Job Description:

Add life to 2D images to produce animation sequences

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

You’ll work in animated films, TV, adverts, games, websites, or music videos, using hand-drawn, traditional, computer-generated imagery (CGI), stop-frame, stop-motion or model animation techniques.

Your day-to-day duties could include working with others like:

  • production designers to create the look
  • storyboard artists to take the script or ideas and show the story in a visual way
  • layout artists to draw how each shot will look
  • texture artists to  ‘paint’ colour and texture onto digital models to make them lifelike
  • use motion capture methods to create lifelike expressions and movements
  • use stop-motion techniques to film 3D models
  • combine separate layers of animation into one to create the final product


You’ll most likely need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • creativity and imagination
  • drawing and modelling skills
  • communication and presentation skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming an animator typically doesn’t require specific GCSE subjects, but there are certain subjects and skills that can be beneficial and make you a more competitive candidate for animation programs and careers in this field. Animators create visual effects, graphics, and animations for various media, including films, video games, and advertisements. Here are some relevant GCSE subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Art and Design: Courses in art and design can provide a strong foundation in drawing, composition, and visual storytelling. These skills are fundamental for animators to create compelling and visually appealing animations.
  2. Computer Science: Basic knowledge of computer science, including programming and software usage, can be advantageous because many animation tools and software programs rely on computational principles.
  3. Mathematics: While not directly related to the creative aspects of animation, mathematics can be useful for understanding principles like geometry and physics, which are important in animation, especially for creating realistic movement and effects.
  4. English: Strong communication skills, including reading and writing, are important for scriptwriting, storyboarding, and effectively conveying ideas to colleagues and clients.
  5. Film Studies: If your school offers film studies or media studies courses, they can provide insights into visual storytelling, cinematography, and editing, which are applicable to animation.
  6. Digital Art and Graphic Design: Courses related to digital art and graphic design can introduce you to software tools commonly used in animation, such as Adobe Creative Suite and 3D modeling software.

Post School

Keep in mind that while specific GCSE subjects can provide a foundation, the path to becoming a professional animator often involves additional education and training. Many animators pursue degrees or specialized courses in animation, computer graphics, or related fields at the undergraduate or postgraduate level.

You’ll need skills in drawing, modelling or using computer animation packages.

An animation or art-related HND, foundation degree, degree or postgraduate course could be helpful.

You could start as a studio runner and progress to assistant animator.

You’ll need a showreel or online portfolio to show your talent.

You could also enter animation competitions, visit festivals, and send short animated films or ideas to broadcasters. This will get you known in the industry and help you to start building a network of contacts.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday.

You’ll be based in an office or studio. 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.

You could work from home if you’re freelance.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress from a junior role to animator, 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.