An animator produces multiple images called frames, which when sequenced together rapidly create an illusion of movement known as animation. The images can be made up of digital or hand-drawn pictures, models or puppets.
Animators work in industries ranging from television to the web. The audiences for the various industries animation serves are as diverse as the animators who provide the entertainment for them. Choosing a career in animation means you have a major decision to make as it relates to the industry you serve. If you choose to go the freelance route, you can market your services to advertising and marketing firms, animation studios, film production companies and graphic designers.
Animators tend to work in 2D animation, 3D model-making animation, stop frame or computer-generated animation. Computer-generated animation features strongly in motion pictures (to create special effects or an animated film in its own right), as well as in aspects of television work, the internet and the computer games industry.
The basic skill of animation still relies heavily on the animator's artistic ability, but there is a growing need for animators to be familiar with technical computer packages.
Although this area of work is open to all graduates, the following degree subjects are particularly relevant:
- Graphic Design/Illustration
- 3D Design
- Art & Design
- Model Making or Sculpture
- Design for Moving Image
- Spatial Design
- Film & Video
- Electrical Engineering
- Computer-aided Engineering
Most animators begin as studio runners and then progress to junior animation roles. In 2D animation, you may begin work as an 'inbetweener', then progress to key framer. 3D animation has a more hierarchical structure: starting as a junior animator, with progression to senior animator after a few years' experience and finally design manager or art director.