A 2D animator is an artist who crafts a two-dimensional piece of animation, drawn frame by frame either by hand or with the aid of a computer. Classic animation is all entirely done by 2D animators, and is entirely different than the computer-generated images of 3D animation and photographed stop motion. A good freelance 2D animator makes drawings come to life.
What to look for
When hiring a freelance 2D animator, there are a few aspects of his or her demo reel which you should note:
What is the overall artistic skill of the animator? Look for intentionality in your potential hire’s piece. If the animation is highly stylistic, does it still follow its own rules? (In other words, is anything other than realism done on purpose?)
How well does the artist animate motion? Movement is the key to animation, and your freelance 2D animator needs to make it look flawless. This will be easy to spot, since many animators submit their best motion pieces first in their demo reels.
How well does the artist simulate camera movement? When the camera angle changes in 2D animation, the entire scene is redrawn with infinitesimally small changes. If their “camera movements” don’t look smooth and flawless, you may want to consider hiring someone else.
Know what you need
A freelance 2D animator does not work in a vacuum. During the interview process, ask your potential hire what they need and what ideas they may have to execute the project. Learn what style of animation your freelance 2D Animator wants to use and what they’ll need to make this happen.
Another important aspect of animation is syncing the movements of the animation with the sound that accompanies the piece. Whether the sound comes from dialogue, sound effects, or musical accompaniment, ask your potential hire about their ideas for blending their work with the required sound.
A third need 2D animators may have is access to technology. Some freelance 2D animators simply offer their artistic services and use their employer’s hardware, having only a laptop at most, but some have their own cameras and equipment to facilitate their animation.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
“How many productions have you been a part of?”
Drawing good sketches and producing an entire animated piece are completely different. Ask this question to determine your freelance 2D animator’s level of experience.
“What is the biggest artistic challenge you face?”
Knowing your potential hire’s strengths and weaknesses may help you determine if he or she is the right fit for your project.
“Why does your style match the needs of this project better than any other animator’s?”
You should look for a candidate that will confidently assume a certain style and pour themselves into that artistic direction.
“Have you ever had a conflict with the director of a project?”
Artists like to do things their way, and if they are given critical feedback, you need to know they will be team players.
“What hours do you typically keep?”
Freelance 2D animators sometimes do not have the luxury of working regular hours—their work revolves around the finished product. Make sure your potential hire doesn’t expect to work 5 hours a week on your project.