How to Become an Animator

If you are a good artist who enjoys working with computers, then you might be interested in finding out how to become an animator.

Education/Portfolio

To be considered for an entry-level position as an animator, you'll need your bachelor's degree in a field like media or fine arts. You also might consider studying at an animation school that offers classes specifically in computer animation and video game design. Doing so will allow you to use the latest technology and learn programs you will need to know like Photoshop, 3d Studio Max, Maya, and Lightwave. 

While getting your education, take some time to compile a sample portfolio of your work so that you have something to show potential employers after you graduate. In your portfolio, you should include your best artwork, storyboards, computer generated images, and a two-minute animation. The better your portfolio, the better chance you have of getting a job. More and more animators are building their own websites to display their best work. If you decide to do so, make sure to copyright your work and even place digital watermarks on your images, so others won't steal them.

Also look into whether or not your college offers any type of internship program that will allow you to gain real-world experience in the animation industry. Sometimes these internships can turn into job offers. You should also check to see if your university has a job placement program that will help you find employment after you graduate.

Tips/Advice

If you are looking for a full-time job as an animator, try t.v. or movie production companies, animation firms, video game businesses, or web design companies. You should also consider trying to find freelance work to build your portfolio and develop your credentials.

Because, as an animator, you will create art to help tell a story or communicate a message, you must have artistic talent. You'll also want to develop an area of specialty that you are really good at to set yourself apart from the competition.

To gain visibility in your field, you can enter animated film competitions. Not only do you have a chance to win a cash prize, you will gain accolades that can help you land your dream job.

Job Outlook/Pay

Right now the animation industry is booming, and you have a good chance of being hired especially in growing fields like video game design. Although the field of animation is extremely competitive, the growth of the entertainment industry as well as other multimedia outlets like the Internet allow talented animators many opportunities for employment.  As an animator, you can expect to earn anywhere between $40,000 and $65,000 a year, depending on your level of experience and where you work.

Job Description

Most often we think of animators as talented artists who create cartoons for t.v. shows or movies. But more and more animators are creating animated graphics for other types of projects like video games and websites. As an animator you will be taking creative thoughts and turning them into compelling images, but you will also have to work as a team. Your work could entail creating special effects anywhere from computer-generated clouds in an advertisement to laser beams in a science fiction movie.

Don't be surprised if you have to work long hours under highly stressful deadlines. In fact, while working on a project, you may have to work 15 to 20 hour days in order to meet your deadline. But if you really enjoy using drawings to tell stories, you will find this job very rewarding, especially when you get to see your animations come to life.