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Animators are artists who use old and new technology to produce animated films that stand alone or are for commercials, computer games, pop music videos and websites. They create films or visual effects for production companies, major animation studios and computer games companies, and use various computer animation programmes and tools to improve light, texture and shadow.

The animation industry in Ireland is currently gaining a world-wide reputation for excellence and is growing rapidly with Irish studios producing and owning rights to more and more of their own original material.

If you are interested in a career as an animator, visit Qualifax ( to search for relevant courses at all levels and entry points.

Some alternative job titles for this role

  • Animation Technician
  • Visual Effects Animator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Animation Editor
  • Flash Animator
  • Digital Painter
  • Storyboard Artist

What the job involves

  • Work in collaboration with directors and other animators to develop storyboards which illustrate the desired look of the production
  • Translate these initial ideas into graphics and animation using sophisticated animation programmes
  • Write and plan scripts for narrative sequences
  • Budget for the production
  • Edit animation sequences
  • Use traditional methods and the latest technology to create new visual effects
  • Use specialist computer generation software such as Maya, Flash and After Effects

How your career can develop

Building up a body of work that showcases your flair, artistry and creativity is essential. Work experience is extremely helpful but difficult to get. Look out for short film competitions advertised online or in newspapers/magazines for opportunities to showcase ideas and material.

Why it matters?

Newry born animator Tomm Moore has received Oscar nominations for his work. On the basics of animation he says; “Keep on learning to draw as there is no point being impressed with yourself because you can do something in a software package because it will change next week. Drawing is the fundamentals of animation. The other things you need are persistence and teamwork.” 


  • Creativity
  • Artistry
  • Flair for creative software applications
  • Love of storytelling and film
  • Dedication and perseverance
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Ability to work under pressure

Typical employers 

  • Animation studios
  • Film studios
  • TV production companies
  • Games developers
  • Graphic design studios
  • Marketing companies

Typical salary 

Graduate/Starting      €30,000
Senior/Potential        €60,000+ (approx.) for experienced animators

Typical qualifications

Usually a degree level 8 NFQ. A primary degree in a relevant subject such as illustration, 3D/graphic design or computer/computer-aided engineering is an alternative gateway in the profession. A Masters in animation is also beneficial.

Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a PLC qualification in a related course or general computing/IT certification or diploma. For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following a PLC qualification, students should visit the CAO course search at

Further information 


Main image 'Song of the Sea" by Cartoon Saloon.