An animator is an artist who draws a series of sketches or pictures, each showing a brief portion of an action, which is photographed in series to give an effect of continuous movement when run through a projector.
Animators create films for production companies, major animation studios and computer games companies. Typical responsibilities of the job include:
Animators only make the key drawings referred to as 'extremes'. These drawings on the animator's drawing board are necessary for showing the action-spacing instructions that guide the animator's assistant in doing the intermediate drawings needed to complete the depiction of the action.
When all the drawings have been completed and assembled, the action is checked. Flipping through the pages will reveal any error in the action sequence, and the relevant drawing can then be corrected. The drawings are then photographed in sequence. Sound effects are mixed with speech on the dialogue track and combined with the optical negative for the final composite print.
When making job applications, you will need a ‘showreel' of animated work that demonstrates your abilities to potential employers. It is vital to be proactive when seeking opportunities as vacancies are rarely advertised, so speculative applications, including direct approaches to companies by telephone, are essential.
Key skills are creativity, artistic talent, a knack for story telling, attention to detail, ability to work under pressure and the abiility to meet tight deadlines.