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What is an Animation Director?

Sonal Panse
Sonal Panse

An animation director oversees the technical production aspects of the animation process in animated films and segments. This is a different work category from that of the director of the animated film. The director is responsible for the entire production of the project, the animation director is responsible for only for the animation.

Together with the art director, the director of animation develops the artistic sections according to the storyline. Animation directors are responsible for character design, character animation, actions and sequences. They must have an excellent understanding of animation principles, mechanics, movement, style and continuity. It helps to have superlative drawing skills.

Animation directors are responsible for character design and animation on a film or television show.
Animation directors are responsible for character design and animation on a film or television show.

The director of animation must also be able to infuse the animated characters with just the right amount of psychological depth that will appeal to audiences. He or she must be experienced in a broad range of motion and animation technologies. Directors of animation usually has several years of work experience as animators.

As far as an educational qualifications are concerned, animation directors may have an animation degree, a fine art degree or a computer science degree. Aside from solid drawing skills, animation experience and relevant educational qualifications, this job requires people with excellent management and organizational skills. Communication skills are also essential for people in this position.

Working on an animation project involves interaction with a lot of different creative personalities. Animation directors must have the talent and tact to deal with everyone effectively. It helps to know when to be a leader and when to be a mentor.

The animation director must be able to clearly express his or her ideas and discuss animation options during meetings with the senior creative team. They must be able to convey project briefs from the director, the art director and the production department to the animation team. It is the director or animation who interviews and hires animators for the animation team.

He or she assigns work to animators according to skills and abilities. Apart from giving work instructions, the animation director job is concerned with supervising the work process on a day to day basis. Animation directors may also offer guidance to new or less experienced animators.

Discussion Comments


More traditional animation is experiencing a comeback I think. The box office takings of Tangled were particularly good, so I think that had a positive effect.

I mean, it is still done with CGI but that movie had more of a traditional animated feel, rather than the Pixar films which are edging more toward trying to look like three dimensional objects.

The director of animation in Tangled did an excellent job with the characters as well, and I even thought the story was pretty good. I hope we get more animations like this, as it was almost to the level of the classics of Disney's heyday.


This sounds like a fascinating job, although it sounds to me like a combination of a producer and a director, even if it is just focused on the animation.

Animating a film is so difficult, there are so many things to take into account that you might take for granted if you were just filming live action.

Admittedly that means there is also a larger scope for fantasy. An explosion might cost just as much, no more, no less, than a scene on a bridge for example.

I'm glad animation, even if it is CGI animation, is experiencing a comeback.

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    • Animation directors are responsible for character design and animation on a film or television show.
      By: eyewave
      Animation directors are responsible for character design and animation on a film or television show.