Animators are artists who create two or three-dimensional images that depict objects in motion on video, film, computers, or another form of electronic media. Story development, editing, cinematography, and directing are sometimes applied to develop storyboards depicting animation flow and mapping out characters and key scenes. The final animations are used in products or creations like commercials, music videos, movies, computer games, and television.
Animator Skill Set:
Judgement & Decision Making
Complex Problem Solving
Tools Used by Animators:
At a Glance: Salary Statistics
Animator Salaries for Industries
Motion Picture & Video Industries
Computer Systems Design and Related Services
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
Employment growth for artists in general is predicted to be approximately 8% percent from 2010 through 2020, which is slower than the average expected rate for other occupations. Due to the number of people who have creative abilities, job competition for both freelance and salaried jobs is expected to be keen. For animators specifically, demand is predicted to increase as consumers request video games that are more realistic, 3D animated movies, and television and movie special effects. Animators will also see increased demand from areas like scientific research and design, while lower priority forms of animation will be offshored.
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O*Net career site surveyed a sampling of animators and found that 20 percent had attended college but did not have a degree, 19 percent had an associate’s degree, and 62 percent had a bachelor’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that animators should have a bachelor’s degree due to the level of technical expertise required in this occupation. Without formal schooling or some form of training, animators have a difficult time gaining the necessary skills.
Many U.S. colleges and universities have fine arts bachelor degree programs that involve the study of studio art and art history. Computers are increasingly used in visual arts, so many educational programs feature training in computer techniques. Independent design and art schools also provide fine and multimedia arts training that leads to certificate or degree. These programs usually feature a more intense focus on studio work. In 2009, approximately 300 postsecondary schools held accreditation from the Association of Schools of Art and Design for their design or art programs.
Occupations that utilize artistic skills similar to those required for animators include commercial and industrial designers, photographers, woodworkers, and graphic designers. Commercial and industrial designers create the function, quality, safety, and style of almost all manufactured goods. Photographers create and preserve images that record an event, tell a story, or paint a picture. Woodworkers design, custom craft, and test wood products in shops with specialized tools. Graphic designers resolve communication problems through the planning, analysis, and creation of visual solutions.