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Become A Computer Animator

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Working As A Computer 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

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer 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 Computer 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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Computer Animator Demographics

Gender

Male

75.3%

Unknown

12.9%

Female

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

55.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Asian

15.6%

Black or African American

9.6%

Unknown

2.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.0%

German

25.0%

Computer Animator Education

Schools

Ringling College of Art and Design

24.3%

Full Sail University

8.1%

International Academy of Design and Technology

5.4%

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury

5.4%

Miami International University of Art and Design

5.4%

University of the Arts

5.4%

University of Southern California

5.4%

Citrus College

5.4%

Art Center College of Design

5.4%

Montana State University - Bozeman

2.7%

Missouri State University

2.7%

Purdue University

2.7%

Kansas State University

2.7%

Art Institute of Colorado

2.7%

Babson College

2.7%

Northcentral Technical College

2.7%

North Carolina State University

2.7%

University of Kansas

2.7%

Ohio State University

2.7%

William Paterson University of New Jersey

2.7%
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Majors

Computer Science

27.0%

Animation

16.2%

Fine Arts

9.5%

Graphic Design

6.8%

Electrical Engineering

6.8%

Photography

5.4%

Architecture

5.4%

Design And Visual Communication

2.7%

Computer Applications

2.7%

Health Care Administration

2.7%

Computer Engineering

2.7%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.4%

Alternative And Complementary Medicine And Medical Systems

1.4%

Engineering Technology

1.4%

Drafting And Design

1.4%

Writing

1.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Biology

1.4%

Business

1.4%

General Studies

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.5%

Masters

17.0%

Other

14.8%

Associate

13.6%

Certificate

6.8%

Diploma

2.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$168,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
The Walt Disney Company
Highest Paying City
Mountain View, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does a Computer Animator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Computer Animator in the United States is $78,786 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $168,000.

Real Computer Animator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computer Graphics Animator-Category I Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Feb 22, 2012 $118,231
Computer Graphics Animator Walt Disney Pictures Burbank, CA Oct 21, 2015 $113,898
Lead 3D Computer Animator/Layout Artist Blur Studio, Inc. CA Sep 21, 2013 $105,000
Multi-Media Computer Animator Logan Media, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2012 $100,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jul 01, 2010 $98,405 -
$120,000
Senior Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 01, 2010 $98,405 -
$150,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Dec 01, 2011 $93,246 -
$125,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Apr 06, 2012 $93,246 -
$120,000
Senior Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 24, 2011 $93,246 -
$140,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Nov 15, 2010 $92,310 -
$200,000
Multi-Media Computer Animator Logan Media, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2009 $91,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $79,414 -
$125,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 13, 2011 $76,918 -
$100,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Sep 13, 2011 $76,086 -
$100,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Nov 01, 2010 $76,086 -
$90,000
Computer Graphics Visual Effects Animator The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 13, 2014 $71,302 -
$100,000
3D Computer Animator Blur Studio, Inc. CA May 16, 2010 $65,000 -
$85,000
Computer Animator Shift4 Corporation Las Vegas, NV Mar 24, 2014 $60,000
Computer Animator Zindagi Games, Inc. Camarillo, CA Jun 01, 2011 $60,000
Computer Animator Nc Interactive, Inc. Mountain View, CA Feb 13, 2012 $60,000 -
$70,000
Computer Animator Xfrog, Inc. CA Feb 15, 2010 $52,175
Computer Animator Xfrog, Inc. CA Aug 30, 2010 $52,175

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Top Skills for A Computer Animator

  1. Video Screens
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Recruited to oversee graphic design projects from initiation through roll-out.
  • Created abstract and character animation for light and laser installations used at rock concerts and other mass gatherings.
  • Created 3D animations and rendering presentations for National Guard Bureau with AutoCAD Architecture 2011 software.
  • Modeled, textured and rigged characters, props and environments; staged each shot, lit the scene and animated pose-to-pose.
  • Designed and produced animation and graphics for local television commercials and corporate videos.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Animators

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

Top Computer Animator Employers

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