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Salary Range
€18k - €60k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Brings animation and cartoons to life on both film and video following a pre-planned storyboard. They use drawing, modelling or computer graphics to make pictures and models come to life in order to entertain and/or inform people.

Knowledge

  • Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Fine Arts Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills

  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

In Summary - Animator

Career Sectors

Animators typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Visual Arts
Art, Craft & Design
Gaming
Computers & ICT
TV and Online Video
Media & Publishing

Videos on the Web

Further Information

The Work - Animator

Animators make pictures and models come to life in order to entertain and/or to inform people. There are three main types of animation:

  • drawing
  • modelling
  • computer graphics

The amount of involvement and creative input an animator is allowed to have in whichever project he/she is working on depends on many things. For example, an animator who is an employee of an animation studio will work for an animation director and the work will be a real team effort. A self-employed animator will get more chances to be director, producer and so on.  
 
Animators usually follow a 'storyboard'. This is usually in the form of a series of rough sketches and it tells the story that the animator has to bring to life. The story isn't always fiction - it can be a game, a documentary, a promotional or educational film.  
 
In drawing and modeling, the animator is aiming to produce characters, which, when photographed can produce the illusion of movement. To do this, still shots (photographs) are taken of every piece of movement and then played at normal film or video speed. As many as 25 separate drawings or model positions may need to be photographed to produce one second of movement on film.  
 
In drawing, the animator's job is to do outline drawings of the characters, taking each one through the range of movements and expressions needed. A tracer transfers the drawings onto sheets of plastic film and a painter does the colouring of the character. Backgrounds and scenery are usually drawn and painted by other people. A camera operator then photographs the backgrounds and individual drawings. Animators need to work closely with these people, as well as with directors and producers.  
 
Model-making animators use a wide variety of materials to make models of characters. Like drawing animators, the model-makers may just work on the characters, but they are also often involved in designing and making sets for the models. The animators have to know how much they can move things (for example, a character's arm) in order to maintain the illusion of movement.  
 
Computer animation is a specialism in its own right. There are animators who use computer graphics programmes to draw characters and backgrounds for computer software such as games and educational programmes, as we

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images depicting objects in motion or illustrating a process, using computer animation or modeling programs.
  • Design complex graphics and animation, using independent judgment, creativity, and computer equipment.
  • Make objects or characters appear lifelike by manipulating light, color, texture, shadow, and transparency, or manipulating static images to give the illusion of motion.
  • Apply story development, directing, cinematography, and editing to animation to create storyboards that show the flow of the animation and map out key scenes and characters.
  • Participate in design and production of multimedia campaigns, handling budgeting and scheduling, and assisting with such responsibilities as production coordination, background design and progress tracking.
  • Create basic designs, drawings, and illustrations for product labels, cartons, direct mail, or television.
  • Develop briefings, brochures, multimedia presentations, web pages, promotional products, technical illustrations, and computer artwork for use in products, technical manuals, literature, newsletters and slide shows.
  • Script, plan, and create animated narrative sequences under tight deadlines, using computer software and hand drawing techniques.
  • Implement and maintain configuration control systems.
  • Assemble, typeset, scan and produce digital camera-ready art or film negatives and printer's proofs.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests - Animator

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Creative

Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Investigative

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Qualities

An Animator needs a creative mind and a strong visual imagination. An eye for detail and for colour is essential. The ability to draw, make models and/or use computer graphics software is vital depending on the kind of animator you want to be (life drawing skills are highly regarded in all three areas).  
 
You will need patience and stamina, as the work is painstakingly detailed and you may have to work long hours under pressure of deadlines.  
 
You should also be able to work in a team as well as on your own. If you are working for a small company, you may have a lot of contact with clients (e.g., advertisers) so you will need good interpersonal skills.  
 
Some animators work freelance or set up their own companies. To do this, you will need substantial experience as an animator as well as good business sense.

Entry Requirements - Animator

A degree at level 8 NFQ is typically required. Relevant subject areas such as illustration, 3D/graphic design or computer/computer-aided engineering may be an alternative gateway in the profession.

A Masters in animation is also beneficial. Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a PLC qualification in a related course or general computing/IT certification or diploma.

For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following an FET qualification, students should visit CAO course search.

Last Updated: November, 2015

Pay & Salary - Animator

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €18k - €60k

Data Source(s):
CareersPortal

Last Updated: April, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Animator

This occupation has been identified as a Job in Demand by the most recent National Skills Bulletin.

Although the data does not highlight any issues in this occupation, there have been indications from Enterprise Ireland that client-companies are finding it difficult to source suitably qualified staff to work in animation. As a result an apprenticeship for a CGI Technical Artist has been proposed.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Animator

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