Since its creation in the early 20th century, animation has played an essential role in our society and the entertainment industry. Jobs in the animation business have evolved to reflect the medium’s development from hand-drawn to virtual reality.
Despite the appeal of working in animation, only some know how to get there or what skills are needed. In this post, we’ll go over some of the best ways to be hired for animation jobs and a list of the most in-demand positions.
Popular Career Options in the Animation Industry
It’s a general misunderstanding that those who want to work in animation must be artistically gifted. While management, entertainment, and advertising are familiar places for animators to find employment, the field is open to everyone with relevant skills. Even if you have yet to gain experience in animation production, you should be able to find animation jobs that fit your skills and interests.
You may experiment with different freelancing occupations until you discover one that you like doing most. Most animation companies will allow you to outsource work if you have a laptop and a proper freelancing contract outlining your terms and conditions.
1. Animation Casting & Talent Manager
Though the casting and talent manager’s title might vary, at animation studios, they serve effectively as a hiring manager. They are in charge of recruiting new talent and developing existing animators at a company. Being on your toes and ready to go at all times is a perk of this work.
Even if they aren’t animators, casting and talent managers must have a solid grasp of the animation business and the company they work for. To be successful in this senior role, you need excellent managerial, logistical, and communication abilities. Employers often look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience in management, team leadership, or the animation sector.
2. Animation Technical Director (TD)
Do you have any interest in animation programming and tools? If you fit the bill, consider applying for this position. The animation TD (also known as a technical producer, animation programmer, or animation engineer) is responsible for developing and implementing new methods and tools for animators. A competent animation TD collaborates closely with the studio’s animation technical staff to address technical issues and make informed decisions based on studio metrics.
Skills in problem-solving, communicating well to provide help, and coding or programming is essential in this position. Having expert-level expertise in Python and C++, as well as flexibility, is necessary for employment at most studios. Technical animators earn an average of $97,000 per year and often need advanced knowledge of animation software and a few years of experience in the field.
3. Animation Writer
A rousing appeal to all artists and authors! To put it simply, an animation writer (or screenplay) is crucial to the success of an animation company. They are the ones who think up stories and put them into words, which other people utilize to make movies.
Writers often create new ideas or expand upon old ones, such as for a television program or series, before pitching their work to producers. But it is only sometimes the case. Sometimes a producer would hire a writer to write a script for them if they have a specific vision or style.
Freelance writers are common in the animation industry. However, larger companies may have their writers on staff. An animation writer has to be flexible and capable of swiftly putting ideas into action. An animation writer must be creative and literate in English and other languages.
4. Storyboard artists
Storyboard artists, often known as storyboarders, take direction from an animator’s scriptwriter and visualize the plot in sequential images. A storyboard is a visual representation of the major events that take place in a tale.
Storyboards like this are also used in animation production to provide directors with a reference point. Storyboard artists are often involved in the production process from its earliest stages to its conclusion.
The role of an animator is often the first that comes to mind when discussing animation jobs. When you go to the movies, the animators behind the scenes are responsible for the visuals you see. Animators collaborate with directors and storyboard artists/writers to bring their written or drawn ideas to life on the screen.
The variety of animators is comparable to the variety of animation styles. There is a wide range of animators, some focusing on certain mediums like 2D or 3D. Whatever your motivations, if you want to get a job as an animator, you need relevant experience and to be comfortable with teamwork.
An animator’s toolkit should include sketching, an art and color theory basis, animation creating, communication, and organizational skills. Communicating effectively with several studios is another skill that will be essential for freelance animators.
6. Art Director (AD)
Newspapers, product packaging, film and television productions, and many other forms of media have someone who oversees the visuals and pictures. These people are sometimes referred to as art directors. Art directors in the animation business work closely with the animation team to guide the visual style and design of the animation, whether it be the development of a character or the design of a location.
Leadership and communication abilities are crucial for success in this position. In addition, you’ll need a solid foundation in design and the ability to sketch accurately, which may be attained with a bachelor’s degree in the discipline (graphic design, fine art, photography, etc.)
7. Background Artist
Background artists, or environment artists, are an integral part of the animation process yet sometimes go unnoticed. Simply put, they are responsible for creating the environments where the animated action takes place. They decide what backdrops need to be produced, sketch them in great detail, then coordinate with other animators to ensure everything lines up correctly. For this reason, background artists must have a good aesthetic sense and an acute awareness of detail.
In addition to excellent sketching abilities, a background designer needs a great eye for detail and an extensive understanding of different locales. This position calls for someone who has worked in both architecture and animation.
8. Character Designer
The designers of animated films’ main attractions, the characters, are their primary concern. To produce believable animation, animators often study human anatomy, clothing trends, physical motion, and more. Creating a character in 3D is much different from how one would create a claymation figure. Essential for a character designer is a vivid imagination and the capacity to think creatively.
It’s rare for a character designer to work alone; most work for a dedicated animation studio. Besides having substantial skills with programs like Photoshop, character designers sometimes have degrees in animation jobs.
One who works with the final image of an animated frame is called a compositor, who may also be called a compositing artist or a finishing artist. They incorporate the many parts of the project (the story, the characters, the settings, the visuals, the effects) into a unified whole.
Composers ensure every animated element works well together to create a stunning motion image by analyzing how its constituent parts contribute to the total. Composers may also be editors, catching errors or suggesting improvements in the final draught.
A good compositor will have an eye for detail and be familiar with the animation workflow. They must also have experience in compositing applications, like After Effects and Maya.
10. Motion Designer
A motion designer, or motion graphics designer, combines with art directors and creative teams to generate animated material for the web, TV, or films; this encompasses digital animation creation for movie clips, ads, tiny title sequences, and more. Motion designers have expert knowledge of visual effects and other animation methods used in graphic design.
11. Post-Production Specialist
Experts in post-production usually have a broad perspective. They handle the finished output, ensuring it adheres to the original brief and communicating any necessary changes to the audience via editing and video formatting. These professionals are highly skilled in animation technologies like Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro and have a deep comprehension of the field.
12. Effects Technical Director (FX TD)
FX TDs, or effects technical directors, are the icing on the animation production cake. They’re the ones to thank for all the fantastic effects seen in animated shorts, such as explosions, smoke, water, fire, and more. An FX TD or someone in a comparable job would have been responsible for the whirling snow in the movie Frozen. FX TDs have a unique blend of aesthetic sensibility and technical proficiency, requiring an eye for design and a penchant for perfection, in addition to advanced knowledge of software and the ability to solve complex problems.
The FX TD must know their specific field and how every aspect of the animation workflow interacts. As TDs are often more senior positions, having previous work experience in the animation business is crucial. An FX TD should have training in both fine art/drawing and mathematics/computer science.
Wrapping It Up
Are you curious about working in animation? Do any of these animation jobs seem appealing to you? Go for it if you’re smart enough or curious enough to figure it out.
In addition to the entertainment industry, the advertising industry also needs animators. If you’re creative and know your way around animation software and hardware, consider animation jobs.
If you’re thinking about a future in animation, it might help to familiarize yourself with some of the most sought-after occupations in the industry. Twelve common animation-related occupations are discussed here, along with an overview of the many subgenres of animation.