The animation and graphics industry’s reach is vast and diverse; plus, its market is highly competitive, too. It demands particular knowledge about drawing lessons, conceptual and visualization experience, and artistic ability to land a perfect position in a company.

If you’re someone who loves to play video games, sketch landscapes in parks, or draw online with other collaborators, a career in animation might be your calling. However, how does one gain expertise or even polish skills in animation as a beginner?

A person may feel intimidated by those who have already advanced their skills and gained professional expertise. But, there are always starting points and steps to build a career as an animator and enhance your artistic skills.

Animation and graphics is an exciting field that continues to evolve. People who have visual creativity and artistic ability to bring simple, easy drawings to life are highly demanded by companies in the motion picture, graphic, and gaming industry.

In this article, we’re providing a step-by-step guide to describe how you can start your career as an animator, how much your salary expectations should be, what classes are required, and the necessary expertise to take a competitive edge over your competitors in this field.

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Are you passionate about sketching and drawing real-life characters? Well, pursuing a career in graphic arts might be an exciting journey for you. (Source: Unsplash)
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Who Is An Animator — All You Ought To Know

Animators are multimedia artists who create 2D, 3D, motion graphics, and visual effects – using advanced animation software and devices – for commercials, movies, ads, television shows, cartoons, video games, and mobile applications.

They have the creative ability to create various animations, ranging from traditional hand-drawn sketching to advanced digital dimensional art.

Animators commonly have an artistic and creative background with outstanding sketching and drawing skills that deliver a personalized and unique touch to their creations.

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Whether you’re looking to animate a physical object or thinking to create a visual effect, Superprof provides excellent guidance through art classes that could advance your artistic design skills and creative ability. (Source: Unsplash)

What Are The Duties Of Animators

Being an animator is a fun job, where you have the ability and skill to give life to images and ideas in industries as diverse as gaming, education, healthcare, law, and many more.

They specialize in visualization and conceptualization by attending advanced art classes. They further focus on a particular area, such as scenery, characters, photo manipulation, or background design.

Below are some critical points described to help you give direction in what your core responsibilities will be:

  • You will be supervising the creative team to create characters to portray various emotions
  • You will also teach customized drawing lessons for beginners to junior animators
  • An animator can also recommend and plan the best approaches to design 3D components into final high-quality commercial products
  • Animators also possess unique sketching expertise, hand-key animation, and drawing motion data
  • As you pursue your career in animation, you may also develop the ability to conceptualize and brainstorm ideas to produce easy sketches to draw and quick concepts to paint online
  • An animator also becomes proficient in using some complex computer and animation software to create multiple graphic layers and image sequences
  • Attending art classes to achieve a career in animation helps in understanding and aligning the movement of each frame according to its audio

How Do You Start Being An Animator

To become an animator, a person must complete artistic training programs and coursework. The art classes provided by these programs train the individual to gain knowledge and experience before landing any job in animation. So, consider the following steps to start your career as an animator:

The Required Education To Be An Animator

In today’s competitive world, having a degree doesn’t guarantee success. However, completing a bachelor’s degree program in animation or anything related to it (such as storytelling, character development, art history, graphic designing, etc.) is a vital step.

Furthermore, you must possess strong proficiency in performing a number of computer software, including Maya, Adobe Photo Suite, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro.

The Training Needed To Be An Animator

The majority of animation training programs focus on different areas, such as drawing lessons, 2D animation, special effects, or dimensions. Once you’ve completed a degree, it’s essential to identify which area suits your skills best.

For instance, if you have the creative capability of turning simple, easy drawings into 2D animation, enrolling in training programs focused on 2D can sharpen your skills.

Creating An Outstanding Portfolio As An Animator, Highlighting Your Achievements

A professional degree in animation prepares a person for a lucrative career in entertainment, animation, advertising, art and design, commercial, and other industries, focusing mainly on multimedia artists.

Developing a solid portfolio positions a person on a successful path in this creative yet competitive industry.

If you’re looking for a creative role in the animation industry, it’s important to build a portfolio online.

It’s a collection of your best work representing your ability to sketch, draw, visualize, conceptualize, idealize, and paint online.

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Drawing and sketching remain the best artistic skills in today’s animation industry. However, when combined with innovative technology, one can deliver outstanding animated arts and graphs. (Source: Unsplash)

What Can I Do With A Career In Animation

Students who pursue academic and career development in animation must choose a particular focus or specialty in order to progress. There are several programs in which a person has to learn to draw virtually within the fields of fine arts, illustration, or graphic design.

Moreover, several professional training programs, degrees, and art classes offer feature specialization in character development, product packaging, gaming, and animation.

Following are the three most common and successful career paths one can choose:

1. Pursue A Career In Mobile Game Development As An Animator

Designing video games needs the artistic as well as the technical talent of an animator to create, prototype, and develop engaging graphic movements.

In this career path, you will be responsible for conducting character research, sketching, storytelling, and developing gaming tools with the help of Adobe Animate.

2. Work In The Visual Effects Field As An Animator

This career demands the use of the latest technology and software to develop device-based creatures, characters, and stunt doubles.

You will be creating illustrations and simulated events with the help of Adobe After Effects.

In this field, you will seamlessly integrate the digital effects into live-action for commercials, movies, or console games.

An individual will learn to turn standard digital imagery into animated live-action footage. The art classes focused on visual effects teach storytelling, after-effect composition, 3D layers, and particle systems.

3. Animators Can Choose A Career In Character Animation

Character animation is a crucial task as this path requires developing a connection with the audience through character ideation and creation. Artists who possess the creative ability to paint online can bring digitized characters to life.

A career in character animation will train people to advance their artistic and technical skills to develop mind-blowing characters.

You can conceptualize your ideas and inspiration to build animated characters by taking courses in art classes like visual design, manipulation, animation, life sketching, and sound effects.

Job Positions, Career Level, And Pay In The Field Of Animation

To pursue and advance a career in animation, one must have a portfolio, and a bachelor’s or master’s degree focused on art. Animators often start as freelancers, working on per-projects for various companies and firms, including web design firms, technology companies, advertising studios, cartoon networks, etc.

The chart below demonstrates different job positions you can choose as an animator according to career level.

Entry-LevelMid-LevelSenior-Level
Storyboard ArtistCompositorsArt Director
ModelersConcept ArtistsHead of Story Board
Junior AnimatorsCharacter DesignersSpecial Effects Head
Junior or Assistant CompositorsAnimatorVisual Producer
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Associate Degree In Animation

Though colleges and universities do not offer an associate degree in animation, they provide professional art classes and coursework that help artists prepare for a four-year professional animation program in university.

An individual can complete an associate degree in fine arts or graphic arts to take their animation career to the next level.

Job TitleCareer LevelAnnual SalaryEducation
Production AssistantEntry-Level$37,610Associate Degree
Web DeveloperJunior-Level$73,760Associate Degree

Bachelor’s Degree In Animation

Artists who complete a bachelor’s degree in animation or a related field can secure junior or mid-level jobs. Most employers look for industry experience, which is why enrolling yourself in art classes after completing a bachelor’s degree can give you a competitive advantage.

Job TitleCareer LevelAnnual SalaryEducation
Video / Film EditorEntry or Junior-Level$63,780Associate / Bachelor’s Degree
Game DesignerJunior-Level$65,040Bachelor’s Degree
Animator / Multimedia ArtistJunior-Level$75,270Bachelor’s Degree
Art DirectorMid-Level$94,220Bachelor’s Degree

Master’s Degree In Animation

While the job roles mentioned in the following chart may require a master’s degree in animation, the main benefit is these roles prefer specialization and pay well. Artists having master’s degrees can improve their skills in areas including special after effects, 3D character animation, typography, and stop-motion.

Job TitleCareer LevelAnnual SalaryEducation
Animation DirectorMid-Level$74,420Bachelor’s / Master’s Degree
Character AnimatorMid-Level$75,270Depends on Specialty
Key AnimatorSenior-Level$79, 830Master’s Degree
Stop Motion ProducerMid-Level$80,235Master’s Degree
Effects SpecialistSenior-Level$82,402Master’s Degree

Median Annual Salary Of Animation Career

Job TitleEntry-Level
(6 Months – A Year)
Junior-Level
(1.5 – 4 Years)
Mid-Level
(5 – 9 Years)
Senior-Level
(10+ Years)
Production Artist35130415204965054260
Graphic Designer38890428704871050610
Animator49140512306317067230
Art Director49270565606859075090

Must-Have Skills As An Animator

As an animator, entering the job market demands particular academic qualifications, skill sets, and a stellar portfolio demonstrating talent. Professional art classes and training programs cultivate learners’ artistic talents and expertise in operating 2D and 3D computer software.

As people acquire hands-on experience, they develop other skills as well, such as teamwork, drawing, and communication.

The following chart represents the common skill set required to be a successful animator. These are typically developed during art classes, where the main focus is illustration, drawing, typography, and design.

Skill SetAbility
Artistic TalentOne must have the artistic ability to idealize and develop projects on a storyboard using sketching and drawing through software.
CreativityOne must have attention and creativity pouring out of their mind and heart. Due to the extraordinary nature of animation, people need to have an understanding of ideas, imagination, and inspiration to turn to.
Software and ApplicationsIt’s essential to be well-versed in performing several software and applications such as Adobe Animate, Autodesk, Adobe After Effects, and Maya.
Applied MathApplied math can assist the animator in turning simple, easy drawings into creative animations. For instance, the concept of trigonometry can help animators bring movement to characters.

Ready To Become An Animator With Superprof

An animation degree can be a good choice for creative people passionate about creativity, digital art, and visualization. Indeed, it is a booming industry that contains extreme potential to grow.

Many factors determine the employment desirability of animators, including education, portfolio, experience, and artistic ability.

However, with potential job growth and quick advancement in career levels, completing art classes and animation coursework can provide lucrative professional value.

Are you interested in advancing your skills to become a successful animator? You can discover what it is like to have control over the arts and crafts with the help of one of Superprof’s expert tutors.

Superprof delivers valuable art classes which can help you master the fundamentals of animations.

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