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How to become an Animator

3 months ago by Wajiha Yasmeen in How To 16 min read

How to become an Animator

If you have a knack for storytelling but can’t find a medium for expression, then we suggest you give animation a try. You can make use of the movements and graphics to bring your imagination to life. Moreover, all the gaming and anime buffs who are often enthralled by the magic of exciting graphics in them can adopt animation as a hobby and later turn it into a highly rewarding career. Here is a helpful guide on how to become an animator, for those thinking of pursuing animations and motion graphics.

What is an Animator?

Animators are storytellers that bring imagined and drawn characters or objects to life with their creative and technical skills.  They are the artists who create the illusion of movement by stitching together multiple images in a rapid succession. Animations are widely used in video games, movies, marketing videos, and obviously the cartoon industry. Thus increasing the demand of animators in the film, television, and gaming industry. In 2018, the global animation market was worth 259 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to grow to 270 billion by 2020.

What Animators do?

Initially, animations started off as zoetrope’s (making a motion out of a combination of hand drawn images), then eventually took the shape of CGI (Computer generated images). A great deal of animation has been automated thanks to  the advancement in computer graphics. At the same time, all the automation has raised the demand for high-quality animations that are interactive and 3D.

So the job description for a typical animator goes like:

  1. Research and Visual Concept
  2. Storyboarding
  3. Model Sheets
  4. Use software’s for illustrations
  5. Animate the illustrations
  6. Post-Production

Keep in mind, the responsibilities might vary based on your industry, job, and even organization. However, having education and experience in graphic designing might help you stand out in the pool of yellow applicants.

How to become an Animator in Pakistan?

With that knowledge of what animators do in hand, let’s move forward to how one can build a career in this creative and ever evolving field.

1. Get Education

Fortunately, animation like other fields of computer design rarely requires a formal education and is mostly dependent on individual talent. Obviously having a university degree or certified diploma can be a plus for your resume especially in computer science, computer design, visual arts, and fine arts.

Degrees:

In this list we have listed all Pakistani universities offering animation design programs:

  1. The University of Faisalabad – BS Design Animation
  2. Iqra University, Karachi – Bachelor of Media Science
  3. Institute For Art And Culture, Lahore – Bachelor Animation Design

Apart from these universities such as NCA, Foundation University, Indus Valley School of Arts, and Beaconhouse National University, Lahore etc. also offer degrees in computer and graphic design. 

Online Courses:

If you are just starting out in this field and don’t want to invest your energy and money into a university degree, there are plenty of online resources both paid and free you can use to learn this art. Starting from the YouTube channels excelling in this arena are:

Moving on here are the list of some certified courses you can enrol in to gain access to quality training by industry professionals.

2. Develop creative skills

Next up comes the task of polishing your creative and imaginative abilities since animation is primarily the job of bringing stories to life. Interactive media industry is forever changing at a rapid pace, so in order to keep up with it, you must broaden your horizon and start thinking out of the box.

Perhaps you are wondering how I can improve my creative ability. Well as they say, practice makes a man perfect but in this case practice paired with closely studying the work of other professionals makes an amature animator perfect.

3. Build Portfolio

In the field of arts, a stellar portfolio speaks much higher volume than a university degree. A potential employer is more interested in how you use the skill rather than where you learned it.

Make sure to upload all your work on an online platform such as Behance with a demo reel. Make sure to keep updating it on a regular basis with your recent work.

You can hunt projects for a portfolio using freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelance.com, and Dribble.

4. Job Experience

In the start of your career when you are in the learning phase, if possible try to secure an internship or entry level job in some media or advertising firm. It can be a very fruitful experience where you can apply all of your learning as they work on a variety of projects.

We understand that scoring your first job can be a challenging process, but with enough hard work, dedication, determination, and confidence it can be accomplished.

What skills are required to become an Animator?

To thrive in the action-packed and exciting field of digital animation following is the combination of technical and soft skills that makes a well-rounded animator.

  • Acting: This might sound bizarre but in order to make the movements and expressions of characters seem realistic, one must learn the basics of acting.
  • Collaboration: Since creating movies, games, or visual effects for any purpose requires an animator to work closely with a team of designers, artists, and illustrators, the ability to collaborate effectively is one of the necessary soft skills.
  • Graphic Designing: Not required but can give brownie points as animation requires visually designing objects and characters.
  • Detail-Orientation: To make everything look real, paying attention to small details such as textures, colors, proportions, measurements, and shades etc. is very important. This simple skill is what differentiates an amature from an expert.
  • Communication: The ability to negotiate, connect, and interact with clients and fellow artists in the team.
  • Open to feedback and critique: Since your work will be frequently evaluated by clients and colleagues so you must be open to criticism. This also helps you improve your performance at work.
  • Creativity: Quite obvious. This means to find a unique way of portraying your concept.
  • Storytelling: Essential for viewers to understand, engage and interact with your artworks.

 

Best Animation Software’s:

There is plenty of software’s you can use for animations, each of which has its own pros and cons. However, here we will list a few based on their usage.

  1. Vector Animation:

Also known as 2D animations can be created using

  • Adobe Aftereffects
  • Adobe Animate
  • Adobe Spark
  • 3D Animation

For creating 3-D animations, the most commonly used applications are:

  • Blender
  • Cinema 4D
  • 3DS max
  1. Classical Animations:

For basic and traditional motion graphics following software’s are used:

  • Adobe Animate
  • Photoshop
  • Toon Boom
  • Krita

Different types of Animation:

Generally speaking, there are 5 types of animations, in the media and gaming industry.

  1. Cell Animation: Traditional method which requires you to draw each frame by hand and then animate them.
  2. 2D Animation: Vector animation, suitable for beginners as the artist has the option of creating rigs for the characters and moving single body parts simultaneously rather than constantly redrawing the characters.
  3. 3D Animation: Most commonly used in movies and games, it focuses more on movement than graphics. The best part about 3D animations is that the creator only has to input the keyframes and movement and let the computer fill-in the rest.
  4. Motion Graphics: Instead of moving the characters, it is used for moving texts and graphic elements. They are mostly used in advertising and marketing.
  5. Stop Motion: Same as cell animation but in stop motions, animators normally use photographs rather than illustrations or drawings.

As discussed earlier, you might have to jump from one format to another depending on your job and organization. Try to practice all of them as much as possible to polish your rough edges and become a well-rounded animator. For this purpose, working at a media house or marketing agency can be a good way to start since they handle a variety of media formats.

 

FAQ’s:

What is the average salary of an animator?

Animators who work in 2D can expect to earn $20.66 per hour, while those working in 3D can earn $17.34 per hour. However, it can be different based on your location, education, experience, and skills.

Can I be an animator without a degree in arts or computer design?

Yes, as mentioned in the article, employers in this workforce are more interested in what you bring to the table rather than where you bring it from. Just focus on practicing your art, developing required skills, and building a top-notch portfolio.

What are the pros and cons of 2D and 3D animation?

2D is more about lights, shading, and contrast.  Additionally, the 2D animators have to draw each frame, and there vector animations require a lot of frames to make the animation appear smooth. 3D deals more with movement than drawing but it doesn’t require you to draw each frame.

Can I be an animator with terrible drawing skills?

You can but it might be helpful to take a drawing course to polish your abilities. Lastly, practice, practice, and practice.

Which software should I use for making animations?

Depends on which format of animation you want to pursue. Also we suggest getting your hands dirty on 2-3 software’s initially, and then streamline the one that works best for you.

Wajiha Yasmeen
Author: Wajiha Yasmeen

Biography of Wajeeha Yasmin

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