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Working As a Technical 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

  • $68,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical 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 Technical 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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Average Length of Employment
Senior Artist 4.2 years
Technical Artist 3.0 years
Lead Artist 2.9 years
Artist 2.6 years
3D Artist 2.0 years
Game Artist 2.0 years
Artist Assistant 1.8 years
Texture Artist 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Technical Artist
Artist 15.1%
3D Artist 12.3%
Internship 9.1%
Animator 4.6%
Instructor 3.0%
Programmer 3.0%
Generalist 3.0%
Rigger 2.5%
Top Careers After Technical Artist
Artist 12.5%
3D Artist 10.8%
Instructor 4.4%
Owner 3.0%
Animator 3.0%

Do you work as a Technical Artist?

Average Yearly Salary
$68,000
Show Salaries
$42,000
Min 10%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$68,000
Median 50%
$111,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Redmond, WA
Highest Paying State
Rhode Island
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Technical Artist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Technical Artist in the United States is $68,665 per year or $33 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $111,000.

Real Technical Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Artist Facebook, Inc. San Francisco, CA Feb 01, 2015 $165,000
Senior Technical Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Mar 27, 2014 $158,908
Senior Technical Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 06, 2015 $146,500
Senior Technical Artist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 22, 2016 $140,000 -
$160,000
Senior Technical Artist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 15, 2016 $140,000 -
$160,000
Senior Technical Artist Epic Games Inc. Cary, NC Sep 01, 2014 $130,000
Senior Technical Artist Tactel Us, Inc. Beaverton, OR Sep 12, 2013 $124,987 -
$140,222
Senior Technical Artist Tactel Us, Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 12, 2013 $124,987 -
$140,222
Technical Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Apr 01, 2011 $124,470
Senior Technical Artist, Visceral Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 24, 2016 $123,600
Senior Technical Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Nov 07, 2016 $118,082
Senior Technical Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 19, 2016 $117,900
Technical Artist Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Oct 01, 2013 $115,000
Technical Artist Adobe Systems Incorporated San Jose, CA Apr 17, 2012 $105,000
Technical Artist Disney Online CA Mar 04, 2012 $90,000
Technical Artist Seasun Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 05, 2015 $90,000
Technical Artist Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. El Segundo, CA Apr 15, 2013 $89,856 -
$120,000
Technical Artist Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jan 23, 2014 $89,648 -
$95,000
Technical Artist Ready at Dawn Studios LLC Irvine, CA Aug 17, 2016 $88,900 -
$95,000
Technical Artist Howroyd Wright Employment Agency Los Angeles, CA Nov 15, 2011 $83,480
Technical Artist GREE International San Francisco, CA Jul 14, 2015 $82,000
Technical Artist Activision Publishing, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Oct 01, 2012 $81,576
Technical Artist Neversoft Entertainment, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Sep 05, 2011 $70,225
Technical Artist Punchbox USA Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jun 10, 2013 $70,000
Associate Technical Artist Riot Games Inc. Los Angeles, CA Dec 15, 2015 $69,742
Technical Artist Giant Squid LLC Santa Monica, CA Sep 02, 2014 $68,682 -
$80,000
SR. Technical Character Artist Page 44 Studios LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 21, 2011 $68,500
Associate Technical Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Oct 01, 2011 $68,016
Technical Artist Electronic Arts, Inc. Orlando, FL Jun 02, 2014 $66,879
Technical Artist Electronic Arts Tiburon Orlando, FL Jun 02, 2014 $66,879

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Top Skills for A Technical Artist

  1. Art Pipeline
  2. Maya API
  3. Adobe Photoshop
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked closely with Design and Programing teams on the art pipeline for the projects.
  • Worked with Autodesk for Maya API tools-development and resolving Maya bugs.
  • Scanned pictures and retouched when necessary using Adobe PhotoShop.
  • Created unique customized designs, art, and user interfaces alongside programmers and script writers.
  • Integrated proprietary tools in Maya for multiple studio teams by collaborating with engineers and using PythonDotNet and SWIG.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Technical Artists

  1. Idaho
  2. Nevada
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Washington
  5. Delaware
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Connecticut
  8. Alaska
  9. Montana
  10. Rhode Island
  • (8 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)
  • (31 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)

Technical Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

65.6%

Female

20.8%

Unknown

13.6%
Ethnicity

White

58.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.7%

Asian

11.8%

Black or African American

9.7%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.2%

Japanese

17.6%

French

11.8%

Portuguese

5.9%

Chinese

5.9%

Cheyenne

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Italian

5.9%
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Technical Artist Education

Schools

Art Institute of California - Inland

13.9%

Full Sail University

13.9%

Savannah College of Art and Design

8.3%

Academy of Art University

7.6%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

6.9%

University of Utah

5.6%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.9%

University of Central Florida

4.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.2%

Utah Valley University

3.5%

San Francisco State University

3.5%

Art Institute of Phoenix

2.8%

San Jose State University

2.8%

Guilford Technical Community College

2.8%

Art Institute of Colorado

2.8%

Art Institute of Atlanta

2.8%

University of Kansas

2.8%

School of Visual Arts

2.8%

Miami International University of Art and Design

2.1%

Art Center College of Design

2.1%
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Majors

Graphic Design

24.1%

Animation

15.8%

Fine Arts

13.5%

Computer Science

10.6%

Design And Visual Communication

6.0%

Photography

6.0%

Computer Applications

4.0%

Entertainment Business

3.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.6%

Business

2.6%

Communication

2.0%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.7%

Digital Media

1.4%

Psychology

1.1%

Marketing

1.1%

Drafting And Design

0.9%

Theatre

0.9%

Information Technology

0.9%

Computer Engineering

0.9%

Electrical Engineering

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.2%

Masters

15.0%

Other

14.8%

Associate

10.0%

Certificate

3.6%

Diploma

1.0%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Updated May 19, 2020