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You can do this: Animator

Hao Chen, 31, on why he loves getting paid to draw

Hao Chen started a small digital studio, LineTest, after doing animation for Barbie and Max Steel


Hao Chen started a small digital studio, LineTest, after doing animation for Barbie and Max Steel

Why I like my job
I grew into an art family; ever since I was young, I was drawing. I went to Emily Carr here in Vancouver. I got into the animation program and did the full three years and got my BA there.

Ever since, I’ve worked in the industry. I started with bigger studios, working on Barbie and Max Steel, and did post-production on some Hollywood films. Then I went back to school, for entertainment design in Los Angeles, and after a year I decided it was time to start my own thing.

I freelanced for a while, then my business partner and I started our company, LineTest. We focus on advertisements, TV commercials, online campaigns, digital signage and mobile apps. We’re a small studio, but we work with pretty big clients.

My job is to convey clients’ ideas and campaigns to the artists in our studio. I also take care of the business side of LineTest. For me, it’s about the people, whether it’s meeting with clients and helping them with their vision, or working with artists. I learn a lot from other people, and I get inspired by new ideas that can only be created when a collective is brought together.

— Hao Chen, 31, Creative Director, Vancouver, B.C.

How to start
A Bachelor of Animation or a diploma in Computer Animation is a typical starting point for a professional animator.

Where you can go
Job titles and responsibilities for animators are diverse. Animators may work in feature film or television, on video games or in web design. They might become illustrators for medical textbooks or they could go on to become animation producers or creative directors in marketing firms. Depending on their strengths and interests, freelance animators often perform a mix of artistic duties.

Next career step
If they haven’t studied it already, animators may want to explore post-grad studies in 3D Animation, or a certificate in Digital Animation or Digital Art Production. Artists working for marketing firms may choose to explore that field to accelerate career potential. metro

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