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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More information


You could take an advanced or higher apprenticeship in creative and digital media, or visual effects. This may help you to get a job as an animation assistant.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

More information


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

  • digital painter
  • inbetweener
  • assistant animator
  • animator

Volunteering and experience

You may find it useful to do some related voluntary or paid work. You can contact broadcasting companies, advertising agencies, animation studios or computer games companies to find out about work experience opportunities.

Other routes

You could take short courses in animation skills and software packages run 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 more advice about working as an animator from ScreenSkills.

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

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on the type of animation you're doing but may include:

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

Working environment

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

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 go freelance or start your own studio.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

PR and Digital Media Apprentice

  • Wage : £190.00 - £220.00 Weekly
  • Location: Cirencester GL7 1BN

Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £185.00 Weekly
  • Location: Loughborough LE11 5GU

Courses In England

Creative Media Production (UAL) Level 3 Extended Diploma

  • Provider: Blackburn College
  • Start date: 09 September 2020
  • Location: BLACKBURN

Creative Media Production BTEC Certificate Level 2

  • Start date: 08 September 2020
  • Location: Egham

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