Getting Started in Animation

Animation is a dynamic and creative field that combines the magic of visual storytelling with technical craftsmanship. Whether you’re drawn to traditional hand-drawn animation, 3D computer-generated imagery, or anything in between, the animation industry offers a variety of career paths and artistic opportunities. This guide will help you take your first steps into the world of animation. If, on the other hand, you need freelance animation service, consider freelance animator UK.

Understanding the Basics of Animation

Animation is the process of creating the illusion of motion by displaying a series of static images in quick succession. Each individual image is known as a “frame,” and when these frames are played at a certain speed, they give the viewer the perception that the objects are moving.

Types of Animation

  • Traditional Animation: Involves hand-drawing each frame.
  • 2D Vector-Based Animation: Utilises computer software to create and manipulate vector graphics.
  • 3D Animation: Involves creating characters and scenes in a three-dimensional space using computer software.
  • Stop Motion: Involves physically manipulating objects and taking pictures frame by frame.

Education and Training

While a formal education isn’t a strict requirement to become an animator, many professionals find it valuable to attend courses or complete a degree program. These can range from certificate programs to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animation or related fields like graphic design or fine arts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding Animation Principles: Concepts like timing, spacing, anticipation, and follow-through.
  • Software Proficiency: Learning industry-standard tools such as Adobe After Effects, Maya, or Blender.
  • Artistic Skills: Drawing, colour theory, and character design.

Building a Strong Foundation

Developing Your Drawing Skills

Drawing is fundamental in understanding movement and form, even for 3D animators. Regular practice can greatly improve your eye for detail.

Practising Animation Basics

Start with simple exercises, like the classic bouncing ball, to get a feel for timing and movement. Slowly progress to more complex tasks.

Creating a Portfolio

Your portfolio is a visual resume and one of the most critical tools for an animator. It should showcase your best work and range of skills.

What to Include

  • Personal Projects: Demonstrating your unique style and interests.
  • Variety of Work: Including different animation techniques and subject matters.
  • Process Work: Displaying your methodology from concept sketches to final animations.

Networking and Community

The animation community is vast and supportive. Engage with other animators on social platforms, forums, and attend workshops or conferences to learn from industry professionals.

Networking Platforms

  • LinkedIn: For professional networking and job searching.
  • Twitter and Instagram: To follow industry leaders and share your work.
  • Animation Festivals: Like Annecy or SIGGRAPH for community engagement and inspiration.

Getting Your First Animation Job

Breaking into the animation industry often requires persistence and a proactive approach.

Strategies for Employment

  • Internships: Great for gaining experience and making industry connections.
  • Freelancing: Start small with freelance projects to build your portfolio.
  • Studio Positions: Look for entry-level roles, such as a junior animator or animation assistant.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

The technology and techniques used in animation are always evolving. Commit to lifelong learning by:

Keeping up with Software Updates

Stay current with the tools of the trade.

Online Tutorials and Courses

Platforms like Udemy or Coursera offer up-to-date lessons.


Starting your journey in animation is a thrilling process that requires passion, dedication, and a willingness to continuously grow. Remember, every experienced animator was once a beginner too. With hard work, practice, and a dash of creativity, the possibilities are endless. Create, animate, and inspire!