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Make It Work: So You’ve Always Loved… Art

Miriam Milstein

Meet five women who’ve taken their passion for art and turned it into a viable, enjoyable career

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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Maybe you’re always sketching or doodling on scraps of paper, or maybe you just love crafts and color. But you’d never consider making art your career — after all, they don’t call them starving artists for nothing. The world has grimly informed you that you need to choose something more practical… but do you?

The following five women took their passion for art and turned it into a viable, enjoyable career. So can you.

 

2-D Animator: 

Lisa Pasternak 

 

Years of Experience:

5

 
Salary Range:

Starting salaries usually in the $40K range; you can work your way up to $55-60K, and managerial roles will pay more.

 

What an animator does:

An animator brings together images and assets (such as audio and music) and brings them to life. The videos I create can be educational or just fun.

People usually think Disney or Pixar when they hear “animator,” but nowadays a lot of companies want how-to videos or whiteboard animations, or they’re putting little animated graphics on top of a live-action video. Large companies may create an animation about their company for a conference or for recruiters — they want to show what they’re about without being boring. This is where the world is going: People don’t want to read, they want to watch.

 

Hitting the books:

I’ve always loved art and been creative, but never knew how I could use my talent — I’m not a painter, I’m just an artsy person. I decided to go for graphic design since it was something I could learn. The schooling was a lot of fun; I’d stay up all night to finish a project just because it was so exciting to me.

After I got my BA in graphic design, I worked in different graphics jobs for three years. A friend of mine who works at Aleph Beta, a website run by Rabbi David Fohrman that creates animated classes about Judaism and Torah, recommended me for an animation job. Since I’d had taken a few classes in animation and video design when I was in college, this felt like something I could do. I basically learned on the job.

 

All in a day’s work:

First, I get the script and read through it — I need to be sure I fully understand the Torah behind it so I can illustrate the concepts properly. If I have any questions, I ask the content developers. Then I start storyboarding. We go over every sentence and map out everything we need to illustrate the video, ending up with a massive document that explains what the video will look like.

.

 

We have a huge library of images and backgrounds that we’ve compiled over the years, so we can reuse a lot of them, but we make a list of the new ones that we need. Not everything is created from scratch — we do find some vectors online that we can tweak; I may find a background, but need to add a house to it or crop the grass.  And of course, we’re not going to find images like the Beis Hamikdash or the Luchos on a stock images site. We create those, and then can use them multiple times. We have a library of characters as well. They’ve also evolved over the years — they’re much better-looking now!

We create the images in Illustrator, then put all of the assets into After Effects, the animation into the animation program, to actually put the story together and add voiceovers. There’s also the music that runs through each video. We spend a lot of time making sure the music evokes the right emotion at the right time. Then of course we do a ton of reviewing.

We then get critique from people who haven’t seen the video yet, to make sure we illustrated each concept correctly, and make some more edits, until we finally have a product that’s good to go. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 602)

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