Animators are highly in-demand in the digital design industry and this trend is only going up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the overall demand for animators will generate 81,400 jobs by 2026. Due to this increasing demand, animation professionals have a pretty decent salary. They could make from $64,000 to $75,000 in an annual salary.
If you’re an artist and you enjoy animation, you may want to start learning some new skills to succeed in this career. In this guide, we’ll show you some of the most in-demand tech skills to work as an animator.
Animators are still designers, so having some graphic design background is essential in the work. Having graphic design skills will help animators create figures and characters with realistic designs. However, in the field of animation, you’ll be working with motion. So you should also know about motion design, which is a subfield of animation itself.
The difference between animation and motion design is that motion design is all about providing movement to objects and figures. Once you add characters to create a story, that’s another type of animation. Dominating motion design skills will genuinely help you become a master in animation.
Color theory could be one of the most vital aspects of animation design. Knowing about color theory will help you transmit feelings, express the emotions of your characters, and even set up a proper emotional environment in every scene in a story. This could be the most basic knowledge for becoming an animator, so learn about it early in your learning journey.
Color theory is not only implemented in advertising, it is also widely used in movies. Think about it as telling a story with colors and emotions. Color is one of the most potent aspects in animation, along with sound and movement.
Animation plays a massive role in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Animation will not only attract people’s attention, but it’ll also make digital products more intuitive and easy-to-understand for users.
If you aspire to become a great animator, it could be beneficial for you to study the essential aspects of UX and UI. Some of the benefits of animation in UX are to communicate feedback, let the user know that there has been a change in the platform, and to draw attention to something important.
Computer Literacy and Software Familiarity
Although you don’t need to know how to code to become an animator, having basic computer literacy will help you succeed in this career. Besides, you need to know how to work with specific graphical rendering software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, which are among other great tools.
Having computer literacy and software familiarity is a crucial aspect of becoming an animator as you need to become proficient on these tools to start designing an aesthetically-looking and functional animation.
How to Become a Proficient Animator
- Get the education you need. While on the path of becoming a great animator, you need to study the fundamental aspects. You can do it by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in animation or by taking a short-term course.
- Get some experience. You can start by creating animated projects to sharpen your skills. Then, you can volunteer for an internship at a company you like.
- Show your skills. Start posting your projects on social media and platforms such as LinkedIn or Indeed. It could also be helpful to create a portfolio website to show off your skills. This way, it’ll be easier for recruiters to find you. With an accessible online portfolio, recruiters will have a brief glimpse of what you can do for their company.
Although there aren’t any specific academic qualifications required to start working as a freelance animator, you will need to constantly upgrade your skills to survive in this industry. There are some more important points detailed below that anyone interested in making freelance animation as a career option should pay heed to.
However, before we move ahead, please know that there are various pros and cons of remote working. While you might have the liberty to work whenever you feel like, from wherever you want, you will also need to deal with work instability at times. Not to forget, the isolation that comes with such type of work profile.
Qualities needed to succeed as a freelance animator
- You should have a good understanding of the basic computer applications. Additionally, it is critical to master the core concepts associated with animation and graphics.
- Taking training courses on a regular basis will help you hone your already existing skills and also acquire new ones. During this learning process, you should cultivate the discipline to work with any type of deadlines.
- Having earned a bachelor’s degree in the concerned subject can prove to be very advantageous in accelerating your career in this field.
- The importance of keeping pace with the constantly changing trends in the animation and graphics industry, as well as the technologies involved, can never be underestimated.
- Developing good communication skills can go a long way in building healthy relationships with the clients and contribute to long-term sustenance as a freelance animation professional. It’s an often-overlooked skill amongst the many needed to succeed as a freelancer.
- Please remember, working as a freelance animator is a serious business which will require you to wear multiple hats to make it work over the long term. Being in this kind of work, you would be essentially running a small scale business wherein several non-animation-related skills will also come into play.
While being a freelancer you can work based on your own schedule and time, the clients’ schedules must always be respected. Staying true to client’s schedules can help you increase your credibility in their eyes.
- Being a successful freelance animator behoves that you bring your key problem-solving skills to the table. The more critical aspects of animation technology you can master, the greater will be your worth to the client. It’s not uncommon for animators to also double up as character designers and storyboard artists. Hence, it can be pretty useful to perhaps venture into 3D modelling or even a bit of lighting and texturing too.
- Freelance animators are also required to interact with clients on a regular basis, in order to make sure that the final product requirements are met to the point. How about going a step ahead and beating their expectations?! One of the ways of doing this is by offering valuable inputs. You might also have to develop different models based on the client’s concept or design; or perhaps provide some kind of visual idea based on graphics and sketches.
- Another critical aspect that a freelance animator must learn and master is price negotiation and different ways of ensuring that the clients do pay-up upon the project’s completion.