An Animator’s role has changed dramatically since their earlier role in creating detailed frame-by-frame illustrations for high-profile clients such as Disney and Merrie Melodies. The use of pencils, pens and paint has, in most cases, been superceded by technological graphics programs and tools, enabling the creation of keyframes, 2D and 3D graphic animations.
Animators are most commonly employed in the making of films, television, video games and internet applications. Usually, animators work in collaboration to ensure that projects are created quickly and to the highest quality. The release of movies such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc, and 3D sensations such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, have encouraged a rapid expansion in the number of courses open to student Animators and the industry has become a highly lucrative option for those with graphics and technological knowledge.
There are many roles within an Animation Department, including:
- Lead Animator: Responsible for maintaining consistent quality in Animators’ work, training and providing support to less experienced Animators and delegating tasks.
- Animator: Responsible for the planning and timing of the scenes they have been assigned. Must focus on consistency in style and execution, as established by the Director and Lead Animator.
- Ruff Inbetweener: Assists the Animator by filling in and providing extra detail on the drawings the Animator doesn’t have time to complete. Follows a chart created by the Animator.
- Lead Key Assistant: Artist in charge of making sure the characters and scenes look consistent throughout the film. Each Key Assistant is usually assigned a character to focus on. They may be required to correct drawings to ensure the integrity of the animation.
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