Through the use of a computer or with pen and paper, animators produce illustrations that appear to move. A lead animator oversees a team of animators. This person delegates responsibilities and ensures the successful completion of an animation project. Most lead animators work within the entertainment industry, but some work in peripheral industries such as advertising and marketing.
Once the parameters of a project have been defined to the lead animator, he meets with his team. During this meeting, the scope of the assignment is thoroughly discussed, with each team member pitching ideas. Once a concept is determined, the lead animator delegates responsibilities. Throughout the design process, the lead animator approves or declines sketches as he sees fit. He monitors and motivates the team to ensure that all deadlines are met.
Though many universities and art schools offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in fine arts and animation, matriculation is not necessarily required to become a lead animator. Employers consider artistic ability and previous industry experience. Additionally, because this is a supervisory role, applicants must have documented success as a project manager within a similar environment.
Lead animators employed by a production company typically work within a corporate environment. Freelancers, on the other hand, are sometimes afforded the opportunity to work in their own home or studio. These environments are generally well lit, often with natural light. Lead animators may work at a drafting table or primarily use a computer. While freelancers set their own hours, those within a corporate environment usually work a standard 40-hour work week. Overtime may be required if there are specific deadlines.
Outlook and Wage Information
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of an animator in the U.S. is $51,350 per year. The job outlook for artists and those in related fields is expected to grow 16 percent between 2006 and 2016, as there is an increasing demand for "more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and 3D animated movies."
Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA)
Association Internationale du Film d'Animation is a trade organization that caters to those in the animation industry. The association was founded in France by a group of animators in 1960. It provides networking events, learning and development tools and news updates, and is an excellent resource to both those seeking to enter and those employed in this field.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of megan ann Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Justin Henry Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gam Hoyo Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Diego Cosenza Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Andrew Magill
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