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Animation Crew Cheat Sheet

A handy cheat sheet for (some of) the crew in the animation industry, so you know who to hire for your next stop motion animation production.

Animator - They have a really good, technical understanding on how things move in the real world and are capable of replicating it, breaking it down to small increments. They are the ones who actually move puppets or objects around on set. 

Art director - They are responsible for the visual style of the animation. They make decisions on characters, props and environments and how all these things will come together in the final product. They create mood boards, colour palettes and lead the artistic side of the project. 

Character designer - Incredibly talented and creative people who dream up our beloved characters from thin air. They work on the director’s notes, do a fair bit of research and provide the digital version of the puppet. 

Director - The one with the creative vision for a stop motion animation. They come up with the style of the animation, the mood and the overall look and feel. They work closely with the whole production team and also have a crucial role in post production, once all the material have been shot. 

D.O.P - The other half of the vision, they are responsible for figuring out how to create a certain look through lighting, framing, camera movement and determine the necessary crew and kit to achieve it. On smaller shoots, they can also shoot. 

Editor - A mammoth task in the production of a stop motion. The editor follows the director’s vision and basically does magic using a wide range of editing softwares. At this stage there might be a colorist on board or a VFX artist, who does certain part of the animation, but then it’s down to the editor to bring it all together. 

Gaffer - The lighting person. The gaffer works hand in hand with the D.O.P to bring the overall feel of the animation to life. They receive prompts from the director regarding the desired lighting, and then it’s the gaffer’s responsibility to source the necessary crew and equipment. 

Producer - The masterminds behind a stop motion project. Producers usually have overall responsibility for an animation production. They organise the whole crew and all other departments to ensure a project is delivered on time and within budget. 

Puppet maker - Skilful craft people who will make the physical puppet, based on the design of the character designers. Puppets can be made out of felt, silicone, resin, clay or a whole host of other materials. They often have a metal armature inside of them so the animator can move them freely. 

Sound designer - A very important element of the final animation, as it affects another human sense, after seeing the animation, they can also hear it. It can span across adding little sound effects, making custom foley or providing original music that compliments the animation. 

Storyboard artist - They translate the script and the director’s vision into scripts. The storyboard is a useful tool to figure out in advance what, how and when things will happen in the stop motion. A big plus with end clients, who might not be creatives themselves but seeing the storyboard they gain a better understanding of the end result. 

Voice over artist - A professionally trained voice over actor. It is usually the final piece in a commercial, however, there is a mock up VO throughout production that helps with timing and the feel of the animation. They usually record the script, provided by the writer, in their home studio and then send over the audio to the editors. 

Writer - They can either kick start a whole series or come on board just to write the copy for the VO, it really depends on the size and nature of a project. 


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