Animation Artist: Career and Salary Facts

Animation artists work on advertisements, films, websites and other forms of media. Read on for information on job duties, degree programs and salary potential for animators. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is An Animation Artist?

Animation artists create animation that may be used in video games, television shows, commercials or movies. They combine artistic talents and computer skills to develop animated images. Animation artists may conduct research on the real-world animals or objects that they plan to depict through animation. As part of their duties, they meet with clients and other artists during the planning phase of a project as while as throughout the process. Below, you can find some pertinent details about this career in the table:

Degree RequiredNone required; though bachelor's and master's degrees available
Education Field of Study Animation, Fine Arts
Key Responsibilities Create animations, either by hand or using specialized software; work with clients to understand their vision or make your own visions come to life; draw storyboards
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Median Salary (2015)* $63,970 (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Type of Animation Artist Jobs Can I Apply For?

As an animation artist, you can work in many different forms of media. These include movies, television shows and advertisements. Additionally, animation artists work for Internet development companies, creating animations that are displayed on websites. You can also work as an animator for video games.

What Will My Work Entail?

Your job as an animation artist can include a variety of related tasks. You may create animations using traditional, hand-drawn, frame-by-frame methods. With increasing frequency, you'll find that animation is created using software programs. This type of animation will require you to work at a computer, rather than a drawing desk.

Some animation artists specialize in particular parts of an animated work. For example, you may perform outlining or add coloring - two jobs that are often performed by different artists. Also, while many artists work on the characters or images that comprise the foreground, others focus on the backgrounds and environments that appear in each frame.

In addition to creating animations, you may be involved in drawing storyboards. These preliminary outlines of an unproduced work, which look like comic strips or graphic novels, allow producers, writers and directors to help shape the work before the intensive labor of animating occurs. Storyboarding is used not only in animated works, but also in live-action productions to help with camera placement, actor blocking and other elements of planning.

What Might I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that animators and other multimedia artists earned a median hourly wage of $30.76 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary at that time was $63,970. The highest paying industries you might work in were travel arrangements and reservation services, followed by other information services. Opportunities for the best paying jobs were in California, which also employed over 33% of the people in this field - by far the most of any state. As of 2015 the annual mean wage of a multimedia artist in California was $82,810.

What Types of Degree Programs are Available?

While a formal degree may not be required for a job as an animation artist, the technical requirements of the field can make a degree highly valuable. Some bachelor's and master's degrees in animation are available. These programs will help you improve your general drawing skills, learn about the history of the field and experiment with various forms of animation.

More common than animation programs are bachelor's and master's degree programs in art and fine arts. These programs will help you refine and improve your artistic techniques using a variety of media, such as painting, sculpture and photography. You'll also learn about art history in a way that can inform your expertise as you prepare for a career as an animation artist.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Graphic designers perform many tasks that are similar to those of animation artists. They use shapes, colors and images to create a visual image that may be used as a logo or for an advertisement or other purpose. They also need to have a bachelor's degree and strong artistic and computer graphics skills. Craft and fine artists do not necessarily need a degree and they use their artistic skills to develop material for display or sale. Art directors are also required to have a bachelor's degree and to understand how to bring different elements together to form a good visual image. They develop the style used in product packaging, books, magazines and may also work on movie and television productions.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • The Art Institutes

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    • Master
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    • Virginia: Arlington
  • Full Sail University

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  • Johns Hopkins University

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  • Ashford University

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  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

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    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

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  • General Assembly

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    Popular programs at General Assembly:

    • Certificates

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Columbia (D.C.): Online Campus, Washington, D.C.
  • Penn Foster High School

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  • CDI College

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    Popular programs at CDI College:

    • Certificates

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    • Anywhere: Abbotsford, Calgary, Edmonton, Mississauga, Montreal, Point Claire, Surrey, Toronto, Winnipeg
  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Walden University

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