Being fairly new as a career path, good animators are at well demand in the job markets. However, being good at animation means to have a skill-set that comprises the person, personality traits, creativity, the art of motion and expression, and few technical aspects too. Following is a list of skills that are required to be an excellent animator – professionally successful and artistically well-valued.
A good animator is scaled out of the average due to the performance-oriented specialty in expressing the emotions through appropriate body languages and gestures. This comes naturally to a good actor; hence your acting skills will ensure the liveliness of your animation characters. Simple effects like brushing the hair or rubbing the chin could give a unique personality to the character and this depends on the animator’s sense of acting.
- Traditional Art
Expertise in the traditional forms of art and design such as drawing, painting, sculpting or other ways of replicating nature and reality could strongly help in designing animations by giving you an eye to best communicate your animations to the audience. It’s always better and easier to draw your ideas using paper and pencil, also quick sketching can help brainstorm and add speed to the workflow. Moreover, the ability to make the animated pieces speak the message without computer inputs help demonstrate the excellence of an animator directly.
- Technical Skills
If the skills in traditional art serves as the base, the software and related technical skills serve as the beams and pillars of the animators’ ability and productivity. At present, most of the animations are computer made, so a good animator must be well equipped to adopt with the programs and software platforms needed. He should know the 12 principles of animation, as well as audio/video editing, software like 3D Studio Max, Adobe Flash are few examples that may help.
- Graphic Design
Animation, in effect, means to bring some graphic elements to life. Graphic art-pieces are the primary tool on which an animator engages his workforce. To be complete and competent in all steps of animation, graphic design is must. Animators need to know how to create figures and visual effects, even if one does not have to do that by hand under a studio setup. If you want to be self-employed or want your emotions to work on your own graphics – you should have this skill inside your bag.
- Knowledge of Color Theory
Every animation and each piece in it requires colors, and the sense of color in expression and gesture is essential in confirming the message communicated by the artworks in animation. How the characters would appear in terms of color, how the background would look like, what emotions and feelings are to be transpired and what story is to be told or what season is depicted winter, summer or fall – everything relates to color. Hence, knowledge of color theory is a great necessity for any good animator.
- Sense of Timing and Spacing
In order to create natural movement and to make it comprehensively soft and normal, the animator should be able to anticipate appropriate movements, the actions and associated reactions. If a character is heavy, it moves slowly and a lighter piece will move faster or how much a character will move and how much it will overshoot – perfection of these aspects directly depend on the timing and spacing sense of the person making the animation. Small things like little weight-shift, an eye-blink or what direction and what thing the character is looking at and how it shifts its vision in time and space – these become critical factors when it comes to the quality and artistic value of the work.
- Creativity and Originality
Creativity is the basic element in art and design. For animations, this is more essential as a simple idea here requires to be converted into a complex and appealing moving design. A client may provide you the idea only but to produce the epic eye-catching colorful animated version the animator has to depend on his/her creativity. As well as, to stand out from the common trend and scale yourself up from being as usual, you need originality in your works.
- Communication Skills
Last but not least is the need for strong communication skills. Though this is not related to the design abilities directly but animation is the field of team-work. Ideas and concepts need to be shared, message intended need to be discussed with clients, directors or the team members need to communicate. Also, the animation itself is going to communicate with the audiences. So, strong communication skill is a necessity for the animator.
Some Extra Tips
Being a successful animator starts with having a perfect computer or one of the best laptops for 2D animation. Because when you start working on your current computer, you may not have all the features you need in a computer perfect for animation.
Make sure you research well before you choose a laptop for animation. First of all, you need to know how long laptops last. In fact, it varies from brand to brand and also laptop to laptop. You just need to talk to people who already used similar laptops you are opting to buy before you making the final decision.