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Animators are artists who use sequential images of drawings, puppets and models to produce films for commercials, computer games, music videos and websites.

Over half of animators in the UK are self-employed.

What does an animator do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Animators create films for production companies, major animation studios and computer games companies. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • working creatively to produce original and aesthetically pleasing designs and solutions
  • using specialist computer generation software such as Maya, Flash and After Effects
  • presenting designs to customers for evaluation
  • promoting and running the business
  • negotiating contracts
  • liaising and working effectively with other design and production staff.

Typical employers of animators

  • Web design companies
  • Computer games companies
  • Film studios
  • Marketing companies

When making job applications, you will need a ‘showreel’ of animated work that demonstrates your abilities to potential employers. It is vital to be proactive when seeking opportunities as vacancies are rarely advertised, so speculative applications, including direct approaches to companies by telephone, are essential. For guidance on speculative applications see our page: making speculative applications.

Bear in mind that over half of animators in the UK are self-employed. Freelance can be the way to go, but it can take time and a lot of dedication to build up a reputation and get established.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into animation for both university graduates and school leavers.

An HND (higher national diploma) or degree in a relevant subject such as film, television, photography, illustration, 3D/graphic design or computer/computer-aided engineering will prepare you for entry into the profession. A postgraduate qualification in animation will also be advantageous.

To find out how to get into careers in this area via a school leaver route, visit the media section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for animators

  • Creativity
  • Artistic talent
  • A knack for storytelling
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to meet tight deadlines

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