Animators create hand-drawn, painted, and computer-generated two and three-dimensional models and animation for television, movies, video games, and other media. Animators may specialize in a particular area of design. They typically work as part of a team to develop and produce a film, visual effect, or video game. Some of the job responsibilities of animators include:
- Creating models, animation, and visual effects using illustration and computer software
- Working as part of a team of animators to produce a final animated product
- Working with film directors, game designers, and clients to conceptualize, develop, and edit animations
- Meeting with clients to develop animation projects and determine project deadlines
Employment for animators is predicted to increase due to consumer demand for exciting and ever-more realistic visual effects and animation in video games, movies and on mobile phones. However, the BLS reports that job growth for animators is predicted to slow as companies continue to hire oversees animators in order to save money. Animators who are especially talented artistically and highly skilled in computer software will have the best prospects for jobs in animation studios.
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Becoming an Animator
Potential employers will favor candidates with an impressive portfolio of work and evidence of strong computer skills. An online or on-campus bachelor's degree program in animation, computer animation, or fine art can provide students with the technical knowledge and portfolio of work they need to be competitive in today's job market. Some schools offer specialized degrees or degrees with a concentration in interactive media or game design.
Most animation degree programs begin with classes that teach the foundations of traditional art, such as life drawing, anatomy, shading and lighting, and color theory. A sampling of classes you may take in an animation program, drawn from course listing for Full Sail University's bachelor's of science in computer animation program, include:
- Fundamentals of Art
- Character Design and Creation
- Software Technology
- Animation Production
Animators must balance their artistic talent with solid technical and computer skills, and may be stronger in one area over the other. Animation studios often use their own software and computer applications, and newly hired animators can expect a set period of on-the-job training to learn these tools. In addition to a high level of artistry and technical knowledge, animators should possess strong interpersonal skills, the ability to work as part of a team, and the physical stamina to work long hours.