What is a Junior Animator?
A Junior Animator, as the name suggests, is a junior member of an animation team, whether that be working on 2D, 3D model-making, stop-frame or computer-generated animation.
What is the job?
A Junior Animator’s role can involve several stages, including generating ideas, building models and rigging lighting. The role of a Junior Animator will often require the creation of storyboards that depict the script and narrative, which will involve drawing in 2D to create sketches, artwork or illustrations. On top of this, you will be responsible for developing the timing and pace of the movements of characters or objects during the sequence of images, as well as ensuring they follow the soundtrack and audio requirements.
As a Junior Animator, you will be expected to be able to use technical software packages, such as Flash, 3Ds Max, Maya and LightWave. The basic skill of animation still relies heavily on artistic ability, but there is an ever increasing need for animators to be familiar with technical computer packages.
You will be required to work to production deadlines and meet clients requirements, and will be expected to work as part of a broader team, which may include liaising with copywriters, photographers, designers, and website designers.
- Good eye for detail
- Artistic talent and technical skills
- Good communication skills
- Ability to work as a team as well as individually
- Ability to commit to projects
- Flexibility to switch between several projects at once.
Salary & Working Hours
The entry salary for a Junior Animator is around £17,000, with the maximum being around £32,000 depending on the scale and budget of the production. The average salary is approximately £24,000.
In terms of working hours, most Junior Animator positions involve working normal office hours (e.g. 9am-5pm), but as deadlines approach you may be required to work weekends and overtime.
How To Become a Junior Animator
The position of Junior Animator is open to all graduates, however degrees in relevant subjects such as animation, art and design, graphic design and 3D design can be helpful and provide you with an advantage over other candidates. Entry without a higher education qualification is unusual – but it’s not impossible! If you are very talented and have a lot of experience behind you, employers may make exceptions.
Most Junior Animators begin as Studio Runners or Production Assistants and then progress to Junior Animation roles.
Animation is a competitive industry, and therefore having experience in the sector will be vital when applying for roles. It’s a good idea to start building a portfolio or showreel to showcase your work to potential employers. When building your showreel, take time to ensure that it is short and punchy. This is because companies are likely to be drawn in during the first five seconds and most will make a decision within the first minute of the film.
If you’re eager to become a Junior Animator but you’re not sure where to start, take a look at this video:
Where Can It Take You?
The next step will depend on the type of animation you work on. If you are working in 2D animation, you may begin work as an ‘Inbetweener’, then progress to Key Framer. If you’re working in 3D animation, you’ll have the opportunity to progress to Senior Animator after a few years’ experience, and then further progress to Design Manager or Art Director level.
Become a Junior Animator
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Junior Animator vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest animation vacancies here.