Expert articles on the education and training requirements in animation and related fields

Game designers have a variety of duties ranging from designing characters, levels, and puzzles to creating art and animation. While some game designers may write code, it is usually up to the game developer to take the overall design of the game and turn it into an actual game.

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An introductory note from the editor:  

We started publishing US based regional and national lists in 2012 in response to myriad emails from aspiring animators seeking advice regarding the "best" schools in the US. The US-centric lists have been well-received, so much so that we now receive frequent requests to publish rankings of international animation schools. ACR staff writer and Social Media Manager Tom Fronczak managed and authored this year's Top 100 International Animation Schools rankings. In preparing this year’s list, we surveyed over one hundred animation schools across the globe. Our end-goal is to give students access to ample information so they can make an informed decision about the school they choose to attend and the program they pursue.  

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Creating cool characters with enough charisma to captivate audiences of all ages is just one of the amazing talents today's top animators possess. They also have remarkable storytelling ability, superior tech savvy, incredible illustration skills, and much more. Sure, a good number of today's high-level animators were actually born with these enviable talents, but most successful animators will agree that a degree program helped them refine their skills and learn the ins and outs of the animation industry. And that’s just the beginning.

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What does a Storyboard Assistant  do? Where does a Storyboard Assistant work? ACR takes a look:

About Storyboard Assistants

Many aspiring animators gain experience through internships, an entry-level or support position or both. This is also a great way to get your foot in the door at a major studio. Becoming a storyboard assistant is one way to accomplish both. Storyboard assistants provide support to storyboard artists. This position allows the assistant to refine their drawing skills and gain valuable experience with industry graphics, storyboard, and editing software. 

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What does an Independent Filmmaker do? Where does an Independent Filmmaker work? ACR takes a look:

About Independent Filmmakers 

Independent filmmakers produce films outside of major film studios. Also called “indie” or “art” films, independent films are typically made with lower budgets and the look and feel is noticeably different than bigger budget productions. Independent filmmakers usually have more flexibility in filmmaking, however, so their personal artistic vision shines through.  

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What does a Inbetweener do? Where does a Inbetweener work? ACR takes a look:

About Inbetweeners

The animation historians at Disney say that “at most animation studios, the best animators only sketched a few animation drawings, leaving gaps in between. Later on, a person called an "inbetweener" would finish the scenes by drawing in between the areas that the animator had left.” Well, not much has changed about this key position.

Today most job descriptions affirm that inbetweeners are responsible for the continuity of movement between scenes in an animated production. Inbetweeners decide how animated characters will move when transitioning between major key movement scenes. Many aspiring animators spend several years in the inbetween department in order to gain valuable experience in the industry. 

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What does a Render Wrangler do? Where does a Render Wrangler work? ACR takes a look:

About Render Wranglers

Render wranglers, also called “technical resource administrators” (TRA), are accustomed to high pressure environments. This highly detailed job might require the wrangler to monitor and control the rendering process and monitor a few computers or an entire render farm of hundreds of machines. Render wranglers monitor the computers to ensure (input/output) of data across various file systems and initiate data moves to allocate disk space. Render wranglers communicate with animators, producers, supervisors, resource managers, coordinators, and other artists across various departments.

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What does a Key Animator do? Where does a Key Animator work? ACR takes a look:

About Key Animators

After working as an animator for at least three years, some animators may advance to key animator—a senior level position.  Also called “senior animator,” key animators typically advance to even higher level positions after holding this title for several years. Becoming a successful senior animator is the final test before being promoted to director. Although higher ranking than an animator, the key animator still does his fair share of creative work, but this position requires more management and directing than an intermediate animation position.

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What does a Stop Motion Animator do? Where does a Stop Motion Animator work? ACR takes a look:

About Stop Motion Animators

Stop motion animators are a unique bunch. They use models, puppets, or clay to create animated films, television commercials, branded entertainment, and more. Stop motion animation is also called stop frame, model animation, puppet animation, and clay animation. Just a few of the best stop motion movies ever made include The Nightmare Before Christmas, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Little Otik

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What does a Visual Development Artist do? Where does a Visual Development Artist work? ACR takes a look:

About Visual Development Artists

Visual development artists design and develop the look and feel of feature films, animations, videos, and other types of productions. These artists may also work in advertising, publishing, marketing, or public relations. In the animation industry, visual development artists imagine and propose ideas for what the animated world should look like based on the story, characters, and action. Visual development artists also work with character emotions to help assist with the storytelling aspect of the animated production. 

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