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Career Profile: 3D Animator

3D Animation is a significant part of the motion picture industry. Additionally, many commercials also employ 3D animations. A 3D Animator is a person who creates computer generated 3D animations.

This is one of the few jobs that require both artistic and technical mastery.

3D animation is a demanding activity. A 3D animator must first and foremost be a computer expert. He must be well versed in any one of the leading 3D animation software programs. The most popular 3D animation programs includes Autodesk Maya, 3D StudioMax, Blender 3D, XSI, Lightwave and Cinema 4D. Of the above mentioned packages, Blender is unique in the sense that it is a free (open-source) 3D program that one can download from their official website. Maya and 3D StudioMax are among the more popular packages and it is wise to know at least one of them.

A very important aspect of this job is the ability to think and visualise 3-dimensionally using computers. Not being able to do so is like a chicken trying to fly.

To be a 3D animation, one can be self-taught. However, there are courses that cater to this line of profession. These are typically Multimedia or 3D animation related courses. Often, the courses are directly related to the software tools. For example, courses on Maya and 3D StudioMax are quite popular in this field.

As a 3D animator, one must understand the intricacy of computer generated animation. This will includes skills such as modelling, character rigging and keyframing.

A 3D animator is typically part of a production team that include other related professionals on the project. This other team members may include 3D modellers, texture-designer, programmer, etc.

An animator must also be able to generate ideas alone or in collaboration with other professionals such as writers.

Because, one may will need to spend long hours on the computer, one should take care as to not over-strain the eyes.