Special Effects and Animation Technology

Special effects and animation technology involves using a variety of standard and digital animation techniques to achieve particular visual or auditory results. Such technology can be applied to movies, video games and other forms of media. Keep reading to learn if special effects and animation technology might be a good professional fit for you.

Is Special Effects and Animation Technology for Me?

Job Description

Do you have a good understanding of technology and computers? Do you enjoy drawing and painting? Do films and television - especially fantasy movies and cartoons - delight you? If you answered yes, then you might want to consider a career in special effects and animation technology.

This field encompasses the manipulation and creation of acoustic and optical elements in movies, television programs, video games and multimedia to achieve the storytelling that the director and producers envisioned. If you decide to pursue a career in special effects and animation technology, you'll learn about traditional methods such as pyrotechnics, as well as contemporary digital techniques like 3-D modeling.

Specializations

Although not absolutely necessary, you might want to focus on a specific type of special effect or animation technology. You may choose to specialize in computer-generated imagery (CGI), 2-D animation, 3-D graphics, photorealistic design, video game graphics or concept art development, for example.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012 that the job growth for animators and multimedia art professionals should be slower than the average through 2022 (www.bls.gov). Also according to the BLS, animators and multimedia artists had median annual earnings of $64,470 as of May 2013.

How Can I Work in Animation and Special Effects?

Education

The various positions within this field require different types of expertise, so aspiring animators and special effects professionals need to select the appropriate training that corresponds with their career goals. Your talent, initiative and creativity are important factors related to your employment opportunities, but formal education can improve your job prospects. You may choose from degree programs related to animation and special effects at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels.

If you wish to become an animator, then a degree program in animation or digital media may provide you with the skills in graphic design, digital animation and modeling software, art and storytelling necessary for the job.

If you wish to work in video game graphics, a degree program in game design might be a good choice, since it can provide you with training in visual and artistic matters but also in technical issues such as computer programming.

If you'd prefer to work as a special effects artist, then you might want to consider earning a degree in visual effects. You might be able to choose a concentration in an area like make-up or sound effects.

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