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Behind the studio set of Engie Benjy

Jobs in Stop Motion Animation

The animation industry in the UK has a great tradition of Stop Frame, or Stop Motion (also known as Model, Puppet or Clay Animation) animation. Studios like Aardman, Hot Animation and Cosgrove Hall, and shows such as Wallace & Gromit, Engie Benjy, and Bob The Builder are indicative of the expertise the UK has in this area.

As the most potentially time consuming form of animation, stop motion requires enormous amounts of patience and dedication and there are a huge variety of tasks and activities that go into making a piece of stop motion animation. This is reflected in the wide range of job roles available.

The Development stage broadly involves the conceiving and identifying of ideas and designing initial concepts. Pitching the product and securing funding and intellectual property rights are also important at this stage.

The Development stage very much requires a strong understanding of the target market and any commercial constraints, opportunities and competition it presents.

Jobs in Development:

Director Producer

Pre Production
In broad generalised terms, the Pre Production stage involves fleshing out the idea to make it ready for production, typically involving writing the script, drawing the storyboard, designing character turnarounds, designing sets and creating an animatic or storyboard reel.

Jobs in Pre Production:

Production DesignerStoryboard Supervisor
DesignerStoryboard Artist
Head of Art DepartmentStoryboard Assistant *
Art Director
Character Designer
Set Designer
Prop Designer
Design Assistants

The Production phase in Stop Frame animation involves building the sets and puppets or models, creating armatures and rigging the models so that the animators can move them, dressing the sets and setting up cameras and lights and also operating the cameras to capture the animators adjustments.

Production can also include the use of CGI (3D Computer Animation) to simulate action that is impossible through the use of models. Different studios will handle this differently, either using an in house department or outsourcing this work to a Facility House or Post Production company.

Jobs in Production:

Assistant Director (several grades)Animation Director
 Key Animator
Head of Model MakingSenior Animator
Model Making Team LeaderAnimator
Model Maker/Puppet Maker2Assistant Animator
Junior Model Maker / Assistant Model Maker *Junior Assistant Animator *
Model Making Trainee *Trainee Assistant Animator *
Costume Making Assistant * 
Model Maintenance PersonStills Photographer
Director of PhotographyStudio Runner *
Lighting Camera 
Assistant L.C./CameraProduction Technology Team
Camera Assistant * 
Motion Control OperatorProduction Secretary
 Production Assistant
Studio Director 
Floor ManagerCG Animation Director
GafferCG Lead Modeller
ElectricianCG Modeller
 CG Lead Rigger
Construction ManagerCG Rigger
Set Builder3CG Textures & Painter
Set Building Assistant *CG Lead Animator
Prop Maker (can be combined with Set Builder)CG Animator
Prop Making Assistant *CG Lead Lighter
Scenic ArtistLighting TD / CG Lighter (several levels)
Set Maintenance PersonData Manager
Set DresserCG Renderer

Post Production 

Post Production involves collating assets e.g. filmed footage and digital files, into the finished film. It includes editing, scoring the music, quality checking and outputting the final product into the required formats.

Jobs in Post-Production

EditorCG Compositor FX
Editing Assistant

* entry level with appropriate qualifications

2  covering various specialists: Sculptor, Welder, Metal Worker, Foamer,Texture & Painter, Mould Maker, Caster, Trim and Seam (Fettler), Armature Maker, Painter, Finisher, Costume Maker.

3  This may break down into specialized jobs, or be the work of a team which does everything. May be part of the model making department on a smaller production.

Animation Glossary

NCCA -T Edwards image

This is a short selection of words and phrases commonly used in UK Animation.

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Suggested Reading

Planning a career in animation? You may find some of the books listed here useful.

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