Animator

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)

Variable

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 training courses

University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in:

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

It might be useful to choose a course which includes practical skills and offers a work placement.

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

College

You could do a college course to get some of the skills you'll need to become an animator. Courses include:

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

Apprenticeship

You might be able to become an animator by doing an apprenticeship. 

You could do a higher apprenticeship such as:

  • 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

Work

You could start as an animation runner and work your way up to a digital painter, assistant animator or animator. 

Volunteering

Employers value work experience so it's important to get as much as you can. To find work experience or volunteering opportunities, you could contact:

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

You can also find out more about the different ways to get work experience.  

Other Routes

You could take a short training course in animation or animation software to get some practical animation skills.

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

More Information

Career tips

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

Put your work on your own blog, website or video-sharing website to make it easy to find. 

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 how to animate storyboard and script ideas
  • draw by hand or use animation software to create characters and scenes
  • add lighting, shading, colour, texture and special effects
  • use motion capture methods to create expressions and movements that are lifelike
  • use stop-motion techniques to film 3D models
  • combine several layers of animation 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:

  • become a lead animator or animation director
  • work for a large animation studio, game developer, interactive media designer or video post-production company
  • become a freelance animator
  • start your own animation 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

UAL Level 3 in Creative Media Production (Animation & VFX)

  • Provider: CAMBRIDGE REGIONAL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Cambridge

UAL L3 DIPLOMA IN CREATIVE MEDIA PRODUCTION (TV & FILM & VFX) FT (L3 LE)

  • Provider: CHESTERFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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