Animators breathe life into imaginary characters by making them move on screen. They work in films and TV and also in the gaming industry. Many advertising campaigns also use animation.
If you can draw, have a great imagination and enormous patience, this could be the job for you.
All animation involves building up a series of images to create the illusion of movement. There are three main ways in which this is done and you could find yourself specialising in one method:
2D: Early Disney films used this old fashioned way of animating, where each image is hand drawn. The results can be fantastic, but this method is very slow. Nowadays, the work is made much faster by using computer software.
Stop-frame: Characters are built as real 3D models that are moved carefully by hand for each frame. Wallace and Gromit are the most famous examples of stop-frame animation.
3D Computer Animation: 3D models are built and animated within a computer program. It’s now possible to achieve astonishing realism and this method is the one used most commonly in games and films.
As an animator on a large project you would work from a storyboard to make a series of images that create the illusion of movement. This is a slow and repetitive job, but one in which creativity really matters.
On a smaller project, you could be involved in other areas of the process, such as the initial design of the characters, talking to clients, drawing up storyboards, painting models and editing the final film or video.
First and foremost, you must be able to draw or make models. You must show that you have the patience and consistency that animation demands. You will need to be comfortable working on a computer and be familiar with using animation software such as Maya or 3DS Max.
You can learn these skills on an animation degree or HND, or another art degree that contains an element of animation. You can also teach yourself to animate and – if you have an impressive portfolio that shows real commitment – this could open doors for you.
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