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Animator Trainee

As an animator trainee, you're learning techniques that bring characters and worlds to life. Under mentorship, you gain experience in storyboarding, modeling, texturing, rigging, and animation. With dedication to honing your artistic abilities and technical skills, you'll unleash your creativity through motion, emotion, and visual storytelling.
Photo: Openverse

An Animator Trainee is a beginner in the field of animation, working under the guidance of experienced animators to develop their skills and knowledge. They assist in creating animations, learning various techniques and software used in the industry. Their tasks may include designing characters, storyboarding, creating backgrounds, and simple animations. This role involves both observing and participating in the animation process, from conceptualization to final production. Animator Trainees gain practical experience in different styles of animation, such as 2D, 3D, and motion graphics. Their position is vital for acquiring hands-on experience, understanding workflow, and building a foundation for a career in animation.

This role may also be referred to as a Junior Animator or Animation Intern in some companies.

The animation industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques emerging all the time. As a trainee, you’ll be at the forefront of these developments, learning to use cutting-edge software and tools. The industry is also becoming more diverse, with increasing efforts to include voices and talents from a wide range of backgrounds.

You’ll find opportunities in a variety of industries, from film and television to video games and advertising. Companies of all sizes, from small independent studios to major entertainment conglomerates, are always on the lookout for fresh talent.

Job Description

Your primary role is to assist the animation team and learn the ropes. You’ll be involved in various stages of the animation process, from conceptualization to final production. This includes creating storyboards, developing characters, and producing scenes.

You’ll work closely with experienced animators, directors, and other creative professionals. They will provide guidance and feedback, helping you hone your skills and develop your artistic voice. You’ll also gain hands-on experience with industry-standard software and tools.

Duties and Responsibilities

Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on the project you’re working on. However, some common responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with the creation of animation storyboards
  • Developing and refining character designs
  • Producing animation sequences under the supervision of senior animators
  • Participating in team meetings and creative discussions
  • Learning and applying new animation techniques and software

Other duties include:

  • Conducting research for projects
  • Assisting with the preparation of presentation materials
  • Performing routine tasks such as scanning and printing

Skills and Qualifications

Most companies require Animator Trainees to have a degree in animation, graphic design, or a related field. However, your portfolio is often more important than your formal education. It should showcase your creativity, technical skills, and understanding of animation principles.

You should also have a basic understanding of animation software such as Adobe After Effects, Maya, or Blender. Other important skills include drawing, storyboarding, and character design. Good communication and teamwork skills are also essential, as you’ll be working closely with others.

Career Path

Many animators start their careers as trainees or interns, gradually taking on more responsibilities as they gain experience. After a few years, you could move up to a position as a full-fledged Animator, Lead Animator, or even Animation Director. Some animators also choose to specialize in a particular area, such as character design or visual effects.

Salary Range

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ USAπŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί Europe
Entry-Level: $40,000Entry-Level: €30,000
Median: $60,000Median: €45,000
Senior: $80,000Senior: €60,000
These are rough estimates based on our independent research from popular job board websites. Naturally, these salary ranges will vary based on factors such as where you live and your prior experience.

The demand for animators is expected to grow as more industries recognize the value of animation in storytelling and communication. However, it’s a competitive field, and job security can be influenced by factors such as project budgets and industry trends.

Interview Process

The interview process typically involves a review of your portfolio and a discussion of your skills and experiences. You may also be asked to complete a test or sample project to demonstrate your abilities. Be prepared to discuss your creative process, your understanding of animation principles, and your ability to work as part of a team.

Are you actively pursuing this position? If yes, check out our πŸ—’οΈ Resume Example and βœ‰οΈ Cover Letter for this role and our detailed βœ… Interview Questions page to help you understand the interview process.

🏷️ Additional Details

  • Working Conditions – You’ll typically work in a studio environment. Hours can be long, especially when deadlines are approaching. Some positions may require occasional travel, particularly if you’re working for a company with multiple locations or clients in different areas.
  • Reporting Structure – You’ll typically report to a Senior Animator or Animation Director. They will provide you with tasks, review your work, and offer feedback and guidance. You may also work closely with other members of the creative team, such as writers and designers.
  • Professional Development – There are many resources available for professional development in the animation field. Online courses, workshops, and tutorials can help you stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and software. Networking events and industry conferences are also great opportunities to learn from others and make valuable connections.
  • KPIs – Your performance as an Animator Trainee will likely be evaluated based on factors such as the quality of your work, your ability to meet deadlines, and your willingness to learn and take on new challenges. Feedback from supervisors and team members can also play a role in assessing your performance.
  • How to find work – Finding work often involves a combination of networking, portfolio development, and job searching. Online job boards, industry events, and social media can be useful tools for finding opportunities. It’s also important to have a strong portfolio that showcases your best work and demonstrates your skills and creativity.
  • Average workday – A typical day might involve meeting with your team to discuss the day’s tasks, working on animation sequences, and receiving feedback from your supervisor. You’ll also spend time learning new software and techniques, and possibly assisting with other aspects of production such as research or preparation of presentation materials.


Being an Animator Trainee is a challenging but rewarding role that offers the opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute to exciting creative projects. It’s a role that requires creativity, technical skills, and a willingness to constantly learn and adapt. Companies like Pixar, DreamWorks, and Studio Ghibli are known for their high-quality animation and are ideal places to aspire to work for. The challenges you’ll face will help you grow as an artist and professional, and the satisfaction of seeing your work come to life is a reward in itself.

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