Many young people ask me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a stop motion animator to decide whether to pursue this career.
As a seasoned stop-motion animator, more than anyone else, I understand the benefits and difficulties of working in this role. My sharing in this article will definitely help you make a decision!
Stop-motion animators work on stop-motion animation techniques (manipulating physical objects frame by frame to create the illusion of movement).
In simple terms, these experts make things come to life by taking pictures of objects one tiny step at a time. Each picture is a frame, and when you put them together, it looks like the objects are moving.
To start, they develop stories and plan how they want everything to go. Then, they set up a scene with objects and characters, making precise adjustments for every frame. In this process, patience is vital, as a single minute of animation can require thousands of frames.
From my early days working as a stop-motion animator, I fell in love with this job for its artistic expression opportunities and work environment.
Yet, this job has a slow workflow and technical challenges that sometimes make it difficult for me. Let’s learn more about these aspects!
First, I will analyze the benefits that make me love this career, including a high degree of artistic expression, an easy-to-control working process, a fun environment, and niche opportunities.
Being a stop-motion animator lets me express my art in a big way. I can create characters, build sets, and control every little movement. I can touch and shape everything, making each project personal.
What’s great is that I can pay close attention to all the small details and be hands-on the whole time. I mean, I can tell stories with lots of feelings, humor, and messages, all in a cool visual way.
The second reason I find this job ideal is I have total control over the process. I decide how every frame looks and how the story unfolds. If I want to change something, I can do it easily without problems.
This control is helpful because I can fine-tune every detail to make the animation perfect. I’m in charge, whether adjusting a character’s movement or fixing a set. That’s what makes this career so satisfying for me!
Because the nature of this job is to cooperate with others, it’s like a team effort where each person has unique skills. My team includes:
- Model makers
- Set designers
- Sound designers
- Voice actors
- Storyboard artists
Working together, we make our animation better. We share ideas and learn from each other to make our results really special. So, if you are an extrovert who enjoys working in a collaborative environment, consider stop-motion animation!
While stop-motion animation is not as popular as other animation types, there’s a need for stop-motion animators in various niches:
- Indie films
- Music videos
- Children’s television shows
- Art galleries and exhibitions
While stop-motion animation is a unique and artistic field, it is very time-consuming, has technical challenges, and offers limited job options.
I must emphasize that stop-motion animation is a slow process. It takes a long time to create even a short piece of animation because you have to move objects and take pictures frame by frame.
For example, just one minute of animation can take days or weeks. Even I, a seasoned animator, sometimes find this frustrating, and it’s tiring to work for such long hours.
A challenge that few people mention about this job is the technical ones. If the lighting changes even a little, it can mess up the result. Plus, keeping the camera steady and in the right place is challenging.
After taking all the frames, I use computer programs to edit and add special effects, but they are tricky to learn for beginners. Also, ensuring the audio matches the animation is a bit of a puzzle.
There is a truth that stop-motion animation is not as popular as other types like 2D or 3D animation. So, there are fewer jobs available.
You might have to compete with other animators for the same positions/projects. And it can be hard to make a consistent income. Sometimes, you may need to move or work remotely to find work, which can be challenging.
Actually, there is no correct answer for everyone because it depends on your interests and goals. I recommend pursuing this career if:
- You love animation and enjoy creating unique characters and worlds. It’s a hands-on way to tell stories and is great for artistic people.
- You’re okay with the slow pace of the working process and are willing to work hard.
- You love crafting sets, characters, and scenes.
- You are willing to learn and hone your skills to become a valuable candidate when looking for a job, as there aren’t as many jobs for stop-motion animators as other animation types.
Make a wise decision after considering these things! Pursuing and building a career is a long road. So, don’t rush this first step!
After considering these pros and cons of being a stop motion animator, it is clear that the job offers a chance for artistic expression and collaborative work. It also provides niche jobs for those who love it.
Yet, note that stop-motion animation is time-consuming and has limited job openings. Sometimes, you will face technical challenges.
Please comment to let me know your opinions on these pros and cons!