While some of the best animators may be self-taught, gaining the right animator qualifications will ensure that you have what it takes to be successful in the industry and that your abilities are clear when applying for new projects or working with partners.
Since animation has its roots in creativity, you may want to skip right over the theoretical stuff that studying will equip you with.
But this isn’t the best option. The animation industry is so big right now that landing the right job takes more than just a talent for animation and a passionate approach.
The good news is that there are many different ways that you could gain animator qualifications.
These animation courses cater to everyone from the avid student to the barely-able-to-concentrate-on-a-kids-book animator.
In this blog post, we discuss with you the 3 best freelance animator qualifications to consider if you’re serious about establishing yourself in the animation industry.
How Can You Benefit From Freelance Animator Qualifications?
As we’ve already mentioned, becoming a qualified animator is one way to make sure you’ve covered all the essential skills you’ll need while working as an animator.
Having animator qualifications on your resume also communicates your abilities to potential clients in a concise and meaningful way.
But, what are the everyday benefits of qualifications for animators?
Here are 6 essential skills every animator needs that qualifications for animators can kit you out with:
6 Essential Skills Every Freelance Animator Needs
1. Attention to Detail
GIF by Black Rifle Coffee Company via Giphy
Whether your goal is to work as a 2D animator, 3D animator, or something in between, your capabilities will often be measured according to your attention to detail.
Attention to detail can refer to how well you’ve met a client brief, or how tidy your animations are, and this can take time to perfect.
Working as a freelance animator means that you need to manage your time and output well. This way, you can ensure that your work meets expectations without taking up an unnecessary amount of your time.
Animator qualifications that teach you about the most current technology and most important aspects of your animation workflow to focus on will set you up to work efficiently and effectively.
This means that you won’t need to go through trial and error, or endless YouTube videos to figure out what to focus on to make your animations top quality.
2. Creativity Management
For most animators, your creativity will be the reason behind your interest in animation in the first place.
In a professional space, you’ll need to ensure that the fluctuations you experience in your creativity don’t have an impact on your work.
The best qualifications for animators should cover the tools and tricks that professional animators use to overcome burnout and creative block.
3. Learn Quickly
GIF by Nickelodeon via Giphy
Time is money, and learning as you go will add to your ability to continue producing animations that are relevant and on-brand.
Animator qualifications that include tutorials, assessments, and projects will help you strengthen your learning abilities and become a dynamic learner.
You can then apply this flexibility to your daily work. For example, when a client asks for an animation style or task you're not familiar with, you can quickly get up to speed by learning on the go and delivering a high-caliber animation without skipping a beat.
4. Work Well Under Pressure
Every project has its deadlines and deliverables.
While these can sometimes be easily managed, animators can often find themselves in the thick of trying to juggle numerous deadlines and deliverables.
This is particularly true for freelance animators, and in instances where you have more than one client at a time.
Freelance animator qualifications that teach you about the time-management and multitasking skills that are essential to your success will fill you in on the A to Z of the animation-industry balancing act.
This will make managing your day-to-day work less overwhelming, and equip you to work well even when you’re under pressure.
5. Have Strong Organizational Skills
Once you can tick off numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the list, you can rest assured that you’ve also picked up some solid organizational skills in the process.
GIF by GIPHY News via Giphy
In addition to these, top-quality animator qualifications will also break down the basic organizational skills that apply to animation workflow, and financial and client relations operations.
This means that you should leave your animation course knowing how to plan and execute the ideal freelance animation business.
6. Be Innovative and Good at Problem-Solving
One of the biggest qualities that set so-so animators apart from sensational animators is their ability to be innovative and solve the challenges that they face.
While it’s often thought that innovation and problem-solving can’t be taught, the right qualifications for animators will teach you these skills as part of the curriculum.
Innovation and problem-solving are skills that everybody can tap into, and putting effort into nurturing these skills will allow them to improve over time.
Animator qualifications that clarify what innovation and problem-solving look like within the animation industry will help you to see them as achievable outcomes rather than mystical goals.
Taking on an animation course that also teaches you how to develop your innovative and problem-solving abilities will allow you to break through any limitations you’ve set for yourself as a professional animator.
GIF by Amanda Cee Media via Giphy
While each of these skills may be easy to understand at first glance, grasping exactly how to achieve them requires some expert guidance (or trial and error if you have the time!).
By taking part in reputable animation courses, you’ll be ensuring that you learn the ins and outs of each of these fundamental animation industry competencies.
This bridges the gap between wanting to work in animation and knowing how to work in animation.
Getting involved in freelance animator qualifications may also introduce you to animation career opportunities you may not have known about.
Read more about some animation gigs you may never have considered before in our blog: 10 Career Opportunities in Animation You Never Thought Of.
What Are The Top 3 Animator Qualifications?
If you’re already working as an animator, you’ll be looking for qualifications for animators that will sharpen and heighten your abilities.
You may also be looking for a certification that’ll add clout to your resume and allow you to stand out in a competitive industry.
For a freelance animator, having meaningful animator qualifications to your name acts as a layer of proof for prospective clients that you’re the best person for the job.
GIF by Vanessa VanEdwards via Giphy
The type of animation course you choose depends a lot on what you’re looking to achieve.
Here are 3 of the best animator qualifications that any freelance animator can benefit from.
1. Bachelor’s Animator Qualifications
If you’re new to the animation industry and still getting your name out there, a bachelor's degree is one of the best credentials you could have as a freelancer.
Many clients look for animators with a bachelor’s degree in animation, fine art, computer graphics, or another relevant field.
Freelance animators with qualifications have access to a wider variety of work opportunities, and a bachelor’s degree will also make it easier for you to set up your own freelance business or animation studio.
Without this type of qualification for animators, you may need to have a very extensive portfolio and tons of work experience to land competitive work opportunities.
If you have some significant experience working in animation, you may be able to skip over undergrad studies and start with an honor’s degree instead.
Universities across the world offer bachelor’s animator qualifications. Here are the top 5 bachelor’s-level animation courses you could look into:
- BA (Hons) in Animation, Berlin School of Business and Innovation
- BA (Hons) in Animation, Falmouth University
- BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects, University of Lincoln
- BA (Hons) in Animation, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation
- BA Arts in Animation Production, Arts University Bournemouth.
You can read more about these animator qualifications on the Keystone Bachelor Studies website.
There are also many online animation courses available that allow you to qualify with a bachelor’s degree. Find out more by reading through Online-Bachelor-Degrees.com’s list of the top 8 schools for online bachelor’s degrees.
Because a bachelor’s degree is one of the priciest animation courses you can pick, you need to do thorough research and be sure you’re choosing the right animation course for your intended career path.
Get in touch with admissions departments and make use of career guidance resources offered by institutes of higher learning. You can also connect with alumni for some relevant feedback.
2. Certificate Animator Qualifications
If you're a freelance animator with tons of experience who's looking to expand your repertoire or break into a new sector of animation, a certificate animation course would be a good option.
GIF by Kim's Convenience via Giphy
A certificate qualification for freelance animators is also a good choice if you already have a bachelor’s degree in animation and are looking to keep working on your professional development.
Certificate animation courses are some of the most versatile opportunities available to professionals. You could sign up for 2D animation courses, 3D animation courses, online animation courses, or on-site animation courses.
With so many different offerings, certificate qualifications for animators mean that you can find the perfect opportunity to work on a specific area of animation, and even find something that fits into your budget and schedule.
Many universities offer certificate animation courses. However, many experts in the animation industry also offer reputable and relevant certificate animator qualifications.
Head over to our blog on the Top 5 Animation Certificate Courses to Upskill While You Work for a comprehensive account of our top animation course picks.
Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
- Maya For Beginners: Complete Guide To 3D Animation In Maya
- Stop Motion For Beginners: Create Expert Animations in Dragonframe
- Mixed Media Animation in Procreate
- Animation for Typographic Compositions
- Advanced CGI/VFX Compositing online animation course.
3. Alternative Ways to Gain Animator Qualifications
If on-site or online animation courses aren't vibing with you, there are some alternative ways to gain animator qualifications.
Animation internships and animation work-shadow opportunities are generally known for allowing you to gain work experience.
However, these types of work experiences may also offer you the chance to participate in workplace courses and gain relevant qualifications for animators.
GIF by Saturday Night Live via Giphy
This is particularly true if you sign on to intern at an animation studio or with a well-connected freelance animator.
Internships that offer animator qualifications aren’t run-of-the-mill though, so be sure to confirm what’s on offer before signing up.
Having any of these qualifications for animators can make your talent more apparent and chase away any lag between you starting out as a freelance animator and your landing work.
But, animator qualifications aren’t essential if you’re willing to put in the work and effort it takes to make your own way in the industry.
To find out more, read our blog on How Animators Get Experience Without Animation Internships.
Grow Your Potential by Adding to Your Animator Qualifications
GIF by 60 Second Docs via Giphy
Adorn your professional title with qualifications for animators and see how the animation industry can unfold before your very eyes!
You can also start upskilling right away by watching our free masterclass, downloading a copy of our free marketing handbook, and checking out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!