Tundra Media

Job tips for Animators

by on Aug.31, 2011, under Uncategorized

If you are planning on a career in animation, there are several decisions that you will have to make at some point in your development. First, what do you want to do with your career, what kind of work environment are you looking for, how will market trends influence your prospects, and what does your future boss want from you, so fortunately nothing too tough.

The need for qualified animators is great, and the industry will only expand, but keep in mind that your competition is not just from other animators in the U.S.A. (if that is where you are) but frequently animation jobs, like so many others, are being outsourced to India, Korea, Canada, South America, and just about any other place you can think of. Don’t be discouraged though, because “the market is only going to expand”, and good animators,CG artists…etc., are always employable.

Getting your Dream Job

If you are new to the industry, and if you are reading this, you most likely are, keep in mind that you will likely have to pay some dues. Trust me, there are many other people who have come before you and they expect you to go to the back of the line. There are ways to avoid this, and one of the best ways to go to the front of the pack, is to be “Outstanding.” Simply put, as with any other job, the better you are, the better your chances of getting a big fat pay check. Of course it is helpful to keep in mind that it takes time and lots of practice to become an expert in any field.

So, how do you get your dream job? Well, that really depends on what you are looking to do. While each position may have unique characteristics, there are some things that are essentially universal.

1. Be passionate about your job. The more you enjoy what you are doing, the better you will do it.

2. Possess the skills that your employer is looking for. If you want a job with Dreamworks SKG, or Disney/Pixar, then you need to look at their job postings to find the skills they are looking for, or better yet call them and ask.

3. Have a reasonable understanding of other jobs that interface with the position that you are interested in. If you are planning to be a modeler, then you should have some understanding of the influence you may have on the rigging crew, the lighting crew and certainly the render wranglers.

4. Play well with others. No employer of any quality will be interested in you if you can’t work well in a team environment. Animation is a team sport!

5. Be efficient! You will be pressed to complete projects on time and on budget. These concepts may not seem important to you, but believe me, they are important to your boss.

6. Nothing is ever perfect. Get over it! This is a hard concept for many artists and equally difficult for employers. Certainly employers want to produce the best product possible for their clients, and most certainly artists are interested in producing their best work, but somewhere lying deep within is reality. If you are an artist, know that you will never create the perfect piece of art. Employers generally know this, but will push you to push yourself. However keep in mind that while you are looking to achieve the perfect vertex placement, you are costing someone money. If the customer can’t appreciate your perfect vertex or brush stroke, they may not be amused that you also achieved a cost overrun of 25%.

7. Learn and appreciate the concept of production pipelines. If you are working independently you may be able to get away with sloppy naming conventions or file management, but if you are working as part of a team, everything you do will effect someone else. Learn to do your job efficiently and in a manner that will allow anyone to pick up your work and run with it if you are out of the office lying on a beach. (No phone calls please, I’m dreaming about Cancun!)

8. Read everything you can get your hands on regarding your new profession. You should be the one person that your boss can count on to be up to date on industry trends.

Anyways, these are just a few tips that come to mind. It certainly never hurts to have the best Demo Reel, or a terrific personality. It also never hurts if your best friend is a top Hollywood producer, but keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken, so put yourself out there, take chances, and no matter what, don’t under any circumstances sell yourself short.


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