How to create an animation portfolio to draw attention to your skills

Whether you’re applying for a course, eyeing a studio position or gearing up to freelance, think of your portfolio as your elevator pitch.

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An animation portfolio is more than a collection of your work, it’s a key part of your marketing strategies. Whether you're applying for a course, eyeing a studio position or gearing up to freelance, think of your portfolio as your elevator pitch. 

Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned animation pro, the key to success lies in creating a website portfolio that showcases your strongest work, effectively highlighting your unique talents. In this article, we will walk you through the steps of how to create an animation portfolio that will draw attention to your skills and help you stand out in a crowd.

Ready to get started? Use Wix’s AI website generator to create your portfolio.

What is an animation portfolio?

An animation portfolio is a collection of your work that demonstrates your skills, creativity and style as an animator. It’s where potential clients or employers can get a glimpse of your talent and decide whether or not to work with you. It can be in the form of a physical or digital format and should include a variety of animations that display your range of abilities.

What's in an animation portfolio?

Including a range of different works can show prospective employers, clients or schools how versatile you are as an animator. An animation portfolio typically includes a selection of your best work, along with some additional elements that help to further highlight your skills and talents. These can include:

  • Character animations: Crafting character designs showcases your unique ability to bring imaginative concepts to life through compelling, believable drawings. Including diverse character animations in your portfolio, like walk cycles or facial expressions, highlights your grasp of motion and your talent in animating characters, making them resonate with viewers. This approach not only demonstrates your technical skill but also your capacity to engage and inspire through animation.

  • Environment animations:  This type of animation can showcase your skills in creating immersive and detailed worlds. It's also an opportunity to demonstrate your attention to detail and ability to create a believable environment.

  • 3D modeling:  If you have experience in 3D modeling, be sure to include it in your portfolio. This can showcase your technical skills and ability to work with different programs and tools.

  • Concept art and storyboards: These elements are critical in the animation industry as they demonstrate your ability to develop and tell a compelling story through visuals. Including these in your portfolio can showcase your creative thinking and planning skills.

  • Collaborative projects: If you've worked with others, be sure to include collaborative projects in your portfolio. This not only highlights your teamwork skills but also shows that you can adapt and work well with others. If you’re showcasing a clip with collaborators, be sure to include a note explaining what part of the project you were responsible for. 

  • Personal artwork:  In addition to professional work, including personal projects in your portfolio can showcase your unique style and creative vision. It also demonstrates your passion for animation beyond just a job or school project.

How to create an animation portfolio online in 8 steps

  1. Define your purpose

  2. Select your best work

  3. Pick a domain and website host

  4. Choose a website builder and template

  5. Showcase your animation work

  6. Introduce yourself

  7. Start an online shop (optional)

  8. Keep your animation portfolio updated

01. Define your purpose

Before you start building your animation portfolio you need to research your target employers and projects. What kind of animation style, genre and tone are they looking for? What are their expectations and preferences? How can you align your portfolio with their vision and goals? Getting to know your audience enables you to craft a portfolio that resonates with their needs and interests, boosting your visibility.

02. Select your best work

While it may be tempting to include all your work in your professional portfolio, remember that quality is more important than quantity. Focus on what makes you unique and choose your best work that shows a variety of skills and styles. If you can’t decide which clips show your best quality work, make a shortlist and show it to a colleague or mentor who can give you an expert and/or non-biased opinion.

Avoid fanart in your portfolio

Fanart can be seen as a way to showcase your admiration for your favorite franchises, but it's not recommended to include in your portfolio. Potential employers or clients are more interested in seeing original content that demonstrates your personal style and creative thinking. Save fanart for social media platforms or personal websites.

Look at other animation portfolios for inspiration

If you're struggling with ideas on how to showcase your work, take a look at other animation portfolios online. This can give you an idea of what works well and what doesn't, as well as inspire you to think outside the box in terms of presentation and website layout.

03. Pick a domain and website host

Once you have selected your best work, it's time to choose a domain name and website host. A custom domain gives your portfolio a professional touch and makes it easier for potential clients or employers to find you online.

Here’s a simple guide on how to pick a good domain name:

  • Keep it short and easy to remember

  • Avoid numbers or special characters

  • Use your name or company name

  • Utilize keywords related to animation

  • Perform a domain search to check for availability

  • For inspiration, use a domain name creator

Learn more about what is a domain name and get started with Wix’s free web hosting.

Ensure your website is easily accessible to potential employers or clients as difficulty in accessing your site means they might quickly move on. Choose a hosting website that excels in supporting animation-heavy sites — speed and capacity for larger files are key. While there are numerous hosting options, such as Wix, aim for one that offers an ad-free environment. Consider your online portfolio as your personal web space, a spot where you stand out without competitors' distractions. Your animation portfolio, therefore, should be a clean showcase of your best work, free from any interruptions.

04. Choose a website builder and template

Once you have your domain and hosting sorted, it's time to choose a website builder and portfolio template. Your portfolio, like your website name, should be uniquely yours so look for a website generator that offers a high level of customization. Among the best website builders for portfolios, Wix is a popular choice for animators due to its user-friendly drag and drop builder and graphic and web website templates.

Website template

A clean web design and carefully curated selection are key to showing off your talents. When selecting a template, look for one that fits your aesthetic and showcases your work in a visually appealing way. Customize the template to make it unique to your personal brand.

Make it easy to navigate

Your website should have easy site navigation, with clear and concise menus that lead visitors to your work. Avoid cluttering your portfolio with too many categories or web pages, as this can make it overwhelming for viewers.

Mobile-friendly design

With more and more people accessing websites through their smartphones, it's important to ensure that your animation portfolio is optimized for mobile viewing. You don't want potential employers or clients to miss out on your work because they can't view it correctly on their device.

05. Showcase your animation work

Your animation portfolio should visually stop a viewer in their tracks. If your animation portfolio isn’t eye-catching enough, a client or studio will simply move on to other options. Use these tips to create a visual impression that sums up your animation style.

Open with your showreel

Your showreel should be one of the first things people see when visiting your homepage.  A showreel is the best way to showcase a variety of work and skills in a condensed format. You want to ensure that you have more than one style of animation in the demo reel to showcase in your animation portfolio.

Organize your work effectively

When organizing your work, consider grouping similar pieces together to create a cohesive flow. Creating collections of storyboards, 2D animation, motion graphics and 3D work will help clients select what they want to see.  This also allows potential employers to see your range of skills and versatility.

Use high-quality renderings

For 3D animations, it's important to use high-quality renderings to showcase your work. Opt for high-resolution, well-lit and detailed renderings to highlight your skills. Details like texture, light reflection and shadows not only bring your animations to life but also add depth and realism, captivating viewers and making a memorable impact.

Poor quality or grainy images can take away from the overall impact of your animation. Aim for crisp and clear images that accurately represent your work. A website builder like Wix offers image resizer tools to ensure your images are displayed at their best.

Provide context for each piece

While your animations should speak for themselves, providing context can help viewers understand the purpose or concept behind each piece. This can also give insight into your creative process, problem-solving abilities and attention to detail.

Include a brief description or explanation for each animation, highlighting key elements and techniques used. Most clients won’t be animation experts, so keep the technical jargon to a minimum. This can also be a great opportunity to showcase your storytelling abilities by giving a background on the characters or world within the animation.

Avoid using flash

Flash isn't supported on many mobile devices, which means your portfolio might not be viewable on a phone, potentially missing out on opportunities. Using Flash may indicate that you are not up on current trends — and employers may suspect that you do not know how to use HTML5, even if you do.

06. Introduce yourself

Your animation portfolio should also include an About Me page for your personal brand and bio. This is an opportunity to display your unique personality and interests, as well as any relevant experience or achievements. It’s also important to include contact details like an email address so that anyone who comes across your portfolio online knows how to contact you. 

Consider including a professional profile photo and links to your social media accounts or other online platforms where you post your work. This can help potential employers or clients get a better sense of who you are and your style as an animator.

07. Start an online shop (optional)

If you're interested in selling your animations online, consider adding an online store to your portfolio. When you build an ecommerce site, it not only opens up a new revenue stream but also meets the expectations of modern consumers who value the ease and accessibility of shopping from home. When creating your shop, make sure to:

Write product descriptions

For each piece, include a thorough description with the title, medium, size and any other relevant details. You can also write background knowledge or stories behind the creation of each piece.

Set up secure payment options

Select a platform that offers secure online payment options. This will ensure the safety of both you and your customers' data. 

Offer shipping and handling information

Be transparent about your shipping and handling process, including estimated delivery times and any additional fees or policies. This will help manage customer expectations and avoid any misunderstandings. 

Tip: You can also start a print-on-demand business to help you make money as an artist. If you’re new to eCommerce websites, check our guide on what is eCommerce and learn what is print on demand to get started.

08. Keep your animation portfolio updated

Just like with any creative field, it’s important to keep your animation portfolio updated. This will not only allow you to feature your latest work but also show potential employers or clients that you are constantly improving and staying on top of industry trends.

Keeping your animation portfolio up-to-date isn't just about adding new work—it's also about refining and improving what's already there. By regularly updating your portfolio, you can make sure it always represents you at your best.

Use the following tips:

  • Keep your portfolio fresh: Continually add your new animations to showcase your most impressive work. Let viewers discover your evolving skills and the latest highlights of your animation journey.

  • Remove outdated pieces: As you continue to grow as an animator, you may find that some of your old pieces no longer reflect your current skills and style. It’s important to regularly review and remove these outdated pieces from your portfolio to maintain a cohesive and impressive showcase of your work.

  • Refresh descriptions: As your understanding of a project deepens, it's key to update your descriptions to mirror your current insights accurately. This ensures they truly represent your efforts and thinking. Consider adding fresh insights or stories for a fuller picture of your work.

  • Update contact information: Make sure all your contact details are up-to-date, including any new social media accounts or websites you want to share. This will make it easier for potential clients to reach out to you and stay connected.

  • Get feedback:  Ask for feedback from colleagues, mentors or other animators in your network. Their insights can help you identify areas for improvement and make your portfolio even stronger. 

Why you should create an animation portfolio website

While social networking platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Behance are wonderful for exhibiting your work and communicating with an audience, you should still house your animations— whether you’re a working professional or have an animation student portfolio—on a website.

Here are some key reasons why you need an online portfolio:

Gives you artistic freedom

An online art portfolio grants you control over how your work is presented. You can curate and organize your web content in a way that best represents your style. This allows you to feature the diversity of your talent, making it easier for visitors to see the full range of your abilities.

Maintains an up-to-date presence

Your portfolio can be accessed anytime, anywhere—meaning anyone who wants to see your talent can view it at their own convenience. Be sure to regularly update your site with new and improved content, keeping it fresh and relevant.

Demonstrates your identity as an animator

Your online portfolio is a representation of you as an animator. It not only showcases your work but also provides insight into your creative process, inspirations and overall artistic identity. By displaying your work and accompanying it with meaningful descriptions or stories, you can connect with viewers on a deeper level. This helps build your personal brand and establishes yourself as a professional in the animator world. 

School admission requirement 

If you're an aspiring animator looking to apply to schools, having an online portfolio is a prerequisite  of the admission process.  Schools want to see not only your technical skills, but also your creativity and ability to effectively present your work. An online portfolio is an excellent way to showcase all these elements in one place, making it easier for admissions officers to evaluate your potential as an animator.  

Online animation portfolio examples

To get a better idea of what a professional animation portfolio looks like, you should look at animation portfolio examples. Check out these Wix-made portfolio websites. They're chosen to motivate and guide you in showcasing your talent effectively.

Fee Brandt

A visual storyteller, Fee Brandt 's portfolio is designed to let her art take center stage. The About page includes a downloadable resume and logos of past clients, bolstering her credibility and showcasing her experience.

Ashley Cheng-Jie Liu

Motion artist Ashely Cheng-Jie Liu dedicated a page for each project that includes project descriptions, storyboards, character sketches, clips and stills, offering a comprehensive view of Ashely's process and the creativity behind the final piece. This approach not only showcases the breadth of her work but also brings you closer to understanding the  effort behind every project.

Yazhi Zheng

Yazhi Zheng's homepage features a clean, white space that immediately draws you into her showreel. Experience her finest work right from the start, showcasing her talent and creativity. Just below the reel are her contact details, including her email and an Instagram button, making it easy to connect with her.

Lauren Ramer

Lauren Ramers' online portfolio perfectly mirrors the aesthetic of her animations. Her website offers a unified look, embodying her distinctive style. This cohesive presentation not only showcases her talent but also makes a strong statement about her brand identity.

Fuman Studios

Fumanstudios' website is an example of combining an animation portfolio with e-commerce. From the homepage logo to the eye-catching animations and featured projects, their site perfectly captures their unique style. For those looking to own a piece of this creativity, posters are available for purchase in their online store. 

How to create an animation portfolio FAQ

  • Do I need a website if I post my work on instagram?

    Yes. With a website you have more control of your content's narrative and presentation. It is also an important tool if you want to improve your SEO and come up in Google searches. Create and keep your website and Instagram profile updated at the same time. Although they appear to be similar, each serves unique, complementary functions.

  • Can I create an animation portfolio if I am just starting out?

    Yes. Even if you are just starting out as an animator, you can still create an impressive portfolio to showcase your skills and creativity. You can include personal projects or school assignments, as well as any freelance work you have done. Remember to regularly update your portfolio as you continue to grow and improve in your craft.

  • How many pieces should I include in my animation portfolio?

    There is no set rule for the number of pieces you should include in your animation portfolio. However, it's important to remember that quality is more important than quantity. It's better to have a smaller selection of your best work than a large collection of mediocre pieces. Choose a variety of animations that showcase different skills and styles to give viewers a well-rounded view of your abilities.

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