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Animators bring drawings and computer generated characters to life on screen.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more Animator jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on the type of animation you're doing.

You could:

  • visualise how to animate storyboard and script ideas
  • draw by hand or use animation software to create characters and scenes
  • add lighting, shading, colour, texture and special effects
  • use motion capture methods to create expressions and movements that are lifelike
  • use stop-motion techniques to film 3D models
  • combine several layers of animation to create the final product

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, in an office or from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist training courses

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in:

  • animation
  • art and design
  • computer games development
  • animation production
  • visual effects

It might be useful to choose a course which includes practical skills and offers a work placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could do a college course to get some of the skills you'll need to become an animator. Courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative and Digital Media
  • Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills
  • Level 3 Diploma in Creative Art and Design

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information

You might be able to get into this work by doing a Higher Apprenticeship, such as:

  • Junior Animator Level 4
  • Junior VFX Artist or Assistant Technical Director Level 4
  • Storyboard Artist Level 7

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

You could start as an animation runner and work your way up to a digital painter, assistant animator or animator.

Volunteering and work experience

Employers value work experience so it's important to get as much as you can. To find work experience or volunteering opportunities, you could contact:

  • broadcasting companies
  • advertising agencies
  • animation studios
  • computer games companies

You can also find out more about the different ways to get work experience.

Other routes

You could take a short training course in animation or animation software to get some practical animation skills.

These courses are usually offered by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

More information

Career tips

You'll need to create a showreel and animation portfolio to highlight your best work and ideas.

Put your work on your own blog, website or video-sharing website to make it easy to find.

Further information

You can get advice about working as an animator from into games and ScreenSkills.

You can also find out more about working in the creative industries from Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience you could:become a lead animator or animation director; work for a large animation studio, game developer, interactive media designer or video post-production company; become a freelance animator; start your own animation studio

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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