3D animators have been bringing film characters alive on screen for many years. In our movies, TV shows, video games and videos, the work of 3D animators contributes to creating an amazing experience for viewers everywhere. Working with technical and creative teams, 3D animators create animations and special effects using 3D digital models and CGI software
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What is a 3D animator? Learn more about animation
What is 3D animation?
3D animation works with animated objects evolving within a 3D environment! There are examples of 3D animator’s work everywhere around us: think about movies such as Sing and Space Jam, or the growing number of people using VR to play video games. Simply put, the 3D animator brings a 3D model alive, making us feel like it truly exists and is evolving seamlessly in their environment.
3D animation is a task where you need a good understanding of timing and movement! Everything we naturally perceive is unique: a woman walks differently from a man, certain animals move a specific way, some objects feel a certain way. 3D animators have the skill to recreate these movements at the right times following a director’s vision and build the illusion!
What are the roles of a 3D animator?
What is a 3D animator? When it comes to animation, it all starts with creativity and imagination. Being able to take drawings of an environment and its different inhabitants and bring it to life is no small feat! In 3D animation, everything needs to be considered: size and weight of characters, human and animal behaviour, movement, perspectives, lighting and much more!
Then there are all the technical aspects of a 3D animator job. Working in animation requires a proficiency in at least one modelling software, highly specialized 3D modelilng platforms. 3D modelinlg software such as Autodesk Maya or Unity require a great deal of experience and training, and experience with them is invaluable to an employer.
Creative and technical skills that are required from a 3D animator candidate include:
- Keen artistic sense
- Understanding of movement, timing and editing
- Knowledge of anatomy and physiology
- Knowledge of physics and its effects (gravity, acceleration, etc.)
- Ability to create a storyline
- Experience in creating animation and graphics using various 3D software
- Ability to adapt animation to any project’s needs or style
Finally, 3D animators will work within a large team on an animation project, often involving actors, game designers and other 3D animators. Some positions can also require the animator to interact directly with a client to bring his vision to life. No matter what situation he is in, a 3D animator needs strong communication skills and a good sense of organization to make a project successful!
What is the background needed for 3D animation?
3D animation is a highly technical job, where the best candidates often boast impressive professional portfolios. Working in 3D animation requires a good knowledge of the many software used when creating models and a strong creative and artistic sensibility. Bringing a model to life is a difficult task to get right: rendering 3D animations requires advanced mathematics and a creative mind.
Many entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to 3D animation, such as graphic design or animation, but also fine arts! Choosing the right courses can contribute to the success of a candidate. But practical experience allows candidates to differentiate themselves from other applicants. The more experience they have with different 3D modelling software and various styles of animation, the more confident an employer will be in your skills.
Are 3D animators in demand?
Employees with experience in animation, especially in 3D environments, are expected to stay in high demand for the next few years. The average animator also benefits from higher salaries than many other positions in the art and design industry.
People are demanding more and more realistic 3D movies and video games, and with the increasing performance of smartphones, people are expecting the same quality wherever they go! A steady growth in demand, for both quantity and quality, places 3D animation as a great field to work in today.
What is the salary of a 3D animator?
3D animators had an average salary of USD $69,851 in the United States according to ZipRecruiter, with entry-level positions at USD $46,000 and higher salaries going up to USD $120,000.
Where do 3D animators work?
3D animation is used in many different fields, and a career in 3D animation allows the animator to explore many different work environments. Many will be animating in film studios, bringing to our screen the characters we love, like the Crood family, and in video game production where they help create an immersive experience for players. But there are opportunities in other fields: public relations, advertising and marketing, software publishers, web design and much more!
Large employers of 3D animators are movie studios such as Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Ghibli, Weta Digital and many more.
What is the difference between a 2D and a 3D animation?
2D and 3D animation are both widely used to create engaging images and tell a story on screen. However, there is a fundamental difference between 2D animation and 3D animation: the addition of depth.
A 3D animated character exists in three dimensions, meaning he has a height, a weight and a depth to him. This opens a world of possibilities, such as 360-degree views, adding volume and textures, that will make environments and characters more lifelike. When it comes to 3D animation, think of famous movies like Toy Story and video games like Call of Duty. Then compare them to well-known 2D animations such as The Simpsons and the Lion King: see the difference?