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Digital Painter

Personality type:
2D computer animation | 2D drawn animation | 3D computer animation

The lowdown

  • Adding colour to the line images created by Animators

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have a good eye for both detail and colour
  • be methodical and conscientious in your approach to work
  • have good computer skills and be able to adapt quickly to new software 
  • understand the animation process, as you gain more experience
  • be able to take direction 
  • have good team-working skills

What does a Digital Painter do?

Digital Painters add colour to the line images created by Animators. They may scan the drawings they receive from the animation department and, when required, clean up the line work on a computer before colouring. They use software such as Toon Boom, Toonz and Photoshop. They must follow the references they are given and be aware of continuity requirements.

They usually work as part of a team, under the supervision of a Head of Digital Colour and Compositing. The team may include a Colour Stylist, Scanners, Painters and Compositors. Depending on the size of the production, these roles may be combined.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a degree to be a Digital Painter. However, this can be a good entry-level role for graduates wanting to work in animation.

If you are considering taking an animation course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the animation industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for an animation career:

Animation courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

This is a good entry-level role in animation for both graduates and non-graduates. It is a role usually employed in 2D drawn animation, but sometimes required in 2D computer and/or 3D computer animation.

To get your foot in the door, you will need good IT skills, and a working knowledge of software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Where might the role take me?

You could progress into work in compositing and post production.

Interested? Find out more...


  • Animation Magazine - a US magazine about the business, technology and art of animation and VFX
  • Animation World Network - production news, interviews, jobs and a big archive 
  • Shooting People – community-driven site, founded by filmmakers, and providing opportunities, news and animation jobs 
  • Skwigly Animation Magazine - the longest running UK based animation magazine and community. Offers news, interviews, reviews, podcasts, videos and tutorials
  • Toon Boom Animation - leader in digital content and animation creation software, delivering products and services online to its global community
  • Toonhound – website about cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK
  • Own-it - offers intellectual property (IP) advice, information and learning resources for the creative sector 
  • Animation Nation - Animation industry news and useful links
  • 3D World Magazine - international magazine for CG artists, covering the fields of animation, VFX, games, illustration and architecture
  • Computer Graphics World - magazine covering innovation in computer graphics technology across various industries
  • Cinefex - quarterly magazine devoted to motion picture visual effects


  • The Art and Science of Digital Compositing by Ron Brinkmann (pub. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers)
  • Digital Compositing by Steve Wright (pub. Butterworth-Heinemann)
  • Visual Effects in A Digital World: A Comprehensive Glossary of over 7,000 Visual Effects Terms by Karen Goulekas (pub. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers)
  • How to Get a Job in Computer Animation by Ed Harriss


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