What Does an Animator Do?


  Key Points at a Glance:

  • Learning graphic design provides a stepping-stone into the world of animation.
  • Some animators focus on animation, while others specialize in ads, video games, and creating CGIs.
  • Technical skills are required for animators to be successful in their tasks.

With an animation career, you can use motion graphics, special effects, and other visual pictures to bring an object or figure to life. Many animators got their start as graphic designers, creating illustrations and storyboards for various projects. When you learn graphic design, you develop a solid foundation that can help you become a good animator. 

We’re taking a deep dive into the world of animation to address all of your burning questions about this creative field. Continue reading to learn more about turning your passion for art into a job as an animator.

What does an animator do?

Animators work on everything from ads to video games to generate special effects and different animations. Some animators specialize in something specific, such as hand-drawing, creating three-dimensional characters, or creating CGIs.

To create these unique effects, animators use a variety of techniques and equipment, including digital drawings, 3D models, and animation programs.

Animators can also participate in the long-term planning of their projects. This could include storyboarding to design a plot and characters in a video game or film. Acting as a project manager for an advertising campaign could involve keeping everything on track and on budget.

Where do animators work?

Animators work in a variety of settings. These creative people can apply their expertise to a wide range of businesses because animation design is such a specialist field. Here are some of the top industries that employ animators, especially those with a background in graphic design:

  • Radio and television broadcasting
  • Digital marketing and e-commerce
  • Software publishers
  • Video game development
  • Motion picture and video industries

With whom do animators collaborate?

Though animators can accomplish a lot of the graphic design work on their own, successful animations require a team.

In the animation industry, a strong emphasis on teamwork is prevalent. Frequent communication must be maintained between self-employed animators and clients to ensure the progress of a project.

Those who work for a company will frequently collaborate with project managers, marketers, illustrators, and other animators who specialize in different areas. Each of these functions is crucial in bringing animations to life.

What skills do animators need?

Because animation and technology are inextricably linked, you won’t be surprised to learn that technical abilities are essential for success in this field. However, success in the design sector demands more than simply technical know-how.

Having a strong creative process and thoroughly studying the details of the environment around you are two abilities in addition to knowing the technical side.

Employers are searching for the following technical and transferable talents, according to our analysis of animator job postings:

Technical skills

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Graphic design
  • Motion graphics
  • Interaction design
  • Maya
  • UX wireframes
  • Prototyping
  • User interface (UI) design
  • Cinema 4D
  • 3D modeling

Transferable skills

  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Editing
  • Research
  • Organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Writing
  • Meeting deadlines

As you can see, graphic design is one of the technical skills that an animator needs in order to be good at their craft. You can start developing your design skills by taking graphic design classes and of course, practicing until you’re ready to take the next steps to become an animator.



Brooks, A. (n.d.). What Does an Animator Do? A Close-Up Look at This Creative Career. Rasmussen University. Retrieved August 1, 2021, from

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