Career Development

What Does a 2D Animator Do?

Find out what a 2D animator does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a 2D animator.

2D animators are responsible for creating animated characters and objects that appear in 2D media, such as television shows, commercials, video games, and web animations. They use a variety of software tools to create these animations, including traditional hand-drawn techniques or digital software like Adobe Flash or Toon Boom Harmony.

2D animators must be able to work independently on their projects while meeting tight deadlines. They also need strong communication skills to effectively communicate with clients and other members of the production team.

2D Animator Job Duties

2D animators have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their needs and creating animations that meet those requirements
  • Creating 2D animation using traditional animation techniques such as keyframing or vector tracing
  • Working with other members of a team to create and develop characters and storylines
  • Creating storyboards for each animation sequence to illustrate the flow of action
  • Using computer software to create computer-generated (CG) animation, often in conjunction with hand-drawn elements
  • Animating characters with a range of emotions and facial expressions to help tell a story
  • Creating motion graphics that may include illustrations, text, and other visual elements such as logos or symbols

2D Animator Salary & Outlook

2D animators’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $108,000 ($51.92/hour)

The employment of 2d animators is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

As technology continues to improve, more animated movies and television shows will be produced in 3-D and virtual reality formats. This will increase demand for 2-D animators who can create the traditional animation needed for these projects.

Related: 2D Animator Interview Questions and Answers

2D Animator Job Requirements

To become a 2D animator, you will likely need to have the following:

Education: Most employers require animators to have a bachelor’s degree in animation, fine arts, graphic design or another related field. Some of the coursework that these programs include is traditional animation, computer animation, art, drawing, painting, graphic design, color theory, anatomy and life drawing.

Training & Experience: Most of an animator’s training will take place while obtaining their education. Students will learn the basics of animation while studying the principles of art and design. They will also learn about the software and technology used in the industry.

Once hired, an animator will receive on-the-job training to learn more about the specific software and technology used by their employer. They will also learn about the company’s workflow and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Animators do not need any certifications to earn a position, but many professional organizations offer memberships that include the title Certified Animator. This designation shows employers that an animator has completed a professional training program and has real-world experience in the industry.

2D Animator Skills

2D animators need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions. Animators use creativity to develop characters, story lines and action sequences. They also use creativity to find ways to make their work stand out from other animators.

Communication: Animators often work with other team members, including other animators, artists and producers. Effective communication skills can help you collaborate with others and share ideas. You may also need to communicate with clients and customers about projects.

Problem-solving: Animators often work with other team members to create a finished product. This means they need to be able to identify and solve problems that arise during production. For example, if an animator is working on a scene with a character and a background, they might need to find a way to make the character stand out from the background.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a crucial skill for 2D animators, as they often work with small elements of a larger picture. This skill allows them to create realistic animations that are free of errors. Attention to detail can also help them create smooth transitions between different elements of an animation.

Computer programming: Computer programming skills can help you understand how to use software to create animation. Many 2D animators use programs like Adobe Flash or Toon Boom to create their work. Knowing how to program can help you understand how to use animation software and create the work you want.

2D Animator Work Environment

The work environment for a 2D animator is typically a studio setting, where they will have access to the necessary equipment and software to create their animations. They will usually work regular hours, although they may need to work overtime to meet deadlines. The job can be stressful at times, as animators need to be very precise in their work and meet the high standards set by the studio. However, they also find the work to be creative and rewarding, and they get to see their work come to life on the screen.

2D Animator Trends

Here are three trends influencing how 2D animators work. 2D animators will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Virtual Reality in Education

Virtual reality is quickly becoming a popular tool for education, as it allows students to experience things that they might not be able to in the real world. This includes historical events, scientific experiments, and more.

As virtual reality becomes more popular in education, animators will need to learn how to create realistic scenes that immerse students in the learning experience. This requires an understanding of lighting, sound, and other elements that can help to create a believable environment.

The Importance of Storytelling

Storytelling has always been important in animation, but it is becoming even more important as technology advances. Animators who are able to tell a good story will be in high demand as businesses look for ways to make their products more engaging.

As storytelling becomes more important, animators will need to be able to think like writers and understand how to use visuals to convey a message. They will also need to be able to work with a team to create a product that everyone is happy with.

More Collaboration Between Designers and Developers

In recent years, there has been a trend towards greater collaboration between designers and developers. This is due to the fact that both parties have a role to play in creating a successful product.

As 2D animators, you can take advantage of this trend by developing strong relationships with your design and development teams. This will allow you to work together on projects and ensure that each part of the product is done well.

How to Become a 2D Animator

A career as a 2D animator is full of opportunities to create unique and interesting characters, worlds, and stories. As a 2D animator, you’ll need to be able to draw well, but you should also be creative and have an eye for detail. You should also be able to work independently and be able to meet deadlines.

To become a 2D animator, you’ll need to have a strong foundation in drawing and animation. You can learn the basics of both by taking online courses or attending art school. You can also improve your skills by practicing daily and participating in online forums where you can share your work with other artists.

Advancement Prospects

As with most careers, animators can advance their careers by developing a strong portfolio and seeking out new opportunities. Animators who have a strong understanding of the latest software programs and animation techniques will be in high demand. In addition, animators who are able to work well with a team and take direction from a supervisor will be more likely to be promoted to a higher position.

2D Animator Job Description Example

We’re looking for a talented 2D animator to join our team and help us create amazing video content for our clients. The ideal candidate will have experience with a variety of 2D animation software programs and a strong portfolio of previous work. He or she will be able to take direction well and work collaboratively with other members of the team, but also be able to work independently to complete assigned tasks. The most successful candidate will be creative, detail-oriented, and able to work within tight deadlines.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Animate characters, props, and backgrounds according to the storyboard or script using 2D software
  • Incorporate timing, movement, lip syncing, and expressions to create fluidity and realism in scenes
  • Work with the art director, animators, and other designers to understand the project requirements and deliverables
  • Follow the style guide and design specifications to maintain consistency throughout the project
  • Use creativity and artistic skills to bring life to the characters and tell the story in an engaging way
  • Make revisions to the animation based on feedback from the art director or clients
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest 2D animation software and techniques
  • collaborate with other animators, designers, and team members to create a cohesive final product
  • Meet deadlines and stay within budget constraints
  • Balance work assignments and priorities to meet the needs of the project
  • Communicate effectively with team members and management
  • Handle multiple projects simultaneously while maintaining high quality standards

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, fine arts, or related field
  • 2+ years experience in 2D animation
  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite (After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator) or other industry-standard software
  • Creative storytelling ability with strong sense of timing, pacing, and rhythm
  • Excellent drawing skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience with 3D animation software
  • Familiarity with video editing software
  • Sound design or music composition skills
  • Strong writing ability


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