Animators are story driven. An Animator breathes life into a modelled character by making it move, talk, and express emotions. The animation team will usually have reviews with the studio's Animation Director and the Director of the game.

Dripperz characters ready for animation

What is an Animator?

Animators are story-driven. An Animator breathes life into a modelled character by making it move, talk, and express emotions. The animation team will usually have reviews with the studio's Animation Director and the Director of the film: both ensuring the performance and narrative are true to the script.

Animators create moving images by using digital models and various other digital environments. Some animators create models of humans, while others work on the environmental aspects of a video. Once the 3D models have been created, they are polished with various details such as textures, hair, and skin. These worlds can then be used to shoot scenes where the characters follow a path through the environment.

Entry Level Skills & Capabilities

The following information outlines the exact skills you need to demonstrate as a Certified Digital Artist. You must be proficient and capable of completing all these skills and capabilities.

Important! The following list of skills is used by our assessment team to verify if you qualify for a Certified Digital Artist (CDA) accreditation. The word "Bonus" indicates skills that are highly desirable, but not required to be certified. Think of them as a bonus skill that will impress.

1. Communication skills

  • Strong communication skills to describe and present your work with confidence.
  • Willing to show progress frequently and able to receive and discern feedback objectively.

2. General

  • Strong understanding of anatomy and muscles for humans and animals
  • Understanding of timing, pacing of motion
  • Capable of creating a performance based on provided audio track
  • Knowledge of gameplay: understand how movements will appear when played within the context of the game.

3. Data Preparation

  • Knowledge in cleaning motion capture data
  • Debug and quality control animation rigs

4. Movement & Performance

  • Complete understanding of the 12 principles of animation and their application
  • Demonstrate biped animation techniques
  • Demonstrate examples of motion with a purpose/story
  • Understanding action and reaction in motion
  • To be able to reproduce the cause and effect of muscle motion can create player animation from Mocap and hand keyed animation sources.
  • Can animate environment props.
  • An ability to understand and reproduce convincingly the the personality of a character and what, why or how they may react to a specific situation
  • Being able to read understand and reproduce body language in an pose to communicate clearly to the audience the characters emotional state and thinking process
  • Clear understanding of balance (why does something look off balance)
  • Bonus: Demonstrate quadruped and winged animation
Character performance in Heka game 

Traditional Proficiencies

Ability to use one or more of the following skills:

  • Proficient using drawing tools such as pencils, pens, and paper.
  • Proficient using painting tools (easels, paint brushes, paints)

Software Proficiencies

Ability to use one or more of the following software packages:

  • Unity
  • Unreal Engine
  • XCode
  • SourceTree
  • Perforce
  • Openapi
  • AWS


These skills are equally important in terms of your understanding and ability to do this role. Although they are not skills or knowledge that is officially certified, it will be obvious to recruiters and Certified Digital Artist(CDA) reviewers if you have knowledge in these areas.


  • Strong understanding of performance and action
  • Knowledge of 3D rigging
  • Understanding of animal anatomy and physiology
  • Have a strong and wide-ranging interest in PC, Console and Mobile Games.

Art Fundamentals

  • Perspective
  • Lighting
  • Composition
  • Anatomy
  • Colour Theory
  • Form

Life Skills & Communication

  • Thinking Critically
  • Communication Skills
  • Conflict Management
  • Taking initiative
  • Collaboration
  • Time Management

Animated character created by Maelle De Gracia

Portfolio Projects

Roles in Creative Media & Entertainment industries are quite different to traditional roles. As a Digital Artist, you need to prove your creative and technical abilities which requires an online portfolio filled with projects that showcase your work. One of more of the following projects should be included in your digital portfolio to demonstrate your skills and abilities to perform the required skills of this role.

  • Gameplay animator: 1. Loops (idles/runs/walks) 2. Display interaction between two human combatants, examples of locomotion, and motion related to creatures. 3. Creature animation 4. Contextual animations (picking up objects, interacting with environment) 5.Effects related content.
  • Cinematics: 1. ¬†Motion capture cleanup examples. 2. Facial animation

Apply for your Certified Digital Artist (CDA) Accreditation

Demonstrate your ability to complete entry level tasks required by Creative Media & Entertainment industries.

Not ready yet?

Read our Beginner's Guide to Animator

Inside you will find everything you need from where to study, what books you should read, how much money you can earn, amazing companies you could work with, and answers to all your other questions.