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  • Writer's pictureKonstantin

6 Skills Every Animator Needs To Have - Whether Drawing Skills Are Mandatory Or Not

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

A friend of mine recently told me he wanted to become an animator and he asked me something about it. He was wondering whether he needed to master basic or even advanced drawing skills or not. My first thought was definitely yes but I had no idea actually about the whole topic until I researched it online. Here you'll find everything I know about drawing and becoming an animator now.

Is it mandatory to know drawing if you want to be an animator?

The need for drawing skills as an animator depends on the exact areas an animator wants to be active in. In general 2D animation, it is crucial to know drawing in a professional manner. In 3D animation, it is not essential to be able to draw. Nevertheless, drawing skills will always be helpful throughout an animator's career.

In today's article, we will go over all the general skills that are necessary for every kind of animator. Directly after that, we will shortly talk about 2D animation and why you always need to know drawing for this kind of animation.

I. General Skills

Let's go over these kinds of skills that are absolutely mandatory for any kind of animator whether they are in the three-dimensional or in the two-dimensional animation industry. This list will not include drawing because it is only truly essential in 2d animation and not for all areas of animation.

If you want to know more about the skills you need to have for being an animator you have come to the right place. This list beneath shows all the skills that are needed by every animator no matter what exact field you want to be in.

1. Creativity/Imagination

2. Reliability To Deliver On Time

3. (At Least Some) Computer Skills

4. Eloquence For Presentations

5. Love And Patience For Detail

6. Ability To Work In A Group

So let's get into the steps directly. Although most of them speak for themselves without needing much further explanation. Nevertheless, I want to quickly go over them anyway to ensure that everybody understands the generally required skills for animators.

1. Creativity/Imagination

It is probably the most obvious point of all of them but that's why I placed it on top of the list. You don't get the first spot without any reason, right? So what exactly does it mean to be creative and have a great imagination?

Creativity is something that people have long believed everyone has only a specific amount of that they have been born with. Research has found that through specific exercises and training everyone is able to increase creativity and imagination levels.

If you want to learn more about how creativity can be taught and learned you should check out this article on Mac H. - Creative that focuses specifically on that topic. It's also been written and uploaded by me. Don't worry, it will open in a new tab if you click on it.

2. Reliability To Deliver On Time

Being reliable is something you need for almost every job nowadays of course. I'm working as an accountant and therefore you can imagine we have tons of deadlines all the time. Working as an animator is a completely different way of working but in terms of reliability and punctuality, these two jobs are very close.

If you work for a big company such as Pixar for example, you will have to meet as many deadlines just as I have in my job. If you're asked to create a specific passage for a new animated movie, of course, you will be given a deadline. So you definitely need to be highly reliable and hard-working as an employed animator.

3. (At Least Some) Computer Skills

Every animator needs to know at least a bit about computer graphic software technologies. This is where the actual magic happens in the job of an animator nowadays, am I right?

Of course, you can work as a clay or stop motion animator but even there you will need to have at least a little bit of computer experience and knowledge. You need this to be able to make your originally motionless pictures come to life and to eventually add some more visual effects and a little bit of audio. Look at this cute example.

If you want it or not, new technology is not the future anymore... It is the present and we use its great possibilities today. If you are completely new to animation software you can find thousands of great tutorials on youtube on how to use these programs properly.

4. Eloquence For Presentations

As soon as you're finished with your work you will clearly have to present these results to your bosses. Therefore, you need to possess a decent level of eloquence and confidence just as you had to have years ago at school when we had to give our first presentations ever.

If you don't feel very comfortable talking in front of other people you can attend certain online classes or tutorials teaching public speaking and self-confidence. This is not only essential for your potential future job but for everything you do in life.

Being able to speak in public confidently and convincingly is a huge bonus for example when it comes to dating or any other kind of social contact in general. Try it even if you don't think you'll ever need it. A great youtube channel is "Charisma on Command" that I really like to watch and learn from.

5. Love And Patience For Detail

Details are something almost every artist needs to love to be successful in what they're doing. In fact, it is crucial for animators in particular since they have to deliver highly precise work to their employers.

How would have Finding Nemo looked like if it hadn't all its beautiful underwater details? Details in great animation movies are what really make them great. If you struggle to be patient for a long time and lack a passion for creating detailed worlds, the animation industry is probably nothing for you.

If you are passionate about details and such and if you truly are a patient person you should definitely give it a try.

6. Ability To Work In A Group

Here we have another skill that is required in many professions nowadays in the economic world. If you are dying to be employed at a large animation company you will most definitely work with many other artists and people working in different areas.

The teamwork of all of these people combined is what results in these great animation movies we see on the big screen. Teamwork is an ability you have to possess in order to achieve great things in the animation industry.

It doesn't matter whether you are in the movie industry or in the video game industry or in any other possible type within the field of animation. Teamwork is a crucial part of creating successful animations in any case.

II. Additionally Required Skill in 2D Animation

There is one skill that you need for 2D animation more than for any other animation kind. We're talking about the one skill that this whole website is built around. This skill is mandatory if you want to succeed in two-dimensional animation.

We're talking about Drawing.

Let's just quickly talk about drawing in animation, why it is needed, and how you can quickly get into the art of drawing if you're an utter beginner.

Drawing is the one type of artistic expression that all of us from and around Mac H. - Creative are so passionate about. Drawing can be extremely useful in 3D animation as well but what specific skills you need for 3D animation will be the following topic.

In two-dimensional animation, drawing is a skill that is mandatorily needed because everything in 2D animation is built on actual drawings. You definitely can't enter the world of 2D animation if you're not willing to learn the basics of drawing.

If you want to start off in the world of drawing without having any previous experience I recommend checking out the 10 beginner exercises that familiarize you and make you comfortable with making marks with a pencil on a piece of paper.

The theoretical basics are also a fundamental part of learning how to draw as the name already says. This includes the 7 elements of art and the 5 perception basics for example. Clicking on the links will lead you to other articles on Mac H. - Creative.

III. Related Questions

1. Do Animators Draw Every Frame?

In the first years of the animation business, animators had to draw every single frame of their animation. Nowadays this is rather unusual and only rarely practiced anymore. In these rare cases, this type of animation is called traditional animation or cel animation.

2. Is Animation A Good Career?

Animators get usually paid an above-average salary of about $75,000. Additionally to that, the animation business is only very slightly endangered by the Industry 4.0 revolution. That means that the job as an animator has a very small risk of getting taken over by machines.

3. Does VFX Need Drawing?

VFX is the art of working with effects in movies. This kind of animation requires in no case any previous experience in drawing. Anyone can become an animator in the VFX area without needing any kind of drawing skills.

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