Animators are highly talented individuals. They possess creative minds and technical expertise, enabling them to craft beautiful digital renderings or manually crafted models of objects and characters. At the same time, they demonstrate organizational skills in managing their workloads and technology use to create top-notch animated pieces for various applications.
Students with animation degrees can expect to work in a wide variety of industries, including entertainment and art and design. Some jobs animation graduates can expect, for instance, include graphic designers, animators, production artists, and art directors.
This article explains what the animator career path is all about.
Animation as a career continuously expands, and the number of professionals taking animation roles also rises. Better still, the field offers an extensive selection of career opportunities. For instance, art directors earn over $90,000 annually. At the same time, they love the creative side of their jobs, consistently using their imagination and witnessing the actualization of their designs and concepts.
People will continue to call for more realistic television and movie special effects, along with more capable video games and mobile device graphics, resulting in the insistence on more advanced computer software (College Grad, n.d.).
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that there will be a 4% increase in multimedia artist and animator careers from 2018 to 2028. This increase is the same as the average increase rate for all occupations in the U.S. (Best Colleges, 2019).
The table below shows the animation job salary, number of job openings, and top locations.
|Job Title||Starting Salary||Job Openings||Top Locations|
|3D Artist||$58,856||4,871||Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA|
|Production Assistant||$37,799||37,632||New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL|
|3D Modeler||$49,253||2,029||New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Houston, TX|
|Storyboard Artist||$66,000||6,413||Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA|
|Animator||$58,619||434||New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA|
Jobs in animation nurture raw artistic prowess and generate 2D and 3D computer application mastery. Other skills, like communication and teamwork, are also important to achieve your animator goals.
How to get a job in animation then? Alongside a substantial portfolio and industry experience, a bachelor's degree or master's degree is a qualification for most jobs as an animator. An associate degree is usually not offered in this field, but schools may offer standalone courses to let students get ready for a full-time university program. Some programs also come with internship opportunities (Best Colleges, 2019).
Production assistants are the people behind the camera or curtains supporting the television and radio crew. They may answer phones, collaborate with guests, hand out scripts, oversee a collection of digital images, and review schedules.
Median salary: $37,799
Web developers design, create, and maintain websites. They guarantee that sites work efficiently and hold heavy traffic. They may work as self-employed contractors or full-time employees for big companies.
Median salary: $61,706
Video game designers make video games for gaming systems and computers. Concentration in gaming is being offered in some bachelor's in animation, teaching students about conceptualizing and applying game mechanics and designing characters, sound, effects, and narrative. Students interested in this career path must note, however, that some universities offer a separate degree in video game design.
Median salary: $67,300
Multimedia artists or animators make images and special effects for television, movies, mobile devices, video games, and other media. Students learn how to draw, paint, and write in a bachelor's degree.
Median salary: $58,619
Source: College Rank
A certificate does not assure an animation job, but it can result in greater animator salary, more professional opportunities, and staying updated with new technologies. Both traditional and online programs, even those at online community colleges, are now widely available to provide animation certifications (Best Colleges, 2019).
Animation-focused master's degree programs do not just lead to higher positions, they also enable professionals to specialize in a certain field. You may decide to specialize in 3D character animation or stop-motion, among others.
Animation producers or directors employ and manage teams of animators. They facilitate during productions to administer budgets, schedules, and deliverables. At least three to five years of animation experience is required for these roles.
Median salary: $83,419
Stop-motion animators create special rigs that include puppets, clay figures, and other props. One great example of exemplary stop-motion animations are The Wallace and Gromit films.
Median salary: $83,529
Two of the most recognized certificates in animation are Adobe Animate and Final Cut Pro X. After completing a certificate program, individuals take exams to attest to their new competencies and improve their employability. (Best Colleges, 2019).
Animation experts are not confined to a single career choice. Exploring other animation careers is always an option as the job outlook for animators is always on the rise and this field is an all-encompassing one (Edarabia, n.d.).
An animation degree is a field related to computers and connected networks. Computer network architects design and build data communication networks.
VFX artists develop computer-assisted crowds, creatures, and stunt doubles. They primarily create illusions that the mentioned items are real.
From pencil and paper, animation has truly evolved in a number of ways. We no longer see odd-looking cartoon characters and extremely pixelated backgrounds while watching a television show or movie, playing a game, or browsing our phones or computers. We are at a time when new technology, software, and other tools are used altogether to create lifelike designs.
Yet, animators do more than just draw and sketch visuals. They help tell and understand stories that make our lives a little less complicated—even for just a few moments (Moran, n.d.).