Freelance Animator Job Profile

The job of a freelance animator is to produce images that look dynamic on computer, television or hand-held device screens. An animator’s work is seen in commercials, feature films, software and other such media. As an animator, you will have to capture the separate images of every movement. The characters thus created will appear to be mobile when the images are observed at speed.

Qualifications Required

  • A college degree. Preference is given if the degree is in arts or architecture.
  • Completion of professional courses related to animation techniques and styles. These include courses in traditional animation, computer-generated animation, Photoshop, drawing, human anatomy and many others.
  • Having a specific area of focus. You can choose to work with websites, advertising companies, and films or video game producers.
  • A strong portfolio of work.
  • Having essential skills like sense of color, size and design.
  • Basic knowledge of computers and proficiency in related animation software.

Duties and Responsibilities

An animator’s main role is to create art. When used in a sequence, this art communicates a story or message. As a freelance animator, you will be involved in activities such as these:

  • Conduct meetings with clients or employers and discuss the requirements.
  • Develop and agree on a work plan with your client or employer.
  • Perform 2-D or 3-D animation of characters.
  • Set up and build models or puppets.
  • Draw or paint characters to be used in animation.
  • Add color and texture to characters used in animation.
  • Design special effects like reflection, color fading and others.
  • Make a film of animation, puppets or models.
  • Revise and refine the animation, depending on the feedback of your client or employer.

Work Environment and Earnings

As a freelance animator, you have the liberty of defining your own working hours and work environment. However, it is necessary that you meet deadlines. Also, you may have to spend time traveling to meet the clients and promote your work. The downside is that you may not have full-time employment. The income may vary depending on the client. However, as of May 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics names an average pay rate of $27 per hour. You can find more freelance animator job opportunities and related information on

Different Animator Jobs

You can choose any of these specializations:

  • Stop-motion or claymation animator--Building puppets, designing their movements and putting them together will be your focus.
  • 3-D animator--The responsibilities involve designing images and setting up a model that enhances these images in three dimensions. 
  • 2-D animator--You will be creating motion pictures with traditionally drawn animation. Sequence these images and create cartoon animation.
  • Motion graphics animator--This involves preparing graphics for television or films. Scanning images and working with colors and visual effects on a computer are your tasks.
  • Cel animator--This requires hand drawing every frame or image of a cartoon.