Accelerate Animation | Summary of Findings - Accelerate Animation Report
View the results of the survey undertaken for the Accelerate Animation Report, mapping the changing landscape of contemporary creative animation and its practitioners.
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The research we undertook to understand the landscape of animation within the UK has enabled us to draw conclusions and put new frameworks in place.

To view the full results from the survey, click


Click below to read the summary findings.


Survey respondents indicate a workforce that works within and across different sectors, most broadly the creative industries and visual arts.


Geographic spread is similar to that of the broader animation sector, with a substantial but not majority of people based in London. In the visual arts, 22% of the workforce is based in London, with 63% based in the rest of England.

Rest of England0%

The Accelerate workforce is younger than the general animation labour market and significantly younger than the creative media sector as a whole.


Accelerate Workforce

General Animation Labour Market

Creative Media Sector


  • 19.3%

  • 5%

  • 9%


  • 39.3%

  • 42%

  • 32%


  • 32.1%

  • 37%

  • 39%


  • 8.4%

  • 16%

  • 20%


For most respondents, animation is substantially their professional role, and all or a large part of their full-time job for 65%.


It is an established workforce, with 51.1% having worked in animation for over five years, and 37.3% between one and five years.


11% are new entrants and 8% of respondents said they were full or part-time students.


25% undertake long-term freelance contracts; 47.5% work on short-term freelance contracts, compared with a visual arts workforce that is 47% freelance.

Animators work across a very wide range of projects across ‘cultural’ and ‘commercial’ practice and across film, visual arts and the creative industries.

55% said they also worked in industries ‘other than animation’, including:

Graphic design0%
Web design0%

They work in music, theatre, education, fashion, writing, publishing and business.

We suggested 14 options to the question ‘What kind of projects do you work on?’


Animators work in music videos (37%), advertising (41%), television (37%), children’s television (34%) and gaming (12%).


76% make independent films for festivals and cinema. 18% work on feature films and 25% make work for gallery exhibition.


Animators make work for digital platforms, with 45% working on online projects and content, 20% on interactive projects, 20% on web/social media and 18% on online content.


17% said they also worked in other categories of activity, and these included software development, theatre, live performance and architectural visualisation.

Responses to the ‘What is your Job title’ question elicited a wide range of answers, some of which aligned with Creative Skillset’s outline of animation industry disciplines, but there were many which indicated the shifts in production models that have taken place. For example: media producer, content developer, and the specificity of ‘After Effects animator’.


Accelerate animators get most work from the UK, but from Europe, North America, and the rest of the world too.


It is an educated workforce.

92.2% of respondents are educated to degree or post-graduate level.


For animation in general, 92% are graduates. Only 57% of the visual arts workforce is educated at degree level and above.


70.8% studied animation or related subjects, compared with 61% in animation generally.

In response to our question about skills gaps for new entrants, everything on our long list of suggestions met with strong responses. Identified as most important were:

understanding how the industry works

finance and funding

how to get freelance work

different business models

IP/copyright knowledge

practical business skills in general

gaining initial professional experience.

Job interviews, CVs, showreels and self promotion online were low priorities.

For their own development support, the creative skills identified were writing, pitching, Cross/multi-platform and interactive, directing, writing, pitching, and collaboration with artists from other disciplines. Character animation, backgrounds, motion graphics were least popular.


Around 35% of respondents had taken training in the past two years, fewer than the 47% of animators who had recently undertaken training in Creative Skillset’s Labour Report, which also found that 53% of animators’ training was paid for by their employer.

Respondents commented that self-improvement was important to keep skills fresh, recognising the demands of a changing industry. Most training undertaken was one-off, including specific software, and often online.


Keeping updated on changes in the industry, actually making work, and the funding and time to support that, networking/sharing, and opportunities to collaborate were mentioned as important ways to maintain and develop skills.


The need for funding – for production, training in skills and business, and networking – was emphasised.


Most popular ways of learning were workshops, master classes, intensive courses, networking events and professional development grants. 75% said they would be prepared to pay for training, with the caveat that it should be  affordable and useful.


We already know that UK animators achieve international success and respondents’ experience further evidences this, citing 72 awards including:


15 BAFTA nominations, nine BAFTA wins, an Oscar, and prizes from major UK and international festivals including: Edinburgh, Annecy, Encounters/Animated Encounters, London International Animation Festival, Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand, SXSW, Sundance, Hiroshima Animation Festival, Holland Animation Festival, Tampere, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Oberhausen and Cannes.

43% premiere their work online (personal websites, Vimeo and YouTube), with 30% premiering at film festivals. 4% show their work first on television.


62.7% of respondents said their work is a mix of commercial and personal projects. Only 7.1% of respondents said they work only on commercial projects, and 28.2% work on independent, creative projects only.

Around half make the work on their own, with others most likely to work with a musician, an animator, an assistant animator and a couple of actors. And most take more than one role -– artists, animator, producer, illustrator, editor, scriptwriter.

Only 36 respondents had received funding to make work, though many had also never applied to Animate, Creative England, ACE or BFI.

86% self-fund their work. Only 13 said they’d received grants. Other sources include commissions both in the UK (20 responses) and internationally (9), UK and international residencies (7), with studio support (3) and crowdfunding (2) trailing.

Grants and commissions came from a wide range of sources, most notably The Wellcome Trust, with 3 respondents receiving support of £20,000 – £30,000. UK Film Council was named once (£12,000), Arts Council England twice (£2,000 and  £7,000), Creative Scotland and Arts Council Wales once each (£7,000, £10,000) and BFI once (for a feature). Channel 4 was mentioned in relation to its Random Acts 3’ low budget (c £3k) commissions through Lupus Films and Animate Projects, and other sources included small sums from higher education, international trusts. One respondent noted their success in securing private investment of £15,000.

“It is not training that is missing in UK, but MONEY to make projects. Experience comes from producing projects.” - Survey comment

Animators endeavour to sell their work and occasionally do so, although the lack of platform and showcasing opportunities was cited as a barrier.


38 respondents have licensed films to a UK broadcaster; 28 to an international broadcaster. 12 have sold work to collectors and 18 have had work acquired by museums. 53 had been paid a fee for showing work in an art gallery/museum and 36 had shown work online and been paid to do so. ‘Other’ responses included DVD rights, print sales, education use and fees for image reproduction.

The average budget to make a piece of work was between £1,000 – £5,000 (39%), with only 2% working with budgets of over £50,000.

Several people commented that things had changed dramatically over the past few years, one noting that their first commission for Channel 4, in 1999, had been for £65,000, whilst producers for Channel 4’s Random Acts series now offer much less.

‘In kind’ support was often greatly in excess of actual cash budgets, and animators were not paying themselves for their own time.