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Animator Profile

Animator Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Animator. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Animator
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Animator Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

An animator produces images that give the impression of movement on screen. These images are used to tell stories and communicate ideas visually. Their work is used in television programmes, films, cartoons, advertising, pop videos and computer games. Animators use a variety of techniques:

• drawing or 2D
• stopmotion or model animation 3D
• computer generated imaging (CGI).

They are first and foremost artists, who create characters and designs that are brought to life on screen. Sometimes these will be original characters and stories devised by the animator, but often they will be working with a client and a director to produce a specific image for a project. Working hours are usually from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but additional hours may be required to meet deadlines. It is common to work from a studio or office. Animators may spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, drawing and manipulating images on a computer screen.

An animator needs:

• to be artistic and creative
• to be able to draw
• good communication skills
• patience and the ability to work well as part of a team
• to be interested in animation and computer technology
• an interest in film and television.

There is a small number of large animation studios in the UK, but the majority of animators work on a freelance basis for smaller independent production companies. Other employers include design agencies and publishing companies. Most of the work is centred around London, with some work available in other major cities.
Animators usually need a degree or an HNC/HND. All animators need to produce a showreel to demonstrate their skills to potential clients. Many produce still shots of their work to send in with their CV.
The majority of training takes place on the job. New entrants work with more experienced colleagues, learning and developing new techniques and skills.

What does the role encounter?

Animators produce images that give the impression of movement on screen. These images are used to tell stories and communicate ideas visually. Their work is used in television programmes, films, cartoons, advertising and pop videos. Animation is also used in many computer applications including games and moving image graphics.
There are three main types of animation and it is usual to specialise in one area:

• drawing or 2D
• stopmotion or model animation 3D
• computer generated imaging (CGI).

Drawn animation involves the drawing of images onto a special kind of thin animation paper. Each sheet of paper will have a slightly different image drawn onto it, like the pages of a flick book. These images are then traced onto clear film, known as a cell, painted and then photographed. The clear film can be layered to add scenery and other visuals such as props. The animator's job is to draw the characters that will appear to be moving. Professional 2D production still involves traditional 'drawn on paper' artwork, but makes a much greater use of computer aided colouring systems. The drawings are scanned into computer systems and coloured electronically. Any further artwork is computer generated. A similar procedure is followed with models and puppets. Each tiny movement and change of expression is photographed separately for every one or two frames of film. When played at normal speed, the images appear to move. This is a time consuming process requiring great patience, as up to 25 photographs may be needed for just one second of film. Computer generated imaging (CGI) is a growing area of work. It can be used in addition to the above techniques, or can generate animation in its own right. A computer animator uses specialist knowledge and needs to keep up to date with technological developments.
Animators often have to follow a specific brief, and their creative input may vary enormously depending on the job. Sometimes they create their own characters and stories, either on their own or as part of a creative team. Other projects may involve accurately reproducing established characters, or interpreting a client's detailed requirements. They work alongside designers, printers, copywriters, directors and producers.

What type of hours will I have to work?

An animator usually works 37 hours a week, from Monday to Friday. Additional hours may be required to meet deadlines. Part-time and temporary contracts are often available, with many animators choosing to work freelance.

Most of the work is carried out in well-lit open plan offices or studios. Animators are likely to travel frequently to visit clients, promoting their work and discussing current projects.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Newly-qualified animators earn from around £15,000 to £20,000 a year.
• Experienced animators may earn up to £35,000 a year.
• Highly skilled animators can earn £40,000 or more.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• be creative and artistic
• be able to draw
• have a thorough knowledge of graphic, painting and animation software
• be patient and able to concentrate for long periods
• have good communication and negotiation skills
• be original and inventive
• work well as part of a team, taking direction from senior animators, directors and clients
• be able to work on their own initiative
• be able to take criticism
• have a thorough understanding of life drawing and movement, and of characterisation.

What type of training will I receive?

The majority of training takes place on the job. Newly-qualified animators work with more experienced colleagues, learning and developing new techniques and skills.

Skillset offer vocational courses designed to meet the National Occupational Standards of the industry. They are available in Design for the Moving Image at Levels 2, 3 and 4.

Career Progression:

Promotion may depend on the type and size of the organisation. Animators working for a company may be able to progress to the position of senior animator or supervisor. They could also move into related work as an art director or design manager.

With an emphasis on freelance work in the industry, opportunities for advancement often depend on an individual's skills, versatility and ability to promote themselves.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Advertising Art Director
Computer Games Designer
Graphic Designer
Model Maker
Multimedia Designer

Where can I find further information?

BBC Recruitment, PO Box 48305, London W12 6YE. 0870 333 1330. Website:

Brittish Film Institute (BFI), 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN. 020 7255 1444. Website:

British Universities Film & Video Council, 77 Wells Street, London W1T 3QJ. 020 7393 1500. Website:

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), 2-4 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5DH. 020 7211 6200. Website:

National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield Studios, Station Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire HP9 1LG. 01494 671234. Website:

Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission (NIFTC), Alfred House, 21 Alfred Street, Belfast BT2 8ED. 028 9023 2444. Website:

Scottish Screen, Second Floor, 249 West George Street, Glasgow G2 4QE. 0141 302 1700. Website:

Sgrin Cymru Wales, 10 Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff CF10 5EE. 02920 333300. Website:

Skillset, Prospect House, 80-110 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1HB. 020 7520 5757. Website:

The UK Film Council, 10 Little Portland Street, London W1W 7JG. 020 7861 7861. Website:

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

Creative Review
Creative Review
Design Week.

Other Useful Animator Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Animator job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Animator Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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