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Become A 3D Animator

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Working As A 3D Animator

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 3D Animator Do

Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, animation, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Duties

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animations
  • Develop storyboards that map out key scenes in animations
  • Edit animations and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development time lines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then the pieces are put together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a wide variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or “animatics,” which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance work.

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How To Become A 3D Animator

Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop both an impressive portfolio of work and the strong technical skills that many employers prefer.

Education

Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science in addition to art courses.

Bachelor’s degree programs in art include courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Degrees in animation often require classes in drawing, animation, and film. Many schools have specialized degrees in topics such as interactive media or game design.

Training

Some animation studios have their own software and computer applications that they use to create films, and they often provide on-the-job training so that workers can use the specific software and computer applications.

Important Qualities

Artistic talent. Animators and artists should have artistic ability and a good understanding of color, texture, and light. However, they may be able to compensate for artistic shortcomings with better technical skills.

Communication skills. Multimedia artists and animators need to work as part of a complex team and respond well to criticism and feedback.

Computer skills. Many multimedia artists and animators use computer programs or write programming code to do most of their work.

Creativity. Artists and animators must be able to think creatively to develop original ideas and make them come to life.

Time-management skills. The hours required by most studio and game design companies can be long, particularly when there are tight deadlines. Artists and animators need to be able to manage their time effectively when a deadline approaches.

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3D Animator Demographics

Gender

Male

70.2%

Female

15.6%

Unknown

14.2%
Ethnicity

White

53.9%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Asian

15.3%

Black or African American

9.7%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.0%

Japanese

20.0%

Chinese

15.0%

French

10.0%

German

5.0%

Dutch

5.0%

Tagalog

5.0%

Mandarin

5.0%

Korean

5.0%
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3D Animator Education

Schools

Academy of Art University

21.0%

Savannah College of Art and Design

14.6%

Full Sail University

9.3%

Art Institute of California - Inland

6.3%

Art Institute of Houston

5.9%

Ringling College of Art and Design

4.4%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

4.4%

School of Visual Arts

3.9%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.4%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

3.4%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.4%

New York University

2.9%

San Jose State University

2.4%

Cogswell Polytechnical College

2.4%

Digital Media Arts College

2.4%

Eastern Washington University

2.0%

California State University - Los Angeles

2.0%

Art Institute of Phoenix

2.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

2.0%

Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago

2.0%
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Majors

Animation

40.7%

Computer Science

11.7%

Graphic Design

10.0%

Fine Arts

6.9%

Computer Applications

5.7%

Photography

5.2%

Design And Visual Communication

3.6%

Digital Media

2.6%

Entertainment Business

1.9%

Architecture

1.9%

Communication

1.7%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.7%

Information Technology

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.0%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

0.9%

Drafting And Design

0.9%

Electrical Engineering

0.7%

Graphic Communications

0.5%

Journalism

0.5%

Biomedical Engineering

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.1%

Masters

16.7%

Other

12.7%

Associate

8.7%

Certificate

3.8%

Diploma

3.2%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$37,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$172,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Technicolor
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.2 years
How much does a 3D Animator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a 3D Animator in the United States is $80,505 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $172,000.

Real 3D Animator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
3D Animator/Art Director Latinmedios.com, Inc. Aventura, FL Aug 25, 2015 $130,500
3D Animator Technicolor Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 05, 2010 $130,000
3D Animator Double Fine Productions, Inc. New York, NY Oct 29, 2011 $80,000
3D Animator Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 20, 2015 $75,257
3D Animator Wet CA Sep 01, 2014 $75,000
3D Animator Wet CA Sep 30, 2015 $75,000
3D Animator Skyworks Technologies, Inc. Hackensack, NJ Sep 16, 2009 $75,000
3D Animator Wet CA Sep 30, 2016 $75,000
3D Animator E MacHine Zone, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Feb 11, 2015 $74,200
2D/3D Animator Dance Party Studios LLC Seattle, WA Jul 01, 2015 $73,045 -
$83,480
3D/2D Animator Dance Party Studios LLC Seattle, WA Jun 01, 2015 $73,045 -
$83,480
3D Animator Double Fine Productions, Inc. New York, NY Feb 07, 2011 $70,000
3D Animator Wet Enterprises Inc. CA Sep 01, 2011 $68,000
3D Animator Blizzard Entertainment Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 28, 2015 $67,808
3D Animator Greenhaus GFX, Inc. Culver City, CA Mar 23, 2015 $64,000
Motion Graphics 3-D Animator Zimmerman Advertising, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 01, 2015 $62,000
3D Animator Pixel Liberation Front, Inc. CA Oct 01, 2011 $60,590 -
$75,000
Motion Graphics 3-D Animator Zimmerman Advertising, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL Feb 01, 2014 $60,000
2D/3D Animator Zynga Inc. Austin, TX Sep 12, 2012 $60,000 -
$90,000
3D Animator Buck Design, Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $60,000
Motion Graphics 3-D Animator Zimmerman Advertising, LLC Fort Lauderdale, FL Sep 01, 2015 $60,000
2D & 3D Animator Plus Et Plus New York, NY Oct 01, 2011 $50,000
3D Digital Animator Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design LLC New York, NY Sep 05, 2013 $50,000
Lead 3D Animator Ivedix, Inc. Pittsford, NY Oct 01, 2012 $49,920 -
$55,000
3D Graphics Animator Gold & Silver Inc. Calabasas, CA Sep 19, 2014 $49,858
3D Graphics Animator Gold & Silver Inc. Calabasas, CA Sep 30, 2014 $49,858
2D and 3D Generalist Animator Bang Bang LLC Los Angeles, CA Sep 04, 2013 $48,001
2D Animator/3D Animator/Designer Wonderhill, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 01, 2010 $48,000
2D Animator/3D Animator/Designer Wonderhill, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 25, 2010 $48,000

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Top Skills for A 3D Animator

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Storyboard
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Nuke Autodesk Maya Adobe Photoshop Adobe Premier Adobe After Effects
  • Deliver artwork and animation projects from storyboard to final composite.
  • Developed detailed 2D and 3D proposal graphics, Interfaced with clients and assigned drawings to graphic designers.
  • Contracted animator responsible for all character animation in a short interactive experience in the High Fidelity Environment.
  • Modeled, textured, and rigged a Japanese girl with four sets of clothing and hair in under two weeks.

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Top 10 Best States for 3D Animators

  1. Delaware
  2. Washington
  3. Connecticut
  4. New York
  5. California
  6. Texas
  7. North Dakota
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Rhode Island
  10. New Jersey
  • (1 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)

Top 3D Animator Employers

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Jobs From Top 3D Animator Employers

3D Animator Videos

Animation Careers : A Day in the Life of a Computer Animator

Learn to become a 3D Animator

REBECCA EXPLAINS: Animation Career for You?

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