Do you enjoy watching animated movies or playing video games, especially now that you’re cooped up indoors? It’s OK to admit that you can’t outgrow your love for animation. But have you ever wondered how animated films are created? It’s a more elaborate process than you think, as it involves a series of fascinating animation jobs.
So, suppose you have exceptional technical skills and an innate talent for arts. In that case, why not be a part of a thriving and creative job industry alongside excellent animators and artists? Check out the different types of digital animation jobs below.
What Exactly Do Animators Do?
Animation roles entail working using computers, so the transition from in-house to remote work is effortless. The pandemic seems to have led to an increase in entry-level animation jobs. While shooting movies and series that involve crowds have been postponed, animation film production is pushing through. But what exactly is the job of animators?
Animators apply special effects to create the illusion of movement to two- and three-dimensional models. Here are some of the animation careers you can pursue:
2D or 3D animation
Creating CGI (computer-generated images)
Character, scenery, or background design
Animators are sometimes categorized into three types: character animators, creature animators, and technical animators.
Animation jobs usually cover the following tasks:
Creating realistic graphics and animation effects using computer software
Editing animation and effects depending on the feedback of other teams
Collaborating with other animators and artists to create a game, movie, or any form of media
Attending meetings to review deadlines and development timelines.
Types of Animation Jobs
These artists create the concept art for character design, props, environments, and other assets for use in movies and video games. They draw or paint characters, graphics, environment, and other necessary elements.
Storyboarding is a computer animation job where artists take a concept or script and convert it into a visual story. Storyboard artists then create keyframes, do the framing for animation and, finally, work on the project’s rough edit. The role of storyboard artists is critical because they control how others interpret the story.
Animation modelers are the computer graphics sculptors, as they create models. It’s an animation job that involves forming 3D representations of characters, environments, sets, hard surface models, and everything else based on concept art. In addition to creating models, animation modelers are also proficient in applying different modeling techniques.
Modeled characters are static so, to make them move, they go through the riggers. Skeletal animation or rigging is when artists add controls to a digital model, so animators can move characters however they want. It’s an animation career in which the concept of physiology is widely applied to preserve the appeal of characters when they’re in motion.
Creating visual effects is one of the most challenging computer animation jobs. VFX artists are tasked with convincing viewers that what they see is real. To create the illusion of reality, VFX artists use various computer software to model, texture, and produce photoreal imagery for animations. By integrating special effects into live action, these people can make any story come to life.
3D Animator Jobs
3D animators add width, height, and depth to moving images to make them look real. These professionals’ area of expertise is either character design or environmental art. 3D animation jobs involve drawing or taking photos of actors and their movements and using computer software to convert them to cartoon characters. On the other hand, 3D environmental artists animate the environmental aspects of a film, video, or game.
2D Animator Jobs
The 2D animators’ job is similar to that of 3D animators. However, there is a significant difference — 2D animators create moving characters, creatures, and backgrounds in a two-dimensional space rather than a 3D one.
2D animation jobs involve classic animation, which means that the illusion of movement is achieved by sequencing a series of unique drawings frame by frame. There can be as many as 24 drawings in one second (24fps) or as little as 2 of them (2fps).
In the past, 2D cartoon animation jobs involved drawing by hand, but now most 2D animators use Adobe After Effects and Toon Boom Harmony instead.
Art directors lead the art department. It’s one of the most challenging animation positions because they decide everything about the project, from visual style to design elements, art, and images. Naturally, art directors are artistic, articulate, and excellent decision-makers.
In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 67,500 multimedia art jobs. More than half of animation professionals (56%) are self-employed. A few work on freelance animation jobs from home, while others work in-office. Animators can work in the motion picture and video industries, software publishing companies, computer systems design, advertising, and related industries.
Injuries and Illnesses
Digital animation jobs have some negative sides as well. One of the common conditions resulting from excessive usage of computers and poor ergonomic techniques is repetitive strain injury (RSI). It’s caused by the gradual buildup of damage to tendons, nerves, and muscles from repetitive motions, such as using a computer mouse or typing.
This condition may affect your wrists, hands, neck, shoulders, forearms, and elbows. Symptoms can manifest as swelling, stiffness, tingling or numbness, throbbing, and pain in specific body areas.
Animation entry-level jobs entail sitting at a computer for long periods, which can lead to RSI. If not addressed, this may become a chronic condition. Fortunately, this can be avoided by maintaining good posture and exercise. Here are some tips:
Sit up straight.
Choose a chair that supports your lower back.
Keep feet flat on the floor.
Avoid crossing your legs.
Work at a standing desk for a few minutes.
Make sure the computer screen is at eye level.
Take frequent breaks and do stretches.
Even if you land one of those high-paying Warner Brothers animation jobs or anything similar, desk jobs, in general, can be damaging to your health in the long run. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle that consists of regular exercise and a proper diet can help mitigate these adverse effects.
In-office artists and animators follow a regular 40h/week schedule. When deadlines are imminent, they may need to work longer, either at night or over the weekends. It’s worth noting that jobs in busier animation studios, such as DreamWorks animation jobs, can get hectic at times. Therefore, aspiring animators should always keep in mind that working long hours is typical and expected of them.
How to Become an Animator
If you’ve googled “Disney animation jobs” or “animation jobs near me,” it means you’re serious about becoming an animator. Here’s how to become one.
To be an animator, you need to have a blend of technical and creative skills. Proficiency in using different computer software is the main requirement. Plus, a Bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or anything related is a must.
Employers usually list the required skills in the animation jobs description, so read the job listing carefully before applying. Some companies may require previous job experience, but others won’t. Overall, the required skills are drawing, painting, and sculpting.
Animation is a visual art, so having the artistic ability is imperative. If you search for DreamWorks animation careers or jobs in other famous animation studios, you’ll soon find out that they often look for exceptionally artistic and talented candidates.
Team collaboration, project discussion, and brainstorming are some of the few meeting types animators take part in. These events are all about sharing ideas and getting feedback. Therefore, animators should be good communicators.
Animators use various sophisticated computer software. Advanced knowledge of computer programs, including writing code, increases your chances of getting hired, especially if you’re looking for one of the most coveted positions, such as Walt Disney animation studios jobs.
In this industry, what sells is a good story. Therefore, an artist who can produce an original and exciting story can excel from the rest. An essential part of animation studio jobs is being inventive, discarding conventional ideas, and coming up with out-of-the-box narratives.
In some studios and game design companies, long workdays happen regularly, especially when a deadline approaches. Animators should be able to handle this kind of pressure. In the end, what matters is to get the job done on time.
A degree in computer graphics, arts, or animation is necessary to apply for any animation job openings. A program that includes painting, drawing, sculpture, animation, and filming courses is helpful as these skills are fundamental for animation. Some schools offer specialized degrees in interactive media and game design. If you’ve graduated from one of those schools, you have a considerable advantage.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
In case you’re wondering if you need a license or certification to work as an animator, animation jobs in the USA don’t require one. To demonstrate your skills to potential employers, you only need two things — a degree in a relevant field and an extensive portfolio of work.
Animation is an industry that thrives through collective effort. An artist with an entry-level animation job who can demonstrate strong teamwork and time-management skills is likely to advance to a supervisory, leadership, or directorial position. In these higher-level roles, an animator who gets promoted usually manages a team or an entire department.
Animation Jobs Salary
Now, here’s the exciting part. It’s time to find out how much multimedia artists and animators earn these days. The following figures will help you decide whether it’s worth investing in animation studies.
In May 2019, the median animation career salary was $75,270. The bottom 10% earned less than $40,250, while the top 10% earned more than $139,940. Salaries vary according to the industry you’re in. If you get hired at these top animation industry jobs, these are the wages you can expect:
Motion picture and video industries — $86,270
Software publishers — $80,290
Computer systems design and related services — $71,980
Advertising, public relations, and related services — $70,510
Online animation jobs are well-paying jobs that offer vast growth potential. For artists, this could prove to be a perfect career path as it combines passion and sustenance.
It is forecasted that jobs in animation will grow modestly by 4% between 2019 and 2029.
The demand for jobs will emerge from these situations:
People will demand more realistic special effects and 3D movies. The only way to satisfy this is to use newer computer software that amplifies the complexity of animation and visual effects, which will trigger a demand for various types of jobs in animation. Computer graphics for smartphones will need to be updated and enhanced. Companies will be compelled to develop new mobile games and applications to create the best smartphone series for the increasing number of mobile users. Animators and artists can help achieve this goal. The only circumstance that can lead to slower job growth is when studios with limited budgets decide to hire animators outside of the USA to do remote animation jobs. But this isn’t a significant concern because employment in the USA will continue to expand anyway.
Many younger adults and new graduates will try to compete and apply for entry-level positions as animators. However, don’t let the competition throw you off. The key to getting the best job opportunities is to master some of the animation skills and showcase a portfolio that reflects your talents.
Frequently Asked Questions
What jobs are there in animation?
Careers in animation revolve around three sectors: modeling, layout and animation, and rendering.
Here are some of the specific areas animators can be employed at:
Concept and storyboarding (pre-production stage)
Rigging and skinning
Camera angles and techniques
Compositing and special effects
Adding music and foley
Editing and final output
What is the salary of animation?
The median salary for multimedia artists and animators was $75,270 in May 2019. If you get a job in some of the top industries, such as one of many Netflix animation jobs, you’ll get a higher wage.
What qualifications do you need to be an animator?
The most common qualifications are a Bachelor’s degree in either fine arts, animation, or computer graphics, plus a robust portfolio that demonstrates your technical skills.
Is a career in animation good?
An animation position is a well-paying job in a growing industry, which makes it a promising career. Also, there are ongoing opportunities for career growth if you show consistent performance in your job. Lastly, if you’re a naturally artistic person, this can be the perfect job to express your creativity.
Do animators work at home?
Many animators work in-office, but there are also animation job listings for remote positions. 56% of animators and artists are self-employed. These people work from home, libraries, coffee shops, or other out-of-office spaces.
How hard is it to get a job in animation?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this industry will grow. However, new graduates will also vie for animation jobs, which will present a certain level of competition in getting a job. There’s no need to worry — if you stand out, you will get noticed by employers. To do this, prepare a robust portfolio that shows your mastery of different animation skills.
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