Essential Advanced Skills Every Animator Should Have

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

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