5 Key Skills for Entry-Level Animation Jobs
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Creativity in Animation
  2. Technical Proficiency with Animation Software
  3. Strong Communication Skills
  4. Time Management and Deadline Orientation
  5. Attention to Detail

Embarking on an exciting journey in the animation industry? You might be wondering about "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?". This blog is here to shed some light on that mystery. Today, we'll explore five key skills that can help you make a strong start in your animation career. So, let's dive in and get you ready for your dream job!

Creativity in Animation

When it comes to animation, creativity is the cornerstone. It's not just about drawing or designing; it's about bringing ideas to life, crafting stories, and creating unique characters. Let's have a look at what this means in practice.

Imagining New Worlds

As an animator, you create entire worlds from scratch. You're not just an artist—you're a world-builder. You need to imagine landscapes, cities, and realms that no one has ever seen before. This requires a strong imagination and a willingness to think outside the box. Here's what you can do:

  • Read widely: From fantasy novels to scientific journals, feed your imagination with a variety of different sources.
  • Sketch frequently: Carry a sketchbook with you and draw whenever you get a chance. It's a great way to practice and develop your visual thinking.

Creating Unique Characters

Characters are the heart of any animation. They're the ones the audience connects with, cheers for, or boos at. Creating unique, relatable characters is a crucial skill for animators. Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Observe people: Take note of people's mannerisms, expressions, and gestures. They can be a great source of inspiration for character creation.
  2. Experiment with shapes: Don't limit yourself to human forms. Experiment with different shapes and forms. You might end up creating a character as memorable as Wall-E or Mike Wazowski!

Telling Engaging Stories

Animation is all about storytelling. It's not enough to just create beautiful visuals; you also need to weave a compelling narrative that keeps the audience glued to the screen. Here's how you can hone your storytelling skills:

  • Study the classics: Be it Disney classics or Studio Ghibli masterpieces, study them closely to understand how they weave their magic.
  • Practice storyboarding: Storyboarding is a visual representation of the narrative. It's a key tool for animators to plan the story and visualize the sequence of events.

To wrap up, creativity in animation is all about imagining new worlds, creating unique characters, and telling engaging stories. If you're wondering about "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?", this is one skill you definitely need to have in your toolkit!

Technical Proficiency with Animation Software

If you're planning to step into the animation industry, it's important to know your tools. Technical proficiency with animation software is a major part of "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?" Let's take a deeper look into what this entails.

Mastering the Tools of the Trade

There's a wide array of software tools out there, each with its own set of capabilities and specialties. As an animator, you'll want to be familiar with these tools to bring your creative visions to life. Here's a quick guide on what you can do:

  • Start with basics: If you're a beginner, you might want to start with simpler tools such as Pencil2D or Synfig Studio. These free tools can help you understand the basics of animation.
  • Graduate to professional tools: Once you're comfortable with the basics, you can move on to professional software like Adobe Animate or Autodesk Maya. These tools are industry standards and mastering them can give you a leg up in the job market.

Understanding the Technical Aspects

Beyond just knowing how to use the software, it's also important to understand the technical aspects of animation. This includes things like rendering, rigging, and lighting. Here's how to go about it:

  1. Take online courses: Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer courses on the technical aspects of animation. These can be a great resource to deepen your understanding.
  2. Practice, practice, practice: The best way to learn is by doing. Practice different techniques, experiment with different features, and gradually, you'll increase your technical proficiency.

Staying Updated

The world of animation software is always evolving. New tools and features are being launched all the time. Staying updated with the latest developments is an important part of being an animator. Here's what you can do:

  • Follow industry blogs: Websites like Animation World Network and Cartoon Brew often feature news and updates about the latest software.
  • Participate in online communities: Online forums and communities, like the ones on Reddit, are a great place to learn about the latest trends and tools in animation.

In summary, technical proficiency with animation software is all about mastering the tools of the trade, understanding the technical aspects, and staying updated with the latest developments. It's a key part of "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?" and can be a game-changer in your animation career.

Strong Communication Skills

While bringing your creative visions to life is a central part of animation, it's equally important to effectively communicate those ideas. In discussing "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?", strong communication skills can't be overlooked. So, let's dig into what that means in the world of animation.

Articulating Ideas

Animation is a visual medium, but the journey from idea to screen involves a lot of talking. Can you clearly explain your ideas to your team? Here are some suggestions:

  • Paint a picture with words: Your job is to create visuals, but you'll often have to communicate your ideas verbally before they're put into motion. Practice describing scenes, characters, and movements in a way that others can understand.
  • Use analogies: Comparing your ideas to familiar objects, situations, or previous works can make your concepts easier for others to grasp.

Listening and Collaboration

Animation is rarely a solo act. Can you listen to others and work effectively within a team? Here's how to strengthen these skills:

  1. Value feedback: Listen to the thoughts and ideas of your teammates. Feedback can help refine your work and push your creativity to new heights.
  2. Embrace collaboration: Animation is the result of many minds working together. Embrace this collaborative process and learn to blend your ideas with those of your team.

Writing Skills

While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, good writing skills can make a big difference in an animator's career. Here's why:

  • Storyboarding: Storyboards are the blueprint of animation, and they often include written descriptions. Clear, concise writing can make this process smoother.
  • Scriptwriting: If you're involved in creating original content, you might also be writing scripts. Good writing can bring your characters and stories to life.

In conclusion, strong communication skills, whether it's articulating ideas, listening and collaborating, or writing, are a vital part of "what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job?" Developing these skills can help you succeed in the animation industry.

Time Management and Deadline Orientation

As an animator, you'll be juggling multiple projects, each with its own unique timeline. This is where time management and deadline orientation come into play. But what does that look like in the animation industry?

Organizing Tasks

Animation projects involve many moving parts. Can you keep track of them all? Here are some ways to stay organized:

  • Break down projects: Large tasks can feel overwhelming. Try breaking them down into smaller, manageable tasks. This can make your project feel more manageable and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Use project management tools: Tools like Trello, Asana, or even a simple Excel spreadsheet can help you keep track of tasks, deadlines, and where your project stands.

Meeting Deadlines

Deadlines are a fact of life in the animation world. Can you hit them consistently? Here's how:

  1. Plan ahead: Don’t wait until the last minute to start your work. Start as soon as you can and plan to finish before the deadline. This gives you a buffer for any unexpected issues.
  2. Communicate: If you're falling behind, speak up. It's better to communicate early than to miss a deadline.

Prioritizing Tasks

Not all tasks are created equal. Can you tell which tasks are most important? Here's what to consider:

  • Consider the impact: Which tasks will have the biggest impact on your project? Prioritize those.
  • Think about dependencies: Are there tasks that must be completed before others can start? Make sure to complete those tasks first.

Time management and deadline orientation are key skills you'll need for an entry-level animation job. Whether it's organizing tasks, meeting deadlines, or prioritizing tasks, these skills will help you keep your projects running smoothly and efficiently.

Attention to Detail

Picture this: You're watching your favorite animated movie, and you notice the tiny sparkles in the character's eyes, the subtle movements of the leaves in the background, or the intricate patterns on a character's clothing. These details might seem small, but they make the animation come alive. And guess what? They're all thanks to animators with a keen eye for detail! So, what skills are needed for an entry-level animation job? Attention to detail certainly tops the list. Let's dig into this a little more.

Spotting Errors

When it comes to animation, even the tiniest mistake can throw off a whole scene. Here's how you can get better at spotting errors:

  • Double-check your work: After you finish a piece of animation, take a step back. Then, review it again. You might catch something you didn't notice before.
  • Get a fresh perspective: Ask a colleague or friend to look over your work. They might spot something you missed.

Adding Fine Details

Adding fine details to your animation can make it stand out. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Study real life: Real life is full of details. Spend time observing the world around you, and try to incorporate what you see into your animations.
  2. Use reference images: Reference images can help you add accurate details to your animations. For instance, if you're animating a tiger, look at pictures of real tigers to get their stripes just right.

Maintaining Consistency

Consistency is key in animation. Without it, your animation can feel disjointed. Here's how you can maintain consistency:

  • Create style guides: A style guide can help ensure that your animations stay consistent. It can include everything from color palettes to character designs.
  • Review previous work: Regularly look back at your previous work. This can help you ensure that your current work aligns with it.

Attention to detail is what separates good animation from great animation. By spotting errors, adding fine details, and maintaining consistency, you can create animations that truly capture the audience's attention. And these are exactly the skills you need for an entry-level animation job.

If you're eager to learn more about starting your career in animation, don't miss the workshop 'How Do I Get Into Animation?' by Michy. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and tips on breaking into the animation industry and help you develop the key skills necessary for landing entry-level animation jobs.