Remote work is currently on the up worldwide. According to reports, there are now 56.7 million Americans doing Freelance work, which is up by 3.7 million from 2014. The picture is similar in the UK, which has seen a 14% increase in the past decade. According to research, remote workers are said to be happier, more productive and perform better than office-based workers. The main downside that has been highlighted is a difficulty with communication and collaboration, which could present some problems when it comes to animation work unless it’s managed efficiently. However, if you are a highly skilled animator and communication between the different team members is tight, then these potential issues can more easily be mitigated.
Remote workers have more freedom and flexibility
One of the biggest positives of remote work is that it gives you great freedom and flexibility in terms of your living arrangements, as well as when it comes to managing your own time, which many people find liberating. If you are someone who likes to travel and be on the move, then remote work is incredibly convenient. If you’re not a fan of city living, then it enables you to live somewhere more quiet, rural and remote, and still do the job you love. If you enjoy being on the road and traveling to new places, then it opens up the possibility to work remotely while living in a recreational vehicle.
However, if you plan on living this lifestyle and working long hours animating in a mobile home, keeping yourself cool will be essential if you are to perform at your best, particularly if you will be living and traveling in hot climates. Your best option would be to install an RV air conditioning unit: this way you can regulate the temperature while you work to make sure that you are comfortable, as well as ensure that your equipment and materials are kept at the right temperature so that they stay in good condition. Internet access could also become a problem with mobile living, particularly if you are just relying on a WiFi connection. It’s a good idea to have an internet package as a back-up in the form of a mini modem you can plug into your laptop so you can access the internet and communicate with colleagues any time you need to.
Potential challenges and how to work around them
Working remotely as an animator can become challenging if you’re working on a collaborative project that requires many hands, so when applying for remote work, you should make sure that the project you will be working on is a highly specific – and preferably shorter – project. Normally your employer will be aware of this, but it is good to be clued up on this yourself too. Because of the short and specific nature of many freelance animation projects, many employers will prefer to hire animators who are highly skilled, professional, and quick at what they do.
Employers need to be confident that the freelancer can work independently, clearly follow instruction, and meet strict deadlines. If collaboration is needed for a project, fortunately there are many online video communication platforms that can be used to facilitate this, such as Skype conference calls and WhatsApp video calls for example. Everyone in the team needs to make sure that both communication and timings are very clear and concise so that everyone is on the same page. In order for it to work, deadlines need to be adhered to, and meeting times need to be carefully planned so as to sure that communication isn’t negatively affected by different time zones.
In consideration of some of the key pros and cons of remote animation work, the positives do appear to outweigh the negatives. With careful planning and in consideration of the potential issues around communication and collaboration, it is entirely possible to work around some of the main issues associated with working remotely.
Jane Evans – Freelance Writer
The employment of animators and multimedia artists has been predicted to grow by roughly 8% in coming years. There’s an increasing demand for animation for video games, television, and movies, not to mention animation sought after for use on platforms like YouTube. With a growth in demand, however, comes an increase in competition for job opportunities. Beyond developing the basic skills needed to become an animator, there are some more advanced, yet essential, skills that you should add to your repertoire if you’re looking to really get ahead in your field.
Artistic Skills Meet Practical Skills
As an animator, it’s your duty to do more than draw; you need to be able to give life to your work. Obviously, it’s vital to develop strong drawing skills, as it’s easier and quicker to draw out ideas on paper, and you should never postpone your inspiration. To be an animator means even more, though. It’s important for you to be aware of the 12 principles of animation, as well as learn how the body moves. It’s at that point that you can then learn to combine your artistic ability with practical skills, specifically learning to edit audio and video, and using programs like Adobe Flash.
Beyond the essential art and learning to use computer programs to your advantage, you should also take some time to address and learn color theory. A successful animator should know how to use colors within their animations to show a character’s emotions and portray a specific atmosphere. Consider the message you’re trying to send through your work; what are you trying to communicate? Then apply color theory in order to choose colors that support your effort.
Timing, Spacing, and Detail Orientation
In addition to color theory for expressing feelings, in order to create animations that have natural movements you need to develop your sense of timing and spacing. You should learn to anticipate movement, as well as how to naturally depict reactions. Timing refers to how long an action takes to be carried out, while spacing refers to where the location of the object within each frame of the animation.
One exercise that can help you perfect timing and spacing, as well as details like squash and stretch, is the animating of a bouncing ball. Once you’re more comfortable with timing and spacing, you’ll want to begin to zoom in on detail work associated with it. Things like eye movement, blinking, and speed of a character’s movements are all examples that depend on your attention to detail in order to really make your animations accurate, polished, and professional in appearance.
No matter what your specific goals are as an animator, these more advanced art skills are key to building success in the field. Amazing artwork has gotten you this far; learning to combine it with other properties to create animation is a whole new level that’s waiting for you.
Jane Evans – Freelance Writer