What It Takes to be a Freelance Computer Animator

Computer animation is a rapidly growing field that offers career steps in many different directions. Behind every new visually stimulating movie scene or high-tech videogame, are creative minds at work. And as technology evolves, the images just get better. The field of computer animation offers a wealth of opportunity for those talented enough to stake their claim in the market.

In most cases, the amazing graphics and effects that grab our attention are the result of a large team effort. Often, it is many people working together to bring about the final animated product. But for those whose skills are in demand, there are many freelance opportunities that don't require an entire team.

To realize success as a freelance computer animator, you will need to create a demand for your talent. Choose a path, educate yourself, and build your resume. Establishing yourself as a dependable and capable artist will create clientele who trust you enough to return, and who will refer your business to others.

The foundation of your career path to becoming a freelance computer animator is your education. A reputable school will cultivate your talents, providing you the technical learning, and building on your artistic abilities. Through in-depth courses and structured, project-oriented laboratories, you can learn the visual arts, and the design techniques involved in bringing characters to life before your eyes.

Many art and design colleges offer a number of specialized areas of study that focus on your creative interests and talents. If you have chosen specific career goal, you can work toward a degree in your chosen field. There are career opportunities for illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, cartoonists, special effects engineers, video-game designers, storyboard illustrators, and many other types of artists.

A freelance animator's portfolio is his calling card. A good portfolio will showcase and highlight your best artistic work, and in all of the mediums you work. Your portfolio should speak for you, and should be an accurate representation of the work you intend to stand behind. Even more telling than your portfolio, an animator's demo-reel is his resume. The demo-reel is a video representation of your talents, and the quality of your very best work. Absent a physical interview, a portfolio and demo-reel may be all the potential client sees, and they should be updated often.

Initially, a freelance animator may have to work harder to build a quality resume. Entry-level positions and even internships, while less lucrative, can provide valuable hands-on learning experience when you first break into the field. Your written resume should reflect the hard work you have put into your hands-on education.

A successful freelance animator will have to develop skills to stay motivated, and constantly stay on top of new ideas and trends in the field. A unique way of looking at the world will reflect in your work. It helps to be able to effectively deal with "artistic" people, who can sometimes be quirky and unusual. Good people skills and the ability to be flexible are beneficial when freelancing.

Working as a freelance computer animator requires the level of discipline and order as any work-from-home job. Strong organizational and time management skills are essential to stay on top of the game. Knowledge of advanced software programs and computer equipment is essential for the computer artist.

Most freelance computer animators don't become an overnight sensation. It takes hard work, refining of your skills, and dedication to be competitive. For those inspired enough to follow this career path, opportunity awaits in the ever-changing technological landscape.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Computer Animation

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            Computer Animation, Bachelor of Science (Online)
            • Full Sail’s curriculum combines elements of creativity, art, business and life skills, technical prowess, and academic achievement.
            • Full Sail offers accelerated programs, so a degree that would normally take four years takes 24 months on average.
            • Students work with industry-standard tools and technologies, allowing them to gain practical knowledge and real-world experience.
            • Join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to interact with our community, read about grad success, and see campus images.
            • Online Courses
            ABCO Technology , Los Angeles
            • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
            • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
            • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
            • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
            • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Military friendly school.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Media Arts and Animation (BFA)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
            • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
            • Scholarship, financial aid and military benefits are available for students who qualify.
            • Programs taught by award-winning industry professionals in real-world working environments.
            • Features industry-standard facilities including recording studios, soundstages, green screen, movie theatres and more.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            Game Software Development - Bachelor
            • Average class size is 25, allowing for more one-on-one time with instructors.
            • Has a 97% employment rate among available graduates.
            • All  graduates receive Lifetime Employment  Assistance—free and forever.
            • Michigan's largest independent college.
            • Most instructors are working professionals in the fields they teach.
            • Programs are continuously updated to ensure classes are career-relevant and in sync with what's needed in the industry
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