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Become A Visual Artist

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Working As A Visual 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

  • $53,230

    Average Salary

What Does A Visual 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 Visual 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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Visual Artist jobs

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Visual Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

59.7%

Female

39.1%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

78.3%

Hispanic or Latino

11.5%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.6%

French

17.2%

Russian

10.3%

German

6.9%

Korean

6.9%

Italian

6.9%

Chinese

3.4%

Mandarin

3.4%

Czech

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Persian

3.4%

Dakota

3.4%

Norwegian

3.4%
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Visual Artist Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

17.0%

Academy of Art University

12.3%

Art Institute of California - Inland

8.5%

Columbia College Chicago

6.6%

Ringling College of Art and Design

6.6%

San Jose State University

4.7%

Full Sail University

4.7%

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

3.8%

Art Institute of Colorado

3.8%

School of Visual Arts

3.8%

Moore College of Art and Design

2.8%

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

2.8%

Utah Valley University

2.8%

Southern Connecticut State University

2.8%

Miami International University of Art and Design

2.8%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%

Wake Technical Community College

2.8%

Art Center College of Design

2.8%

California College of the Arts

2.8%

Fashion Institute of Technology

2.8%
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Majors

Fine Arts

19.7%

Graphic Design

17.7%

Photography

11.6%

Animation

10.6%

Design And Visual Communication

7.6%

Communication

4.8%

Computer Science

3.5%

Visual And Performing Arts

3.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.0%

Business

2.8%

Digital Media

2.0%

Liberal Arts

2.0%

Education

1.8%

Drafting And Design

1.5%

Theatre

1.5%

Architecture

1.5%

Psychology

1.3%

Marketing

1.3%

Journalism

1.3%

Electrical Engineering

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.0%

Other

21.6%

Masters

15.1%

Associate

9.8%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.6%
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Real Visual Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Visual Artist II Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Apr 08, 2016 $100,277
Designer and Visual Artist Manica Architecture, PC Kansas City, MO Sep 25, 2014 $71,500
Visual Artist II Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Aug 17, 2015 $70,212 -
$100,943
Sculptor/Visual Artist-Stone Finisher Antiquity Stone LLC Morrisville, PA Aug 19, 2015 $46,571
Visual Artist Photography Airbnb, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 01, 2015 $46,352 -
$52,175
Creative Visual Artist (CGI, Visual Effects & Phot Taylor James Ltd New York, NY Sep 17, 2014 $44,304 -
$52,000

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Top Skills for A Visual Artist

DevelopmentArtistEffectsAdobePhotoshopVisualEffectsWebOriginalWorksMusicVideosPhotographyAutodeskMayaGraphicDesignVFXMotionGraphicsIllustratorSculptureLayoutVisualArtFeatureFilmSpecialEffectsColorCorrectionAdobePremiereLogo

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Top Visual Artist Skills

  1. Development Artist
  2. Effects Adobe Photoshop
  3. Visual Effects
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created artwork as a freelance illustrator and visual development artist for various clients requiring pre-visualizations on their projects.
  • Use of expression codes to drive 3D Geometry and particle for visual effects during mobile games development.
  • Developed and designed interface specs and graphics for the website to promote training workshops among employees.
  • Perform closed captioning services for music videos.
  • Provided photography services and model talent when necessary for product or marketing materials.

Top Visual Artist Employers