Can You Be an Animator with a Graphic Design Degree?

Being an animator is a fun and exciting career in which you get to demonstrate your creative talents daily. Animation is one of the many career paths available to someone with a degree in graphic design and vice versa.

A degree is always an asset if you want to get ahead in business and as an animator. Yes, you can be an animator with a degree in graphic design. In some cases, no-degree is required to be an Animator or Graphic Designer, because your skills will always speak for themselves. However, having a Graphic Design Degree will always be a huge advantage in any creative career path.

Animation is a good career path for any creative artist. Graphic design is a valuable degree, but you can have any degree related to this specific field if you want to succeed. Reading below will help you learn more about what it takes to be an animator.

What Does an Animator Do?

An animator is an artist who sketches images to create a cartoon or some other form of animation. They can draw two-dimensional or three-dimensional art. Animators have artistic knowledge and talent, and they tend to have extraordinary drawing and sculpting skills.

Animators create these images for all different kinds of media. This image creation includes animations for movies, video games, and digital graphics. Animators often work among a creative team and focus on a specific role. Some of the essential skills an animator must possess include the following:

  • Ability to problem solve
  • Creating game art
  • Good time management skills
  • Meet deadlines
  • Produce high-quality graphics
  • Good storytelling skills
  • Ability to work with software and editing tools
  • Ability to work productively with a team or alone 

As an expert animator, you are expected to be open to change and creative ideas. Success depends on your skill level and work ethic.

Should you Have a Degree to Be an Animator?

It is recommended that animators have a college degree if they want to climb up the ladder in their chosen profession.

One of the career options when you become an animator, is graphic design. It is a related career path, and you will benefit from an education in graphic design if you want to become an animator.

Most employers want their employees to have the education to benefit them when working in this field. A bachelor’s degree in this area can help you sky-rocket to the top. If you want to go even further, a master’s degree can also be beneficial and worth the time and effort.

It is contingent on how far you want to go in your career. An animation degree usually involves a bachelor’s degree in the following areas:

  • Computer animation
  • Fine art
  • Graphic art

The prominent role of an animator is to be creative and artistic. You will also need to know how to use the relevant computer software.

Learning and studying graphic design can prove helpful because it will get you ready for the creative atmosphere of animation and help improve your work ethic. Being efficient in drawing, sculpting, and painting is crucial to being a successful animator.

Many animators have education and jobs in cartooning or graphic design. You do not necessarily need a degree in graphic design to become an animator, but it will help you be more competitive.

Any degree related to animation that requires artistic talent will benefit you and how far you will go in your career. So hit the books!

How to Become an Animator

You need a certain amount of education to succeed as an animator. You may also want to consider additional training upon graduation. The following are steps you need to take if you are serious about becoming an animator:

Get an Education in the Field

A bachelor’s degree in animation helps students improve their art skills and teaches them how to use the appropriate technology to work in the field. There are a plethora of specialties in this field. Some of these include:

  • Gaming
  • Visual effects
  • Special effects
  • Animation for websites
  • Animation for movies
  • 2-D and 3-D animation

Make sure you select suitable courses for you. You need to choose the courses that best suit the specialty you are interested in.

Get Valuable Work Experience

Many employers want their animators to have some work experience. Undergraduates who are achieving an education in the field can serve an internship as part of their graduation requirements. There are also many freelance jobs or volunteer jobs you can try.

Create a Portfolio

If you want to demonstrate your abilities, create a portfolio. It should include recent work samples. Artists can modify their demo reel to suit the position for which they are applying.

Many employers ask their potential candidates to submit a DVD or link to a website with the portfolio and a demo reel. Generate something that stands out from the competition.    

Graduate Training

This training is an option for serious students. Some solid programs can help you expand your storytelling abilities, and learning more about computer animation will expand your knowledge.

Through lectures and other meetings, learning more will help you network with top-notch animators in the film and game design industries. Once you have completed your education, you can apply for jobs. Who knows? You may even land your dream job.

Below is a chart with different companies and what their average salaries are:  

In The US$54,743N/A$80,311
Electronic Arts$80,814N/AN/A

Most companies start with a base salary, adding insurance as part of the package. Pixar gives you a good deal, as there are bonuses and stock options. The other options in the chart did not provide as much information; however, as you can see, it pays to be an animator!


You may not need a degree in graphic design to be an animator, but any degree related to the field will surely catch the eye of a potential employer. The key to being a successful animator is to have a good work ethic and get a quality education.