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- Bring characters and scenes to life on screen
- Work for animation studios, games developers, or start your own studio
- Highly creative working environment
Animators create still images that are played in a rapid sequence to create the illusion of movement. They are artists, actors and storytellers. They know how characters show emotion and have a good, technical understanding of the way things move. They make a believable world through the blend of realism and artistry.
You'll use your creative and technical skills to work on animated films, TV, adverts, games, websites, or music videos, using hand-drawn, traditional, computer-generated imagery (CGI), stop-frame, stop-motion, or model animation techniques.
- Storyboard artists to take the script or ideas and show the story in a visual way
- Layout artists to draw how each shot will look
- Digital painters to touch up colours
- Texture artists to 'paint' colour and texture onto digital models to make them lifelike
- Compositors to join together different layers of animation
You might work on your own or in a team with others like production designers. You could work in an office, from home or in a creative studio.
You'll need skills in drawing, modelling or using computer animation packages. This role often combines artistic ability with technical skills and building up a showreel or online portfolio of work is a great way to get started.
Employers will be most interested in your showreel and what you can do rather than specific qualifications, but choosing subjects at school linked to art and technology will help and you could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like animation, art and design, computer games development, animation production, or visual effects.
Alternatively, you could do a college course that will teach you some of the skills you'll need to get started as a junior animator. Courses include Level 3 Diplomas in Creative and Digital Media or Level 3 Diplomas in Games, Animation and VFX Skills. Or could take an advanced or higher apprenticeship in creative and digital media, or visual effects. This may help you to get a job as an animation assistant.
You could start as an animation 'runner' and work your way up to role as a digital painter, inbetweener, assistant animator, or animator.
You can contact broadcasting companies, advertising agencies, animation studios or computer games companies to find out about work experience opportunities. You could also enter animation competitions, visit festivals, and send short animated films or ideas to broadcasters. This will help get you known in the industry and start building your network of contacts.
Screenskills has more information about careers in animation.
With experience, you could progress from animator to lead animator and animation director. You could also work for larger animation studios, games developers, interactive media designers or video post-production firms. You might decide to go freelance or start your own studio.