3D animator


3D animators are in charge of animating 3D models of objects, virtual environments, layouts, characters and 3D virtual animated agents.

Excludes people performing managerial activities.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to 3D animator:

3D animators
computer-generated imagery animator
CGI animator
CGI designer
3D designer

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as 3D animator. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

3D animator is a Skill level 4 occupation.

3D animator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to 3D animator.

3D modeller
animation layout artist
graphic designer
animation director

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of 3D animator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of 3D animator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of 3D animator.

Particle animation: The field of particle animation, an animation technique in which large numbers of graphic objects are used to simulate phenomena, such as flames and explosions and ‘fuzzy phenomena’ that are difficult to reproduce using conventional rendering methods.
Principles of animation: The principles of 2D and 3D animation, such as body motion, kinematics, overshoot, anticipation, squash and stretch.
3d texturing: The process of applying a type of surface to a 3D image.
3d lighting: The arrangement or digital effect which simulates lighting in a 3D environment.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of 3D animator.

Create 3d environments: Develop a computer-generated 3D representation of a setting such as simulated environment, where the users interact.
Apply 3d imaging techniques: Implement a variety of techniques such as digital sculpting, curve modelling and 3D scanning to create, edit, preserve and use 3D images, such as point clouds, 3D vector graphic and 3D surface shapes.
Create 3d characters: Develop 3D models by transforming and digitising previously designed characters using specialised 3D tools.
Animate 3d organic forms: Vitalise digital 3D models of organic items, such as emotions or face movements of characters and place them in a digital 3D environment.
Confer on artwork: Introduce and discuss the nature and content of art work, achieved or to be produced with an audience, art directors, catalogue editors, journalists, and other parties of interest.
Rig 3d characters: Set up a skeleton, bound to the 3D mesh, made out of bones and joints that allow the 3D character to be bent into a desired position using specialized ICT tools.
Render 3d images: Use specialised tools to convert 3D wire frame models into 2D images with 3D photorealistic effects or non-photorealistic rendering on a computer.
Operate 3d computer graphics software: Use graphical ICT tools, such as Autodesk Maya, Blender which enable digital editing, modelling, rendering and composition of graphics. These tools are based in mathematical representation of three-dimensional objects.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of 3D animator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of 3D animator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Manage schedule of tasks: Maintain an overview of all the incoming tasks in order to prioritise the tasks, plan their execution, and integrate new tasks as they present themselves.
Create animated narratives: Develop animated narrative sequences and story lines, using computer software and hand drawing techniques.
Create storyboards: Apply story development and plot lines and edit animations to create storyboards that render the flow of the animation. Map out key scenes and develop characters.
Maintain an artistic portfolio: Maintain portfolios of artistic work to show styles, interests, abilities and realisations.
Use scripting programming: Utilise specialised ICT tools to create computer code that is interpreted by the corresponding run-time environments in order to extend applications and automate common computer operations. Use programming languages which support this method such as Unix Shell scripts, JavaScript, Python and Ruby.
Develop creative ideas: Developing new artistic concepts and creative ideas.
Select illustration styles: Select the appropriate style, medium, and techniques of illustration in line with the needs of the project and client’s requests.
Draw design sketches: Create rough pictures to assist in creating and communicating design concepts.

ISCO group and title

2166 – Graphic and multimedia designers





  1. 3D animator – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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