Animator Job Description
  • Publish: April 2, 2021
  • Author: StrongerTeams Editorial
  • Reading Time:

Animator Job Description

An Animator creates moving 2D or 3D pictures that tell a story or provide information. The employer may be a specialized production house, a larger corporation, or a small agency and breathes life into the messages desired by the respective client by representing them in visual form.

An Animator creates storyboards according to an agreed brief and uses physical and digital tools to render the storyboards into moving images for dissemination in TV, film, gaming, websites, and social media.

The Animator’s job is creative, collaborative and highly detailed, requiring the Animator to understand a brief, create a story and characters that exactly capture the brief, and finally, produce animation that delivers the client’s message succinctly, excitingly, and attractively.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Art or Animation is an advantage, but not always required. An Animator’s work environment will typically be creative and relaxed, but work must often be completed to a strict deadline, so the ability to work well under pressure is a must.

Similar Job Titles:

Animation Specialist, Character Animator, 3D Animator, Multi-Media Artist, Motion Graphic Design Specialist 

What Does an Animator Typically Do?

An Animator receives briefs from the client and creates storyboards, frames, and animations that deliver against what the client needs. This requires both technical and empathic skills.

On the technical side, the Animator must be adept at all artistic styles, both 2D and 3D, and must be able to work quickly, efficiently, and accurately with both physical and digital tools to create moving images.

On the empathic side, an Animator must be able to comprehend a brief so well that both the letter and the feel of the brief are adequately represented in the finished work. This requires the understanding of many facets of the client’s mindset, intentions, expected outcomes, and goals.

Typically, an Animator’s role will consist of the following:

  1. Attending briefings and fully interrogating the brief 
  2. Deciding on the media, best tools, and design techniques
  3. Creating multiple basic storyboards based on the brief
  4. Achieving sign-off on the most appropriate storyboard
  5. Creating initial designs using the most appropriate tools
  6. Drawing final frames for animation
  7. Using digital tools to create the final animation
  8. Collaborating with other team members and the client to ensure consistency

Attending Briefings and Interrogating the Brief

Attending briefings involves developing a full understanding of the client’s intentions, goals, and wishes as early as possible to ensure initial storyboards are on target. The Animator must be empathic, detailed, and able to see beyond the individual task being briefed.

Deciding on Media, Tools, and Techniques

Based on experience, this process ensures that the Animator performs the required work as efficiently and effectively as possible. The client’s preferences must also be taken into account, and the Animator must strike a balance between those and the efficiency of the animation process.

Creating Multiple Storyboards

The Animator will create a number of alternative storyboards and concepts for the client to decide on. The Animator’s understanding of the client brief is crucial here, in order to avoid all proposals being rejected. The Animator must ensure that the proposed storyboards are all viable solutions to the client’s needs.

Achieving Sign-Off

The Animator’s ability to present a storyboard as a logical, correct, and exciting solution to the client’s needs will result in a green light from the client. The storyboards presented must be clear, concise, and logical responses to the client’s needs.

Creating Initial Designs

This is the rough draft stage, each step of which may require further sign-off from the client. The Animator must be prepared to justify each initial design step and may have to re-work initial designs to the client’s satisfaction. The Animator must be able to deal with possible frustration during this process.

Drawing Final Frames

Drawing final frames involves a tremendous amount of attention to detail, ensuring that absolutely everything is perfect before being animated. The Animator needs to double-check everything, and may use colleagues’ feedback and suggestions to guarantee perfection.

Using Digital Tools To Create Animation

Once the final frames have been completed, the Animator must ensure that the actual animation is seamless, smooth, and convincing.

Collaborating With Other Team Members and the Client

Other team members should assist in cross-checking against other content across all media that the client has already produced or commissioned to ensure consistency of message and look-and-feel. 

Roles an Animator Typically Collaborates With

An Animator will work closely with the following posts:

Collaborative Roles
Head of DesignSales ManagerAccount Executive
IT ManagerHead of AnimationArt Director
Creative DirectorContent ManagerExecutive Producer

Animator Salary

The national average salary for an Animator will typically be between $41,000 and $88,000 per annum in the U.S. The median is around $63,000.  

What Is the Animator Pay Difference by Location?

Average salaries for an Animator differ by location as follows:

CityAverage Salary
San Francisco, CA$78,700
Seattle, WA$68,800
Denver, CO$63,700
Austin, TX$61,900
Washington, DC$70,100
Milwaukee, WI$62,300
Boston, MA$70,900
New York, NY$75,700

What Is the Animator Pay Difference by Experience Level?

Depending on experience, pay will vary as follows:

Experience LevelAverage Salary
< 1 year$61,284
1–4 years$61,284
5–9 years$62,142
10–19 years$64,348
20+ years$64,925

Animator Job Description Template

[Company Name] is looking for a creative, ambitious, and talented Animator to join our team and help us deliver world-class animation to our clients.

You will join a young and exciting team of Animators who are dedicated to delivering exactly what our clients are looking for. You will be working both as an individual and in project teams, and you will be responsible for the whole creative process, from brief to handover.

This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate your talents in a fast-paced, client-driven environment.

Your Tasks Will Include

  • Receiving and understanding client briefs
  • Deciding on tools and approach
  • Collaborating with other team members when required
  • Preparing initial storyboard possibilities
  • Presenting to the client to achieve sign-off
  • Producing final frames
  • Running the animation process
  • Cross-checking for consistency and quality
  • Preparing final client presentations

Required Skill Set

The Animator needs the following qualifications and skills:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, Animation or similar would be an advantage
  • At least one year’s animation experience
  • Expert knowledge of all artistic styles and common forms
  • Expert knowledge of all current industry digital animation tools
  • Excellent creative thinking ability
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong client-level communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work to deadlines
  • Excellent collaborative skills

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