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How Do I Become an Animator?

Animators utilize the latest technology to create characters in movies, advertisements, and/or video games. Animators must have the right combination of creativity and education to be successful. Read on further to discover how you can become an animator.

Career Overview

In order to succeed as an animator, you must possess artistic ability, focus, and excellent communication skills. Many animators work in teams, collaborating on various elements of a project, while others are assigned particular tasks to work on alone. As a result, animators must be comfortable working for long periods by themselves as well as work well in a team setting.

You can choose to work in films (special effects), TV, computer-generated animation, advertising, video games, or multimedia (websites). 2D animation is similar to creating comic strips and 3D animation requires skills in computer modeling. Other desirable skills include editing, storyboarding, producing, and scriptwriting.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2019) $75,270 (multimedia artists and animators)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)4% growth (multimedia artists and animators)
Work environment Home studio, office
Similar occupations Art director, Graphic designer, Web developer

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Training

To become an animator usually means formal training, although some make it as animators without formal instruction. In recent years, to succeed as an animator necessitates having advanced technical or computer skills, thereby making a bachelor's degree almost mandatory, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Consider earning a bachelor's degree in art, design, animation, or graphic design with a concentration in computer skills.

You may also be able to enter the field of animation by taking training in multimedia design, 3D design, sculpture or model-making, computer programming, or illustration. It is important to keep up-to-date with the latest software programs used in animation, such as Maya, Flash, After Effects, and MotionBuilder.

Portfolio and Internship

In order to show a potential employer what you can do, you must develop a portfolio. Your portfolio should contain your best work and highlight your skills and talent. To get started, consider taking an internship (paid or unpaid) with someone established in the field (programmer, game designer, or animator).