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What is Animation?
Animation is the area of study and employment responsible for the creation of effects, cartoons, computer generated imagery, or any other type of motion attributed to two or three dimensional images. Individuals in this field must be familiar with traditional and modern forms of animation, including software and associated techniques in order to deliver the desired product.
What Do Computer Animators Do?
Computer animation is a subset of animation and graphic design that leverages technology to create moving images. Computer animators will most frequently utilize 3D modeling software applications although two-dimensional software applications are used for quick-rendering results. The term computer animation is also known as computer-generated imaging (CGI) in the film industry to create the illusion of real-life or simulated movement of an object or person.
Computer animation is the natural evolution of laborious, time-intensive stop-motion animation and two-dimensional frame-by-frame animation methods. Instead of recreating each frame by hand, computer animators utilize mathematical models to annotate frames to bring animated objects to life in a process known as morphing or tweening. The final process in computer animation is to have the frames rendered which is the illustration process of assembling the digital frames into a coherent set of actions.
Animation Education Requirements
Animation as a field is not restricted to a particular level of education, but due to the increasing complexity of software and techniques used by the field, many programs have become available offering a an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field of animation. The primary goal of these programs is to assist students in developing the necessary skills and knowledge in order to enter the workforce as competent and capable individuals.
A curriculum may include:
- Video Editing
- Color Selection and Correction
When searching for a school, students should consider the success rate of graduates, job assistance, and the notoriety achieved by alumnus. Schools that maintain ties with graduates, asking them to return to lecture or offer advice allow students to connect and possibly find internship or job opportunities which can be invaluable for the establishment of one’s career.
Top Animation Degree Programs
The top animation degrees online and best animation degrees can be found below. By searching by school, location, degree type, or breadth of related programs in computer animation you will be able to find the program that is best for you. In fact, it is more important to find the best program for you by collecting information from schools that fit your list of priorities. To help you generate a priority list, you can simply read our book titled The Complete Guide to the College Admissions Process followed by the book Crush the Odds by Getting Into Your Top College for unique insights and resources to help you make the best decision for your college journey.
After reading our resource guides, simply find schools that fit your goals and educational objectives through our resource page or proprietary matching portal to find the top animation degree programs for you. After assembling school-specific information from your top schools, schedule a time to visit the school or talk with an admissions counselor to address specific degree related questions that pertain to you and your priorities.
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Employment Information & Animation Specializations
Entry into animation as a field may be difficult due to the limited number of jobs and competitive atmosphere. But this is generally specific to animation for the purposes of entertainment, such as cartoons, movies, or special effects, as opposed to animation for titles and other motion graphics related areas, for which employment may be more readily available both locally and in general. Animation as a field is expected to grow over the next decade as the its products becomes more widely used in media, costs become reduced due to cheaper and more powerful technologies, and more individuals are capable of performing tasks associated with the field.
How Much Money Do Animators Make?
The amount of money you will make as an animator will depend on a variety of factors that may include your geographic location, work experience, education, organization type, and role within a company. As such, we have outlined the annual median income for animators and associated career types for you to review below. These career summaries are intended to provide prospective animation students with a guide as there are many factors that go into arriving at a nationwide, median income for a specific profession.
Animators: The median annual income for an animator is $65,300 based on the latest data available with an expected job growth of 6% over the coming decade adding some 4,000 animation jobs during that time.
Art Directors: Average annual income for art directors is $89,820 with a steady job outlook for the coming reporting period.
Graphic Designer: The average graphic designer will make $47,640 annually with the top ten percent making $82,020 on an annual basis.
Computer Programmers: A computer programmer will make $79,840 on average with large bumps in pay given substantive work experience, additional degrees in the field, and geographic location. As an example, a computer programmer working in Washington State averages $116,170 on an annual basis with the District of Columbia right behind at $96,070.
Web Developer: The median annual income for a web developer is $66,130 with an eye-popping 27% expected job growth projected over the coming decade. This growth is driven by demand and technical acuity for web sites and web development for large and small organizations world wide.
Top Jobs in Computer Animation
We have assembled a list of the top computer animation jobs in the industry. Below you will find the top jobs in computer animation and associated animator related jobs from across the country. By getting acquainted with the job titles, you will be better equipped to understand the lingo and cross-section of jobs in the industry. The top jobs in computer animation include the following list:
- Film Producer
- Forensic Animator
- Video Editor
- Background Painter
- 3D Modeler
- Film Editor
- Animation Director
- Video Game Designer
- Stop Motion Animator
- Graphic Designer
- Art Director
- Flash Animator
- Visual Developer
- Storyboard Artist
- Texture Artist
- Concept Artist
- Digital Painter
- Character Animator
- Mathematical Modeler
- Lighting Technician
- Key Animator
- Effects Animator
- Character Rigger
There are many organizations that offer assistance in the growth and advancement for the field of animation, either as an art form or professionally. One of the largest is the Association Internationale du Film d’Animation, which works to advance motion picture animation internationally with chapters in many countries including the United States. In addition, the Society for Animation Studies (SAS) is another well-respected association that provides support, education, and conferences for animation professionals.