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Become A Character Animator

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Working As A Character 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 Character 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 Character 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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Character Animator Demographics

Gender

Male

61.6%

Female

21.9%

Unknown

16.5%
Ethnicity

White

50.1%

Hispanic or Latino

21.8%

Asian

15.2%

Black or African American

8.9%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Japanese

29.4%

Spanish

17.6%

French

11.8%

Chinese

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Hindi

5.9%

Malayalam

5.9%

Korean

5.9%

Thai

5.9%

Italian

5.9%
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Character Animator Education

Schools

Academy of Art University

21.9%

Savannah College of Art and Design

14.3%

Full Sail University

10.3%

School of Visual Arts

7.6%

Art Institute of California - Inland

6.7%

University of Central Florida

6.3%

Ringling College of Art and Design

5.4%

California Institute of the Arts

3.1%

Art Institute of Atlanta

2.7%

New York University

2.2%

South University-The Art Institute of Dallas

2.2%

University of Southern California

2.2%

Pratt Institute-Main

2.2%

University of Texas at Austin

2.2%

San Jose State University

1.8%

Columbia College Chicago

1.8%

University of the Arts

1.8%

Otis College of Art and Design

1.8%

DePaul University

1.8%

Art Institute of Houston

1.8%
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Majors

Animation

47.6%

Computer Science

11.2%

Fine Arts

8.2%

Photography

6.4%

Graphic Design

6.2%

Design And Visual Communication

5.4%

Computer Applications

2.6%

Entertainment Business

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.6%

Psychology

1.2%

Digital Media

1.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.8%

Alternative And Complementary Medicine And Medical Systems

0.8%

Marketing

0.8%

English

0.8%

Computer Information Systems

0.6%

Culinary Arts

0.4%

Business

0.4%

Drafting And Design

0.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.9%

Other

18.5%

Masters

13.9%

Associate

6.8%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

3.4%
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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%
Highest Paying City
Huntsville, AL
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.0 years
How much does a Character Animator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Character Animator in the United States is $80,529 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 Character Animator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Character Animator Rockstar San Diego, Inc. Carlsbad, CA Aug 19, 2015 $118,000
Senior Digital Character Animator SONY Pictures Imageworks Inc. Culver City, CA Oct 01, 2010 $114,400
Senior Character Animator Rockstar Games, Inc. Carlsbad, CA Oct 07, 2013 $110,000
Senior Character Animator Rockstar Games, Inc. New York, NY Sep 12, 2013 $110,000
Lead Character Animator Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. Cambridge, MA Oct 02, 2011 $103,358
Character Animator Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Nov 06, 2014 $89,868
Digital Character Animator SONY Pictures Imageworks Inc. Culver City, CA Jan 03, 2011 $83,200
Senior Character Animator, Product Guidespark, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 25, 2016 $74,568 -
$75,000
Category II-Assistant Character Animator Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Nov 06, 2011 $72,476
Senior Character Animator Spark Unlimited, Inc. CA May 14, 2012 $70,000 -
$90,000
Character TD Animator Buck Design, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 10, 2015 $65,000
Character Animator Rockstar San Diego, Inc. Carlsbad, CA Mar 28, 2011 $65,000 -
$80,000
Computer Character Animator SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC. Bellevue, WA Jul 01, 2011 $64,734
Computer Character Animator SONY Computer Entertainment America LLC. Bellevue, WA Jul 01, 2011 $60,499
Digital Character Animator (Associate) SONY Pictures Imageworks Inc. Culver City, CA Sep 13, 2010 $60,320
Character TD Animator Buck Design, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 27, 2015 $60,000
Character TD Animator Buck Design, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 27, 2014 $60,000
3-D Computer Character-Animator Sucker Punch Productions, LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 17, 2011 $57,000 -
$61,500

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Top Skills for A Character Animator

  1. Maya
  2. Character Animation
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked heavily in Maya, Motion Builder, and proprietary editor on key animation and cleaned up Motion Captured animation.
  • Created realistic full-body and facial character animation using proprietary software (Voodoo).
  • Worked on feature film The Cool Beans - We Need a Hit and several smaller client projects.
  • Character animator for video game company.
  • Developed and taught a weekly training work- shop for the animation department.

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Top 10 Best States for Character Animators

  1. Washington
  2. Connecticut
  3. California
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Delaware
  6. North Dakota
  7. Rhode Island
  8. New York
  9. Texas
  10. West Virginia
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Top Character Animator Employers

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