With a 2D animated film of an Animation Studio, whether it’s an American cartoon style or a Japanese anime style, the background is one of the most important factors for success.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

This may come as a surprise to audiences who often only pay attention to the story, or the smooth movements of the characters, and miss out on the subtleties of the frame-by-frame setting.

Animost Studio understands very well the importance of the background in an animated film, so there is always a certain amount of attention and investment in the background in its products.

So for those who do not know, or do not understand well about the background in cartoons, as well as the role of the background artist in the production stages, let’s find out more closely with Animost in this article!

Who Is Background Artist in an Animation Studio?

Background Artist is one of the two positions with the largest number of employees (along with Animator) and is the person who makes a significant contribution to the final footage sent to the audience.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

Unlike other animation genres, however, the background artist profession discussed in this article is peculiar to 2D animation.

>>>Read more: 10 storyboarding tips for creating animation film learnt from Pixar film Coco

What does Background Artist do in an Animation Studio

The role of a backdrop artist might be summarized in the following way: the background artist realizes the context of a cartoon scene.

And to do that, a background artist needs to do all (or most) of these roles:

  • Design space, context
  • Design props (objects)
  • Lighting design for movie scenes
  • Realize the context with drawing skills

To go deeper into the role of a background artist, will certainly depend on the nature of each scene, as well as of each project.

>>>Read more: Want to learn about animation production? Read this interview of a veteran animation producer

The importance of background artists

The background art does not just need one person, but a separate team that has an important voice in the production of a 2D animated film.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

A good background not only makes the visual part of the movie more beautiful but also has a great impact on the emotions of the audience, as a way to convey the content of the story.

Imagine a pure and cute movie like “My Neighbor Totoro” that has a dark background, instead of green rice fields? Maybe Totoro will become a monster that scares children!

>>>Read more: The gist of drawing animation gesture? Draw ideas not things, emotions not representations

What Skills are Needed for A Background Artist in an Animation Studio?

Art skill

Good hand-drawing is probably the number one priority for filmmakers when hiring background artists. This is perhaps too obvious.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

However, don’t forget that just good hand drawing is not enough. The requirements for painting and fine art when working as a background painter also include the following in-depth knowledge:

  • Know the perspective
  • Understanding color as well as how to use color in storytelling
  • Understand and master design principles
  • Have good taste
  • Able to flexibly adapt to different drawing styles

Teamwork skill

The background team members need to always work together closely and observe the whole, to ensure the consistency of style as well as brushstrokes across the movie scenes.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

So, if you want to be a Background artist, then in addition to your painting skills, make sure you can work as a team as best you can.

In addition, good communication and teamwork skills will also help background artists to understand the requirements of the art director’s drawing style – a very important factor when starting a project.

Knowledge of animation and cinema

This is probably one of the very important skills and contributes to the difference between background artists and illustrators.

If background artists fulfill their roles well, their products will contribute greatly to a common product of the collective: an animated film.

Because of that overall goal, a beautiful background is not enough. The background also needs to match the overall picture, and help convey the story.

Knowing the skills of visual storytelling will greatly assist background artists in reading the script, the director’s storyboard, and conveying the story elements in each of their background pictures.

What Does The Background Artist of an Animation Studio Need to Prepare?

With animated videos being a new viral marketing trend, the demand for cartoon production has also increased. Therefore, production companies also need to keep up with new technologies to improve work productivity as well as film quality.

With the continuous development of technology, today’s artists no longer have to hand-draw on paper or cut and paste the scene manually (unless the director intends to).

Instead, all stages of filmmaking can take place entirely through computers and supporting tools.

Background drawing tool

For background painters, the indispensable tool is the electronic drawing board.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

The use of a drawing board not only improves the image quality of the picture but also makes it easier for users to edit and manipulate more conveniently. Besides, it is also convenient to coordinate with other units in the production process, especially when all stages of animation production today are mostly digital.

Digital drawing is, to a background artist, perhaps like a sword to a swordsman: like a part of one’s own body. So, carefully choose a drawing board that is right for you to ensure the quality of your work.

Background drawing software

Through the electronic drawing board, the artist can draw on a number of professional art and graphic software. Some popular software today can be mentioned as:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Clip Studio Paint
  • PaintTool SAI

Software proficiency is also an important factor to help artists shorten the time to complete drawings. Therefore, when choosing the right software for them, background artists need to find a way to optimize their production process.

Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio
Who is a 2D Background Artist in an Animation Studio

Basic Background Drawing Steps for 2D Animated Movies

Mastering the steps to draw a background for a 2D animated movie, at first glance, are just very basic requirements that background artists can unintentionally ignore.

However, mastering these basic steps is extremely important, especially in the teamwork process, to ensure that the backgrounds of different artists all have a common language, making it easier to edit if changes arise.

With Animost Studio, the background drawing will be divided into 5 main steps, after the background artist has learned, prepared, and made sure about the requirements of each scene:

  • Draw thumbnails
  • Make a sketch (sketch)
  • Layout (layout)
  • Coloring
  • More lights and effects


Working as a background artist for 2D animation in an Animation Studio is probably a very suitable choice for young people who love to draw, or love cartoon art. In addition, there are many reasons why you should pursue animation in Vietnam at this time, which many young people consider. However, when you want to delve deeper into it, you don’t know where to start.

For that reason, Animost Studio wants to share in the most detail and specificity the work of animators, from its many years of experience in the field.

Hopefully, this article will be able to bring the most honest and clear view of this new and creative profession.

Animost – Vietnam 3D Animation Studio

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