How to Become a Teenage Animator

What Does a Teenage Animator Do? 

As an animator, your job is to take an idea and portray it on paper as an animated sequence.  From there, it’s very common for animators to then take those paper animated sequences and put them on a computer to make the animations come to life.  It wasn’t always this way, but technology has allowed people to make the animation process much more efficient. 

How Much Will a Teenage Animator Get Paid? 

Starting out as an animator, it’s much more likely that this will be a hobby before a paying job.  It takes time to build up the skills necessary to get paying jobs and once you do, it’s likely to be part-time work when you’re available.  Animation is done in cartoons, video games, and any instance where characters need to come to life with a storyline.  Once you’re experienced, it’s more than likely that you’ll become self-employed as an animator as opposed to working for someone else, though it is technically possible to work for others if they need a full-time animator.  According to Salary.com, if you decide to take this career path you’ll make roughly $50,000 to $60,000 per year in the future.

How Can I Get Started as a Teenage Animator?

  1. Make sure that you speak to your parent(s) before trying to become a teen animator.  They absolutely must know about your plans and will likely be able to help you in your efforts.
  2. Before you begin, you’ll need to determine what animator modeling software you’d like to use. Most professionals use 3D Studio Max, Cinema 4D, or Maya.  The costs of these programs are very expensive ($300 per month) but the good news is that the company who has created the software will give access to it for free for the first three years as a student.  You can get that deal by clicking here.  From what we’ve seen, it’s not uncommon for middle schools and/or high schools to have these programs available to students as well. 
  3. Once you’ve gotten access to the software, you need to get properly trained. Though your school may not have animation courses directly, they may have multimedia/design courses instead. Aside from those courses, there is other training available.  You can get more training in a number of ways, but we recommend that you join Lynda.com.  They offer a free 10-day trial and you should get your parent’s permission before you start.
  4. Once you’ve joined Lynda.com, we recommend you search the course “3ds Max Essential Training” for the most recent year to get started. In this course, you’ll get a great introduction to 3D Studio Max and you can learn quite a bit about animation and what the capabilities of the software are.
  5. We suggest that you spend a lot of time getting used to the software and figuring out how it works. Starting out by making your own animations and cartoons for fun is a great place to start, you’ll need to be experience and having you’re your own projects to show in a portfolio of work is a big positive.
  6. Once you’ve trained yourself, it’s time to start looking into part-time work. Obviously, this might be a struggle at first because it’s not every day that someone needs an animator, but there are jobs available.  We suggest first that you network with the faculty at your school to see if they do offer these types of classes as teachers usually have industry contacts and might be able to get you a part-time job as a helper.  If that isn’t an option, you can also use Upwork.com to find jobs.
  7. Congrats, you’re officially a teenage animator. Although you won’t be an expert overnight, over time you’ll gain a lot of experience with 3D studio max and this is a great software program to know for your future job prospects. 

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REQUIRED RESOURCES

  • Lynda.com: This platform will teach you the skills you need to become a teen animator.

    Course: 
     Search "3DS Max Essential Training" and choose the most recent course.
  • 3D Studio Max Software:  This is the software required to become a teen animator.  It is available in some schools and you can also get a free educational version.
  • Upwork.com: This will help you find new work when you're trained as a teen animator.