A typical day in the life of an animator varies depending on the projects they are working on and the stage of production. Much of what they do is fairly standard and happens cyclically. That isn’t to say this career is monotonous; animators are always creating something new from their imaginations. The following activities are usually part of an animator’s day.
Work Location And Hours
Like most professionals, animators typically work in an office and thus begin their day by commuting to work. Some, however, work from home or occasionally work from home. This is especially true for self-employed animators but it may be the case for animators working at established studios as well. Most animators work full-time hours on a regular schedule. When a deadline is coming up, it may become necessary for animators to work overtime, night or weekend hours to ensure work is completed on time. Part-time employment in this field is exceedingly uncommon, so full workdays should be expected.
Develop Concept Art And Storyboards
Before beginning work, animators may be required to develop or at least sit in on meetings discussing storyboards and concept art. Concept art are sketches and color drawings that are meant to establish the look of a character, creature, vehicle, item or just about any other object that will be animated. Concept art is often tweaked before animators begin work on the final version. Storyboards are sketches that function as a rough draft for the final animation. They establish character movements, camera angles, key scenes and more. Animators are involved in this important process before they start working on completed animation that will be used in the final product.
Draw and Create Animation
Doing what their title implies is the most significant and time-consuming part of any typical day in the life of an animator. Either by hand or on computers, they draw 2D or 3D objects in motion. This can involve outlining the basic motion of a skeleton frame in a scene before adding detail. Modern modeling programs help with this. Details such as light, shadow, texture and color are then added to truly make a piece of animation come alive. It is also critical that animators display consistency with their animation. Examples of this are uniformity in the colors used, character heights and similar details. Animators often work on a scene at a time as directed by their supervisors.
Have Their Work Checked
Perhaps the most nerve-racking part of an animator’s day comes when their work is checked and evaluated by creative supervisors. In very few cases an animator is solely responsible for the end product, although this can happen for self-employed animators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 59 percent of animators are self-employed. Work is checked by other animators working on the project, directors and animation supervisors to determine if an animator’s work is in line with the overall creative vision of the project. At this stage, animators will receive feedback and then go back to make changes as needed. This is a profession that requires its workers to be able to take criticism well and learn from any mistakes they make.
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Animators may also collaborate with members of the production staff who are doing related tasks, such as background design. Occasionally they may work in coordinating production and managing schedules. Students interested in this occupation should understand the typical day in the life of an animator to gain an idea of what their professional life will be like.