What is an Assistant Animator?
An assistant animator is usually an inbetweener who is moving up the ladder. It is the assistant's responsibility to clean-up the animator’s rough key poses. They also, in some cases, draw the breakdowns on major actions that require them. The assistant may also need to do the inbetweens for the scene as well.

An assistant needs to have excellent clean-up abilities and excellent line quality control. They need to interpret what the animator wants from the action in the scene and add to the quality of it. This doesn’t mean that they reanimate the scene but they keep (sometimes put) the character “on model” and consistent throughout the scene. If the animator’s key poses begin to get rougher and rougher, it’s the assistant's job to get them all looking consistent. They need to keep all the details on the character correct. If the character has three hairs but the animator only drew two, then the assistant needs to keep it at three all the way through. The drawings need to remain solid without features floating.

In some cases, the assistant is a better draftsman than the key animator. As the saying goes, “A good assistant is worth their weight in gold.”

The problem with good assistants though is that they never want to stay as an assistant. Assistants are on their way up the ladder to becoming a key animator. In some studios, being an assistant is part of paying your dues.

It’s always good to have spent some time as an assistant. You get to learn from your animator as an apprentice and later on when you become a key animator, you know how to treat your assistant right because you know what kind of crap they have to go through.

Animation Clean-up

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