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3D Animator | Job description

A 3D Animator specializes in animating 3D characters, environments, and objects for film (full 3D or digital special effects), video games, virtual reality, advertising, and more.

Job Definition of a 3D Animator

What are the tasks of a 3D Animator?

The 3D Animator brings to life an animated world by creating fluid, realistic, or stylized movements based on the artistic direction of the project (for characters, objects, and environment such as backgrounds, vegetation, etc.).

Their work covers a number of activities, ranging from animation to motion capture retouching, and the creation of cinematic scenes:

  • Animation of characters
  • Animation of environment elements
  • Crowd management
  • Creation of special effects (explosions, smoke, flames, particles, liquids, collisions, etc.)
  • Animation of character/environment/object interactions
  • Lip synchronization, inertia movements, inverse kinematics, etc. to create realistic and fluid movements
  • Realization of cinematic or cut-scenes
  • Implementation of rigging and skinning on animated models (depending on the projects and skills of the 3D Animator)

The 3D Animator must also stay informed of new trends and technologies by conducting regular research and staying up-to-date on industry developments.

What are the skills of a 3D Animator?

Technical skills:

  • Proficiency in 2D editing software (Painter, Photoshop...)
  • Proficiency in 3D animation software (Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, Motionbuilder, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Character Studio...)
  • Proficiency in 2D animation tools can be a plus (Toon Boom Harmony)

Artistic skills:

  • Sense of rhythm and good observation skills of movement
  • Good knowledge of art history and styles, architecture
  • Good knowledge of film, video games, 3D animation, and special effects history

Social skills:

  • Ability to work in a team
  • Time and priority management
  • Ability to communicate with the production team and present work to different stakeholders

What are the qualities of a 3D Animator?

  • Creativity and imagination
  • Curiosity
  • Artistic sense
  • Observational skills
  • Rigor
  • Adaptability
  • Patience and perseverance

Career progression?

A 3D Animator can progress to the role of Lead Animator: overseeing a team of animators and ensuring that the animations are coherent and of high quality.

They can also advance to the position of Animation Director and be responsible for the overall characterization of characters in a film or animated series.

What education is needed to become a 3D Animator?

3D Animation is a creative profession that requires a strong foundation in 3D animation and graphics.

The ISART Cinema 3D curriculum provides the necessary skills to work in the animation film industry, special effects, and video game industry, mastering studio work methods from pre-production to post-production.

The Bachelor's degree is structured around the fundamentals of 3D, world creation, character animation, photography, filming, and editing. Students create several productions (individually or in groups) and use different 3D image processing tools.

Students specialize in the Master's degree and acquire the necessary skills to work in the animation film industry and special effects, mastering studio work methods from pre-production to post-production, on fully 3D film productions or by combining filmed images with 3D.

In a studio production-like environment, they work on film projects and gain the skills necessary to rig, animate, and composite elements of a 3D cinema project.

At the end of their studies, they receive a level 7 RNCP title "Expert in Digital Design, 3D Animation, and Special Effects," based on their academic results. This degree is recognized internationally as master's and bachelor's degrees.

How to work in animation?

Working in animation involves acquiring a set of graphic and managerial skills related to the production of 3D films. The Cinema 3D training program allows students to gain the necessary skills in:

  • Developing an artistic, film and video game culture
  • Creating 2D and 3D designs, character animation, photography, filming, editing, and special effects
  • Communicating, organizing, and working as part of a team
  • Mastering the working methods used in studios, from pre-production to post-production
  • Conducting market research and analyzing 3D project productions
  • Leading the artistic development phase of a 3D project production
  • Managing the artistic production phase of a 3D project
  • Supervising the artistic finalization phase of a 3D project

The Animation 3D / Special Effects program, which is offered as an apprenticeship, allows students to gain professional experience while studying.

  • discovering the professional environment, test different work settings (industry sector, studio size, production scale, management style, etc.),
  • apply what they learned in school in a real company
  • developing their professional network
  • Multiplying professional experiences and refining career choices
  • Developing one's adaptability and autonomy skills

Where does a 3D animator work?

    3D animators can work in various sectors, such as 3D production and post-production studios (for short or feature-length films, TV series, music videos, advertising, architecture, and industries), video game studios, and advertising agencies (for online ads and promotional videos).