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Helping you find a career as an Animator

Animators are a type of artist who produces multiple images known as frames, which are then sequenced together to produce an illusion known as animation. Such animation is often featured in films and computer games.

There are many different types of animation, including 2D, 3D, stop-motion and computer generated. Frames are often produced with the use of models and puppets.


What does an Animator do?
An animator carries out a variety of tasks. Artistically, they must:
  • Create scripts and storyboards for sequences to be animated

  • Design models, backgrounds, characters and sets

  • Use materials such as clay, plaster and paint to develop models

  • Produce animated sequences in an effective and convincing way

  • Use technical software such as Flash, Maya and LightWave

  • Record dialogue and introduce soundtracks

Additionally, an animator must:

  • Work with production deadlines and meet clients' requirements

  • Work as part of a broad production team

  • Pitch your ideas and concepts to prospective clients
What skills and interests should an Animator have?
Animators must first and foremost be highly creative people with great artistic talent and a passion for their work. Traditionally, animators were experts at hand-crafted work, although increasingly skills in computer generated animation is necessary.

A strong attention to detail and ability to work under pressure will also be beneficial, as would a passion for animated features, both stop-motion and computer generated, from which to draw inspiration.
What hours does an Animator typically do?
As animators are often self-employed, hours are flexible. However, due to the nature of the work animators may find themselves working long hours and frequently working overtime, such as at weekends, in order to meet deadlines.
What environment is an Animator based in?
Animators are typically based in offices and studios, although professional freelance animators may have home-based studio equipment.
How much does an Animator get paid?
Entry-level salaries in the field of animation are in the region of £12,000 to £15,000. Salaries in the computer games industry often start higher at around £18,000, rising quickly with experience. Experienced animators can earn around £23,000 to £26,000, with salaries rising to £36,000 after several years in the industry.
Perks & benefits
As over half of animators in the UK are self-employed, you may have the opportunity to be your own boss, as well as work from home or a local studio of your convenience. You may find yourself involved in the promotion of the film or computer game you had a hand in animating.

Once a foothold has been made in the industry, career prospects are strong. The UK has a reputation as a powerhouse of stop-motion animation and its computer games development industry is also thriving. Opportunities to travel to the USA and East Asia to work in CGI animation and games studios may also be available.
What qualifications does an Animator need?
Although not essential, postgraduate qualifications in animation may be a route into the industry. Courses include:
  • Two-year MA Animation at the Royal College of Art

  • 15-month MA in Animation from the University of the West of England

  • A year-long MA in Digital Effects from Bournemouth University

  • Two-year MA in Directing Animation at the National Film and Television School

As animation is a highly competitive industry, potential candidates must have a showreel. This is a short portfolio of your previous work - whether professional or non-professional - to present to potential clients and employees.
Useful subjects to study at school & university
Subjects such as animation, art and design, film and video courses, graphic design, multimedia, 3D design would be useful to study if you are interested in the profession.
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