Technical animators make it easier for great animation to happen. There are a lot of technical challenges in creating animation for games. Where movements are complex, for example, they can slow a game down. Or they can take so long to create that the game becomes too expensive to make. Technical animators say: “How can we solve those problems?” By acting as a bridge between the programmers and the animation team, they work out how the tools and game engine can be developed to overcome the challenges.
Technical animators usually have several years’ experience in games. They start in either the animation or the programming departments of the industry. Look at the animator job profile or generalist programmer job profile for details of how to get it.
At school or college:
This is one of a number of roles within the games industry that requires both artistic and programming skills. While at school or college, try to combine arts and sciences.
If you want to go to university, it would be useful to get A-levels, Highers or a BTEC in a combination of the following:
Or you might want to take any of the following vocational Level 3 qualifications:
If you want to straight into a job or apprenticeship, these Level 3 qualifications will equip you with relevant skills:
Build a portfolio:
Create work that you can show off to employers. This is essential. Go to build your games portfolio to learn how.
Get a degree:
Have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in animation. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the games industry. Or you might want a degree in games or computer programming.
Get to know people in the games industry by attending events, including games conferences and expos. Meet professionals and ask them questions about their work, while demonstrating interest and knowledge in the industry. Offer to provide them with your professional contact details and try to stay in touch with them. Go to how to network well to learn how to do this.
Search for jobs:
If you already have experience as an animator, programmer or artist, use the UK Games Map to find out if there are games companies near you. Then go to their websites directly and check out their open roles.
Look outside games:
It’s also worth considering technical artist roles in industries like animation and VFX. You can build up your skills and move into games from there.
Being a gameplay designer, animator, generalist programmer, gameplay programmer, physics programmer or an artificial intelligence (AI) programmer in the games industry. You might also be interested being an animator or a rigging technical director (TD) in visual effects (VFX), or a rigger, an animator or animation TD in the animation industry.
Covers genres ranging from period dramas to epic fantasies screened at the cinema, on TV or on streaming sites
Involves making sequences on a computer that can't be created on set, like enormous crowds and fire-breathing dragons
Creates the illusion of movement, includes computer-generated, stop-motion and hand-drawn animation