As an animator navigating the complexities of the job market, you've likely encountered asked questions during challenging times: What's the current demand for animators? Is it hard for animators to find a job? And what array of jobs within animation should you explore?
The landscape of animation careers is massive, extending far beyond the conventional realms of film, television, and advertising. The common misconception that animators are confined to these sectors is a major underestimation of the field's potential.
There are different animation jobs available in a variety of niches - you only need to do some research, and when you do, you might find animation careers that you didn’t even know existed.
In this blog post, we delve into some of the most intriguing and lesser-known career paths for animators, highlighting the breadth of industries eager to embrace your unique skills, many of which may be new territories for you to explore.
5 Animation Career Opportunities in Science
1. Architectural Visualization for Animators
Architects don’t work alone - they often need the help of digital animators to help illustrate their designs. This animation career path is quite demanding but equally rewarding.
Often referred to as AV animators, these artists’ jobs consist of creating advanced environments with the goal of fully illustrating the exterior and interior architectural design of a building or structure.
The animator is often presented with conceptual artwork, CAD (computer-aided design), or Revit drawings to help them animate the architect’s designs. Photographs are also sometimes used.
The animator works closely with the architects and designers to ensure that they create an accurate representation of the architect’s work that can be shown to clients, after which they work on detailed 3D or 2D drawings that will aid in the construction of the design.
This job requires animators to be skilled in visualization, animation, and production, as well as possess some advanced technological skills.
2. Animation Career Opportunities in Forensics
Careers in the animation industry are rarely boring, but working as a forensic animator might just be one of the most exciting animation jobs there is.
If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a crime-solving genius, this somewhat unusual career in animation might be the perfect fit for you.
You’ll use the full force of your imagination along with evidence gathered to recreate crime scenes and accidents. Forensic animators work with forensic experts, the police, and eyewitnesses to help them piece together the details of a specific event.
Image by via SketchUp Blog
With the help of full-motion computer graphics, forensic animators create 3D terrains and use advanced techniques like photo matching, lighting, and rendering to create CG environments.
They also design and animate simple characters, make use of composite animations, capture video, and use video tracking and matching techniques. Finally, they transfer the final animations to DVDs or similar storage to be used in court.
These animators usually have a background in physics and mathematics and have a very good understanding of the industry’s software.
3. A Career in Medical Animation
This exciting animation career requires animators to have specialized training in addition to their animation qualifications.
Animators in this field need a background in science, medicine, and communication, as well as media and technology. Medical illustrators are incredibly skilled at 3D animation and have a very thorough understanding of anatomy as well as medical terminology.
Having medical knowledge allows animators in this profession to create highly accurate medical animations and illustrations. They often work alongside doctors and other medical professionals.
4. Animation Career in Mathematical Modeling
If you’re a wizard when it comes to numbers and love working with code, you will love an animation career in mathematical modeling.
It is one of the most specialized fields in animation where the animator uses their skills to work with complex formulae in order to design very detailed animated models. These models are usually created to solve intricate problems or demonstrate specific processes.
Animators in this field usually work in environments that make use of precise engineering, like aeronautics, but with the latest advancements in video gaming, many animators who work as mathematic modelers lend their services to the gaming industry as well.
Working in this industry requires you to be skilled in 3D animation, and you usually need to have a degree in math and/or engineering.
5. GIS/3D Terrain Animation Specialist
One of the most unusual careers in animation that many overlooks is probably that of the Geographical Information System (GIS)/3D Specialist.
These animators are called specialists for a reason - they design and produce highly accurate 3D virtual terrains as well as 2D mapping products. These virtual environments are used for training and instruction and also as a means to provide support for deployable combat readiness training.
These animators usually have a background in engineering in addition to their animation skills. Often experience, or at least familiarity with military organizations, is required.
Five Animation Career Opportunities in Entertainment
6. Game Development / Video Game Animators
Much like in films, digital animators working in the gaming industry focus on building the world of the game. They are also responsible for creating the characters that exist within the game’s world.
Game development presents animators with various fun challenges and the opportunity to learn and develop new skills. Animators working in this niche will find themselves writing the storylines for the game and assisting in creating video game mechanics, like user interactions.
Digital animators in this field typically have a degree in computer programming or game design alongside their animation degree.
7. Lighting Animation Technician
Another career to consider in the animation industry is that of a lighting technician.
The lighting technician’s job is to create a realistic look for various types of multimedia, including films and video games.
For animated films or games, lighting technicians add shadow and lighting to the animated environments through the use of light rigs that they develop. It’s also their job to create color keys for green screen and layering.
Lighting technicians have an in-depth understanding of the different lighting elements. They know how to use contrast and exposure, direct and indirect light, shadows, illumination, and reflections.
Animators who are interested in becoming lighting technicians can usually learn it on the job from their employers or do an extra course in lighting technology or design.
8. Animation Texture Artist
Some animation career opportunities are not as obvious as others, and a texture artist might be one of them. This aspect of animation is usually overlooked but is incredibly important.
Texture artists are responsible for making characters (and sometimes terrains) look awesome and believable.
One of the greatest challenges in animation is to make the characters and environment look realistic, and that is where the texture artist comes in. They use all the skills at their disposal to ensure characters and environments look as realistic as possible,
Texture artists also face unique challenges, like having to create effects that aren’t usually found in nature. That is why most of them have a graphic design school background in addition to their animation qualification.
9. 3D Modeler
This is an incredibly versatile career in animation that will provide animators with various job opportunities.
3D modelers are responsible for building models and environments and then bringing them to life. The best part is that these animators can find work in many industries.
Films and video games often make use of 3D modelers, but these are not the only animation industries that provide work to these artists. These animators are in demand in fields like architecture, engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, and even medicine.
Most animators that want to start a career as a 3D modeler go to 3D animation school, after which they intern at companies that need their skillset.
10. Technical Animation Director
There are different types of jobs in animation, and the technical director tends to brush shoulders with a lot of them.
As a technology expert, the technical director’s job is to make everything run as smoothly as possible. They develop processes and software tools that will help the animators and various departments to do their work as fast and efficiently as possible.
Technical directors develop procedures for every aspect of the animation process, which includes modeling, lighting, and special effects. They can also troubleshoot problems that pop up with computer software.
To qualify for this job, you often need to have a master’s degree in fields like computer graphics and computer science, and engineering.
Turn Dreams Into Reality with These Animation Career Opportunities
Are there career opportunities in animation? Absolutely! There are various industries that need the expertise of animators, which creates plenty of unusual career opportunities for animators that many aren’t aware they can pursue.
Many animators struggle to find jobs in popular industries like television and film, but with a little bit of research, they’ll find that there is plenty of work in industries they might not even have begun to consider. But how do you begin?
Our Animation Business Accelerator Program provides insights, resources, and a supportive community to help professionals navigate the evolving landscape.
If you’re an animator who’s looking to start your own studio or grow your career, check out our blog on How to Start an Animation Studio to kickstart your animation career today, or give our free Masterclass a try first if you’re curious.