Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of an Animator.

Animator Anika shares her insights with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.

So what is an Animator?

Animators produce images that appear to come to life on the screen, for use by TV companies, games developers, on websites and in films and adverts.

There are 4 specialisms: traditional (2D drawn), 2D computer generated, 3D computer generated and stop frame or stop motion. In all of these styles you will work to create a continuous story.


Most of your work will be done during normal office hours except when projects have tight deadlines.


You will mainly work in an office or studio.

Your working environment will depend on the type of animation you do. In some jobs, you will work with tools to hand-create images or forms in different materials and you could be on your feet (using your hands) all day: bending, lifting and shaping models.

On the other hand, many new animation jobs involve work with specialist computer-aided design (CAD) packages at a computer console; this can be done individually or as part of a team.

Type of work

Work can be done individually, but you will form part of a creative team.

Things to consider

This type of work can be highly satisfying, providing opportunities to develop your own creative ideas and style.

Exciting projects/opportunities
Animation is rising in popularity amongst the public with many animated films being highly successful at the box office. 

An animator producing a series may find it hard to take time off, as nobody can step in and recreate their unique artistic style.  

Potential for knock-backs
You may have to change your design ideas if a client does not like your animation.  

Good perks

Within the computer game animation industry you are likely to receive bonuses at the end of a project. 

Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need previous experience/passion for the field

Entry requirements vary, however you will usually need an HND, Foundation degree or degree in animation, art and design, media production (animation) or a related area for an entry level position. The usual entry position for animators is studio runner. There are no entry requirements for this position, so candidates without a degree/HND who are particularly talented may still be able to break in, but in practice most runners are graduates.

Progression could then be to a junior role such as assistant animator, storyboard artist, inbetweener or digital painter. Entering animation competitions, submitting short films and ideas to broadcasters or visiting festivals are all good ways to show enthusiasm, develop your reputation and increase your chances of finding work. Building a network of contacts can help you get started and find work in the future.

Salary progression
A new animator can expect a starting salary of between £12,000 and £15,000 per year.

An experienced animator could earn between £23,000 and £26,000 a year.

Senior animators can expect a salary in excess of £36,000. In the video game industry, it is common to receive bonuses at the end of a project.

Top Tip

Joining animation societies, such as Animation UK, can provide invaluable networking opportunities as well as skills and training courses.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.