How Do I Begin a Career As a 3D Animator?

As a 3-D animator, you can create realistic characters and animated special effects with the aid of computer software programs. To learn more about careers in 3-D animation, degree programs and salary figures, read on. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a 3D Animator?

A 3D animator uses sophisticated computer technology to design and bring to life multi-dimensional images and effects. These professionals often focus on one particular area, such as film or video games. They rarely work alone and have to confer with clientele and other staff. Below, you can read more about some of the important details pertaining to this career in the table:

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Required Fine arts, computer animation
Key Responsibilities Use special animation software to create characters and various visual effects, work with other design team members, storyboarding, produce cartoons and illustrations
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 Education Will I Need To Become a 3-D Animator?

Your career as a 3-D animator will require a bachelor's degree in fine arts. You might consider earning a fine arts degree through a university program in digital or 3-D computer animation. Bachelor's programs in computer animation are also available through schools that specialize in art and design.

Your coursework will cover topics like visual effects, character animation, computer modeling and lighting. Courses like painting, art appreciation and introductory drawing may be offered as well. Most bachelor's programs cover general education topics that might include English composition or introductory psychology. Most programs will also teach you how to use professional animation software, like Autodesk Maya or Sketchbook Pro.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a 3-D animator, you might create advertisements for television commercials, movies and the Internet, develop two- and three-dimensional animated graphics or produce cartoons and illustrations. You may work as a member of a specialized design team that perfects the appearance and movement of animated characters. You might be expected to create brochures, website pages, newsletters and multimedia presentations.

What Career Options Will I Have?

After you've acquired 3-D animation training, you could find work with an advertising, motion picture, software or art design company. Common job titles can include animator, background artist, illustrator, computer game developer, story artist or lighting specialist. Experience in the field could lead to work as an art or animation director.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators who worked in the motion picture industry earned an average annual salary of $73,270 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Those who worked in the software publishing industry earned $76,920. The highest paying states for multimartists and animators included California, Connecticut and Washington.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers requiring at least a bachelor's degree include art directors, graphic designers and computer programmers. Art directors oversee the layout and application of visual projects for things like product packaging and television work. Graphic designers create unique visuals to be used for a multitude of items, such as publications. Computer programmers are responsible for creating, testing and fixing application and software coding.

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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