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Become An Animation Artist

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Working As An Animation Artist

  • 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

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Animation Artist 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 An Animation Artist

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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Animation Artist Career Paths

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Do you work as an Animation Artist?

Animation Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

64.4%

Female

20.7%

Unknown

15.0%
Ethnicity

White

57.4%

Hispanic or Latino

20.2%

Black or African American

9.2%

Asian

9.0%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

Chinese

11.1%

Mandarin

11.1%

Cantonese

11.1%

Russian

11.1%

Thai

11.1%

Italian

11.1%
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Animation Artist Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

13.7%

Academy of Art University

9.6%

School of Visual Arts

8.9%

Full Sail University

6.8%

Ringling College of Art and Design

6.2%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

6.2%

Art Institute of Seattle

5.5%

Art Institute of California - Inland

4.8%

University of Southern California

4.1%

Art Institute of Portland

4.1%

California Institute of the Arts

4.1%

Art Institute of Houston

3.4%

International Academy of Design and Technology

3.4%

San Jose State University

2.7%

University of Central Florida

2.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

2.7%

Iowa State University

2.7%

DigiPen Institute of Technology

2.7%

University of Advancing Technology

2.7%

Columbus College of Art and Design

2.7%
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Majors

Animation

36.0%

Graphic Design

14.5%

Fine Arts

12.3%

Computer Science

9.8%

Photography

6.3%

Design And Visual Communication

3.5%

Visual And Performing Arts

3.0%

Communication

2.3%

Entertainment Business

1.8%

Computer Applications

1.8%

Digital Media

1.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.3%

Architecture

1.3%

Elementary Education

1.0%

Drafting And Design

0.8%

Alternative And Complementary Medicine And Medical Systems

0.8%

Journalism

0.8%

Advertising

0.8%

Medical Illustration And Informatics

0.8%

Graphic Communications

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.3%

Other

19.2%

Masters

12.2%

Associate

10.5%

Certificate

4.0%

Diploma

1.8%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$166,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Minneapolis, MN
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.7 years
How much does an Animation Artist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Animation Artist in the United States is $77,900 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $166,000.

Real Animation Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Multi-Media Artist and Animator Famiglia DI Vendetta Inc., D/B/A Vendetta Post Santa Monica, CA May 02, 2011 $176,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Flipboard, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Mar 22, 2012 $160,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Dreamworks Animation LLC Glendale, CA Mar 21, 2012 $156,013
3-D Computer Animation Artist Supervisor Blur Studio, Inc. CA Oct 16, 2011 $153,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 19, 2012 $133,000 -
$153,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Riot Games Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jul 24, 2014 $130,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Electronic Arts, Inc. Vista, CA Dec 21, 2011 $129,524
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jun 30, 2011 $128,960
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Imaginary Forces, LLC New York, NY Jun 06, 2012 $125,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Oct 02, 2012 $124,470 -
$144,470
Multi-Media Artists & Animators Digital Domain, Inc. CA Nov 10, 2011 $123,500 -
$160,500
Multi-Media Artists & Animators Digital Domain, Inc. CA Nov 09, 2011 $123,500 -
$160,500
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Electronic Arts, Inc. Vista, CA Mar 01, 2011 $121,147
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Samsung Information Systems America, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 04, 2014 $120,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC San Diego, CA Oct 21, 2011 $96,538
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Dreamworks Animation LLC Glendale, CA Aug 31, 2012 $96,505
Multi-Media Artist & Animator Namco Bandai Games Santa Clara, CA Jul 20, 2011 $96,000 -
$130,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Samsung Information Systems America, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 10, 2014 $96,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Dec 19, 2011 $95,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 05, 2011 $95,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Insomniac Games, Inc. Burbank, CA Feb 19, 2014 $95,000
Senior Animation Artist I Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Oct 31, 2013 $94,699
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Insomniac Games, Inc. Durham, NC Jun 27, 2013 $70,158
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Insomniac Games, Inc. Durham, NC Aug 01, 2013 $70,158
Multi-Media Artist & Animator CCP North America, Inc. Stone Mountain, GA Jan 28, 2011 $70,000 -
$100,000
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Blizzard Entertainment Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 27, 2014 $69,451
Multi-Media Artists and Animators SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC Santa Monica, CA Oct 26, 2011 $69,030
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Pixar Emeryville, CA May 22, 2012 $68,325
Multi-Media Artists and Animators Pixar Emeryville, CA Oct 20, 2011 $67,610 -
$77,610
Multi-Media Artists & Animators Pixar Emeryville, CA Feb 22, 2011 $67,500

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Top Skills for An Animation Artist

  1. Graphic Design
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Character Animation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Produced and color corrected 12 animated sequences in addition to performing repairs to over 200 archival still images using Adobe Photoshop.
  • Key framed crowd character animation to interact with hero characters and add variation to the shot.
  • Team lead of Content's Animation Department specializing in Animation, Video Production and Graphic Design.
  • Populated scenes with background characters to create dynamic scenery with high level of detail using Massive, Maya and internal technologies.
  • Worked with the Collaborative Technology Group to design, storyboard and animate in-house animated shorts to visualize user experience stories.

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Top 10 Best States for Animation Artists

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. District of Columbia
  4. West Virginia
  5. North Carolina
  6. Delaware
  7. Connecticut
  8. New Jersey
  9. Texas
  10. Alaska
  • (62 jobs)
  • (264 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Top Animation Artist Employers

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