2D DRAWN LAYOUT ARTIST

DEPARTMENTS
2D COMPUTER ANIMATION

OVERVIEW
Preparing elements for animation, including posing characters, putting together the necessary visual and audio elements, and setting up preliminary camera movements.

For this role, you will need to:

  • Have a methodical way of working
  • Have an appreciation for accuracy and pay close attention to detail
  • Have good working knowledge of relevant graphics, animation and compositing software including Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and/or Cel Action and After Effects
  • Have a good understanding of the principles of animation and the various stages of production
  • Possess a good sense of composition, continuity, timing and camera mechanics
  • Be able to take direction and be willing to address constructive feedback
  • Have good communication skills, particularly with regard to collaborating with colleagues and other departments
  • Be able to manage relevant aspects of production
  • Be able to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Be able to deliver on schedule, working calmly and effectively under pressure
  • Have respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio or production
  • Have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

WHAT DOES A LAYOUT ARTIST DO?

Layout Artists/Scene Planners pose (position) characters, put together the necessary visual and audio elements, and set up preliminary camera movements which may be adjusted later by the Animators.
2D computer animation is used for multiple purposes, from mobile phones and web animations to long-format television shows.

The Layout Artist, more often employed on larger productions, ensures that all necessary levels are provided and that all elements are correctly named. They may undertake certain technical tasks prior to animation, such as setting opacities for shadows or programming mattes and special effects, when required.

Layouts are recorded, cut in to the storyboard or leica reel and, once approved, the scene is passed on to an Animator.

Some studios expect their Layout Artists/Scene Planners to assemble all the necessary information that the Animators will need but to give only the start position for the animated action. In this case, Animators will be given a verbal description of the scene or will develop the action described in the storyboard.

Will I need a qualification?

To be a Layout Artist/Scene Planner, it will stand you in good stead to have an animation, film or art degree. Experience will be great value to you in gaining a position in this role. It is necessary to provide a showreel that demonstrates your talent and the relevant professional skills; some studios may also want to see a portfolio. Personal work demonstrating an understanding of filmmaking can be a useful addition to your showreel.

Training in 2D drawn animation is a great asset. Knowledge of both drawing and film structure can be an advantage to you, but they are not always essential.

WHAT’S THE BEST ROUTE IN?

There is no typical career route for you to follow to become a Layout Artist in 2D computer animation. It’s rarely an entry-level role and different studios may look for different experience.

You could gain all the appropriate skills by being an animator, 2D drawn effects animator, storyboard artist or an illustrator with experience in comic strips or graphic novels.

RELATED JOB ROLES

COMPOSITOR
Compositors construct the final image by combining layers of previously created material, including computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action and static background plates.

ANIMATION DIRECTOR
Have overall responsibility for the quality of an animated product.

2D COMPUTER ANIMATOR 
Animators animate scenes, including plotting the camera moves and charting the information on dope sheets.

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