Animators are artists who use sequential images of drawings, puppets and models to produce films for commercials, computer games, pop music videos and websites.

What does an animator do?

imators create films for production companies, major animation studios and computer games companies. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • working creatively to produce original and aesthetically pleasing designs/solutions
  • using specialist computer generation software such as Maya, Flash and After Effects
  • presenting designs to customers for evaluation
  • promoting and running the business
  • negotiating contracts
  • liaising and working effectively with other design and production staff

Typical employers of animators

  • Web design companies
  • Computer games companies
  • Film studios
  • Marketing companies

When making job applications, you will need a ‘showreel’ of animated work that demonstrates your abilities to potential employers. It is vital to be proactive when seeking opportunities as vacancies are rarely advertised, so speculative applications, including direct approaches to companies by telephone, are essential.

Bear in mind that over half of animators in the India are self-employed. Freelance can be the way to go but it can take time and a lot of dedication to build up a reputation and get established.

Qualifications and training required

An HND or degree in a relevant subject such as film, television, photography, illustration, 3D/graphic design or computer/computer-aided engineering will prepare you for entry into the profession. A postgraduate qualification in animation will also be advantageous.

Key skills for animators

  • Creativity
  • Artistic talent
  • A knack for storytelling
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines
  • Cartoon animators work largely in the motion picture and advertising industries. Their general function is to create drawings, either by hand or with electronic aids, and then use computers to produce the chain of images that shapes the animated film or special effect. They may work with a team of professionals to develop films, webpages, promotional spots and computer artwork. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2012 more than half of all animators were self-employed. A bachelor’s degree or postsecondary certificate in new media, art, computer graphics or a related field is generally required.

·         Cartoon Animator: Job Description

  • Cartoon animators create animated narrative sequences by combining artistic skills with talents in many areas, such as comedy, drama, advertising and computer modeling. Professional cartoon animators usually work in teams where they participate in the storyboard, typesetting and editing process of animation.

·         Education Requirements

  • To develop skills and a high level of technical know-how, most cartoon animators have a bachelor’s degree or other postsecondary training in animation or new media production. A number of universities, colleges and art schools offer certificate and degree programs that combine art with a concentration in new media.
  • Typical coursework combines traditional courses in figure drawing with animation and art history lectures. Additionally, specialized computer skills are central in the career of a cartoon animator. Internship programs give cartoon animation students a chance to fine-tune their animating skills and prepare a competitive professional portfolio.

·         Skills

  • A cartoon animator must be able to collaborate with a team of professionals on storyboards, story development, directing, cinematography and editing. In contrast, they must also be able to work alone for long hours at a time using computer animation or modeling programs to simulate lifelike characters and images. High attention to detail and an in-depth knowledge of computer programs such as computer-aided design software (CAD), Final Cut Studio and Adobe Shockwave Player are essential for any cartoon animator.