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10 Animation Techniques Freelance Animators Need to Know

“I am an animator. I feel like I’m the manager of an animation cinema factory. I am not an executive. I’m rather like a foreman, like the boss of a team of craftsmen. That is the spirit of how I work.”

Hayao Miyazaki

Starting your own business can be excruciating, and you must simultaneously juggle being an artist, an accountant, a marketer, and a decent human being as a freelance animator. So much for Spider-Man, right, and having spidey senses would be fantastic to warn of a danger alert concerning finding the time to do it all when everything is calling for your attention.

This blog post looks into the different animation techniques and what each one costs. Business of Animation also shares the requirements and how-tos of starting your animation studio, reveals how much you can make from your animation business, and mentions the best ways to speed up your animation production time and organize your day as an animator.

A Look Into The Different Animation Techniques

animators need different animation techniques and tactics

GIF by ThirteenAG via Tenor

Creating jaw-dropping animation is a rewarding career and business path, so how can you become a great animator?

  1. Be a master sketcher! Practice helps fine-tune your drawing skills, even if you're naturally talented.
  2. Survey the world around you! Observe the outdoors and people, and study their movements to find animation inspiration, research, and sketch. Try the zoo for animal references and familiar places like the mall or the park for human examples.
  3. Consult other animators' works! Study other artists, benchmark yourself to their best practices, and ethically evolve your animation style.
  4. Have a demo reel ready! Prepare to show what you can do any time, anywhere. You should have a montage to present to your potential clients or whoever's interested in working with you.
  5. Network with the community! Participating in animation-related technical events is a great idea. Mingle, share your demos or business cards, or spread your QR code.
  6. Master animation technologies! Master the modern art of computer animation through self-study or reputable online courses to become an expert in widely-used animation software.
  7. Join meetup groups! Such cohorts spread across different global regions and contribute to hiring quests, making affiliates, and enjoying shared animation interests. Look up one in your area and get involved.
  8. Do not immediately focus on making money! Don't lose heart or patience about earning a high salary during the first few laps of your animation career. Your dedication, passion, and consistency will eventually increase your earning potential.
  9. Learn acting! Combining your animation knowledge with theatrics will help you understand how animations should behave and improve your animation skills.
  10. Never stop learning and teaching! There is always something for an animator to learn because you cannot measure creativity. Teaching teaches you more from the random questions posed by your students.

Aram Movsisyan, Chief Business Officer at Yans Media, mentions over 30 animation types you can choose to create animation videos. This article narrows down on the TOP 10, so you choose a lucrative direction with future growth prospects and career opportunities.

  1. Traditional or Classical animation bears a nostalgic and fascinating creative experience approach for those who love the feel of pencil lead on paper. The famous Mickey Mouse animation is an example of creating animation using the classic 2D animation technique.
  2. Digital 2D animation involves creating 2-dimensional animations with the help of digital technologies. Adobe flash helps animators limit the number of drawings used, making 2D animations easier to create.
  3. Digital 3d animation is quick to create, and opportunities in digital 3d animation are highly-rewarding. 3D is the most widely-used type of animation for feature films, popular in TV and short movies, and for creating digital characters for live-action and video game animation.
  4. Stop motion animation is one of the most prevalent, sought-after, and old animation techniques. The essence of the animation technique is that the creator takes several photos by moving objects in the composition, and the advantage is not requiring expensive equipment and facilities.
animation techniques also evolve depending on the animation program that you use

GIF by Gifer

  1. Rotoscope animation takes live-action footage and uses a rotoscoping tool to trace on top of it. In situations where the animated character must interact realistically with the environment, use rotoscope animation as it is cheaper than standard 3D animation and is excellent for commercials and films.
  2. Typography animation is the practice of creating animated text and is one of the most affordable types of animation techniques. As an animation business owner, you can use typography animation to create explainer videos, interactive models, intriguing presentations, and workplace training materials.
  3. Mechanical animation is fantastic for product demonstrations, breaking down the functions and configurations of mechanical products, and drawing and animating every detail and mechanism of a machine to create an informative visual in the engineering industry.
  4. Motion capture involves dressing actors in suits that track their movements and interactions to recreate them with computer graphics. It is frequently used in gaming to create realistic character animations and lifelike facial expressions.
  5. Claymation involves creating characters with clay and photographing their movements. It is popularly used in children's movies like Chicken Run as its playful style appeals to children. Unique shorts, commercials, and short projects are suitable because it's incredibly time-consuming.
  6. Cut-out animation is probably most recognizable from the popular animated show South Park. Contemporary cut-out animation uses scanned paper to streamline the process, unlike the traditional method similar to shadow puppets.

The world of animation is diverse and more variations exist by mixing said animation techniques. Generally, ordinary 2D, 3D, and motion graphics animation are excellent for business and marketing purposes. Pivoting on your specific project requirement, you may prefer one of the other styles or develop your animation style.

You, the animator, can have the final say on the creative aspects of the video, although your clients contribute their ideas and are the ones paying. With this in mind, you must know how much to charge for your animation services. Knowing how to set your fee is one part of the many factors that influence the animation production cost.

How To Determine The Cost Of Different Animation Techniques And Styles?

different animation techniques and styles have varying costs

GIF by Simpsons World via Giphy

2D Animation takes less time to create and costs relatively lower considering other animation techniques.

Motion Graphics can be 2D and 3D and used in explainer videos. See how Promoshin charges less than the industry average to price your services accordingly.

Illustration involves text visualization and creating the image on your own, making it suitable to charge on a complete project rather than by the minute or hour.

Motion Infographics; think about how much investment and creative input, including images, texts, and diagrams, you must put into an infographic and charge accordingly.

Stop Motion Animation costs vary depending on what is animated, e.g., building claymation costs more than animating an action figure.

3D Animation can be significantly costly as it involves creating three-dimensional animations. The technology used can reduce the cost input, allowing manageable fees.

The featured posts are vital to know the services required that affect animation cost and understand how much animation videos cost per minute to create.

Requirements For Starting Your Unique Animation Business

you need money to start your own animation studio

GIF by The Block via Giphy

Starting an animation studio is not an unattainable pinnacle as people may make it. The Business of Animation thoroughly answers the question, How much does it cost to start an animation studio?

The cost of building an animation business can vary significantly and depends on your animation equipment requirements, including

  • Small Animation Hardware, like a stylus pen, graphics tablet, and animation gloves
  • Large Animation Hardware, such as an ergonomic chair, animation desk, or table, and powerful computers
  • Animation software, i.e., Adobe After Effects, Plastic Animation Paper, and Pencil 2D

Also, determine whether substantial office space or a home office is ideal. The animation equipment and software price vary depending on your animation niche and the animation services you provide.

Creating and maintaining a business website, having a phone line and internet connection, location, and marketing are other costs associated with creating an animation business. See these 6 tips for starting an animation business.

How Do You Start A Successful Animation Business?

how do you start a successfull animation business with these animation techniques

GIF by Bratofc via Tenor

As your animation studio grows in popularity and the demand for your animation services increases, hiring employees will help you grow your animation studio.

How Can Your Animation Studio Make Money?

animation studios can make money using these animation techniques

GIF by South Park via Tenor

Sell Projects to Distributors: your animation business can make money by selling projects to distributors and streaming sites. Consider releasing personal projects independently, but independent releases have a limited audience reach, and big animation studios pay generously based on the studio in question and movie viability.

Merchandising: animation studios often need to work with large distribution companies, who almost always get the better end of the deal. Revenue sharing varies with distinct companies, but you still have to find other ways to make money for your animation studio, and merchandising is one of the best ways.

Crowdfunding: is more advisable for a new animation studio with no vogue recognition or huge savings than an established studio.

Sponsored Work: take commissions or complete sponsored gigs for various clients. Even relatively small gigs can bring in lots of money for your animation studio. Animation studios can survive entirely on these gigs, especially in between larger projects.

You can make money by realizing how to start an animation studio fund and offering the following added services to diversify your income from your core animation services.

  • Post-processing animation video content
  • Audio editing
  • Adding subtitles and dubbing
  • Creating and inserting graphics or special effects
  • Configuring animation content for various media
  • Managing animation film libraries

Under-preparing can be costly, necessitating planning and budgeting for your animation studio. One of your most significant cost considerations is how to reduce the time spent on a single project.

Even perfectionists need to save time to improve their work output and have time to review the outcome and handle any changes before the deadline. Being ahead of schedule can boost your reputation. So, here are..

Quick Ways To Speed Up Your Animation Production Time

animation techniques like this can help speed up your production time

GIF by Oogliegooglie97 via Tenor

  • Increase your APM (Actions Per Minute)

Measure your Actions Per Minute to be faster at anything in the virtual sphere. Using your keyboard efficiently can get a higher APM than navigating through menus.

Tip: Use Shortcuts. Completing projects quicker is a critical differentiator in an industry where you're likely to do the same things and share similar processes.

Optimization means effectively using the resources at your disposal and scaling them. Managing your pipeline and starting keyframes are the best ways to approach your animation process speedily.

Tip: Optimize your animation production pipeline. Structuring your files is vital to ease project handling and includes having separate folders for sounds, music, pictures, video references, characters, and project files.

A reliable rig allows you to easily make character changes, reducing time and making your animation more dynamic. You can outsource coming up with a good rig if you can't come up with one. Understanding Inverse Kinematics and having them in your rig can help you know if it is good. Watch this video to understand more about inverse kinematics.

Recycle Keyframes. Copying and pasting keyframes and tweaking them is faster than blocking everything, i.e., wasting time by blocking the character when the pose is very similar to a previously blocked one.

Recycle Animations. You don't need to manually add all details in the timeline in a sequence of keyframes. Eye blinking is the most common example; instead of manually opening and closing the eyes in the timeline, simply copy and paste keyframes to reduce the work requirement.

5 Easy Tips To Organize Your Life So You Animate Better

the best animation technique is not related to animation - its organization

GIF by Quickbooks via Giphy

  • Automate Social Media and Email

Automate your follow-up emails to keep in touch with studios and animation clients even when you're away from your computer.

  • Have a Work Cycle

A good ratio is a 45-minute set time to completely concentrate on work, followed by 15 minutes of leisure.

  • Regularly Update Spreadsheets

Keep separate spreadsheets for income, business expenses, and donations; this will help you keep track of your income, receipts, and losses and fill your taxes quicker.

  • Create a Daily Schedule

Update your must-do list with 3 to 6 items every day. Managing your animation business with consistency and discipline will help it grow and expand your circle of influence.

  • Build a Workspace Haven

Clean and organize your workspace to be work-ready always and help you concentrate better. Incorporate inspiring artwork, plants, and sunshine around your work area to keep your motivation and improve your craft.

Animation Techniques Go Beyond Just Animating

There are many benefits to starting and owning an animation business. With the advancement of digital content and animation technology, building your own animation business has never been more convenient and efficient. But before you begin, having a lot of skills and knowledge will help you succeed.

Check out the Business of Animation free masterclass, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and visit our blog on How to Start an Animation Studio to grow your animation skills.

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