Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Do You Have What it Takes for a Career in Animation?

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Jun 19, 2017 3:14 PM

Choosing a career path for your future can be equally exciting as it is challenging. However, with plenty of effort and hands-on experience, you will be able to create a fun career for yourself. But, before you jump into your new job field, it's important that you know what it will take to become a professional in the industry you're striving for. 

Animation is a large industry, with plenty of opportunities. However, it combines both technical and creative aspects, which means it requires people with a colorful background. Although there is no defined example of a standard animator, there are some main aspects that they all share. 

What Is an Animator? 

Animators are also widely known as multimedia artists and create different kinds of animations, images, and special effects using electronic tools or computers. They are commonly associated with helping create movies, video games, and even television shows. Animators are much more common than you'd think. Animation jobs range from web-based advertisements to commercials, motion graphics, and even creating forensic tools. 

However, there are also plenty of examples of animation jobs that include creating and designing graphics for websites or even creating virtual architecture tours. Just remember, animators do so much more than simply make cartoons. 

You May Work Well in Animation If: 

1. You have a large imagination

Perhaps you have found yourself doodling your entire life. Or, have immense daydreams of distant worlds and storylines. No matter what you may have been thinking about, having a large imagination is incredibly important to an animator. A direct link to you imagination can make you and your work stand out. 

2. You are very detail-oriented.

Though this ability to focus on the minutia of life may bother your friends and family, it is an excellent skill for an animator to possess. After all, animation does not have to realistic, but it does need to be believable. One single blink can make all the difference when you are bringing drawings to life, so it helps to be meticulous and detail oriented. 

3. You know how to exaggerate.

If you know how to make things bigger and better than before, animation is a great field for you. Your job as an animator is to make simple movements more interesting by exaggerating specific pieces of the movement. 

4. You have a lot of patience.

Being patient is always necessary to create great art. However, it seems to come more naturally for some people than others. Animation is a process and it takes a lot longer than most people think. You must be able to work and stay focused for long periods of time all while listening to your team. 

For example, a full-length animated feature film runs for about 90 minutes. This roughly equates to 129,600 frames, each of which would need to be drawn individually. This may seem like an intimidating and overwhelming task. However, with the right technical skill and a little bit of patience, this process can feel quite rewarding when you view the finished product. 

5. You like learning about new things.

In order to become a successful animator, you must first attend an animation school. It is here that you will learn all the basics of animation. However, your education should not stop there. The animation industry is always changing, evolving, and becoming more and more technological. There are new animation software and techniques being created year after year. In order to stay relevant and competitive in your field, you must be willing to learn these new things and grow with the industry. As an animator, you can also need to learn about different fields. If you enjoy being a lifelong learner and are always up for a new challenge, then you will have no issue adapting to the life of an animator. 

6. You can easily work by yourself and with a team.

For the majority of their projects, animators must work both individually and with a group. If you are comfortable in all sorts of work situations, then you are in luck. One project may require you to spend long hours drawing in isolation and to collaborate with writers, directors, editors, and other animators. 

Do You Think You're Up For It? 

Though the prospect of bringing life to images may seem exciting, it requires a lot of work and patience. Most animators end up working long hours day after day just to meet their deadlines. However, if you are passionate about your craft, then all the hard work will be worthwhile.

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