Film Crew Position: Background Artist

What does a Background Artist do?

A Background Artist in the animation department plays a crucial role in the creation of animated films, television shows, and video games. These artists are responsible for designing and creating the environments in which the characters move and the action takes place. Their work sets the tone, mood, and context for the narrative, often contributing as much to the storytelling as the characters and plot themselves. Background Artists must possess a unique blend of creative vision and technical ability to bring static scenes to vivid life.

What role does a Background Artist play?

The role of a Background Artist is multifaceted, involving the conceptualization and realization of the visual backdrops for animation projects. They work closely with directors, art directors, and other creative team members to ensure that the settings complement the story and the style of the animation. Background Artists must create convincing worlds that adhere to the project's aesthetic and support the pacing and direction of the storyline, often working within specific color palettes and design motifs to maintain a cohesive look throughout the production.

Do you need to go to college to be a Background Artist?

While a college education is not strictly mandatory to become a Background Artist, many professionals in the field hold degrees in animation, fine arts, illustration, or related fields. These programs often provide valuable training in the technical skills and artistic principles necessary for a career in animation. However, equivalent experience and a strong portfolio can sometimes substitute for formal education, with employers prioritizing demonstrated talent and a proven track record in the industry.

What skills do you need to be a Background Artist?

Background Artists must have a strong foundation in art and design principles, including color theory, perspective, and composition. Proficiency in digital painting and drawing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or other animation-specific programs is essential. A keen eye for detail, the ability to work collaboratively with a team, and effective time management skills to meet tight deadlines are also critical. Additionally, creativity and imagination are paramount, as Background Artists must consistently generate original and engaging environments that enhance the narrative of the animation.

New to filmmaking?

Get Free Template

Use our budget template to get a kick start on your film project. Get access to dozens of templates no matter what type of project!