How to Become an Animator (Digital/3D)

An animator is the person responsible for creating the images and frames that make up an animation movie or short film.

These days, most animations are created digitally, that is with computers.

With 3D technology advancing, as well as becoming more affordable at a rapid pace, this also looks to be set as the trend of the future.

To work as an animator you must be a creative person who is well versed in all aspects of design.

You’ll be given a basic framework of ideas and story lines.

You’ll need a strong work ethic, as animators are often called to adhere to strict deadlines.

Working well in team environments is also important, as an animator will be called on to work closely with other people involved in the creative process.

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In some roles, animators double up as writers, also providing story lines.

This is most common in the world of gaming.

Education Requirements to Become an Animator

While there are no formal education requirements to become an animator, in this competitive industry your job prospects will be greatly improved with some training behind you.

There are two year associate’s animation degrees, as well as four year bachelor’s degrees in animation.

Alongside straight animation subjects, completing art subjects will help you learn about design.

As strong computer literacy is needed as an animator, taking computer subjects will also help you further down the track.

One of the best choices of course you can take if you want to become an animator is a four year Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in animation.

Not only will you get a good grounding in design with this course, but you will also develop a good knowledge base in the humanities, which will help you in any arts-based career path.

It should be noted, that while you don’t need any specific education to be an animator, it is difficult to succeed without any at all.

Getting your start in this industry is competitive, so doing everything you can along the way to help you is important.

If you’re still in high school, taking art and computer subjects will help.

As will any work experience, paid or unpaid, that you can get.

While you’re at college, consider taking up internships if possible.

Animator Job Description

If you decide to become an animator, your role will involve far more than drawing pictures.

Here are some typical tasks an animator could find themselves completing in a work day.

  • Drawing characters, backgrounds, and other elements of animations
  • Communicating closely with other team members
  • Communicating with clients to determine their requirements
  • Creating work using various computer design programs
  • Building Models
  • Creating Storyboards
  • Timing movements

Animators can find a few different kinds of work.

Many are employed to create movies and cartoons.

Some work for ad agencies, while others create educational films, or productions for private companies.

Animator Salary and Career Path

Once you become an animator you can be assured of a secure job, there is a high demand in the industry at the moment for experienced and talented animators.

It’s also a role that offers a good salary.

Most animators do their job simply because they love being part of a creative team, working towards creating something together.

According to, the bottom 25% of animators earn around $30,000 to $40,000 a year, while someone with a more experience could earn upwards of $65,000 or more.

Staring out, most animators wither work as graphic designers, or work as an assistant animator.

An assistant animator will draw pictures based on other people’s sketches, as opposed to creating characters and ideas themselves.

The further your career advances, the more creative control you will have.

Many artists gain work as animators, and use this role as a platform to launch their own careers in the art world later on.

If you’re a creative personality who has an interest in art, design, and drawing, then a career as an animator may be perfect for you.

While getting that initial start may be difficult, once you have established yourself, you can look forward to a successful and secure career.

What could be more rewarding than coming to work every day and doing what you love?

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