Think back in time to shows such as Tom & Jerry, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo and The Simpsons. These cartoons would not have been a part of your childhood if it was not for animation which brought people’s favourite characters alive on TV screens. You may be wondering, is that all animation is used for? Let’s find out!
What does an animator do?
Animators are technology-driven artists who create an extensive series of images for movies, commercials and video games. With more and more platforms opening up for animation, the demand for animators is constantly on the rise.
The job responsibilities of an animator usually include:
- Producing a series of creative characters with modification for a wide range of emotions;
- Working with peer animators and artists to produce images for a movie, game or visual effects;
- Researching and staying up-to-date with the current trends;
- Developing original visual content;
- Collaborating with clients, game designers and movie directors;
- Suggesting animation ideas suitable for the concept of a project;
What are the different types of animation?
Although an increasingly popular choice, a career in animation is relatively challenging and a time-consuming job. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, by 2026, the employment rate of animators is expected to have grown by 8%. It is a diverse career which has various branches on offer, such as:
- Traditional Animation: Also known as cel animation, traditional animation dates back to 20th In this type of animation, characters were created using hand-drawn images. It was a lengthy process which required artistic expertise to produce a perfect sequence of images. Though many movies were made using this method, the first animation movie made completely using hand-drawn animation was Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. As the world became more digitally influenced, the implementation of this technique lost its value.
- 2D Animation: Though this method is generally used for hand-drawn animation, it is also used when referring to computer vector animations. In this type of animation, the computer uses hand-drawn animation techniques, devoid of physical objects. 2D animation allows an animator to create images frame by frame. This method does not require animators to draw a character again and again. They can create a rig for a particular character and then move body parts according to the requirement of the next frame.
- 3D Animation: In 3D animation, animators use computers to generate a series of images for an animation shot. Also referred to as CGI (Computer-generated Imagery), the characters are digitally modelled in this type of animation. The foundation of 3D animation is similar to 2D animation in terms of the frame-by-frame approach. The characters are included in certain keyframes and then the computer creates frames to produce the effect of movement.
- Motion Graphics: This type of animation is widely used in current movies, games and commercials. Motion graphics are fragments of digital images that are used to create an illusion of movement. Before various editing software emerged, motion graphics used to be a tedious task. Since the introduction of these softwares, it has become a lot easier to translate images on the screen. Generally speaking, motion graphics include images, texts and audio clips.
- Stop-Motion: Creating a fluid sequence of images is not an easy task. In fact, the animation technique of stop-motion takes quite long to process. Cautious measure should be taken while moving each object as the frames are photographed continuously to create an illusion of motion. Stop Motion animation further branches out into:
What does a career in animation entail?
In order to become a successful animator, you must have the following skills:
- Creativity: Animation is a creative domain, meaning that creativity is an imperative skill for anyone who plans to take up an animation career. You must have the ability to think out-of-the-box and let your imagination run wild.
- Attention to detail: It is essential that animators pay attention to intricate details when creating visuals for characters in motion. This is a relatively difficult task which requires a lot of concentration.
- Drawing Skills: Irrespective of whether you are using traditional animation or advanced techniques, drawing skills are paramount.
- Tech-savvy: In today’s day and age, computer skills are necessary for any animator as you will often be working with the most up to do date computer Hence, it is vital that you are well-versed in graphics and computer software.
- Ability to sustain pressure: Deadlines are inevitable most jobs, but especially in the creative field. It is essential that you have time-management skills and the ability to deal with pressure.
- Advantages of becoming an animator:
- With an average salery of around £24,000 for multimedia artists, the animation industry is relatively lucrative. It should be noted, however, this amount may vary depending on your skill set and experience in the field.
- Animation presents a variety of work projects, which will help you hone and learn new skills along the way.
- If you are working on your own project, you will have creative freedom.
- The global animation industry is vast and widespread, estimated to be worth US$ 259 billion in 2018.
- Entry Requirements for an animation course:
- Minimum age of 18 years;
- IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum score of 5 in each component;
- PTE score of 51 with a minimum of 51 in each component;
- A high school or a secondary-school degree recognised by the college you are applying for.
In order to learn animation, it is essential that you pursue formal education in the field. Animation colleges with high-quality education are increasingly aiding students to experiment with their creativity. As the animation industry continues to expand, many colleges are offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in animation. The undergraduate course of HNC/D Computer Game Animation offered by LCCA is aimed at equipping students with technical skills that will help them make it big in the industry.
This text was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole.