How To Become An Animator – Detailed Guide On A Hollywood Career.

How To Become An Animator
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How To Become An Animator.

If you are wondering How To Become An Animator in this competitive era in Graphics and Special Effects world. Then read this article about one of the most lucrative career options. Having a respectable job as an animator is something that can be a dream for many hundreds of aspiring animators.

Becoming an animator involves going through a lot of processes, completing them in step by step way is a ladder to reaching success. With so many Animation schools offering animation education, learning animation is one of the most exciting career options for young people. With help of the Internet, hundreds of people also learn animation online and try to work hard to get a good job in their animation career.

Following the Expert Interviews are always helpful, especially if you are new to the industry. This not only gives motivation but also helps in overcoming tough situations.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become An Animator?

Steps to become an animator
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The life of an animator involves years of struggle and hard work. There are animators of many levels. Entry-level animators are animators who are just starting out and do not have much experience of work.

Then, junior animators, they have around 2-3 years of experience. Senior Animators are those who have 5-8 years of experience and are often given roles of team leaders and after that, they are eligible for applying for the position of Animation Directors which have experience of around 10-12 years.

Entering into the Animation industry is very hard. Since it is an industry that requires mastery in any particular one or more than skill. Learning Animation and mastering it is an uphill battle. A newbie goes through various stages from choosing Animation school, learning basics, understanding Animation fundamentals, getting to know different aspects of art, animation and choosing one from it, and mastering it.

Then, creating a portfolio around it and working hard for refining it till getting approval from your mentor, and then going out for job hunting.

Skills And Qualities To Become An Animator.

There are skills that helped animators to grow more in their careers and make their work top-notch. Some of these are:

  1. Understanding the human body structure and skeletal system.
  2. Good observational skills.
  3. Drawing and sketching skills.
  4. Lots and lots of Patience.
  5. Acting skills.
  6. Ability to add detailing.
  7. Excellent Teamwork and communication skills.
  8. Concentration and ability to work for long hours for the same task.
  9. Ability to work under stress.

A Day In The Life Of An Animator.

An Animator’s day is full of doing sketching, producing thumbnails for his shot, the understanding need for the scene, and working nonstop for hours under a tight deadline. A video from Day in the Life youtube channel explaining, What exactly is the daily life of an animator?

Finding A Mentor And Having Guidance To Become Animator.

Finding a good mentor is a huge challenge, often people struggle many years to learn animation, but that duration can be reduced if you find the right mentor. Right mentor teaches you the right things, covers your basics, and gives you direction. Choosing a specialization and working hard towards it until producing a strong demo reel showcasing your skills. The right mentor guides you in the right direction and encourages you to bring out the best in you.

Learning The Art Of Graphics, Animation, And Efficiency.

Mastering skills of visual effects and animation and moving in the right direction makes learning animation easy. It takes hours of hard work for months which tells how to produce more work with less hard work with doing things smart way and becoming a smart animator.

Essential Roadmap For Becoming Animator.

Roadmap for becoming Animator
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Animation Education.

Getting an education in Animation is the first and most important step in this industry. So creating a mindset in which any person who wants to be an animator should be able and willing to learn and grab information required to become an animator. Education in animation can help in strong basics, developing habits of what animators do, what they do, how they do. How they are able to create masterpieces. Getting a degree or diploma in the animation industry is sometimes is preferred in 3d Studios.

List Of Animation Schools.

Choosing an Animation school is the most important chapter in the life of an Animator. Depending on the country and his/her financial condition, he or she may choose an animation or art school which will train them in all aspects of filmmaking, art, and visual graphics, and special effects. there are numerous top-notch schools in the United States and Canada. Some of them are producing students who get an internship or job in the topmost studios of the world. Top schools like Ringling, Van Arts, VfS have a very strong curriculum that helps students create a strong base and good understanding of filmmaking and special effects.

Career Options.

Anyone looking forward to becoming a successful person in the Animation industry can choose any specialization depending on his skills and expertise. Artists whose work is very good can be hired by Animation Studios, Production Houses, Media Agencies, Post Production houses, Gaming Studios, and Mobile App Companies. Some of the artists which are required by many companies can apply for work as:

Layout Artist.

These are responsible for creating the layout which is required during production work. The layout can be of any type, including buildings, mountains, or any background according to the requirement of the shot.

Character Designer.

Designing Characters that have appeal and attract an audience is a must for any production work. Thus, a good character designer is a must in the studio or any other production house.

Digital Painter.

Providing the right balance of different colors and shades of tons of colors gives more depth, clarity and provides value to the assigned task to the digital painter.


Toughest job and most challenging job, Animators are often the backbone of any production pipeline. Their job is to bridge the gap between imagination and the real world. They provide life to the characters and are often provided most challenging tasks under a tight deadline.


Characters are one of the most important parts of a production. Many movies are famous because of their characters like Finding Nemo, Shrek, Ice Age series. A good modeler can turn character blueprints into appealing characters which are further sent to texturing and rigging departments respectively.


Famous shots as seen as movies which are called special effects are actually part of compositing which is responsible for breathtaking effects of smoke, fire, etc.


Providing bone structure to the character provided by the modeler is called rigging. Rigging is a very technical job and requires a rigger to know the bone structure of human and animals and their movement which is helpful in creating different types of controls for controlling the character.

Lighting and Shading Artist.

To provide a realistic touch and feel to the environment and characters. Texturing is a technical job and requires anyone to have in-depth knowledge of color sense and its variations.

Rendering Artist.

Creating high-quality renders for a production shot something which requires good knowledge of all rendering tools inside 3d software. Famous movies like Avatar’s renders were produced by workstations which were taking hours to complete the rendering process.


Illustrator is a job that is done by people who are good in visualization and having good command in creating, drawing, and painting. Illustrations are often seen in kid’s movies, backgrounds, and famous art websites much more.

Visual Effects Artist.

Producing visual effects adds more realism and excitement to a production shot. Visual effects artist often produces special effects which are always appreciated by people even if the movie failed to become a hit.

Script Writer.

Writing for movies, games, and the animation industry is always a challenge, but the pay is equally good as well. Writers often work hard on story development. Institutes like Vancouver film school provides a one-year diploma in writing for film and games.


Every production project when it coming to the final stages is edited by editing artists. Editing is an important part of post-production as it includes, removing unnecessary scenes, adding sound effects, and arranging clips into a continuous series.


The graphics and animation masters bridge the gap between imagination and the real world. Something like this should be observed in their portfolios.

Demoreel Guidelines:

  1. A demo reel 1-1.5 minutes or 30-40 seconds in some cases, showcasing his talent in his or her specialized industry.
  2. A cover letter.
  3. Reference from his mentor or any reputable person from the industry.
  4. Artworks samples from his sketching book.

Job Opportunities.

With 3d and graphics industry to grow more in the coming years. Job opportunities are expected to rise, as many production houses, media houses, websites, android applications are expected to rise and with the rise in jobs, artists will be able to showcase their talent to more audiences all over the world.

Becoming An Animator Without Going To School.

How to become an Animator without going to school
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There are many self-taught animators. There are many people who want to learn animation but the problem with them is, they do not have enough money to join expensive Animation universities and colleges. These people can still learn animation and join any animation studio and grow from there. Learning animation by self can be done as well but it will take years to understand and master the techniques used to do the animation.

Following advice from Animation books like Animator survivor kit and The illusion of life. Anyone can start practicing basic examples of animations like bouncing balls and pendulum exercises. Later on, body mechanics can be learned as well by following and remaining active at some popular websites like,, etc. Animation can also be self-learned as online learning of animation and with most of the stuff in the time of internet can be available for free.

To do’s and not to do’s for becoming Animator:

To do’s:

  • Keep practicing life drawing. Keep a sketchbook and try to study real life.
  • Study motion and movements in humans and animals,  and birds.
  • Join (A free website and forum with tons of animators sharing their work and getting feedback from professional animators).
  • Watching lots of animation movies and tv serials.
  • Keep listening to Podcasts on Animation.

Not to do’s:

  • Learning Animation is an uphill battle, not focussing on goals for the preparation of shots for animation.
  • Taking feedback for nonqualified people.
  • Keep working on shots until they are not perfect.

Final thoughts:

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I am a former Animator and Graphic Designer who has worked on many International and Domestic projects and Tv series and E-learning projects. I created Animation Alerts so that people who are struggling to learn animation can learn this craft and grow together.