3D Animator Job Description

3D Animator Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a 3D animator. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a 3D animator.


Who is a 3D Animator?

3D animation refers to the art and process of bringing digital objects to life by creating the illusion that they are moving through three dimensions. A 3D animator is therefore a 3D animation expert who interprets ideas and clients’ design requirements into 3D images and motion graphics. The animated figures and objects that appear in video games, motion pictures, television programs, commercials, etc. are made by 3D animators. The 3D models and designs these animators produce using computer software give the objects and characters life. For movies, TV shows, and video games, 3D animators create realistic, three-dimensional animations. They are software developers who specialize in converting works of art into moving pictures, special effects, three-dimensional characters, scenery, and game levels. Creating a particular kind of animation is typically a specialization for 3D animators. They might have to concentrate on either animating sceneries and backgrounds or characters.

A particular sort of animation that involves applying real actors’ recorded movements to character movements is done by those who work on characters. Because they imitate the gestures and reactions of real performers portraying the role, they may provide realistic character movements. 3D animation is also valuable in the marketing industry. To demonstrate all the features of a product, a marketer can employ 3D animation. With this, the product’s appearance can be better perceived by the audience. Brands may display their products through guides and demos by employing 3D animation. 3D animation may be used to create more interesting content for marketing.

Consumer interest can be maintained by an engaging video commercial using 3D technology in a world where audience attention spans are decreasing. To make low-cost product prototypes, 3D animation can be integrated with another advanced method such as 3D printing. Businesses, ranging from engineering firms to organizations that provide medical equipment, can save money on raw materials as well as time and people by creating and coming about a low-cost prototype. They can then make adjustments to their products in light of the prototype before creating a finished product. The development of prototypes using 3D tools is particularly active in the technology and machinery industries.

A bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, graphic design, fine art, or animation is required for entry-level positions in 3D animation. Students should seek programs that prioritize computer and art courses. Building a professional portfolio while in school is something that is recommended. The portfolio should include up to 30 works that showcase the student’s artistic and creative abilities as well as their knowledge of computer software tools. Most schools require students to create and manage their portfolios online due to the nature of the work. Strong artistic, visual image, and computer skills are important, but it’s also essential for 3D animators to have the ability to collaborate with others effectively. Even working directly with a client implies receiving feedback about the creative process from another party. This often necessitates making compromises for the project’s overall success.

Additionally, 3D animators need to be well-organized and capable of focusing on even the smallest details. They must have artistic talent, strong design, and art skills. They should have excellent communication and observational skills, and knowledge of animation technology. To compete and thrive in the competitive 3D animation industry, it is also necessary to possess the knowledge of how to use a digital camera, digital paper and pen, and video compression encoding procedures. Furthermore, 3D animators must understand time and movement, know when to cut, understand how men and women move differently, and know what backdrops work best for a certain scene. When generating the illusion of movement that will show on the screen, 3D animators will have to follow the direction of an animation director and make use of preexisting layouts, models, drawings, and characters.


3D Animator Job Description

Below are the 3D animator job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

3D animators have a wide range of duties and responsibilities which include the following:

  • Create animated characters, visuals, and motion graphics with design tools.
  • Investigate a project to find animation inspiration.
  • Use storyboards to create animated scenarios or motion graphics.
  • Consider customer requests when changing animations and paying attention to feedback.
  • Show the client the completed animated piece and ask for approval.
  • Utilize your creative and artistic skills to present information in an aesthetically appealing way.
  • Make adjustments to the colors, shadows, and lighting to give animated creatures a lifelike appearance.
  • Consider including client input in the design aspect.
  • Work in collaboration and cooperation with other design experts to produce a product that meets design specifications.
  • Create 3D animation utilizing specialist computer animation software.
  • Turn recorded actor actions into 3D visualizations utilizing created characters.
  • Create animated films, video games, and TV shows, and incorporate animation into other media.
  • Work with a team of designers, developers, and animators to transform animations into a finished product.
  • Utilize computer-generated graphics to create animation (CGI)
  • Meet with clients to learn about their needs for 3D animation
  • Make storyboards for the videography and editing process.
  • Investigate and offer suggestions for fresh animations.
  • Create 3D animations and images based on design briefs using illustration tools.
  • Create and build storyboards by developing and animating a functioning model of the scenes.
  • Create the timing and tempo of the motion graphics based on the voice and music needs.
  • Use animation editors in projects to combine 3D animation layers.
  • Receive team and client input constructively to change and enhance 3D animations.
  • Give the team recommendations and constructive criticism for projects.
  • Work together with a broad group of designers, photographers, art directors, and composers.
  • Make sure that all team members and clients agree with the project’s goals, objectives, and range of work by communicating with them.
  • Create character models and animation scenarios in collaboration with designers.
  • Create lighting plans, build up backgrounds for scenes, and set up cameras for shoots.
  • Create early animation sequence drafts for clients or managers to approve.
  • Create 3D models and turn them individually or into a series of watchable animations.



  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Computer animation, visual effects, 3D animation, or an equivalent discipline.
  • A minimum of 2 years experience in a related role.
  • Excellent art and design skills.
  • Proficiency in animation technology.
  • Ability to use 3D Studio Max, Maya, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver.
  • Must be skilled in digital cameras, digital paper, and digital pens.
  • Proficiency in video compression encoding processes.
  • Outstanding work portfolio.
  • Good attention to detail skills
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Time management and ability to work under pressure.


Essential Skills

  • Communication skills: Communication skill is the ability to effectively transfer information from one person to the other.  Communication skills are essential for collaborating effectively work with other artists on projects. As a 3D animator, you also need to discuss your ideas with clients or managers to get feedback and approval from them for your work. Communication skills can also help you explain technical concepts to others. This is required when working with programmers or engineers who are in different lines of work from you.
  • Creativity and artistic skills:  3D animation is a creative procedure that begins with an idea and ends with a completed project. As a 3D animator, you must be creative enough to come about innovative ideas, visualize them, and then bring them to reality. Artistic skill is the creative ability that enables you to create a work of art. Artistic skill includes your knowledge of the use of color, shape, and texture as well as proficiency in the use of different elements like paint or clay to bring an idea to life. Artistic skill also refers to proficiency in the application of artistic principles like balance, symmetry, and perspective. This proficiency enables you to create more realistic artwork and understand what makes some art more pleasing.
  • Attention to detail: As a 3D animator, your ability to pay attention to detail will help you do your job well. When generating and revising artwork, an animator must be attentive and detailed to produce work that is accurate and consistent. Character designers must make sure that each body part is correctly aligned with the others and that each character’s features are proportionate to one another. This makes sure that every component of your animation flows into the next without any errors. You must be attentive to produce reproducing-looking animations of the best quality. Every action must be carefully planned and carried out to avoid being noticed
  • Technical Skills: Technical skills are the particular skills you have that especially relate to your job. 3D animators must be proficient in using software to build 3D models and animate them. You must be knowledgeable about the fundamentals of animation and fluent in at least one 3D animation program. Software, hardware, and other resources are among the technical skills required for 3D animation depending on your role. Technical skills can be acquired through training or work experience. Technical skills can be demonstrated by knowing how to utilize particular software, such as Maya, which is frequently used by 3D animators. It’s also essential to understand electrical wiring, how to repair equipment, and also resolve other technical issues.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Animating a scene that looks realistic and also meets the requirements of clients can be demanding. As a 3D animator, you must be able to provide solutions to problems quickly and efficiently to meet client’s deadlines without having to compromise the project’s quality.
  • Teamwork skills: Working together with other team members is essential for 3D animators to collaborate to carry out a project. As a 3D animator, you need to be able to share your ideas, give and receive feedback, and work together toward achieving a common goal.
  • Storytelling skills: The ability to create a narrative that captures an audience’s attention is storytelling. Storyboards and scripts may need to be written by you as a 3D animator for your projects. To effectively interact with other members of the production team, you must have storytelling skills. Considering that characters and backgrounds are integral to a story, storytelling is also used while developing these components.


How to Become a 3D Animator

Step 1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

The first step in becoming a 3D animator is to enroll in a relevant bachelor’s degree program. You can become a 3D animator by earning a degree in computer animation, visual effects, or 3D animation. To advance your career as a 3D animator, it is recommended to earn relevant degrees such as a Bachelor of Design (BDes), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or a diploma in animation and multimedia or similar fields. To assist you to advance your career, these design programs feature topics including art, graphic design, animation, direction, video game design, and 3D animation. It’s crucial to become proficient in the fundamentals of 3D modeling and animation during your bachelor’s degree. Interestingly, businesses prefer hiring applicants who don’t necessarily have a bachelor’s degree. Also, many employers prefer to work with inexperienced 3D animators. They prefer candidates that possess the necessary skills and knowledge for producing 3D images and motion graphics.

Step 2. Gain relevant experience

You’re most likely to land an entry-level job after completing your undergraduate studies. Previous experience working as a 3D animator demonstrates to an employer that a candidate has relevant first-hand knowledge of the position being applied for. Higher-level positions can be attained as you acquire more experience. Therefore, before completing your education, consider signing up for a paid or unpaid internship. You gain practical experience working in a corporate environment and you also become proficient at the numerous job tasks of this 3D animation as a result. Consider working as a freelancer or volunteering for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to obtain more expertise. You can even learn from a skilled 3D animator by interning with them. Employers look for relevant job history on an applicant’s resume, highlighting information such as the position title, employer name, the time the individual held the position, and a description of the role with any accomplishments. In the cover letter for their application, the candidate may additionally need to describe any relevant work experience.

Step 3. Build a professional network

Networking with professionals in the creative industry is essential whether you want to secure freelance, part-time, or full-time positions. A lot of times, employers find 3D animators through recommendations or personal advertising. Gaining recommendations and referrals for jobs involving animation can be facilitated by having a strong professional network. By joining a professional 3D animation association and making connections with other professionals who share your interest, you can grow your professional network.

Step 4. Create a portfolio and CV

Employers prefer recruiting applicants who can provide a portfolio of their work when hiring for a creative position like a 3D animator. Your portfolio serves as a platform for your aesthetic, technical prowess, and design concepts. Additionally, it demonstrates your familiarity with 3D animation as well as your competence with standard tools and methods. Adjust your portfolio based on the job description to be a qualified candidate for a position. For instance, if a hiring manager is looking for someone who can create 3D motion graphics, you should include videos rather than images in your portfolio. To apply for appropriate job openings, create a CV listing your skills, experience, and qualifications. Mention your internships, certificates, and additional animation training. For an employer to evaluate your skills, you can even include links to your portfolio in your resume. Additionally, while applying for a job, read the job description thoroughly, take note of any keywords, and utilize them in your resume. This makes your CV compliant with application tracking systems (ATS). Apply to positions that interest you by uploading your resume to several job portals.


Where to Work as a 3D Animator

3D animators work for entertainment industries, public relations offices, advertising agencies, software publishers, graphic design firms, computer systems design firms, web design firms, video gaming industries, and design industries and may also teach at schools. They usually work in an office environment, although they may have to travel to meet clients when the need arises. Some 3D animators are self-employed and work freelancing. Some of them are contract hires that work for big movie and television studios as well as video game production companies. 3D animators typically work regular work hours, but sometimes may be required to work extra time, so need to be willing to work in the evening, on weekends, or even during holidays to meet deadlines.


3D Animator Salary Scale

For 3D animators, the salary scale varies depending on factors such as level of education, years of experience, skill set, and additional qualifications. In the US they earn about $61,000 per year, with the range running between $51,800 and $72,200 annually. In the UK, the average pay is £49,460, and the pay scale is usually from £35,272 to £61,135 per year. In Canada, the salary scale is between $49,969 and $80,000, while the average salary is $65,314 per year. A 3D animator’s salary in Nigeria is approximately 2,960,000 NGN per year. The salary usually ranges between 1,550,000 NGN to 3,675,000 NGN per year.

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