How Hard is it to Get a Job in Animation

How Hard Is It To Get A Job In Animation?

Have you been contemplating taking up animation and making a career out of it? Not very sure how hard is to get a job in animation sector? Fret not, because that is exactly why we were here to help you.

Zeroing in on a particular stream or course of study can be quite a crucial decision because your career ahead depends on it.

But with the right guidance and information about the stream, you surely can find answers to all your questions and apprehensions.

So before you think of taking up animation or doing a course or two to learn about it, let us first address the important question of how useful it will be in the future for you and what are the available job opportunities.

How Hard Is It To Get A Job In Animation?

To give you a rough idea before delving into the details of the question, a precise answer would be that it is quite difficult to get a job in animation.

But again, it really depends on what field of animation you wish to opt for.

Considering all factors like high competition, employee skill requirements, the scale of the projects, some fields may prove to be comparatively easier while the others would require sheer dedication and hard work.

Before you choose a particular sub-stream in animation, make sure you have detailed knowledge of the job market in it as choosing the wrong one will only put you in a fix.

Basically, there are different fields in animation, namely In-Game Animation, Cinematic Game Animation, Feature/ TV Animation, all under the canopy of 3D Animation, and also 2D animation.

Each of them has its own requirements of skill sets, and the recruiters hire the professionals accordingly.

In-Game Animation

This field is a fairly less competitive one than the others, although it sets forth a platform for new animators to progress. This is generally a great way to get started off with your career in animation.

You must be on a lookout for both indie opportunities as well as opportunities abroad, as this will greatly enhance your skill sets and prepare you for a more challenging line of work.

As this is a great way for new animators to get started off in their careers, the field also requires a medium technical skillset and nothing too advanced or professional.

Many companies offer internships to students who can then pave the way for you to land a job eventually.

You do not necessarily need networking to land a job, but having some will definitely help.

Examples of companies or gaming studios in the field that you should seek to get into are – Naughty Dogg, Blizzard, World Of Warcraft, RIOT, etc.

Cinematic Game Animation

This field is a much more competitive one than the above. You should opt to try in this field only if you are a fairly experienced animator.

The skillset required for this field includes being able to understand cinematic camera situations, story-driven animations, etc.

Since the work in this field is highly technical and professional, people with heavy networking and referrals will find it easier to land a job.

Technical skills required here range from medium to high.

Most gaming studios in this field will be based in the US as there is a lot of heavy motion capture.

Feature/ TV Animation

This field is highly competitive, and it is very difficult to get a job in it unless you are highly skilled and have a reel that portrays immaculate acting, cinematic camera staging, etc.

This field requires a mandate, body mechanics, and pantomime acting.

This is a comparatively less technical job compared to the 2 mentioned above and requires professional expertise.

Heavy networking will come in handy here too, and if your reel is commendable along with your work, you most likely will not need an animation test.

Most opportunities will be available abroad and will give you a great experience.

Examples of some companies to find a job in this field are Pixar, Sony, Disney, and the likes.

2D Animation

This, too, is a highly competitive field and requires vast knowledge and skill of Draftsmanship and drawing. The pay in this field is lesser compared to the 3D ones, although the level of skill and expertise required is very high.


How To Get A Job In Animation Sector?

Now that you know about the various fields in animation and how difficult it is to get a job in each of them, you should also know what you can do to increase your chances of getting a decent job.

Here are some things which you can do and create better prospects for your career in animation.

Build your portfolio

The better your portfolio and your reel are, the more chances of you making a good impression and getting the job.

A creative role is a great opportunity to boost your career, and you can get it only if you make a great impression with the best of your works right from the outset.

While making a portfolio, you must keep some things in mind.

  • Include only the best of your works.
  • Do not copy work from someone else and pass it off as yours.
  • Keep the portfolio up to date.

Brush your skills

With new developments in the field which regularly keep happening, you just cannot stop at a point and feel skilled enough.

It is important that you keep brushing up your skills as the employers are always on a lookout for someone with loads of skill sets and expertise.

For instance, an animator is expected to have great creativity, which, if you lack, you should look at sample works of the best animators and put yourself in their shoes and think.

You also need to develop a good sense of color and an appreciation for aesthetics.

If your computer skills are lagging, you definitely need to develop those too because the majority of your work will be done on the devices, and you cannot compromise there.

How to apply

To be able to get a job in animation, you should also be aware of which places you should apply to and where you are most likely to get the job.

Sort out your preferences according to your skillset and the requirements of the studios, which will then help you zero down on the most likely and suitable places to get a job in.

Remember how the first impression is the lasting impression and make your moves accordingly.

You can try getting a job in online and print news media, cartoon production houses, theatre or film, and television and the likes.

Before applying for a job of your liking, make sure that you keep the following things in mind.

  • Be well acquainted with the studio you wish to work with and are applying for a job too.
  • Tailor your resume and work portfolio according to what your prospective employer would be looking for and do not use the same ones everywhere. This reduces your credibility if one common skill set is displayed everywhere.
  • Whichever studio or company you will be applying to, ensure that you are well versed with the software they used. Lagging behind and being unaware of the used software will reduce your chances of bagging the job.
  • Reach out more often. Rather than just relying on your application to do the trick, try to contact in person the people concerned to follow up about your application.
  • If you are applying to a foreign country, ensure you have adequate scholarships to get you through.

Best Courses For Learning Animation

To learn the best of animation, make sure that you also choose some of the best courses available after analyzing your skills and the course material at hand. Here are some of them that you can learn online.

Classic Animation With Ryan Slater

This is an introductory course that is concise and in-expensive to take up. However, there is a con of not getting feedback from the tutor and the course having a limited scope.

Classic Animation with Ryan Slater
Classic Animation with Ryan Slater


Learn the 12 Principles of Animation for Games in Maya

This is a great course which is quite cheap and also includes project files. The con here is that the course is a short one.

Principles of Animation
Principles of Animation

Character Animation Fundamentals with Chris Kirshbaum

This course teaches you the basics as well as the software while focussing on the practical. However, to avail of it, you will need a subscription.

Character Animation
Character Animation

Career Prospects In The Field Of Animation

Here are the various career prospects for you in the field of animation and how much they pay on average annually.

Art Director

Salary: $70k to $80k on average. May vary depending on the project scale.

Difficulty level: Quite full of pressure. You will have to be on your toes continuously and work hard until the tasks are completed.

Stop Motion Animator

Salary: Around $60k more or less

Painstaking at times but fairly enjoyable. The whole work process, which involves sheer hard work and dedication, is only made better with the way this job profiles also promises a lot of fun while carrying out the tasks.

3D Modeller

Salary depends on the hiring studio, whether big or small. Giant studios may pay $100k, whereas small scale ones may pay half of it or lesser based on freelance contracts.

Flash Animator

Roughly $60k

A lot of competition with lesser pay

Compositing Artist

Varies from $50k to $75k depending on the work location and experience.

Storyboard Artist

Depends on location. It could be as high as $80k to $100k in some places or half the figure or lesser in the other.

Mathematical Modeller

Minimum salary would be $80k

Extremely difficult and challenging work, which is why the pay is handsome.

Forensic Animator

Mostly freelance based. Pay depends on your expertise and may vary from $20 to $100 per hour

Texture Artist

$60k on an average.

One piece of work may get too time-consuming.

For more information on the various careers that you can take up as an animator, take a look at this piece below:

Animation Career Review


We hope that this article was helpful in finding you the answer to how hard is it to get a job in animation?

A career in animation is one of the most worthwhile and widely sought after nowadays. With appealing pay rates and the individual flexibility it offers, a profession in animation could prove to be the best choice for you.

To make your mark in the field and give your career a head start, all that is required is sheer determination, dedication, and hard work.

This being a competitive field, you also should be aware of how to handle the pressures and prove yourself to be the best.