Alternative titles for this job include 2D animator, 3D animator, stop-frame animator

Animators bring drawings and computer generated characters to life on screen.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£36,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

35 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an animator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist courses run by private training providers


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree. The most useful courses include practical skills and work placements.

Relevant courses include:

  • animation
  • art and design
  • computer games development
  • animation production
  • visual effects

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could do a college course that will teach you some of the skills you'll need to get started as a junior animator. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media
  • Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


The following higher apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:

  • Level 4 Junior animator
  • Level 4 Junior 2D artist (visual effects)
  • Level 4 Junior VFX artist (generalist)
  • Level 7 Storyboard artist

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as an animation 'runner' and work your way up to:

  • digital painter
  • inbetweener
  • assistant animator
  • animator


You may find it useful to do some related voluntary or paid work. To find work experience vacancies you could contact:

  • broadcasting companies
  • advertising agencies
  • animation studios
  • computer games companies

Other Routes

You could take short courses in animation skills and software packages.

These courses are usually offered by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need a showreel and portfolio to highlight your best animation work and ideas.

Make your work easy to find, either on your own website or blog, or on a video-sharing website.

Further information

You can get advice about working as an animator from into games and ScreenSkills.

You can also find out more about working in the creative industries from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on the type of animation you're doing.

You could:

  • visualise storyboard and script ideas
  • use animation software or hand drawn techniques to create characters and scenes
  • add lighting, shading and special effects
  • paint in backgrounds and character colours
  • add textures to digital models
  • use motion capture methods to create lifelike expressions and movements
  • use stop-motion techniques to film 3D models
  • combine separate layers of animation into one to create the final product

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in an office or from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress from animator to lead animator and animation director.

You could also work for larger animation studios, games developers, interactive media designers or video post-production firms.

You might decide to freelance or start your own studio.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an animator right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England


  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

Level 3 Diploma Interactive Content: Games, Virtual Reality & VFX

  • Start date: 11 September 2023
  • Location: Hastings

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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