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9 Lessons to Learn from Pro Animators!

ben marvazi 2020

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If you want to be a professional animator, you need to learn from the best. Pro animators have made their careers out of taking the skills they learned in school and their years of experience in the industry and applying them to real-world projects. 

To help you get started on your journey to becoming a pro animator, we've compiled our top lessons that pro animators have shared so you can apply them when working on your own projects!

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First Things First, Animation Can Be A Tough Job

Sponge Bob Square pants talking to a robotic object saying 'oh it's okay, no need to be shy, it's always tough the first day on the job'

GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants via GIPHY

You need to understand and accept the fact that animation can be a tough job. You’ll have to be able to communicate with a wide variety of other people and work very long hours, but it's also a very creative and rewarding industry so don’t get put off just yet.

If you want to become a pro animator for television or film, then you should be prepared for some hard work. These two areas are extremely demanding as you will have a multitude of responsibilities with strict deadlines. When you eventually do bring your characters from the page to the screen the overwhelming feeling of excitement, happiness, and sense of achievement is SO worth it!

Pro Animators Work With A Team

Two pro animators working in a team giving each other a high five

GIF by Cake FX via GIPHY

Pro animators almost always work in a team environment. Working with a team has many advantages to working solo and sharing the workload with an experienced and skilled team just makes perfect sense!

However, there are some things you need to learn when working in a team, for example, it's important to know everyone’s name and what their skills and tasks are. You also need to be able to work with people who have different skill sets than yours, for example, modeling or rigging professionals.

You may also be working with pro animators who are more experienced than you, remember, it's important to respect their experience and be polite but also be sure to learn from them as well. If you're an animator and your team is made up entirely of other animators, then it's very important to work well together and communicate effectively.

There's No Such Thing As A "Perfect" Animation

a character eating and saying perfcetion! whilst chewing


You can't expect your first animation to be perfect. If you're new to the field, it's important that you understand that there is no such thing as a "perfect" animation. In fact, even seasoned pro animators will tell you that it's not about what your final product looks like; it's all about how much work went into getting there in the first place!

It's important not to get discouraged if things don't go according to plan or if something doesn't turn out exactly how you imagined it would. The key takeaway here is that you should not let other people’s thoughts hold back your creativity! Keep experimenting with different styles or techniques until something clicks and works for you!

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

a confused man at his computer then another man pops out the screen and helps him by showing him what to press

GIF by Fede Cook via GIPHY

Another lesson to learn from pro animators is that animation is a team effort. It's not just you sitting in your office drawing frames by yourself for days on end, but rather a collaboration between animators, production staff, and directors that need to work together to create something great. 

Animators need to be able to ask for help when they get stuck or overwhelmed with their workloads and more experienced animators should be willing and able to lend a hand if they see an opportunity for improvement in an animation sequence they're working on as well!

You don't need to be a pro animator to learn from professionals. If you're interested in becoming an animator, take some time to watch cartoons and see how they are made! You'll quickly learn that animation is not just about drawing funny pictures, but rather a collaborative effort between many different departments working together towards a common goal.

Pro Animators Pay Attention To The Details

group of people standing in a circle doing the mexian wave with their arms

GIF by Amplify Education via GIPHY

When you're working with a team, it's important to pay attention to detail. We’re not talking about details in your animations but rather details regarding communication - as an animator, you must be able to communicate your ideas clearly and work well with others. 

Keep in mind that most of the time every person on your team has a different role, so it's important that you're open-minded about other people's ideas as well! The most important thing is to be patient, both with yourself and with the people you're working with. Animation takes a lot of time and effort, so it's vital that everyone involved has a clear vision of what they want to achieve.

If You Hate The Work You're Doing, Change It Up

going through animators block can be stressful

Read our blog on The Secret to Beating Animator's Block!

If you're unhappy with your work, there's no need to be afraid of change. If you want to try a new style or technique, go for it! If you need help with something specific (e.g., working with facial expressions), ask someone who knows more about it than you do. You can even ask other pro animators for advice on how they overcame their own challenges - they'll be flattered and happy to share their experiences with someone who wants to learn from them!

The most important thing is that when something isn't working out for whatever reason, don't give up immediately. Instead, try another approach or give yourself a time out and wait until later in the day and try again with a fresher mind.

Be Open To Trying New Things Like A Pro Animator Is!

a rooster character walking into a rock repeatedly with a coconut over his head

GIF by Moana via GIPHY

Don’t forget to be open to trying new things. It's easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when you're just starting out. But it's important to be able to take risks and be flexible when it comes time to create something new. If you feel like your animation could use something extra, don't be afraid of exploring the options!

If you’re unsure of how this new method that you’re trying works - ask questions! It can save time and energy in the long run by helping you avoid making mistakes or doing more work than necessary - or both! 

So if you find yourself stuck on something simple like how many frames should each action take or how many keyframes should go into each movement...ask away! Your fellow animators will happily lend a hand if they can see that it will make things easier down the line (and they'll probably offer up some tips along the way).

Don't worry about making mistakes - it happens! Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, even pro animators who have been working with 3D software since its inception have made some pretty big ones themselves at one point or another during their careers. So don't think less about yourself because this happens often enough among professionals too!

Working In The Industry Takes Time And Patience

an hour glass turning with a person inside it falling from one side to the other

GIF by Emory Allen via GIPHY

The animation industry is a long process, and it takes time to master. But if you're patient and stick with it, it will be worth it in the end!

Get some experience by doing your own projects or working on other people's projects. Learn from others who have been there before and ask them questions when you need help (especially if they are willing to share their secrets).

Animation Is A Collaborative Effort

4 hands coming together

GIF by Siemens Healthineers via GIPHY

Pro animators work closely with other artists in order to bring their characters and worlds to life through movement and expression. They must collaborate with producers and directors who give them direction on the overall look of their animation projects. 

Animators also work closely with voice actors who lend their talents by providing voices over pre-recorded dialogue tracks so that viewers can see how each character speaks when they speak out loud (or think).

That’s A Wrap From Lessons From Pro Animators

sample animatic from a professional animator

Read our blog on 4 Animatic Tips from Professional Animators!

There are many lessons to be learned from pro animators, but the most important one is this: animation is a collaborative effort! As an animator, you're not just an artist - you're also a storyteller. And when it comes to telling stories, no one does it alone.

As an animator, you will have a hand in every aspect of your project, from conception to completion. You're responsible for bringing characters and worlds to life through movement and emotion which will resonate with your audiences at home or in theaters!

Animation is a tough job. It takes time, patience, and most importantly, teamwork. But if you love what you do and are willing to put in the effort, then there's no doubt that animation will be one of the most rewarding careers for years to come and you, one day, will also become a pro!

For more information about pro animators, as well as answers to any other questions you might have about working as a freelance animator, be sure to follow our blogs, check out our free masterclass, and our Animation Business Accelerator Program, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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