Careers in Animation

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Animators produce computer-generated images or cell animations for advertisements, television stations, video games, training films, feature length films, and other projects. Top animators have a solid foundation in fine arts, mastery of motion design and timing, and film experience utilizing both traditional and digital materials.

Background Animator

Studies what's happening in the scene and draws appropriate backgrounds, usually in watercolor.

Character Developer

Makes model sheets, sometimes called "roughs" (thumbnail sketches and models of the figures depicting the range of movement, key poses, expressions and emotions of the characters) based on the designer's concepts and often supplied by an advertising agency when the product is a television commercial.


Responsible for the overall coordination of all animated characters within a project. Each individual must work together, including layouts, storyboards and voice talent. Although there may be some interaction with the "environment" (background), the director usually is concerned only with the actions of the characters.

Film Editor

Cuts together the pieces of exposed film, matching the images to the sound track. Prepares the footage for duplication and printing.


Hires the team, locates investors, manages expenses, handles distribution, and is responsible for the overall development of the film.

Project Manager

A business position that acts organizes and oversees an animation project hiring and supervising a team and ensuring that deadlines and budgets are met.

Inker, Opaquer, Checker

The inker traces the outline of each of the sketches onto an acetate sheet. An opaquer then takes the outlined acetate sheets completed by the inker and paints the colors of the characters on the opposite side. A checker makes sure all the cells, layers, exposure sheets, bar sheets and backgrounds are executed, marked and registered prior to the beginning of filming.

Special Effects Animator

Special/Visual effects animators are used in film, television, and the entertainment industry to create effects that cannot be achieved by normal means or are otherwise too expensive. Special/Visual effects enhance previously filmed elements by adding, removing, or improving objects within a scene. These changes are often invisible to the audience who remains unaware of the animation and film combination.

Storyboard Artist

Creates sequential drawings or storyboards that show the scope of the film's action by breaking down the story line of a film, video or animation into specific scenes with attention to scale, camera angles and the type of action involved.


Identifies the subject of the film, defines the characters, develops the story line and dialogue.


Animation Alum Spotlight

Julia Vickerman lives in LA and works for the interactive and animation studio Puny Entertainment as a writer, animation supervisor, and storyboard artist.


Educational Opportunities at MCAD