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Can Animators Work From Home and Have a Successful Life?

ben marvazi 2020

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"In my opinion, Animation will continue to thrive as long as there are children, parents, television, movies, and the need to laugh."

William Hanna.

Working from virtually anywhere is unquestionably one of the best benefits of being an animator. Freelance animators have established successful animation businesses and careers while working from home. However, studio animators used to a busy office environment may wonder, "Can animators work from home?"

Many people enjoy working from home because of the freedom it provides, the opportunity to be creative, plus the control it gives over their time. Because of the remote model's efficiency, even 9-to-5 animation behemoths like Disney and Universal Studios have begun to push more aggressively for a work-from-home setup.

This blog answers the question animators ask and covers the pros and cons of animating at home and how animators can make the shift to a home animation studio less taxing by sharing some solutions to the day-to-day challenges work from home animators face.

Pros & Cons: If Can Animators Work From Home

Animators who work remotely are said to be more comfortable, productive, and creative than those who work in an animation studio. The main downside to the question, "Can animators work from home?" is communication and collaboration, which sometimes present problems during animation work unless you manage them efficiently.

can animators work from home at desk in own home space

GIF by DearKat via Dribbble

Pros of Work-From-Home Animators

Fewer Health Risks

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, working from home has grown in popularity. Animators working from home minimize physical contact with other people, which lessens the health risks for the rest of the animation team involved in a project.

Freedom and Flexibility

Working from home in animation allows animators to work anywhere they want as long as they keep in touch with the team and have all the tools and software they need for the project. Animators can thus explore different locations while working, increasing their inspiration and creativity.

Less Commute Stress

Working from home means no or less commuting, which can be an absolute headache, especially in large cities. The convenience of working from home spares animators the hassle of navigating traffic, packed trains, and buses, potentially reducing mental and emotional stress.

less commute stress when animators work from home

GIF by Jimmy Arca via Giphy

Can animators work from home and save money? Working from home reduces transportation costs, which might not seem like a lot of money, but you can save a substantial amount over weeks or months. Having no commute also means less security risk since there is no need to haul equipment or valuables from home to the studio.

More Opportunities

The majority of animation jobs are in major cities. With studios usually based in major cities, many aspiring animators need to move to these cities to apply for their dream jobs, which can be expensive.

When animators work from home, they do not need to move. People with disabilities can succeed with this option since they can get jobs relying solely on their animation skills. Working from home means facing fewer physical challenges when applying for jobs.

Cons of Work-From-Home Animators

Junior Animators Work Harder

Assigning an animation project to animators who work from home requires huge amounts of trust from a studio; therefore, junior animators with less than three to four years of studio experience can have trouble getting noticed.

junior animators work harder when working from home

GIF by DinoSally via Giphy

Equipment May Not Match

Visuals are significant in the animation industry, and if animators work from home, they need to invest personally in equipment, software, and the maintenance of their workstations.

Animators should consider the risk that the tech stack they employ for home animation work may not meet a studio client's project requirements or expectations. Without access to company-issued hardware or software, studios may require additional cross-checking and modifications for animators working from home.

Confidentiality and Security

In most cases, the details and progress of the animation production remain confidential to avoid spoilers and piracy of the final animated video. The risk of leaks is one thing clients consider when determining whether animators can work from home. Monitoring security is simpler in an office where everyone is in the same space.

It could be trickier for animators working from home since they work on their own devices and networks, which may be insecure regarding online security, leading to a potential risk to the project and client.

Work and Social Disconnect

Loneliness and anti-socialness are two personal considerations when asking, "Can animators work from home?" Remember, working from home is like working and conversing alone most of the time. You have no physical interaction with most of the world, which can be mentally, emotionally, and productivity-draining.

balancing work and life when animators work from home

GIF by Yana Pan via Giphy

Balance Work and Life

Animators work from home for many reasons, and stress is one of them. Even in the absence of office politics, animators without dedicated workspaces or home office resources may find working from home stressful.

Also, working from home can expose animators to overwork or distractions, making setting perimeters difficult for animators new to the home studio lifestyle and resulting in confusion between work and personal life if they do not enforce clear physical boundaries.

How to Make Working From Home For Animators Easier

So, can animators work from home and have a successful life? Yes, definitely! Animators can work as freelancers, permalancers, independent consultants, or establish animation businesses. Below are some strategies to resolve challenges animators encounter while working from home.

Set Security Measures

The best way for animators working from home to protect their files is to concentrate on just one storage device without mixing them with other personal files. Cloud databases can also be password-protected and encrypted, or animators can employ Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, for added security and anonymity.

setting up security and protecting your devices when animators work from home

GIF by IDSeal via Giphy

Manage Your Time

The animator working from home should set aside distinct blocks of time for animation work-related tasks and leisure activities or rest. Some practices to aid this include setting up a comfortable home office, setting alarms for work and break times, or making a playlist that serves as a cue to keep a workplace mindset.

Adopt a Daily Routine

Unlike in an animation studio, animators who work from home do not have a set schedule. Animators can develop a work-life balance by creating a daily timetable that accommodates work, exercise, family, and life-enriching hobbies.

How can animators work from home without being supervised? A solution is to make a to-do list that starts with the most trialing tasks and ends with the easiest. Making a to-do list helps animators determine what they must do and check their productivity levels.

Communicate Constantly

Consistent communication is one of the most fundamental techniques to make working at home run more smoothly for animators; this is especially important in collaborative projects that go through the animation pipeline.

communicating constantly is crucial when animators work from home

GIF by Ravinder Singh via Dribbble

Designate Your Work Environment

An animator's environment directly affects their state of mind and creative senses, which affect their performance when animating. Having a designated space to work in peace with minimal distractions boosts focus by distinguishing where you work from where you eat and socialize.

A workspace away from the television, bed, family, or pet is ideal. It should only include essential animation work equipment, i.e., drawing tablets, papers, pens, and computers.

Consider Equipment and Software

Animators can have many preferred options regarding tablets, computers, and software; however, a cohesive workflow for large projects is necessary for a team or several animation teams.

Hence, having the same equipment and software access for studio and work-from-home animators is ideal for studios to ensure fewer snags or delays from inconsistencies between outputs.

What Tools Are Important When Animators Work From Home?

Any animator without the right tools at their helm is as powerless as Batman or Iron Man without their tech. Here are the essential tools animators working at home need for the job.

the important tools needed when animators work from home

GIF via Dribbble

1. A computer system: Most animated videos today are 3D with VFX, so you need a computer. Laptops are more convenient if you travel a lot.

2. Internet connection: A stable internet connection is a must to reach clients and stay in contact while you are animating from home.

3. Animation software: Animation software is critical. Although animators usually have to buy them, there are free alternatives on the market.

4. Pen tablet: A pen tablet increases an animator's control while drawing, especially the tiny details, and since it resembles a pen, it allows for more comfort.

Can animators work from home and receive the same treatment as being physically present in a studio? Animators work from home, fulfilling many responsibilities that studio animators also perform, but studios expect more from them because of the independence and trust provided to them.

Creating various media for television, advertisements, movies, and video games can also fall into the laps of animators working from home. Here is an illustration of a job description for a freelance animator:

  • Analyze scripts and storylines to determine requirements.
  • Provide the client with a rough design presentation for their approval.
  • Develop prototypes and mockups for new products.
  • Create hand-drawn or computer-generated models and illustrations.
  • Put background graphics and special effects on images.
  • Make sure that frames and sound are synchronized.
  • Adapt to the style of the lead animator by understanding and following instructions.
  • Create concept sketches and quick concept edits from brainstorming and conceptualizing ideas
what is required when animators work from home in their own home environments

GIF by Yura Fresh via Behance

How 4 Famous Animators Around The World Work From Home

Toon Boom recently spoke with some reputable animators about their transition from working in a studio to successfully proving that animators can work from home. Below are four animators answering, "how can animators work from home?" and sharing what keeps them motivated and inspired and what they have learned from the experience.

Arthell Isom – Tokyo, Japan

Employer: D’ART Shtajio Inc.

questions answered by Arthell Isom as an animator working from home

Image by Alexander-Julian Gibbson via GQ

How does being an animator working from home affect your creative processes? 

Living in Japan, my makeshift gym room doubles as my home office; I jumpstart my creative process by exercising if I start to drift.

How do you stay inspired?

Reading is one of my passions. Another source I use for inspiration is watching documentaries and reading books and biographies on how someone stayed on their path to success.

How do you keep motivated and productive?

Find other motivated animators and do something new with them that drives creativity.

Niki Kehoe – London, UK

Employer: ​MysteryQ (Blink Industries)

questions answered by Niki Kehoe as an animator working from home

Image via ScreenSkills

How does being an animator working from home affect your creative processes?

I created a pipeline to work remotely before getting it up and running in the studio.

How do you stay inspired?

Seeing the artwork and animation tests from the show I’m working on is quite inspirational.

How do you keep motivated and productive?

Having a good routine is helpful for productivity. But also, take care of yourself mentally and physically. Give yourself lots of little tasks rather than one big one.

Neisje Morrell – Los Angeles, California, USA

Employer: Bento Box Entertainment

questions answered by Neisje Morrell as an animator working from home

Image via Neisje Morrell

How does being an animator working from home affect your creative processes?

Technical hurdles like setting up and working on a database server from a remote location are the biggest. The other is feedback; you can't walk over to your team and ask about scene hook-ups; you have to message or call.

How do you stay inspired?

I gained an extra hour by losing my commute. It is much easier to transition into other projects because I'm already at my desk.

How do you keep motivated and productive?

Deadlines did not change, so I had to power through, collaborate, and stay productive. My teammates and I help each other with workloads and scenes and troubleshoot our milestones.

Erick Tran – Burbank, California, USA

Employer: CHAVVO Animation Studios 

questions answered by Erick Tran as an animator working from home

Image via CHAVVO Animation Studios

How does being an animator working from home affect your creative processes?

It's different when you don't have one-on-one interactions with other artists or directors when reviewing scenes or sequences. I went from interacting with 10 to 20 people to only two or three. But I get a lot more work done now.

How do you stay inspired?

Millions of people tune in on streaming platforms. It motivates me to produce new content to improve people's lives with comedy.

How do you keep motivated and productive?

My family, friends, and the CHAVVO team motivate me to build, create, and push myself. I firmly believe we have to live a purpose-driven life, and that gives me the strength and hope to wake up and make the world better through art and animation.

Can Animators Work From Home Anywhere in the World?

Yes! With the right equipment, internet connection, and digital tools, the transition from the studio to a home office can be seamless for animators. Other considerations include comprehending the psychological challenges of staying creative and inspired. Hence, this article informs animators about how they can make the switch successfully with little hindrance.

can animators work from home from bedroom or anywhere in the world

GIF by Sanne69 via Giphy

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