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Animator Fancy working on a Disney movie? Or what about a Pixar film? Or perhaps the next big video game to sweep the world? Animators are behind some of the world’s most endearing movies and addictive video games and, with the explosion in digital technology – along with the public’s enduring love for animated features – good animators are in hot demand. Working to create visual effects for films, video games, television shows and commercials, animators use a range of software programs, with the exception of a few old-school animators still using raw materials, to bring things to life on the screen for the public’s enjoyment and entertainment. When thinking about the impact that animated movies have had on your childhood (and adulthood) it’s easy to see how important the role of an animator truly is. There’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Spirited Away, Shrek, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. Children’s movies aside, animation is also often used in movies for adults, with Avatar being a good example of the role it plays. And what about television? Imagine life without South Park, The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Ren & Stimpy Show? Surely you’re now convinced of the monumental impact that animators have had on pop culture and are desperate to sign on to a life as an animator. Well, hold your horses because despite appearances it’s not a career full of fun and games. Animators need to spend years studying the craft before being able to gain work with studios or set up their own production companies. It’s a painstaking process to learn all the techniques and computer programs used in the industry. Then there’s understanding the basics of film and television production. On top of that, as a highly competitive industry, there are plenty of animators out there studying and learning the craft too.

If you make it in the industry there are many paths to take. Many animators work for themselves on a freelance basis. Financial security is notoriously tough for freelancers, but working in your own business allows you the freedom and flexibility to work wherever you want, whether that is at home or within a studio. Freelance work also allows a greater level of agency than working with a production company for a salary. Freelancers get to work on a wider variety of productions, while salaried animators working as employees typically work on a narrower range of projects. On the flipside, salaried roles offer more job security and if Pixar came knocking on your door with the role of a lifetime, you’d have to be nuts to pass it up. With top animators able to command sixfigure salaries, animation can pay financial dividends if you show creativity, diligence, reliability and high levels of skill. Of course, a career isn’t all about the money – you need a reason to get up in the morning too. Thankfully animation offers the chance to be highly creative, to entertain people and perhaps even contribute to a production that people that still watch decades later. You could also be responsible for the next Frozen and then have to explain yourself to a whole generation of annoyed parents, but them’s the breaks of working in the fickle old world of entertainment.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No degree necessary but qualifications from a film school or multimedia arts college would be helpful. Experience required: Experience animating your own shorts is helpful when applying for animation jobs. Putting together a show reel of your amateur work will show you have the experience to work on bigger projects. Training: Animation classes and workshops are taught all over the world and via online courses. Restrictions: None.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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