Top Animation Jobs to Kickstart your Career

Jun 15, 2016

Famous animation characters - Minions | Animation Jobs

Animation Jobs are rising  and now is the chance for you to turn your passion and creativity into fuel to propel you towards success. Have you ever faced an awkward moment where people have asked you to lay your hobby on the side and focus on a career? People who describe such endeavors as hobbies rather than careers are perhaps unaware that there were well over 64,000 multimedia artists and animators operating in the USA in 2014, and that that number is projected to grow by another 3,900 by 2024. This represents 6% growth in the jobs market; a respectable level by any standards.

What’s more, the median salary for an animator in 2015 was $63,970, translating to $30.76 per hour. With substantial opportunities to augment this income, to grow your career, and to enhance your skills, it is easy to see why so many young people are opting to take steps into the world of animation.

Animation Jobs – What You Will Need

Most entry-level animation jobs require a bachelor’s level degree qualification, like those offered by SAE Expression College. This could be fine art, design, or from a dedicated course in the vocational skills required in animation. Alternatively, animators often find themselves studying 3D modeling, mathematics, or other highly technical subjects before moving into the field.

As with most professions, however, a degree alone will not be enough to guarantee you success in the animation jobs market. The field is highly specialized, and all animators across a wide variety of disciplines need demonstrable artistic talent and vision. Developing this is a must, and prospective candidates will need to put the hours into honing this element of their craft.

Animator making comic sketch on paper | Animation Jobs

Experience is another vital component of success in the animation jobs market. With an increasing number of high school graduates opting to take degree courses, employers are turning towards candidates with actual industry experience. Whether this experience is gained via an unpaid internship or through freelance animation or design work, being able to pick up your resume and point to specific examples of where you have put your skills and education to the test will put you at the head of the pack in the race to be recruited.

Finally, the animation jobs market is a competitive one, and so it pays to network. Many industries operate on a ‘who you know’ basis and animation is no exception. What’s more, as an animator, you will need to be constantly honing and developing your skills throughout your career. This kind of mentorship may be found with employers, with colleagues, or with lecturers at your university. It may even be found with your customers or your freelance clients. It is important to remain open to advice and to stay inspired as you move towards your objectives; a great animator never stops being a student.

Potential Careers

So you have decided on an animation job, but which career path will it be? You may be surprised to learn just how diverse the animation industry can be. Take a look at a few of the potential career routes open to you.

Art Director

As you develop your skills and experience in an animation job, you may find yourself heading a team of animators as you work jointly on a larger project. It is up to the art director to bring the different animators in his or her team together, melding their disparate styles in a way that will secure success for the project. This is one of the most exciting animation jobs available, but with these challenges come great responsibilities; training, budgeting, and scheduling tasks may also be carried out by an art director, and they will have the final say on most of the team’s decisions. With great responsibility comes great rewards, and art directors can earn $80,000 per year and beyond. Creative agencies such as Creative Cycle and MOCK provide opportunities to budding art directors.

Storyboard Artist

What links live action film and television with its animated counterpart? The answer is ‘the storyboard.’ In the pre-production and production stages of a film and TV project, the storyboard is vital as the project team gets to grips with the visuals of what they are going to create. Remember the stunning ‘hold the door’ sequence from Game of Thrones series 6? That could not have been possible without top storyboard artists bringing George R.R. Martin’s novel to life with their designs.

Many animators use their artistic skills and their creative vision to bring scripts and stage directions to life by becoming storyboard artists. In Los Angeles, a storyboard artist can expect to earn $80,000 to $100,000 per annum. There is work in this field in other cities, but remuneration will not be quite so high. Top animation producers like Nickelodeon have recently advertised positions for storyboard artists within their teams, and all production companies have a strong demand for qualified individuals.

Stop Motion Animator

Stop Animation Model of Crime Scene with Police | Animation Jobs

Animation jobs are not just about drawing pictures and bringing them to life. Many commissioners of animations require artists with stop motion skills, making this a useful facet to add to your array of talents. Stop motion animation is hard, painstaking work, and it will require a great deal of passion if you are to make a success of it, but the salary you will receive is relatively high; just above $60,000 for most positions. Production companies like Ten Stories and Digital Twigs have recently enlisted stop motion animators in their teams.

Forensic Animator

Animation jobs are not restricted to the creative arts; it also serves a high social purpose. If you decide to become a forensic animator, you will put your skills to the test as you create realistic models of crime scenes in an attempt to uncover precisely what happened. Your talents will be of great use to law enforcement and prosecutors and, as you develop, you will find yourself in an extremely rewarding career. Certainly not one for the faint-hearted, as forensic animation can involve confronting some grisly, disturbing sights as part of your day-to-day work, but a potentially lucrative career choice. Forensic animators can earn up to $100 per hour.

Mathematical Modeler

Engineers in a variety of fields need to be able to access complex mathematical models and three-dimensional visualizations in order to carry out their duties. Many animators opt to follow this career path, putting their talents to work in the fields of engineering and aeronautics, creating virtual models and making excellent money in the process. Companies as diverse as Hartford Financial Services and the Mitre Coporation have all recently advertised positions for mathematical modelers. A salary of $80,000 is a common starting point for these kinds of animation jobs.

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