Jobs in the ( 3D ) animation industry 2

The 3D Animator


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So what does a 3D Animator do ?
A 3D Animator uses a variety of software such as Maya, 3DSMax, Zbrush, Blender, Photoshop etc etc to create 3D images ( characters, objects etc ) that are projected in sequence while ( sometimes ) moved in every frame to create the illusion of movement.

So what skills do I need to become a 3D Animator ?
A 3D Animator needs to be able to work in a team and take directions. You need to have a keen eye for detail and it helps if you have some acting skills, as you sometimes need to act in front of a mirror or your team to decide how your model will react.

This can be a certain movement or a facial expression that you want to get “just right”
When “acting” in front of the team it can be a good way to explain how you want to animate your character.

Besides the ability to work with various software programs as mentioned before it also helps if you have a good sense of space and timing. As you will often be working on a tight deadline it’s good to be well organized and have a good understanding of the entire process or workflow of the team.

Be prepared for long days and late nights and every project get’s to a point where it is “crunch” time.

3D Animators usually get their direction from a Lead animator, director or animation director. It is not uncommon that you have to go back and change what you have done so far and in some cases scrap it all together. Don’t be too sensitive about that. In an animated project it is all about the project and the end result.

Do I need a degree in arts ?
Well, it certainly helps but if your skills are good and you can supply steady,strong work gained by practice and experience you have a good shot of getting into the industry.

It is always a huge plus when you have the skills to draw ( 2D ), specially with some training in anatomy so you know how a body moves etc.

Now you probably won’t just jump into a role of animator and you would
probably have to start at the bottom, but hey…. How much do you want this ?

If you are driven, dedicated and skilled you might be a 3D animator sooner than you think.

Here are a few helpful books to get you on your way






Jobs in the ( 3D ) animation industry 1

While creating tutorials for my YouTube channel I often get the question; “How do I get into the industry ?” and “What kind of jobs are there in the animation industry ?”

So today I will post the first one and there are more to come !

The StoryBoard artist


Image by Tim Holtrop, Storyboard artist. Check his website at

A Storyboard artist takes a written story and visualizes it into a series of drawings. The intention is to get a “feel” for the animation.  Sometimes the Storyboard is used to “pitch” the idea of the animation. So usually in animated film a Storyboard artist is hired early on.
Storyboard artists often work freelance and will by hired by for example an Art Director.

Now the individual images don’t always have to be very detailed and sometimes they are very rough sketches.

To goal is to translate the narrative into a continuous flow of images or shots. Now keep in mind that there is typically one image per shot and a lot more has to be done from there.

So what skills do I need ?

Well, obviously you need to be able to draw very well and in different styles but you should also be a good story teller.
You need to know your way around a computer and you should have a good understanding of the film industry in general. So the roles, the process, the techniques.

As Storyboard artists are usually working on a tight deadline, you need to be able to work fast, be willing to change your work and expect late evenings and nights on the job.

So how do I become a Storyboard artist ?

Well, although you technically don’t need a formal degree in animation it is not uncommon for animation graduates to be hired as they have a good understanding of the industry basics.

So when can I start ?

Well, it isn’t that easy. A Storyboard artist role is not an entry level role. Usually you will get a job as a junior animator and work your way up in the industry, learning the part while on the job.

Check out these cool products !


For the first time, Lucasfilm has opened its Archives to present the complete storyboards for the original Star Wars trilogy—the world-changing A New Hope and its operatic sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—as well as never-before-published art from early conceptual and deleted scenes.

Click here to check out Star Wars Storyboards

Storyboard design course

  • How to develop sketching skills
  • How to interpret a film or a TV script in visual terms
  • How to understand the jargon and the conventions of the media
  • How to build scenes, plan shot sequences, and make use of special effects

Click here to check out Storyboard Design Course





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