Computer animators use software such as 3D Studio or Animator Pro to produce animation for film, television and video. Specific examples of their creative work ranges from video games, television shows, computer simulations and educational modules to special effects for movies, websites and advertising.
As in all productions of this kind, a substantial amount of preparation takes place before the actual animation work begins. Working with the director, the animator plans and develops the story behind the animation, model characters, the background scenes, the arrangement of models in a scene, the use and placement of lighting and motion cameras and the interaction between objects. This pre-production work also includes developing storyboards, layout and character designs, and when it is finished the animator begins to create , refine and render the objects on their computer.
In smaller companies, animators spend a considerable amount of time dealing with their clients discussing the scope of their project and the specifications. They must create a product that is both appealing and appropriate to the project's objectives. The ability to listen to and understand their clients' vision is essential to an animator's success in a highly competitive market.
Traits & Talents
A basic foundation in techniques of design, drawing and illustration are helpful prerequisites for computer animation. Computer skills using the most current animation software are essential, and can be taught. If you are creative, imaginative and artistic, you will be better able to visualize two-dimensional ideas in a 3D environment. You should have good interpersonal communication and listening skills for dealing with clients and co-workers, as you will often be part of team. Persistence, focus, confidence and dedication are also invaluable traits as competition for work in this profession can be fierce. In addition, animation technology is always improving and changing, so you need to be flexible and able to quickly adapt to new equipment and techniques.
While fledgling animators may dream of working on feature films for large motion picture companies, much of the available work is concentrated in developing projects for smaller studios or contract work. Clearly, animators will spend a considerable amount of time operating a computer, and work closely in teams with other animators, designers or advertising executives. They are generally located in well-lit, well-ventilated studios or offices and keep conventional work schedules, though overtime can be expected for special projects.
Games and Interactive:
- Level Designer
- Character Modeler
- Special Effects Designer
Broadcast and Advertising:
- Graphics Designer
- Motion Graphic Artist
- Particle Effects Specialist
- Rendering Specialist