How to Become a 3D Animator

In the technology development, there is more and more recruitment demand for 3D animators in various fields related to art. Although it makes you feel excited, you still have no idea how to become a 3D animator.

Well, you will have to go through a hard training process with 6 steps, from the most basic knowledge to updating new technology.

For a more comprehensive look, scroll down and explore now!

What is a 3D Animator?

A 3D animator is a term used to describe those who pursue the profession of 3D animation simulation. These artists do a great job of bringing to life the scene they want to portray with realistic space and surprisingly detailed drawings.

You can apply for this work in many fields related to the arts sector, such as advertising, film, etc. Artists will present their work in various formats – web, games, cartoons, and sometimes mobile media.

People who pursue this industry tend to work as freelancers or for art companies and studios. They often have to spend many hours in front of the computer screen and use all their brains to create the unique products associated with their names.

Should I Become a 3D Animator?

The answer is definitely yes!

3D animator
The 3D animator is an occupation that is worth your time and money.

3D animation includes graphic arts creative work in various fields such as medicine, video games, business, etc. This multidisciplinary activity makes this profession more beneficial for you than you think.

If you succeed in becoming a 3D animator, you will have the opportunity to pursue a career full of art and fun. The harmonious strokes and colors of each product you make will certainly not make you feel as boring as when facing a computer screen filled with data and documents.

Besides, you also have the opportunity to work in a modern and professional environment. The salary regime is attractive, the job demand is high, and it tends to increase slightly in the coming years.

For more information on vacancies related to this industry, scroll down and explore right away!

Key Skills

To become a 3D animator, you need to have key skills in knowledge and quality.

In terms of knowledge, it is best to obtain a bachelor’s degree and be proficient in design skills. Besides, it would be best to have a full range of working tools (such as a digital pen, camera, and paper) and then access versatile 3D space creation programs (such as photoshop, 3D studio, etc.).

About yourself, you need to have the ability to be creative and constantly innovate to create substance for your projects.

Timely updates on technological innovations and the introduction of graphics aid programs are also key to becoming a successful animator.

Degree Level

Gaining as many degrees as possible proves how much enthusiasm and talent you have for this profession. We strongly recommend that you get these industry-related certifications and degrees whenever you get the chance.

3D animation students
Getting a degree is a key to get success in this occupation

You can refer to an associate/bachelor’s degree, a certificate in graphic arts, computer animation, or fine arts. If you want to prove yourself without a degree, this is not impossible (although it is much more difficult),

But as long as you have enough passion, we are sure you will succeed.

Degree Fields

For some companies, having a knack for areas within 3D animation (such as visual effects, 3D animation, and computer animation) will score you points in the eyes of employers.

Rest assured that not all companies apply this meticulous selection. Some companies will support on-the-job training so that newcomers can learn how to use the company’s program as quickly as possible.


This profession requires good practice skills to complete the project with excellence. Therefore, you need to have at least one year of experience to apply to small companies.

an office
Gaining experience in all time

If you are confident with three or more years of experience, apply for intermediate and even senior positions!


The 3D animator is a profession with extremely high development prospects, promising a bright future for anyone who pursues it.

According to experts, the recruitment demand in this industry will increase by 4% from 2019 to 2029. Our report shows that an 3D animator’s salary is extremely generous – $87,606 per year.

But keep in mind, the film industry isn’t the only field hiring this profession. That is to say, job opportunities for 3D animators are ideal, with better growth potential than you might expect.

How To Become a 3D Animator

Becoming a 3D animator is certainly not something you can do overnight, but you need to define a clear route for yourself. If you’re still confused about this, don’t worry because we’re here to help.

Here are six steps and specific instructions to be able to follow your dreams! Scroll down to discover and accumulate the necessary knowledge!

1. Start From The Basic Of 3D Animator

When you have nothing in hand, the first step is to learn about 3D animation from the simplest things.

3d sketch
Let’s start with the basics of the 3D animator.

The job you are pursuing requires you to create a realistic object in a three-dimensional space with extremely high meticulousness.

No matter how small, the details in the project (such as blades of grass and leaves) need to be created carefully and with depth.

Once you do not know the basics of this industry, you will be confused and do not know how to simulate 3D space for your project.

This job involves using high-level graphics programs on the computer, such as ZBrush, AutoDesk Maya, Photoshop, and countless other supporting applications. Without mastering their use, you will certainly be unable to implement even one product successfully.

In today’s technologically advanced era, software that supports creating animated motions in 3D space appears more and more. You need to update new programs that can help your project and quick access to how to use them.

While acquiring new knowledge, keep yourself a creative, intuitive, and always curious spirit. Once you have created your line, you have successfully taken the first step in conquering this profession.

2. Study Core Animation’s Methods & Concepts

After having the basic knowledge of 3D animation, now is the time to delve deeper and accumulate more knowledge about this industry.

You will have to delve into 3D modeling, textures, lighting, and motion issues.

In particular, equip yourself with technological knowledge so that you will not be confused when entering a practical project.

3D character on a computer
3D modeling classes

We recommend that you master Adobe Photoshop, AutoDesk Maya, and Apple Final Cut Pro during this phase. During the working process, you must always be creative and explore new things to make your mark on your products.

Besides, taking art-related courses (such as art direction, video game design, scenario design, etc.) will also help a lot in accumulating specialized knowledge.

The road to conquering 3D animation is always fraught with obstacles, like any other art-related profession. Therefore, keep the fire of passion and never give in to difficulties.

3. Get A Degree

Having one or more degrees will make you assert yourself in the eyes of employers. So as long as you can, try to get a degree in 3D animation.

If you receive formal training from universities, you will get a bachelor’s degree right after graduation. In addition, you can also refer to dozens of famous certificate programs to assess yourself in this field.

You need to take courses in lighting, animation, textures, modeling technology, and motion to achieve these. But before making the final choice, you should carefully consider the field you will pursue to apply for a certificate in that field.

4. Build A Strong Portfolio

Once you have the necessary certifications and accumulated experience, it’s time to start making your strong portfolio (or demo roll) to prove yourself.

But, how do you succeed in this quest?

Building a strong portfolio
Building a strong portfolio

Throughout the degree program, you need to demonstrate your technical talent and creativity in each product actively. Besides, each portfolio also needs to be consistent with the field it needs to convey content.

When you apply for a job, this portfolio also needs to be responsive to the employer’s requirements, including formatting issues.

Usually, you will have to send a link to their website with their application, or sometimes just a DVD of your product is enough.

It would help if you kept in mind that the creativity and artistry in this demo roll will determine whether you will catch the eye of the employer or not. Therefore, try to perform to the best of your ability.

If you want to apply as a cheerleader, your portfolio has to be about this. But if your target is an animator, you will be able to exploit more content and aspects depending on the job description.

5. Get Experience

Recruiting companies tend to prioritize candidates with rich experience over fresh graduates. Therefore, you should spend a certain amount of time working to gain experience before applying to big companies.

Some people choose to do internships with animation companies to wait for the degree program. During that time, they will act as cheerleaders and gradually get used to the work related to this 3D animation.

The limitation of this method is that its time is limited, leading to the experience often gained not being enough.

We found that more than half of the 3D animators work as freelancers and contributors based on signed contracts. When the contract expires, they will apply to another company and continue the same job.

But some companies recognize the talents of freelancers and quickly convert them to full-time and full-time employees.

Alternatively, you can work for non-profit organizations (such as schools). school or business websites) to gain experience.

6. Continue Your Education

Do you think having more work experience is enough to become a 3D animator? Employers will want you to do more!

a meetup
Always continue your education for better projects

The current era of rapidly developing technology leads to 3D animation projects receiving more attention and refinement than ever before.

If you’re confident you’re good enough, it’s easy for other animators to take the lead and fall far behind. So never stop learning!

Once you grasp the market’s progress and constantly accumulate experience to develop yourself, you will hold the key to innovative and increasingly successful projects. That’s what the employer wants from you.


How Hard Is It To Become A 3D Animator?

In 3D-related industries, the animation is considered the most difficult aspect to conquer. You will certainly face countless difficulties on the road to success and even stumble on your work.

To get the most realistic motion drawing, sometimes you will have to throw away thousands of bad drawings to get the best-finished product. Therefore, always maintain patience and get up after all the setbacks you encounter.

Can I Learn 3D Animation On My Own?

This profession requires a lot of knowledge in theory and practice related to technology. Therefore, it isn’t easy to pursue if you do not receive formal training or attend training courses.

It will take you at least a year (or even more) before you can start working as a 3D animator. So, if you decide to learn it on your own, you need to be patient and always try!

Can I Become A 3D Animator Without A Degree?

It is entirely possible. You can become a 3D animator without a degree.

To do that, take online courses as it is the most worthwhile option for you.

The advantage of this method is that it is flexible according to your time, and you can take various classes.

The Bottom Line

Pursuing art-related careers is never an easy task. It requires you to overcome the arduous period of study and experience but will give you worthy results.

We hope you have had enough information to solve all these questions through this article. Good luck with the job you choose.