a good portfolio, as well as provide opportunities for networking and displaying your work. Some animators create a portfolio without a formal education, and receive recognition by submitting their works to animation festivals. There are many colleges and universities all over the country that offer bachelors and masters degrees in fine arts. Some of these programs are focused on animation or computer arts. Schools of art and design offer more intensive and comprehensive art education, and usually offer more industry standard software and equipment, as well as having more instructors who are working in the animation industry.

When you get a job in the industry of your choice, you may need to start at the bottom rung, performing more technical or simpler jobs. You may need to work your way up for a time before you actually become an animator.

For film and video games, there are many more tasks than animation required. You might consider focusing your portfolio on modeling, texturing, special effects or lighting, if those aspects of film or game making interest you more than character animation.

Animators must be able to show evidence of their talent and skill. A portfolio, a collection of original work by the artist, or work they collaborated with others to make, is required by those hiring to evaluate the animator's ability and experience.

What does an Animator do?

Animators work primarily in the motion picture and video game industries and advertising. They can draw by hand or use computers to create the animation in movies, television and games.

Animators working in the video game and film industry may be involved in designing characters, moving characters in time with music or script requirements or using software such as Maya and Flash. Animators work as a team with directors, technical directors, lighters and other creative personnel working on the film or video game.

What skills or qualities do I need to become an Animator?

Animators need to have innate creative and artistic ability. Drawing skills are a must, as well as good observation skills. An animator must be able to observe how something moves and recreate by drawing it or using software on the computer. Some animators use their storytelling skills. All parts of a film- the lighting, colors, textures, character design and movement- must support the story. If an animator is using software to create, he or she must have highly developed technical skills. The software used for animation is extremely powerful and complex.

Animators must also be able to work within a team. Animators are only one part of the whole film or video game. Some animators work directly with clients, and they need the ability to serve the client's needs even if they disagree. Animators must be able to follow directions and communicate clearly and effectively.

How much do Animators make?

In 2007, salaried animators had a median annual wage of $57,310 in the motion picture and game industries, and $48,860 in the advertising industry.

While competition for animation jobs is keen, the demand will increase as consumers want more realism in their video games, movies and special effects. More jobs are becoming available in the mobile technology field.
Animator Salary | More details for Animator Jobs | Salary

Who are some influential Animators in the field?

Pete Docter is a film director at Pixar Animation Studios. His background includes animation. Before working for Pixar, he created three animated films, "Next Door," "Palm Springs" and "Winter." He was also an animator for the short film "Geri's Game." Docter has also been involved in the story development of "WALL-E," "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2." He also directed "Monsters, Inc.", and is currently directing "Up."

Hayao Miyazaki is a film director, screenwriter and character designer. He is the director of "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." He has also been a storyboard artist and scene designer for animated films. "Spirited Away" won the Academy Award for best animated feature in 2002.

Nick Park, a stop-motion animator, is known for his creation of the "Wallace and Gromit" series. His short film "Creature Comforts" won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1990 and "The Wrong Trousers" won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1993. "A Close Shave" won in 1995. While Park attended the National Film and Television School in England, he began working on his first Wallace and Gromit film, "A Grand Day Out." Park joined the staff of Aardman Animation in 1985, working as an animator. In 2006, "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" won the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

What are some leading organizations for Animators?

The National Film Board of Canada produces and distributes films that place a high value on fine arts animation.

ASIFA-Hollywood is a non-profit organization in Los Angeles dedicated to advancing the art of animation. ASIFA-Hollywood hosts the Annie Awards, which are given to the best in animation. The organization also works to preserve old films, supports education and maintains a library and museum of animation.

The Animation Research Centre is housed in the University College for the Creative Arts, located in the United Kingdom. It was established in 2000 to promote research in animation.

What are the top cities for Animator jobs?

Animators working in the motion picture and video game industries are among the highest paid. California has the highest concentration of animators. The best cities for animator jobs are the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay area.

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