Animator apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursea college coursean apprenticeshipworking towards this rolespecialist courses run by private training providers
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree. The most useful courses include practical skills and work placements. Relevant courses include:
- art and design
- computer games development
- animation production
- visual effects
You'll usually need 1 or 2 A-Levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma. You'll need 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, for a degree.
You could do a college course
that will teach you some of the skills you'll need to get started as a junior animator. Courses include:
- Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media
- Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills
You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a Level 3 course.
The following Apprenticeships may be relevant to this role:
- Level 4 Junior animator
- Level 4 Junior 2D artist (visual effects)
- Level 4 Junior VFX artist (generalist)
- Level 7 Storyboard artist
You'll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.
You could start as an animation 'runner' and work your way up to:
digital painter, inbetweener
assistant animator or animator.
You may find it useful to do some related voluntary or paid work. You can contact broadcasting companies, advertising agencies, animation studios or computer games companies to find out about work experience opportunities.
You could take short courses in animation skills and software packages run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers. You'll need a showreel and portfolio to highlight your best animation work and ideas. Make your work easy to find, either on your own website or blog, or on a video-sharing website.
Animator apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of media production and communication
- design skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- thinking and reasoning skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of the fine arts
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
Animator apprenticeships - what you'll do
Your day-to-day tasks will depend on the type of animation you're doing. You could:
- visualise storyboard and script ideas
- use animation software or hand drawn techniques to create characters and scenes
- add lighting, shading and special effects
- paint in backgrounds and character colours
- add textures to digital models
- 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 could work in an office, from home or in a creative studio.
Career path and progression - Animator apprenticeships
With experience, you could progress from animator to 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.