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Animation involves the manipulation of still images to create the illusion of movement. An animator creates models or draws characters and objects in a sequence of different positions synchronises lip movements with words, and actions with music and sound effect to achieve the desired illusion of movement.
The basic skill of animation still relies heavily on the animator's artistic ability, but there is a growing need for animators to be familiar with technical computer packages
Animators may work in a variety of fields including film, television, the internet, computer games industries.
Animators may perform the following tasks:
- liaising with clients and developing animation from their concepts;
- creating storyboards that depict the script and narrative;
- drawing in 2D to create sketches, artwork or illustrations;
- designing models, backgrounds, sets, characters, objects and the animation environment;
- using a range of materials, including modelling clay, plaster, oil paints, watercolours and acrylics;
- developing the timing and pace of a character's or object's movements during the sequence of images and ensuring they are synchronised with the soundtrack and audio requirements;
- using technical software packages, such as Flash, 3d studio max, Maya, Lightwave, Softimage and Cinema 4D;
- building up accurate, detailed frame-by-frame visuals;
- recording dialogue and working with editors to composite the various layers of animation (backgrounds, special effects, characters and graphics) in order to produce the finished piece;
- working to production deadlines and meeting clients' commercial requirements;
- working as part of a broader production network, which might include liaising with printers, copywriters, photographers, designers, account executives, website designers or marketing specialists;