Job description

Animators produce moving images that provide information or depict stories for motion pictures, television series, video games, commercials and other media. Using computers, software and other digital tools, and collaborating with colleagues and clients, they create storyboards and design and refine animations.


    • Create original, artistic and aesthetically interesting concepts, designs and solutions
    • Work with computer equipment and software tailored to graphic design
    • Design prototypes of products, art and concepts
    • Present drafts and finished product to clients for approval
    • Brainstorm and cooperate with colleagues to design, produce and edit content
    • Receive and provide constructive feedback to improve concepts, sketches and designs
    • Verify direction from lead or supervising animator, and execute direction
    • Refine animations when clients or supervisors put forward suggestions and edits
    • Extend recommendations to coalesce 3D elements into final commercial-quality goods

Skills and qualities

Attention to detail
Tech savviness
Time management
Customer service
Cad software

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

With experience, you could progress to a supervisory position, overseeing one particular aspect of a visual effects team. You could also become an art director or a producer or director.

As you enhance your portfolio, meanwhile, you could go on to set up your own animation company.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Long hours to meet deadlines

Animators who are employed full time by a firm or studio typically clock in eight hours a day. They often work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines, as well as bring their assignments home.

More seasoned animators will need to complete some domestic and foreign travel to meet clients and complete projects.

Self-employed animators who work from home generally enjoy more flexible work schedules and perform their daily responsibilities in the confines of their living quarters.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Bachelor’s degree in computer graphics or related subject

Study time

4 years

To become an animator, you will need to attain a high level of technical proficiency and skills. This will typically require completing a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art or a related subject, although you may be able to receive hands-on training through a two- to four-year college programme.

By enrolling in these courses, you will learn a diverse array of computer skills, cartoon animation techniques and figure-drawing methods that will allow you to fine-tune your acumen and establish a professional portfolio.

Many postsecondary institutions, meanwhile, offer degree programmes that provide curriculums that combine digital art and new media.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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