Animators create either 2D and 3D images in motion for websites, animated films, video games or television. They create images, as well as special effects and other visual images, using video, film, or computer software. Some of the most common technology used by animators includes Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, AutoDesk 3DS Max, VectorDesigner, and Maya.
Major Industries for Animators
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators work primarily in the following industries:
- Motion Picture and Video Industries
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Specialized Design Services
- Technical and Trade Schools
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
Animator positions can be found all over the U.S. but five states have the highest employment levels. California has the highest level, followed by New York, Washington, Texas, and Illinois.
Career Path Examples
- In-between Animator: This is a beginner’s position in the animation industry where you can learn almost all the basics of animation.
- Model Maker: A person having strong knowledge of form, volume and anatomy. They make models for animation.
- Background Artist: The job is to paint the background of the characters in the project.
- Layout Artist: Person who decides the lighting and camera angles and sketches the background design for the animation.
- Story Broad Artist: People with strong drawing skills are hired as storyboard artists and their job is to visualize a series of events from one animation frame to another.
- Clean-up Artist: Assistant to the animator, whose work is to trace the animator’s rough drawing and to check the accuracy and consistency of a design.
- Compositor: Job is to bring all the different characters and backgrounds in to a single animation frame.
- Character Animator: They bring characters to life and generally have knowledge of traditional animation and stop-motion animation.
- Special Effect Artist: Combine live-action footage with computer generated imagery.
- Digital Ink and Paint Artist: Their duty is to add colours to each frame.
- Key Frame Animator: Primary job is to draws the pictures of a movement’s beginning and end.
- Lighting Artist: Create variations of shade, color intensity and shadows.
- Image Editor: Bring together the various audio-visual components of an animation film.
- Rendering Artist: Combine models, textures, animation, lighting and to produce the correct blend in the form of individual frames of animation.
- 2-D Animator: They create a very high volume of separate drawings that define an animated sequence.
- Texture Artist: They create a surface to the 3-D modeled character, object or environment.
- Rigging Artist: Take the modeled, textured 3-D character or object and set it up with a skeletal system or joints, this helps the 3-D character to talk or move fluidly and correctly.
- 3-D Animator: Take the sculpted, textured and rigged 3-D model and put life into it. This is done by putting in order the key frames in such a way that they appear to be lifelike and in motion.