Do you enjoy graphics, illustrations and drawings? Well, then animation is the right career for you! An animator is a professional who creates brand logos, cartoon characters, social media posts, banners and many other things. These professionals use their skills to create animated designs. Sounds cool, right? Wondering how to become an animator? Read the article to know more. 

What Does an Animator Do? 

An animator can work in movies, tv-series, cartoons, video games, and even advertising. They have a wide range of career options. All brands with an online presence require graphic designers. 

The first animation device was created in 1832 by Joseph Plateau. The device was called Phénakisticope. It makes the illusion of motion using the persistence of the vision principle. This principle states that our eyes blend multiple images into a single moving image.     

How to Become an Animator? 

Various software skills are required to become an animator. Moreover, if you want to get a job in reputed companies, you need to have a degree / certificate in animation. Given below is a step-wise guide on how to become an animator - 

1. Get an Animation Degree

To work as an animator, you need to have formal education in this field. Find an animation or design course that matches with your career goals and start learning the basics of designing.  The Internet has everything. You can learn all about designing tools, concepts and skills via the wide range of online courses available on our website. 

2. Skill Development 

The learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. You have to develop all the essential skills to become an animator in this competitive world. Developing drawing, animation, and software skills are the most basic skills required to work in a design job. 

3. Portfolio 

When it comes to finding a job, a portfolio becomes an essential part of your application. A portfolio is the collection of all the works of an animator. It highlights their skills in sketching, character designing, storyboard designing, and lightning. It is best to have an online portfolio. Here, you can display your artwork in sections based on their lengths. A project description should also include methods and goals for each work sample. Ensure that you upload only the best work.   

You can also create a demo reel to make yourself stand out from the crowd. A demo reel is the collection of three or four best works to be shown to the recruiters. The best one is shown first.     

4. Acquire a Variety of Experiences  

You can obtain internships and freelance jobs alongside your bachelors’ degree. These jobs help you gain experiences outside your classroom.   Even after getting a full-time job as an animator, you may still need to obtain freelance jobs. However, these experiences can help build skills, networks, and portfolios.  

Skills Required  

  • Creativity: An animator needs to be creative. They need to work with the tools available to create the required result.  
  • Storytelling: They must be able to tell an engaging story.   
  • Attention to detail: They must be able to add tiny details in their animated movie for the desired results.  
  • Time management: An animating project is often under a tight schedule. An animator should be able to manage his/her time efficiently. 
  • Pressure Management: Because the industry is highly competitive, the ability to manage pressure is essential for an animator.  
  • Learning mindset: As the technology required for animation constantly evolves, they need to have a learning mindset.  
  • Technical Skills: As an animator, you must be able to work on much different software to create animations. A few of them are below: 
  1. Autodesk Maya: It is one of the software used by Disney. Autodesk Maya is the industry standard for animation. Character animation, modeling, simulation, motion graphics, etc., can be done using the software. Finding Nemo and Avatars are examples of works using Autodesk Maya.   
  2. Adobe Animate: Traditional animation can be done using this software. Even hand-drawn and Adobe Animate can do puppet animation. It is also possible to animate an object created in another software. Allspark animation used this software to make the show called My Little Pony.   
  3. Adobe Character Animator: This software is perfect for beginners as creating and animating a character is very straightforward. First, a drawing is imported from another software. Then animation is done using the camera; the software copies your motion and animates the character. The show, Our Cartoon President, was created using Adobe Character Animator.   
  4. Cinema 4D: It is a 3D animation software. It is suitable for beginners and professionals. Additionally, it can be used for lighting, modeling, visual effects, texturing, etc. It has an intuitive and customizable interface.   
  5. Toon Boom Harmony: This software is trendy for 2D animation. You can use it for frame-by-frame and rig animation. You can also use it to animate hand drawing images. Even though beginners can use it, the software has been used to create popular shows such as Family Guy and SpongeBob.  
  6. Houdini: This software is highly advanced and used to create famous works like Frozen and Zootopia. It has a procedural workflow technique that can create animations in real-time. Procedural workflow can simulate smoke, fire, water, hair, fur, and clothing. Incredibly realistic effects can be made by Animators using this software. Houdini also has a node-based workflow, where actions are stored in nodes that you can rearrange. A node-based workflow provides flexibility and cost-effectiveness.   
  7. Pencil2D: This software is open source. It is minimal software that is easy to use. Switching between raster and vector workflows is supposed to be seamless. Its features may not be suitable for advanced animation projects.   
  8. Blender: This software is open source and is used for 3D animation. You can use Blender to do animation from start to finish. Using this software, modeling, animation, rigging, simulation, composting, rendering, motion tracking, and video editing.   

Job Requirements  

An animator has the following job requirements:  

  • Degree or certificate in animation
  • Experience in animating platforms or software   
  • Portfolio  
  • Interpersonal, communication, and computer skills  
  • Attention to detail and adaptability  
  • Ability to work with the minimum briefing  


Animators make excellent salaries. On average, they earn from USD 70-74K. The wages vary highly with experience, skills, and location. Often, top-level animators pull six-figure salaries. Their benefits may include transport and paid leave.  

Become a Design Expert  

Sign up for our Design Thinking Framework course by UMass Amherst and learn all the latest tools, techniques and skills to become an animator in 2022.  


Animation is a highly sought-after job for artists and multimedia enthusiasts. The job needs creativity, a learning mindset, and time and pressure management skills. You can learn the basics of designing through our free online courses. Enroll and start learning today! 

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