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3D animator

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Summary of occupation

​3D animators design and create visual effects using 3D modelling, character animation, textures, lighting, rigging, rendering and compositing. They work with a special digital 3D mesh that forms the shape of the character or object. They can apply fur, hair, textures or other effects to the mesh to produce a realistic result.

3D animators may work in industries such as filmmaking, game design, television, online content development, advertising, education or government. In Western Australia, 3D animators mostly work in the Perth metropolitan area.

ANZSCO description: Plans, designs, develops, and prepares pictures and diagrams to communicate messages, clarify meaning, assist in presentations and illustrate stories, using traditional and digital media such as drawing, painting, drafting, collage, models, photography, and image capture and manipulation software.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​A 3D animator needs:

  • creative flair and a high level of drawing skills
  • strong spatial perception skills
  • enthusiasm for experimenting with different techniques
  • knowledge of digital image production techniques
  • high attention to detail, and strong problem solving abilities
  • good planning and organisational skills
  • good communication skills.
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Working conditions

​3D animators work in an office environment in a design department or studio and may work on projects independently or with other team members. They may be required to work on more than one project at a time. Designing and developing an animation project is a lengthy process and animators may work long hours (evenings and on weekends) to meet deadlines.

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Salary details

​On average, 3D animators, classified under graphic and web designers, and illustrators, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a 3D animator increases their skill level, their earning potential will generally increase.

3D animators may work as freelance contractors running their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.

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Tools and technologies

​3D animators use specially developed industry hardware and software to create 3D and motion-captured digital animations, moving images and graphics. They predominantly work with computer-generated imagery (CGI) production techniques along with storyboarding and prototyping software. They may also use traditional drawn animation or 2D digital animation, depending on the project requirements.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a 3D animator you usually need to complete a formal qualification in animation, digital design or a related area.

The Diploma of Screen and Media (Animation and Games Design) and the Advanced Diploma of Animation are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can complete a degree majoring in animation, digital design, integrated design, games art and design or a related area.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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