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3D Animator Job Description

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Video is an effective marketing medium. It is not only informative and easy-to-understand, but it’s entertaining as well. Brands often embrace it as a primary avenue to present their products to potential customers. 

The question now is: how do you make the most out of video? Enter three-dimensional (3D) animation, a graphic technique that has changed how brands communicate their unique selling points. 

There are limitless possibilities with 3D animation, thanks to its adaptability and flexibility. Freelance 3D animators can bring virtually any concept to life. They work with artists and animators to conceptualize storyboards, design and produce 3D images, and render computer-generated productions that live in a three-dimensional digital world.

What Is a 3D Animator?

A 3D animator is a professional who uses their artistic abilities and computer-generated imagery (CGI) software to interpret concept art into three-dimensional moving images. 

Animators generally work in the film, television and video game industries, but brands have started hiring them to realize their messages through 3D animations. These usually are produced as videos that highlight the features, functions, and value of their products, and how to use them.

What’s the Difference Between 2D and 3D Animators?

Two-dimensional (2D) animators work with flat images that only exhibit height and width and are created in a two-dimensional space. On the other hand, 3D animators create more realistic images with depth, the kinds you typically see in video games, architecture and aerospace.

When it comes to 2D animation vs. 3D animation costs, 3D animators typically charge more for their services due to the complexity of the task.

What Does a 3D Animator Do?

A 3D animator uses images, figures, and symbols to help bring a brand’s concept to life. They work with artists, animators, and marketing teams to storyboard and design ideas, translate concepts into moving imagery, and deliver all assets needed to produce the 3D animation. 

Some key responsibilities of a 3D animator include:

  • Sketching storyboards
  • Researching visual styles, genres, and technologies
  • Working with artists, animators, and other teams to deliver project requirements
  • Translating storyboards into animated objects and sequences
  • Creating and animating objects, layouts, backgrounds, illustrations, characters, and more
  • Managing files, asset libraries, and documentation
  • Syncing visual and sound elements

Depending on project needs and the expertise of the 3D animator, responsibilities can include more complex tasks such as motion capture.

What to Look for in a 3D Animator

A great 3D animator possesses a balance of artistic ability and technical skills. Both are needed to see 3D animation projects through from start to finish. Here are some qualities to look for in a 3D animator.

Artistic Ability

A 3D animator should have the ability to visualize concepts, whether scripts or sketches, into 3D iterations. They should have a creative mindset that allows them to think outside the box to deliver captivating animations that effectively meet a brand’s goals.

Proficiency in 3D Software and CGI

3D animators use software to create their animations. You must hire someone proficient in tools such as Mari, Adobe Suite, Maxon or Autodesk Maya, among others.

Visual Storytelling Talent

A 3D animator translates stories and messages visually, so it’s essential that they have a knack for storytelling and can interpret concepts into 3D forms. Additionally, they should have a basic understanding of aesthetics and other aspects of visual communication.

Technical Knowledge

3D animation requires a lot of technical knowledge. Animators should know visual language (perspective, color, composition, framing, etc.), including what’s used for layout, typography, print and web production.

To realistically convey 3D images, they must also understand the laws of physics and body movement.

It would also be good if your prospective animator understood cinematography, interactive storytelling and graphic art. Though not always necessary, experience in these fields can significantly impact the final output.

Communication Skills

3D animators work with creative and strategic teams, so they must have the communication skills to collaborate seamlessly with others.

Tips to Find the Right 3D Animator

If you have a concept that is well suited for 3D animation, you need to hire the right 3D animator. Here are some tips for finding one that fits your project.

Know What You’re Looking for

3D animators tend to specialize in different disciplines or software. Review your idea and look for the animator that can best produce what you want based on their experience and expertise.

Check Your Budget

You can hire 3D animators for as low as $30 an hour or as high as $100 an hour. Check your budget to see how much you can spend. And if it’s not a lot, don’t be discouraged—you can find great talent even at affordable rates.

Look in the Right Places

Find 3D animators from trusted sites like Guru to reduce the risk of hiring sub-par talent and wasting your money. When you know what you’re looking for and search in the right places, you’ll find the right fit—and you’ll be one step closer to realizing your brand’s vision. 

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