A freelance text animator is tasked with using computer graphics to make words, numbers or symbols move across the screen in a captivating and interesting way. Typically, this is done when there are several topics or concepts that need to be covered through words (e.g., labeling different scenes or giving background information about the film.) The techniques are very similar to 3D visual effects and 2D image filters, both of which can alter the look and feel of a scene tremendously.
What to look for
How much computer graphics experience do they have?
You’re going to want someone who has worked with different kinds of computers and programs before you hire a freelance text animator. You can make the choice much easier once you know their style and skill range.
What kind of text do they animate?
Animating the scrolling follow-up explanation to a movie is not the same as making words or symbols dance around the screen. You should be able to see from their samples what their creativity has brought to highlighting the words on film.
How are they keeping up with their skills?
Because technology changes so quickly, look for someone who has made education their priority.
Know what you need
Do you already have the words available and the style choice picked out?
The more you know what you need, the less input you need from the person. If you don’t have either of these things, look for someone with plenty of experience and creativity.
Are these your main effects?
Some text is basic, while some (like the Star Wars opening scene) needs to make a big splash. Hire someone accordingly based on the overall effect you need for the film.
Will you need them for long?
You may only need a text animator for a very short period of time, so if the task is incredibly basic, you can likely afford to hire someone with less experience (for cheaper.)
Questions to ask a potential candidate
Who influences you?
Asking about the animation they love can give you an idea if they’re a good fit creatively.
Where do they see the future of text animation?
Again, this question gives the candidate a chance to show off their education and theories on their business.
How do they use filters in their work?
Image filters can be used by text animators to either lighten up a scene or add a sense of drama, so look for people who consider the major tone and themes before deciding.
What is their primary objective in their work?
You’re ultimately looking for someone who can make the information memorable, and who can use their skills to add flair to any copy.
What has been their favorite experience at work?
Whether it has to do with creative input or making a breakthrough on a formatting problem they couldn’t quite get right, you’ll learn more about their character and process.