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Become A Lead Artist

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Working As A Lead 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

  • $63,970

    Average Salary

What Does A Lead 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 A Lead 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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Lead Artist jobs

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Lead Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

68.9%

Female

29.3%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

78.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.0%

Japanese

15.0%

German

10.0%

French

10.0%

Portuguese

5.0%

Russian

5.0%

Mandarin

5.0%

Korean

5.0%

Thai

5.0%
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Lead Artist Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

17.6%

Academy of Art University

11.8%

Full Sail University

8.5%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

7.8%

Art Center College of Design

6.5%

School of Visual Arts

5.2%

Columbia College Chicago

4.6%

Art Institute of California - Inland

4.6%

San Jose State University

3.3%

Pratt Institute-Main

3.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.3%

University of California - Santa Cruz

2.6%

New York University

2.6%

Salt Lake Community College

2.6%

University of Advancing Technology

2.6%

San Diego State University

2.6%

University of Utah

2.6%

University of Arizona

2.6%

Rhode Island School of Design

2.6%

University of Oregon

2.6%
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Majors

Graphic Design

28.1%

Fine Arts

17.8%

Animation

13.5%

Computer Science

8.5%

Photography

5.2%

Design And Visual Communication

4.9%

Computer Applications

4.0%

Visual And Performing Arts

2.5%

Business

2.0%

Digital Media

1.8%

Communication

1.6%

Marketing

1.6%

Entertainment Business

1.3%

Cosmetology

1.3%

Drafting And Design

1.1%

Theatre

1.1%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.1%

Journalism

0.9%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.9%

Culinary Arts

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

52.3%

Other

18.1%

Associate

12.2%

Masters

10.3%

Certificate

5.1%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.4%
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Real Lead Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Flame Artist Psyop Inc. D/B/A Mass Market New York, NY Jan 28, 2011 $178,500
Lead Artist Riot Games Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 02, 2016 $175,000
Digital Environments Supervisor, Lead CG Artist The Mill Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Dec 01, 2014 $158,080
Lead CG FX TD Artist A52, LLC Santa Monica, CA Apr 25, 2016 $156,000
Artist (Lead World Artist) Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA May 07, 2016 $144,600 -
$164,600
Lead Lighting Artist Microsoft Corporation Kirkland, WA Oct 01, 2014 $141,047
Lead Lighting Artist Microsoft Corporation Kirkland, WA Jan 10, 2014 $141,047
Lead Dynamic Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Aug 07, 2016 $135,127 -
$155,127
Lead Dynamic Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Aug 29, 2016 $135,127
Lead Character Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Feb 01, 2013 $124,933
Lead Vehicle Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Feb 01, 2013 $122,299
Lead Environment Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Sep 01, 2010 $120,000
Lead VFX Artist Ascent Media Group, LLC New York, NY Nov 01, 2009 $120,000 -
$180,000
Lead Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 08, 2012 $112,000
Lead User Interface Artist Activision Publishing Inc. Foster City, CA Nov 19, 2015 $111,000
Lead Environment Artist, Interactive Games Neversoft Entertainment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 15, 2013 $110,885 -
$111,736
Lead Character Artist Crystal Dynamics, Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 01, 2010 $110,000
Lead Character Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Feb 01, 2010 $110,000
Lead Artist Disney Online Palo Alto, CA Sep 16, 2014 $107,000
Lead Environment Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 21, 2013 $106,827
CG Supervisor/Lead Artist Carbon Visual Effects LLC Santa Monica, CA Apr 28, 2014 $105,000
CG Supervisor/Lead Artist Carbon Visual Effects LLC Santa Monica, CA Apr 28, 2014 $89,648 -
$120,000
Lead Nuke Artist The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2014 $87,152 -
$200,000
Lead Vehicle Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Feb 01, 2010 $85,500
Lead Artist Melody Street LLC Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2011 $83,480 -
$93,915
Lead Artist Melody Street LLC Los Angeles, CA Sep 25, 2012 $83,480 -
$93,915
Lead FX Artist Dreamworks Animation Television, Inc. Glendale, CA Feb 11, 2016 $83,480
Lead FX Artist Dreamworks Animation Television, Inc. Glendale, CA Nov 02, 2016 $83,480

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Top Skills for A Lead Artist

ArtisticVisionConceptArtAdobePhotoshopCompanyWebsiteVideoGameUserInterfacePCAutodeskMayaTitles3DArtAssetsAdobeIllustratorTextureArtDirectionCustomerServiceGameDesignXboxCharacterDesignGraphicDesignGameArtStyle3DModels

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Top Lead Artist Skills

  1. Artistic Vision
  2. Concept Art
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established the artistic vision and helped define brand identity for blockbuster videogame franchise TONY HAWK'S PRO SKATER.
  • Created fun, stylized 3D environment assets using 3D Studio Max based on concept art provided to our team.
  • Establish game interface layout in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.Create character designs and final character and environmental assets in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Created a storyboard and script for a marketing video for the company website.
  • Created 3D assets for video game development Managed and critiqued artists on project teams.

Top Lead Artist Employers

Lead Artist Videos

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