Animator/Digital Artist Kaiwhakahauora/Ringa Toi Mamati

Animators and digital artists use software, models, photography and drawings to create still and moving images for advertisements, film, print, web or television. 

Animators/digital artists may do some or all of the following:

  • meet with directors, clients or employers and agree on a brief (work plan)
  • plan animation and design work for their team
  • illustrate books and other print media
  • build models, puppets or sets, or hand-draw or paint characters, and give them skin surfaces with texture and colour
  • film models and hand-drawn animations
  • create 3D mesh wireframes to produce backdrops for 2D and 3D animation scenes
  • use computer programmes to "rig" characters, giving them skeletons that allow them to be animated
  • use computer animation programmes to animate characters and objects in 2D or 3D
  • direct the filming of motion capture (recording physical movements that are then translated into digital images)
  • be involved in hiring and managing staff.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for animators/digital artists includes:

  • drawing, life drawing, cartooning or graphic design experience
  • experience in film or photography
  • computer design and drawing experience
  • computer programming experience
  • experience in animation software.

Personal Qualities

Animators/digital artists need to be:

  • creative and imaginative
  • disciplined, motivated and good at setting goals
  • comfortable promoting themselves and their work
  • adaptable, and able to accept criticism of their work
  • able to work well under pressure and to deadlines
  • good communicators.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for animators/digital artists includes:

  • drawing, life drawing, cartooning or graphic design experience
  • experience in film or photography
  • computer design and drawing experience
  • computer programming experience
  • experience in animation software.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include design and visual communication (graphics), digital technologies, art history, maths, te reo Māori and painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking combined.

Animator/Digital Artists can earn around $17-$20 per hour per year.

Animators/digital artists may progress to set up their own animation or digital business, or move into management roles.

Animators/digital artists may progress to become narrative designers (designing the stories of games), art directors, animation directors, producers, production managers or technical directors.

Animators/digital artists may specialise in:

  • 2D animation or 3D animation
  • concept art
  • game and app development
  • lighting
  • modelling
  • motion scheduling and stop-motion
  • previs layout (laying out scenes before they're animated)
  • rendering
  • rigging (creating a skeleton for an animation)
  • shading and texture
  • storyboarding
  • visual effects.
Animator/Digital Artist