Mobile Apps Offer New Market for Animators
by Annie Gray
As animation and digital technology the opportunities for animators are growing in new directions. One area in which demand is growing rapidly is in the development of mobile applications.
Applications, usually just called apps, are software programs that serve a single purpose or a few related purposes. Some apps are designed to be tools (maps, translators, newspapers), some are social (chat, social media), some promote businesses (placing orders, offering promotions) and some are purely for entertainment (games, videos). As ownership of smartphones increases, the demand for new apps is exploding.
Adapting your skills to app animation…
Skilled digital animators won't have many problems with the technical side of designing for apps. The programs used are familiar: Flash, Anime Studio Pro, After Effects… etc. Whatever your preferred style of animation, you should be able to easily apply your skills to apps.
Some animators even develop apps as a hobby—something to do between jobs or on weekends to earn extra money and increase exposure of their work. Even Monica Singh Haley, the head of animation for the Lord of the Rings movies, has dabbled in app creation, developing 'The Happy Apps'.
Where can I work?
There are a few options if you are serious about animating for mobile apps.
First, freelancers can be very successful in this arena. If you have an idea for a clever game or tool, it's not impossible to develop this yourself and submit it to an app store. If your app hits the right notes, it can find itself on digital shelves within a week.
However, to complete a project like this, you need to know how to develop the app. If you have strong knowledge of web development, adapting this to apps is straightforward though still a little time consuming.
iPhones, for instance, use Objective C as a primary language. This will be a new language to anyone who hasn't developed iPhone apps before, but it is similar enough to C/C++ to make for an easy transition for many developers. If you have no experience in web development, you may need to find a partner who does in order to freelance effectively.
Alternatively, you could work for a company that develops apps. Some companies create new apps simply to profit off of their sales. Other companies develop apps on behalf of clients. Many businesses and organizations want their own apps, but don't have the skills in-house to create them. They then hire outside teams to create these for them.
Author bio: Whitney Cox is a blogger based in Christchurch, New Zealand. She writes on behalf of Natcoll, an animation school with campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Natcoll's courses in animation prepare students for successful careers in the digital arts.