5 Steps to Becoming a Professional Flash Animator

Flash animators design and create special effects by assembling images or animation used in videos, computer games, films and other electronic media. An associate's or bachelor's degree in animation, graphic arts or fine arts, along with experience in graphic design and other computer applications, can help you gain entry into this field. Continue reading this step-by-step guide to entering this profession. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is A Flash Animator?

The work of flash animators can be seen on cell phones, computer screens, tablets and other devices. They use their artistic talents and computer skills to produce files that generate visual effects. The process of creating these files begins with sketching out proposals on storyboards and working with clients and directors through the design process. Flash animators produce visual effects and illustrations. Some may opt to focus on developing content for video games while others may pursue work in the film industry. Animation is also used for many cell phone apps and programs that are used on computers and tablets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2014 just over half of all multimedia artists and animators were self-employed. The BLS also indicated that as of 2016 the largest employer of multimedia artists and animators was the motion picture and video industries.. While the average salary for multimedia artists and animators was $72,200 in 2016, those employed in the travel arrangement and service industry averaged an annual salary of $84,880. In the table below, you can learn some additional details about a career in flash animation:

Degree RequiredBachelor's
Education Field of StudyComputer graphics, web design, digital design, animation
Key ResponsibilitiesStoryboard, work with clients, create visual effects and illustrations
Job Growth (2014-2024)*6% (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Mean Salary (2016)*$72,200 (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Research Flash Animation Career Duties and Education

Flash animators use computers and drawing skills to produce pictures, animations and multimedia applications using Flash as well as programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop. Much of what they create can be seen in computer games, television, movies and on the Internet. Flash animators also produce storyboards for animated features that are used by film production and advertising companies during proposal meetings.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators and multimedia artists generally need to hold a bachelor's degree as well as have a portfolio of their work. Employers seek applicants with strong skills in programming and using computer software, artistic talent, creative thinking abilities as well as strength in communication.

Step 2: Complete an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree Program

A strong technical program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in web design, digital design, animation, graphic design or computer graphics typically includes training in Flash animation; an associate's degree program in one of these fields might also provide training for this skill.

Flash animation students learn how to create graphics, animation and special effects for various mediums including web sites, film, television, video and computer games. Students must demonstrate both artistic and computer skills. They must also develop a good understanding of design applications, like Flash as well as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and ActionScript.

Step 3: Create a Portfolio

Flash animation is a competitive field. Having a portfolio to showcase your work can help increase your chances for employment. The portfolio highlights abilities and strengths and helps employers pick out the skills needed for a particular project. It can be a good idea to make your portfolio available online.

Step 4: Broaden Your Skill Set

Successful Flash animators stay on the cutting edge of technology and keep up to date with artistic possibilities. Students who develop and master multiple skills in various genres, such as 3-D animation and modeling, drawing, interactive media, sound design, layout design and background design, can increase their marketability in the workplace. According to online job advertisements from March 2014, employers of Flash animators may also look for applicants who have skills in manipulating Double Click Studio, Point Roll and Media Mind as well as designing banner campaigns.

Step 5: Become an Expert in a Specialized Skill

Expertise in a specific area can also pay off. Flash animators have various mediums to choose from, including digital art, game design, web development, illustration or advertising art.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Multimedia artists and animators are required to have a bachelor's degree, and they combine their artistic and computer skills to create images and models that are used in movies, video games, television shows, commercials and other mediums. They rely on the same types of computer programs and artistic skills that flash animators need. Fine artists, such as sketch artists and painters, also have artistic skills that are utilized to create images for sale or display. They do not necessarily need a degree, although pursuing postsecondary studies may help them develop their skills and build a portfolio. Web developers use their computer and artistic talents to design websites. They may work with flash animation and incorporate it into the design of the sites they're working on. Web developers typically need an associate's degree.

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:

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