Multimedia Artist Job Statistics | Animator Jobs
Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:
Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements, which are then animated into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.
Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.
Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual
effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a
portion of the project, and then all the animators put
the pieces together to create one cohesive animation.
Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a wide variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.
Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or “animatics,” which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.
Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance work.
Multimedia artists and animators held about 68,900 jobs in 2012. In 2012, about 57 percent of workers were self-employed. Artists and animators, not just those who are self-employed, often work from home. Some work for motion picture or video game studios and frequently work in offices
Many multimedia artists and animators pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop a good portfolio of work and learn the strong technical skills that many employers prefer. Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular work schedule, although it is not unusual for them to work 50-hour weeks. When deadlines are approaching, they may work nights and weekends.
The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $61,370 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,860, and the top 10 percent earned more than $113,470.
Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular work schedule, although it is not unusual for them to work 50-hour weeks. When deadlines are approaching, they may work nights and weekends.
Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science, such as programming, and in graphics.
Bachelor’s degree programs in art include courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Degrees in animation often require classes in drawing, animation, and film. Many schools have specialized degrees in topics such as interactive media or game design.
Some animation studios have their own software and computer applications that they use to create films. They give workers on-the-job training to use this software. Animators may be hired for a probationary period while they prove that they have the skills and talent to become a permanent employee.
Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television. Job growth will be slowed, however, by companies hiring animators and artists who work overseas. Studios often save money on animation by using lower paid workers outside of the United States.
Consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and three-dimensional movies. They will also demand newer computer hardware, which adds to the complexity of the games themselves. Video game studios will require additional multimedia artists and animators to meet this increased demand. Some of the additional work may be sent overseas.
In addition, an increased demand for computer graphics for mobile devices, such as smart phones, could lead to more job opportunities. Multimedia artists will be needed to create animation for games and applications for mobile devices.
Despite modest job growth, there will be competition for job openings because many recent graduates are interested in entering the occupation. Opportunities should be best for those who have a wide range of skills or who specialize in a highly specific type of animation or effect.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Multimedia Artists and Animators, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm