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Multimedia Animator: Salary and Career Facts

Multimedia animators have artistic talent and computer savvy. Read on to learn about degree programs and training courses for animation, along with job duties, job outlook and salary prospects in the field.

What Is A Multimedia Animator?

Multimedia animators are responsible for creating moving images and visual effects to go along with a television show, game or other piece of visual media. They need to be familiar with the typical software used for animation, with some animators choosing to work exclusively on computers. Others hand-illustrate their images before manipulating them with the help of computer software. Animation, especially for films and other large-scale projects, can take a long time to complete and most animators will work as part of a team, assembling the final project piece by piece. Often animators will use storyboards in order to conceptualize the final product while it is still in the early design stages and to ensure that each animator is working from the same framework. The table below has more information on this career.

Degree Required Bachelor's most common
Education Field of Study Animation
Key Responsibilities Use animation software to create characters and stories, storyboarding, creating special effects, designing illustrations
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% growth (for all multimedia artists and animators)
Median Salary (2018)* $72,520 (for all multimedia artists and animators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Degrees Are Available for Animators?

Animation degrees are available at the undergraduate certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels. These programs combine artistic education with technical training. You could learn about digital animation, digital painting, motion graphics, modeling and drawing. You could also learn about animation software, character creation, special effects, 3D composition and digital illustration. Additionally, these programs might include training in the production process, conceptualization, storyboarding and delivery. Programs at the bachelor's degree level commonly offer instruction in business practices and entrepreneurship.

What Are the Prerequisites For These Degrees?

These programs typically have no prerequisites beyond a high school diploma. However, bachelor's degree programs may show preference to those holding associate's degrees in a related field. Additionally, some bachelor's degree programs in animation award Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees, and admission to these arts-heavy programs may require you to submit an creative portfolio. To this end, those with computer savvy and artistic aptitudes may have higher admission chances.

What Do Animators Do?

Animators draw and use animation software to create special effects, storyboards or animated images. They usually work in television, film, advertising or computer systems design industries. Responsibilities for this job might include storyboarding for television commercials, designing characters for video games, creating special effects or developing digital illustrations. Animators work with illustration and 3D modeling software while working with programmers to produce moving images.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an employment growth rate of 4% for multimedia artists and animators between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). This figure matches the average rate of projected growth for all jobs nationwide. Growth in this industry will principally be driven by a rising dependency on artists and animators to create digital content in a variety of media, especially in video games and mobile technology.

What Is the Annual Salary for Animators?

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for animators was $72,520 as of May 2018, while the top-paid 10% of animators earned more than $124,310. The top-paying industries for this profession were equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and motion picture and video industries as of 2018.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

Multimedia animators who have studied art or design may want to think about becoming art directors. These professionals oversee the visuals of many different kinds of media, such as newspapers, magazines and advertisements, and have the final say on all aspects of the creative process. If the technological side of animation appeals, consider becoming a graphic designer. Graphic designers provide aesthetic services for clients, translating ideas into designs for a wide range of purposes, such as logos, advertising campaigns and brochures; like animators, they chiefly do their work on the computer. Art directors and graphic designers both need bachelor's degrees.

Another option is to work as a web developer, taking responsibility for the overall look and design of a website. Web developers need to have a good understanding of computer science as well as good design instincts, as their job duties include ensuring that the site runs smoothly. An associate's degree is the most common requirement for working as a web developer, though some positions may require a bachelor's.