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. 

Color Theory 

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

How to build a successful animation channel on YouTube

Animated content on YouTube has risen in popularity in recent years. The fact that YouTube is an open platform has meant that there is lots of potential for independent creators to build their brand exactly the way that they want to, without having to deal with any management control or input. This scope and freedom makes it a valuable resource to take advantage of. However, while it may sound like an easily profitable venture, there is actually a great deal of strategy, perseverance and even luck involved in getting it off the ground and making it a success.

Reviewing the competition

Given the amount of time it takes to produce even a very short animated video, it can be hard to compete with vloggers and non-animation channels that post weekly. Some of the largest animation channels on YouTube such as Tabbes, Illymation and Jaiden Animations only tend to average about one video per month. When you add this to the fact that YouTube now favours channels with the amount of watch time rather than views due to the change in algorithm back in 2012, it’s easy to see how creating a successful animation-based YouTube channel might be a challenge.

Posting to a schedule

Despite posting content less regularly than your non animation-based competitors, this shouldn’t harm your chances of success too much providing that you are consistent with your posting. Your subscribers won’t mind waiting a while for new content, providing that they can rely on you to post to a schedule. You should aim to post your scheduled uploads on the same day each month.

Upload supplementary videos 

In the interim, it’s important to stay on your subscriber’s radar and keep them engaged by posting additional videos. This will also boost your watch time too, helping your channel rank higher. These videos should be easy to produce so you can post them on a more regular basis. Some ideas include process videos, vlogs or draw-with-me live streams, anything to keep your audience engaged.

Monetising your channel

It is difficult for animation channels to survive off AdSense alone, so it is important to consider services such as Patreon and Channel Membership which can prove invaluable. These services allow you to receive more money from those that wish to support you in exchange for bonus content.

This involves sharing process stills to Patreon to give a loyal audience a preview of an upcoming video in order to generate excitement about new projects. Process stills do not require any extra work to produce, yet they create a great opportunity for extra cash. Once your channel grows, it will become possible to make more money from merchandise, commissions and sponsorship deals as well.

Work within your budget and skill level

Having the best technology and software doesn’t guarantee success. Although it can be tempting to invest a lot of money into this, it’s much more prudent to work within your budget and skill level. This way you can grow from experience, which is the only way you can ever really hope to improve, and operating within such constraints is part of the learning curve that will make you a better animator.

Jane Evans – Freelance Writer