5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Career As An Animator - mages

Do you often think about rendering magical sequences like those in movies possible for vast audiences? Or creating visually evoking series of effects in adrenaline-filled video games? If you dream of creating visually stunning animations for different media and making it big in the field, you need to begin by asking yourself these five important questions.

The field of animation is pretty dynamic. It’s quite fascinating and extremely intimidating at the same time. The possibilities are endless and yet for newcomers or budding animators, it could be a lot of hard work figuring out what to do and where to begin in order to make an honest living out of it.

With the rise in demand for jobs in the creative industry, animation has become one of the most coveted fields. But the consequent doubts about whether or not creative artists can make ends meet could hamper your ambitions.

It could make you want to rethink whether or not you want to pursue animation at all. After all, competition is fierce and you have to be quite confident and passionate about wanting to pursue it till the very end.

Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before choosing a career as an animator.

1.   What Education Or Degree Do I Need?

In general, having a degree in any field is instrumental to one’s career. While this may not be akin to writing on the wall, it is true of most fields. And animation is certainly one of them too.

Formal education facilitates your journey to becoming an animator. It gives you:

  • Certain credibility, which works for big studios or companies
  • Extensive networking opportunities, which might be hard to get otherwise
  • Portfolio building opportunities, which can be difficult without mentor support or guidance
  • Training and resources required to move forward within the field of animation
  • A foray into options and possibilities that lie within the field

However, there are many people who’ve made it big without any degree or formal education. In fields like animation, your portfolio is the most important proof of your abilities. Therefore, it is essential to choose a path that focuses on building your skills as well as a portfolio that proves those skills.

And their paths to success haven’t been easy. Formal education in the creative industries works as a facilitator (like it does in most fields). It guides you towards the right path and can work wonders for your motivation as well.

Our courses at MAGES are focused on portfolio-building to an industry standard on top of skills training – check out our Diploma in Animation here.

2. Where Can I Work In Animation?

The most obvious and highly coveted media for animators to work in are TV and films. A lot of high-budget movies and TV shows demand class-leading animation work.

After all, animation brings to life concepts and fantasies that are otherwise difficult to render possible. A woman swimming with sharks? A tall, pale guy who’s able to change his face? Want to create a story about toys, cars, dolls? Animation makes all these things possible.

But they aren’t the only avenues to have a successful career as an animator.

The video games development industry has gradually become a major arena for various creative professionals to enter and flourish. Video games are highly visual mediums and animations are a huge part of that. Animations help tell the game’s story – they enable the characters to display emotions, personality, and uniqueness.

Games require animators skilled in either 2D or 3D animation, for all of the in-game characters as well as cutscenes and visual effects.

Another lucrative area is corporate animations. Architecture, IT, marketing, entertainment, advertising, education are other sites for animators to work in and grow. With technological advancements in animation, it’s becoming easier to expand the areas of work. You just have to be able to find them.

3. What Kind Of Jobs Are Commonly Available In The Field Of Animation?

Animation blends creativity, art and technology together. It encompasses a wide variety of roles. You can work as a:

  • 2D/3D Animator
  • Character Animator
  • Key Frame Animator
  • Texture Artist
  • Background Artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Modeller
  • Layout Artist
  • Lighting Artist
  • Rigging Artist

Your choice of role will depend on your skills and interests. It will also depend on which industry or medium you wish to work on – Films, TV, and Games will tend to have different requirements.

If you already know what kind of animator you want to be, you can focus your training and portfolio-building accordingly. Otherwise, we encourage you to explore each possibility and then decide what suits you best.

4. How Do I Build An Exceptional Portfolio?

Building a portfolio is a must in any creative field. Your portfolio reflects who you are and how well you’re able to channel your creativity into something evoking and appealing. It showcases you as an artist and how you stand out from others.

You definitely need to invest time and effort into building a strong portfolio. You could be great at different aspects of animation whether it’s about making character animations or creating 3D art. In any case, creating a portfolio isn’t optional. So how do you make a great animation portfolio that leaves a mark?

You have to do thorough research in this area and get your portfolio in place in order to be able to do something worthwhile in the animation industry. To ensure your portfolio makes an impact and catapults your career, try to infuse some of the following things into it:

  • Always keep your best work at the forefront. People don’t have the time to go through everything. Show them what you do best immediately.
  • Have an updated demo reel to showcase everywhere. You could use YouTube, Vimeo or ArtStation and even LinkedIn.
  • Keep all clips short. As mentioned before, nobody has the time and patience to click and see through things. Shorter videos are likely to make more impact compared to longer ones.
  • Tailor your portfolio. Identify who you’re targeting and tweak your portfolio accordingly. A portfolio for a games studio will be different from the one that’s being used for a character animation studio.
  • Showcase your skills clearly. If character animation is your area of expertise, demonstrate that you understand different principles of animation such as anticipation, staging or squash and stretch. If you want to work in games, you might want your portfolio to show more action.
  • Make your portfolio easy to navigate. You don’t want potential recruiters or audiences stuck while accessing as well as using your portfolio.

5. Is A Career In Animation Rewarding?

Having a successful career could mean different things for different people. But in essence, most people want to feel recognized in some form or another and earn well to live comfortably.

As aspiring animators, maybe you want to be a part of million-dollar movie projects or high-profile game development teams. Or you want to grow enough to start your own animation company. Or you simply want to work for your dream animation studio in order to have a creatively gratifying career.

The field of animation is pretty rewarding both in terms of creative and monetary satisfaction. Multimedia artists and animators are amongst the highest paid creative professionals in the 21st century. In fact, the average income of multimedia artists and animators is about $54,019 in a year, as per Payscale.

If you are a creative person and art is your passion, animation can be a very fulfilling career. You will have the opportunity to be involved in games and films that are experienced by millions around the world. The best way to display your skills to both consumers and employers is through your passion – you can create and animate whatever you desire to do so.


Choosing a career path is no easy feat. Even if you narrow your career choices down to one, there are many things to consider and be sure about.

If you’re looking to make a career in animation, you have to think about various things including these 5 questions and be sure of their answers.

Key takeaways:

  • Be sure of where to start. A formal education works as a great facilitator for aspiring animators.
  • Determine where you want to work as an animator. While this might not be as clear while you’re starting out, it’s still important to have some idea in order to move in the right direction.
  • Do your research. Figure out the kind of job roles that are available within animation and decide accordingly.
  • Build a great animation portfolio. Nothing speaks better about you as an artist than your portfolio. It’s a must in order to make it big in any creative industry, especially animation.
  • Animation as a career is quite rewarding. It can get competitive at times (like any other field) but if you’re highly creative and passionate about it, you can make a fulfilling career out of animation.

It’s important to know what field you’re stepping in, the amount of work it requires and the kind of possibilities it has in store for you. Thinking along these lines helps you begin your journey in an informed and secure manner.

If you’re confused about how to kickstart your career in animation, check out MAGES’ programmes and courses in the concerned field!


Need guidance or course recommendations? Let us help!

    Mages Whatsup