Start An Animation Studio

Starting an animation studio requires education, expertise, equipment and money.

Animators take a concept, story or an idea and make it come to life through two-dimensional or three-dimensional art work. This work is often seen in motion pictures, such as “Toy Story” or “The Little Mermaid.” Some of the most well-known animation studios are Pixar Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, 20th Century Fox Animation and Dreamworks Animation. However, as an animator you can also create commercials, website animations and educational video animations. You need to ensure you have the skill set, documents, equipment and talent to start your own animation studio.


1. Enroll in the necessary education or training to acquire the appropriate skill set to be an animator. Colleges, universities and technical schools offer areas of study that are relevant to animation, including drawing, acting, design and color and film.

2. Find a niche in the animation field and come up with a business plan. For instance, determine if your primary focus will be producing motion pictures, website animations, commercials or educational videos. Form a plan that outlines your goals, potential clientele, a budget and a marketing plan.

3. Obtain business documents. You may decide to form a cooperation, a limited liability company, an incorporated company or a partnership. You need to acquire and submit the appropriate documents from the secretary of state office of your state to make your business official.

4. Purchase one or more computers and animation software. Software often used by animation studios include AutoDesk Maya, Houdini, Adobe Photoshop, Zbrush, Deep Paint 3D, Corel Painter, Combustion, Shake, Boujou, Renderman and Mental Ray.

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5. Put together a reel of your work. Most clients interested in hiring you for a project will want to see examples of work you have done. A reel compiles a series of short videos clips of your best work.

6. Have a lawyer draft copyright documents to ensure there are limitations as to where, when and how your animations can be used, and who can use them.

7. Hire additional animators or work on your own. You may want to start out working on your own until you build up clientele, at which point you may need to hire additional animators to help you complete your workload. Check with your state employment office to fill out the appropriate paperwork for hiring employees.