Animator

modeller
Create

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would create detailed drawings, models or 3D computer images to bring characters, stories and ideas to life on screen in animated films, games and cartoons.

You'd use your imagination and acting skills to get personality and character into the animation. You might work on films like Toy Story, a television cartoon like The Simpsons, an advert, a computer game or a music video.

The most common method of animation is to create 3D computer generated imagery (CGI).

In stop frame animation you'd make puppets and photograph them as you change the puppets' positions over and over again. One second of film needs up to 25 photographs.

You would:

  • Read the storyboard for the animation
  • Plan and design the frames (pictures) which tell the story
  • Draw background and characters using a range of materials, such as pencil, ink or paint
  • Use digital equipment to copy the artwork hundreds of times with tiny changes in position
  • Work with an editor to add dialogue or a soundtrack
  • Make sure the action or characters' speech and movements follow the audio or soundtrack

On large or long-running productions, you could be part of a team working on one stage of production for several weeks, months or even years.

If it's a small project, you could be involved in many of the processes, from developing concepts to editing the final piece in post-production.

Working conditions

Hours

For many jobs you will usually work normal office hours, Monday to Friday, but you may sometimes need to work overtime and unsocial hours to meet deadlines.

Environment

The work can be based at an office or studio depending on your role and the type of animation. Working as a freelance animator may give you the opportunity to work from home. In stop-motion animation you may spend a lot of time on your feet adjusting models. In other types of animation, you would spend most of your time sitting at a computer or drawing board.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Presenting to people
  • Accuracy
  • Using computers
  • Being creative
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) or a degree (SCQF Level 9/10). Work-based qualifications such as a Modern Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media (SCQF Level 7) are also available.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and 2 Highers.

To enter an Animation degree (SCFQ Level 9/10) requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at B or a relevant HNC/HND. To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF Level 11) requires a relevant degree and portfolio. 

 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by many courses)
  • Art and design (required by many courses)
  • Maths
  • Graphic communication
  • Computer science
  • Social studies
  • Physics
  • Product design
  • Design and manufacture
  • Photography

You will also need

  • Evidence of your ability as an animator.
  • Portfolio of your work.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that demonstrate creative skills and industry knowledge such as Skills for Work Creative & Digital (SCQF Level 4) or Creative Industries (SCQF Level 5) may be helpful.