Animation industry and career resources

Animation Tools and Software for Digital Artists

In animation’s early days, artists used pencil, paint, and paper. Today, the growing use of digital tools opens up new and exciting opportunities for artists.

Digital artists seeking to enter the global animation industry, valued at $264 billion as of 2019, have many career options. Creative disciplines in the field include film, virtual reality, animated character design, game design, and education.

An animator sits at a desk in front of a laptop using a stylus to draw

Digital artists can also work in many types of animation, including 2D and 3D animation, motion graphics, and stop motion. This guide explores the top animation tools and software, discusses animation history and its impact on society, and introduces the steps to becoming an animator.

Below are a few examples of resources for digital artists seeking more information about the animation industry and careers.

Animation industry and career resources:

  • AnimationThis interdisciplinary, international, peer-reviewed journal focuses on scholarly animation research.
  • Animation World NetworkThis resource brings together information about the animation field, covering areas such as film distribution, commercial studio activities, licensing, and animation technologies.
  • Animation Magazine. With an online and print version, this resource discusses technology, business, art, and other topics of interest to individuals in the animation industry.
  • S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individuals looking for comprehensive insights about the responsibilities, salaries, and job outlook for animators can turn to this trusted resource.
  • Houston Chronicle. This resource provides animation career information, such as duties and education requirements.
  • VaultThis resource offers insights about animation careers, including details about what an animation career looks like.

Top 21 Animation Tools

Animation is the process of transforming still images into moving images. When still images are displayed rapidly on media, such as film or video, they create the illusion of motion.

Animators are digital artists with competencies that include conceptual design, drawing, creative development, and curiosity. They also use animation tools and software. The following list offers a glimpse of the tools animators use:

  1. Maya (Autodesk)This commercial software provides digital artists with a comprehensive platform and an extensive feature set, including modeling, simulation, and rendering, to create 3D computer animations.
  2. 3ds Max (Autodesk)This commercial animation software tool allows digital artists to produce 3D animations, including developing models and rendering them into 2D or 3D images.
  3. After Effects (Adobe)Digital artists can use this commercial tool to add visual effects and motion graphics elements to film, TV, video, online content, presentations, and more.
  4. Animate (Adobe)Users can create animations across multiple media, from cartoons and banner ads to interactive content for games, TV shows, academic content, and infographics.
  5. Blender (The Blender Foundation)This free open source 3D graphics creation suite offers a comprehensive feature set to create animations, digital art, visual effects, 2D and 3D models, and more.
  6. Cartoon Animator 4 (Reallusion)Digital artists across TV, film, web, and game development using this versatile animation tool can create 2D animation with 3D motion.
  7. Character Animator (Adobe)Digital artists can use their own movements and expressions to create animated characters in real time.
  8. Dragonframe (DZED Systems)The advanced image capture interface of this tool is popular among digital artists in the movie industry for stop motion animation, motion design, and visual effects.
  9. FlipBook (DigiCel)Whether drawing with a stylus and tablet or using pen and paper, this animation software offers digital artists intuitive tools to create 2D animations.
  10. Moho Pro 13 (Smith Micro)Formerly known as Anime Studio, this vector-based 2D animation software gives digital artists various tools to create animations and cartoons, including 2D and 3D characters.
  11. Moovly (Moovly)The novice and expert can use this cloud-based software to create animated videos and videos with animated graphics for various applications, including marketing and training.
  12. OpenToonz (Digital Video SpA)This software tool allows digital artists to create 2D animations. As open source software, it’s free to use, anyone can modify its source code, and it’s frequently updated.
  13. Pencil2DFor digital designers interested in using traditional drawing techniques, this open source software allows users to create 2D cartoons using both bitmap and vector graphics.
  14. PhotoMirage (Corel). Corel, the developer of the world’s first full-featured graphics suite, continues to build innovative tools. For example, PhotoMirage is an animation tool that enables users to combine still images with motion graphics.
  15. PiskelThis free online editor allows digital artists to create animations reminiscent of the pixel art in video games created in the 1980s.
  16. Powtoon (Powtoon).This cloud-based animation software for digital artists and amateurs alike in business, education, and other sectors allows users to create animated explainer videos, demos, and presentations.
  17. Spine (Esoteric Software). For digital artists interested in gaming, this software offers users the tools to create 2D animation for games, as well as 3D effects.
  18. Stop Motion Studio (Cateater)This software provides an intuitive interface. Its features include frame-by-frame editing to allow digital artists of all ages to create stop motion movies using a desktop or phone app.
  19. Synfig StudioOpen source software such as Synfig Studio provides users with a host of features to create 2D vector-based animations, and it’s free to use.
  20. Harmony 20 (Toon Boom)This popular 2D software tool includes end-to-end features to enable digital artists to create animations, from conception to final production.
  21. TVPaint Animation (TVPaint Development). For animators who may want to draw on paper, this 2D software, based on bitmap technology, allows artists to create animations using traditional and digital methods.

Popular Animated Movies

Modern animation plays a key role in entertainment, especially in the cinema. What makes great animation? It’s in the eye of the beholder; everyone has different opinions on a favorite animated film. However, as with any great film, an animated movie achieves a balance and harmony. It combines artistry, colors, content, movement, timing, music, and more to transport viewers into the film and its emotions.

Here’s a list of recent popular animated movies that advanced the development of modern animation technologies and creative processes.

  • Toy Story.The story about a boy’s favorite doll (cowboy) that feels threatened by a new spaceman toy in this 1994 animated film has become a franchise. What makes this animation stand out is that it was the first full-length computer-animated feature film created by Pixar Animation Studios, which pioneered the use of computer-generated images (CGI) in film. There are four “Toy Story” movies.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas.Confusion stirs in this 1993 animated film as a ghoulish king tries to bring Christmas to his home: Halloween Town. This film offers an example of stop motion animation, in which every frame was staged and every shot was storyboarded. The film took three years to produce and, at its peak, had up to 17 animators to put it together.
  • Spirited Away.In this 2001 animated film, a 10-year-old girl who recently moved to the suburbs finds herself in a world where gods, spirits, and witches are in control. This film was created in the anime style, known for the vibrant colors and dramatic facial expressions typical in Japanese-style animation. Anime is a type of niche animation typically created for adult audiences. “Spirited Away” broke away from that tradition, as it was written for children. Its impact opened doors for current popular anime TV cartoon series in the United States, such as Dragon Ball Z.”
  • The Lego Movie.The beloved plastic construction toys come to life in this 2014 animated film in which a Lego construction worker fulfills his calling to stop an evil villain. Lego toys had been a favorite of children for many years, but the brand’s popularity had been in decline. This movie offers an example of how marketers can use animation to reignite a brand’s popularity.
  • The Lion King.The future king of the jungle becomes the target of his father’s rival, who also happens to be his uncle. He ultimately grows up and finds his proper place in the world. While previous Disney films were largely based on existing stories, “The Lion King” was the company’s first animated feature to be an original story. Another distinction of this animated feature is that its story has successfully crossed over to another medium: musical theater. It’s the third-longest running Broadway show in history.


Students are constantly curious and search for creative opportunities in the entertainment industry, not only to make their lives easier but also quench their never ending thirst for Creative art. So lets get started with the top frequently asked questions of 2022 -2023.
Do animators get paid well?

The average salary for an animator in the United States is $76,853. Animator salaries typically range between $52,000 and $112,000 a year. The average hourly rate for animators is $36.95 per hour. Location, education, and experience impacts how much an animator can expect to make.

What is the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

Both Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality add the ability to change our perception of looking
at the world. Virtual reality is a complete immersion experience where users are completely
transported into real world and imaginary environments. Augmented Reality on the other hand,adds digital elements to the current reality by using a smartphone camera.

How much can I earn in Animator?

The average animator salary in India is ₹ 375,000 per year or ₹ 150 per hour. Entry-level positions start at ₹ 300,000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to ₹ 1,040,000 per year.

Is animation a good career?

A single animation film requires as many as 500 animators, which means huge employment opportunities. Animation is one of the concrete, lucrative and demanding career options which serves both entertainment and education (e-learning) industries alike.

What is the salary of 3D animator in India?

3D Animator salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.1 Lakhs to ₹ 7.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4.0 Lakhs.

How much a VFX artist earn in India?

VFX Artist salary in India ranges between ₹ 4 Lakhs to ₹ 6.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 4 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 497 latest salaries received from VFX Artists.

What is the salary of 2D animator in India?

2D Animator salary in India ranges between ₹ 1.0 Lakhs to ₹ 6.0 Lakhs with an average annual salary of ₹ 3.0 Lakhs. Salary estimates are based on 819 latest salaries received from 2D Animators.

Is animator a permanent job?

You may be considering pursuing a career in animation, but you find yourself asking, “Is being an animator a stable career?” The short answer to this question is yes!

Which is best VFX or animation?

VFX creators do not have to learn 2D and 3D animation. Both these skills are different and one can respectively apply for separate courses. Animators need to use equipment and computer software to create animated creations. Whereas, VFX artists are recommended to use chroma keying software techniques

Who is No 1 VFX artist in India?

Prime Focus Ltd. Prime Focus Ltd is a leading VFX company based in India that has been providing high-quality visual effects for films, television shows, and other forms of media for over two decades.

Can you do animation on an iPhone?

How can i learn game design?

You can fill in the enquiry form and attend a free career counselling that we arrange for you. Our career counsellor will guide you about game design course curriculum and enrolment process at MAAC.

What is the eligibility criteria to join International Program in visual arts & design course?

The eligibility criteria to join International Program in Visual Arts and Design course at MAAC is class 12th pass

What is the qualification required to become a professional game designer?

Pursuing a certificate course in game design is one of the basic qualifications required to become a professional game designer. Join Program in Game Design & Integration at MAAC to make a career in gaming.

Will i get intership opportunity during the course?

You will get to attend workshops and seminars during the course. After the course, you will be
assisted by MAAC’s placement cell to connect with recruiters and appear for job interviews.

What are the best 3D Animation courses for beginners?

There are several 3D Animation courses available for beginners. You can join any 3D Animation course at MAAC after completing class 12. Visit Our MAAC  Velachery Centre for a free career counselling on the best 3D Animation courses for beginners.

What are the steps to create an animation?

Numerous steps are involved in creating animation. Concept, story boarding, texturing, rigging, and lighting are some of the major steps involved in creating animation.

How long does it take to make 3D Animation?

Numerous steps are involved in creating animation. Concept, story boarding, texturing, rigging, and lighting are some of the major steps involved in creating animation.

Can I join animation courses at MAAC after completing class 10?

No, the minimum eligibility criteria to join animation courses at MAAC Velachery is class 12th pass.

Are there any short term animation courses at MAAC?

Yes, MAAC offers a short term animation course that covers topics like animation foundation, character animation, basic performance animation, and advanced performance animation. The short term animation course can be completed within 8 months.

What is the fees for International Program in visual arts & design course?

Course fee at MAAC varies depending on course type and course duration. To know the exact International Program in Visual Arts and Design course fee at MAAC, contact your nearest MAAC centre.

Will i get a certificate after completing my course?

Yes. You will get a certificate after successfully completing your course from MAAC Velachery.

What are the game design jobs available in the Market?

Different gaming job profiles available after doing a gaming course are Game Tester, 3D Asset Artist, and 3D Game Designer, to name a few.

What is the duration of game design course?

Duration of any course at MAAC varies upon course type. To know the exact duration of game design course at MAAC, enquire at your nearest Centre.

What are the gaming software taught in MAAC?

e taught in MAAC?
Some of the major gaming software that students of MAAC get to learn are Unity 3D and UNREAL ENGINE.

How can i become a game design artist after class 12th?

MAAC offers game design courses to those who have completed class 12th. If you have completed class 12th and have a passion for gaming, you can join MAAC and make a career as a game design artist after class 12th.

What are the steps to create an animation?

Numerous steps are involved in creating animation. Concept, story boarding, texturing, rigging, and lighting are some of the major steps involved in creating animation.

Can i pay MAAC course fees in installment?

You can visit your MAAC Velachery to enquire about available fee payment options and
installment facilities. MAAC offers easy payments/flexi payment facilities.

What is the duration of Augmented and Virtual Reality courses?

There are two courses offered under Augmented and Virtual Reality program at MAAC, i.e.,
ADIDG and PID. Duration of ADIDG program is 576 hours and duration of PID program is
288 hours.

Will MAAC provide me with placement after completing AR and VR courses?

MAAC has a dedicated placement cell that assist students that provides training in latest
skills and career development training and prepare students to appear for job interviews.

Where will i get the best Augmented Reality traning in Chennai?

There are institutes in and around Chennai that offers Augmented Reality training. MAAC Velachery is the best institutes offering augmented and virtual reality courses in Chennai.


How to develop your portfolio?

This article is aimed towards beginners but existing professionals can find these tips useful too.

Show reel has been a topic of discussion for a long time. People struggle to put their work together for that presentation, which will help them to get an interview call. I look at an interview process as the result of Preparation, Compilation and Presentation.


When it comes to preparation, the prospective employee must be thoroughly prepared. Pitching in studios with a common show reel is not a good idea; the showreel must be studio specific;. A few things that you should find out about a studio before compiling your Final works:

  • What is their portfolio?
  • What they are looking for?
  • How do they expect to see the work (which format)?
  • If possible, a reference in the studio.

Most of this information is already available on a studio’s website.


Compilation is all about the selection. What to display and what not to display!. A good research about a studio’s past and present works would give you a fair idea about creating your showreel. No substandard work must be added. In case you are doubtful about any such work then try to improve it or else remove it.


This part of the process is all about presenting what you have, right from the CD covers to the content inside. The layout, color scheme and the music in the reel must complement each other.

All the three parts of the process are equally important and none should be ignored.

Guidelines for further approach.

Cover Letter:

  • It is always good to add a short and precise covering letter.
  • Always mention the department you are applying for, ensuring that your reel is assessed by the right person.
  • If you were referred by someone, definitely mention it.
  • Include a few references.
  • There is a great quote: “When your work speaks for itself, there’s no need to interrupt”. Do not over-write. It sets high expectations and makes the interviewer more critical in his judgment.
  • Check your spelling, grammar, punctuation and typos. Mistakes in your writing will suggest that you don’t revise.


  • Avoid irrelevant experience; it just lengthens the CV.
  • Mention hobbies related to the nature of your work. It adds to the interest level. For example, animators involved in acting would be highly appreciated.
  • If looking forward to a head position do mention it in your CV but do not over-state.

Demo Reel:

  • A website is a quick and acceptable way of showcasing your work to your prospective employer these days. Most companies clearly mention how they want the show reels to reach them on their website.
  • Many portfolios are accessible on web these days. Watch as many as possible. Study them (layouts, presentation style, music and visuals in sync, speed of the reel etc) and come up with your own style of presentation.
  • Put your best works first. Due to the volume of reels received for review, if the first few seconds of a reel are not interesting then the rest is examined in fast-forward mode and examiners might miss your best piece.
  • Don’t repeat any work. It gives the feeling that you do not have sufficient work to display.
  • Keep it short! Three minutes is the general target length.
  • Have simple and short introductions. Get to the main part of your reel as soon as possible.
  • DO NOT PUT OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK ON YOUR REEL! If at all there is some reference data, give credit to the creator of the work. This adds value and authenticity to your approach.
  • Don’t send inappropriate work. A studio that works on realistic art works might not show much interest in stylized works.
  • Label your CD/DVD clearly. Put your contact information on the body of the CD/DVD. This makes it easier to locate CD/DVDs in case they separate from the resumes.Drawing and sketches could help to showcase your traditional skills. But only the best must be included or else it will backfire.
  • Animators should have acting in their animation movie clips. Try to animate emotions. Present different styles (classical, semi-realistic, stop motion or realistic) in order to show your command over the skill. There are various animation film making courses available in Indiato enhance your animation skills. You can definitely go for these courses if you want to make your career in animation film making.
  • Don’t mention the abilities that you don’t want to be discussing.
  • Unreleased work should be on the reel by consent of the employer. The same should be conveyed to the interviewer to avoid mishandling.
  • Choose your background music wisely. Music and visuals should be in sync.
  • Include some personal work on your reel. It helps to understand what you can do on your own as well as what you can do as part of a team or when being directed.


  • Research about the company before appearing for the interview. Most likely you will be asked why you want to join the organization. Your answer must be as natural as possible, as further questions would depend on it. Be true of what you say and try to add value to the answer.
  • Be on time. Remember, first impression is the lasting impression.
  • Dress appropriately. It is ok to be better dressed then the interviewer; he is already in job and you are looking for one.
  • Try to reflect a positive attitude and share all your positive qualities complimented with examples. If you want to mention that you are a great Team Player, then do support it with instances.
  • Keep extra copies of your resume. Your previous resume or reel might not be handy with the interviewer.
  • Never speak negative about any colleague or employer; it’s a negative approach. If at all you happen to mention something, put it in a subtle manner.

Follow up:

Keep in mind that it often takes a while before a demo reels gets reviewed. If you haven’t heard anything for 2 weeks or so, it is okay to call and make sure your submission was received. But don’t be a pest. After an interview, it is always a good idea to send a (genuine) follow up letter thanking your prospective employer for taking the time to meet you. But do not contact the company repeatedly. If you don’t get hired and you really want to work at a particular company, resubmit your materials in 6 months or so. Studio’s needs and criteria change all the time. Your skills/style might not have been appropriate for last year’s project, but they might be right for the new one.


The animation industry wouldn't be the same without them:

Hollywood has long been ruled by the studio system. The studio system includes a selected number of ‘major’ studios who engage in film production & distribution. They release a substantial number of films every year & earn a major share of box office revenues.

With significant changes marking the turning points in Hollywood, the frontrunners become the ‘big’ studios. The current ‘Big Six’ came into being from 1990 to 1995, when Hollywood became more of a conglomerate than a mere film production & distribution unit.

The ‘Big Six’ collectively command approximately 80 – 85 percent of US & Canadian box office revenue. These ‘Big Six’ are: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures & Walt Disney Pictures. Of these, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Paramount Pictures were part of the original ‘Big Five’ who operated during the Golden Age of Hollywood (late 1920s to mid-1940s). The other three –Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures & Walt Disney Pictures earned the market share much later.

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures stands at the forefront of the entertainment industry. In 2013, Warner Bros. ruled the movie world with a market share of $5.03 billion globally*. Some of the biggest releases of the studio this year include The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Gravity, and Man of Steel. They also set a new record as the only studio to exceed $1B for 13 years running*. A few other titles that made Warner Bros. the # 1 name in the film industry include the Harry Potter series, the Superman series, The Matrix series & Star Wars.

20th Century Fox is the world’s second largest film studio after Warner Bros. The studio has distributed various commercially successful films, including Avatar, Ice Age, X-Men, Die Hard, Planet of the Apes, Night at the Museum, and Fantastic Four, securing them their position as one of the Big Six studios of Hollywood. Though, some of these sites were shared on movie streaming sites. But still they managed to reach the $1 billion mark in gross domestic revenue in 2014#, and with enormous earnings by the end of the year, the studio’s stunning turnaround easily surpass its previous records.

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures is the longest operating major studio in Hollywood. It has a century of experience in finest production services from development of story idea to post production. In 2014, Paramount Pictures became the first major Hollywood studio to distribute all its films in digital-form only.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures or Universal Studios is best known for three of Steven Spielberg’s biggest hits – Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park, each of which became the highest-grossing film ever at the time of its release. The massive backlot of the Universal Studios is used by other film studios including Walt Disney. Parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and the recreation of Whitecap Bay for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides were both shot at Universal Studios backlot

Sony Pictures Entertainment (earlier known as Columbia-Tristar Pictures)

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) operates Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Classics, and TriStar Pictures. The studio enjoyed its best year in terms of box-office grosses in 2012, with its films collecting US$ 4.4 billion in ticket sales. SPE has produced, distributed, or co-distributed successful film series including Spider-Man, Men in Black, Underworld, and Resident Evil.

Walt Disney Studios

The Walt Disney Studio’s multi-faceted film division produced some groundbreaking films, such as Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated movie, and Pinocchio, a film with intricate levels of technical brilliance in animation, that made the studio stand apart. Over the decades, Disney Studio introduced numerous technologies in animation & live action films. Disney’s Steamboat Willie was the first animated film to have synchronized sound & image, Flowers and Trees was the first in the genre with three-strip Technicolor, and Fantasia was the first film to use a multi-channel sound system called Fantasound.

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web designer

benefits of becoming a web designer

Web designing is a career choice that many creative people are considering today. It is one of the most in-demand jobs today because in recent times everything depends upon technology, the internet, websites, and mobile applications. And it is the responsibility of a web designer to design a professional, user-friendly, and attractive website for the audience. Here are some of the perks that one can enjoy being a web designer:

1. Be independent: By being a web designer one can be his own boss and work independently. A web designer need not stay confined within the four walls of an office. He can work as a freelancer and undertake multiple projects of multiple brands. This gives him the opportunity to stay at home and work independently. He can hire a few subordinates, assign them tasks and then work as a design lead in spite of being a full-time employee of any organisation.

2. Work in a booming web industry: With digitisation, the web industry is booming like never before. From purchasing medicines to buying jewellery, everything happens with a single click on a website. A surge in demand for websites has led to a surge in demand for web designers. Every brand wants to have a strong online presence. And, a well-crafted website can only make it possible. The booming web industry calls for high-end jobs and as a web designer one can find it much easier to get an opportunity in this industry.

3. Benefit from flexible work timings: The job of a web designer is not confined within the 9-5 schedule. Many web designers work as freelancers, which give them the opportunity to choose their own projects and work as per their preferred timings. They are free to allocate different work hours for different projects. Flexible work timings also allow a web designer to pursue some other activities like doing a course, attending a seminar etc.

4. Work on advanced technologies: Working on websites involve working on the latest software. Therefore, if one is a tech enthusiast and wants to explore new technologies, then the profession of a web designer is an ideal choice for him. As a web designer, one also gets the opportunity to hone his existing technical skills and learn new things like web development and mobile app designing.

5. Build a brand reputation: One of the primary responsibilities of a web designer is to create a flawless website that will boost the brand’s reputation as well as awareness. By being a web designer, one not only builds the reputation of other brands but also promotes his personal brand or company. Working on multiple projects gives a web designer an excellent opportunity to build a strong portfolio.

6. Keep enhancing creative skills: The job of a web designer helps one expand his creative skills. Enhancing creative skills gives a web designer to work on various projects of various industries and earn a competitive salary. This career demands constant innovation as new requirement comes up with every new project. Therefore, a web designer is expected to learn new things, expand his creative ideas and implement them differently for different projects of different industries.

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