Animation and computer animation are growing fields with many career opportunities. Due to technological advances and the popularity of 3D animation, along with the numerous applications animation is used for, the field is only projected to grow larger. Just like most industries, salaries vary based on education, skill and experience. It takes more than artistic skills to be a successful animator; creativity, organization and storytelling abilities are equally as important. Take a look below at the average salaries of possible career routes you can take with an animation degree.
3D animators create an imaginary word that appears so real, you feel like you share the same world. Not only can 3D animations make these objects move, but they can move within an ever-changing background and they can even interact with it and other characters. 3D animators are big in both the gaming and film industries. 3D animators earn an average of $56,000 a year*.
Assistant Animators are the support part of a production team whose objective is to produce the best possible work within a given budget and schedule. They work alongside the animation director on a variety of tasks to help produce the final product. Depending on where you work as an assistant animator, your salary will fluctuate with the average wages in your area. Most assistant animators average around $29,000 a year**.
Character animators are responsible for bringing characters to life. Most have an understanding of various backgrounds in animation such as stop motion and claymation. Like most professions, the average salary for a character animator fluctuates depending on their degree and professional experience. Something else to keep in mind is the size and notoriety of the company you work for, because you can make anywhere from $48,000 to $150,000. Most character animators earn an average salary of $77,041*.
An effects animator can add natural and supernatural phenomena to an animated film. Most of their job has them understanding the physical dynamics and the natural forces in order to produce a believable world and for setting the mood for any animated film. They also work in the realm of live-action films, helping to create the special effects necessary for a film. Working closely with the artistic team, effects animators may find themselves working long hours and for the most part, under a tight deadline. The average salary for an effects animator is around $79,000**.
A lead animator’s job is to oversee and manage a team of animators to ensure the successful completion of an animation project. Most lead animators work within the entertainment industry since that is where the prevalence for this job is, but you may also find lead animators in other industries such as marketing and advertising. They are the ones who piece together the animation and set the tone or mood of the scene. They work closely with the director. Most senior animators are paid generously, especially at large companies such as Dreamworks and Pixar, earning anywhere from $61,000 -$167,000. Most lead animators usually earn an average salary of $71,000 a year**.
For creating character animations, you need to create complex organic models—this is where animation modelers come in. Successful animation modelers are masters at the human and animal anatomy, architectural, industrial, or automotive design among other things. Character modelers are responsible for the structure and sculpting of all the cartoons and animated movies we see today. Most animation modelers earn an average salary of $95,000 a year**.
Storyboard artists are mainly responsible for quick sketching and creating scenes that are later turned into a film, mastering the art of the human and animal anatomy. Storyboard artists are in charge of taking the first steps of turning a film from concept to full animation. They visualize the script and plot it out through a number of drawings. Storyboard artists can earn anywhere from$45,000, on an hourly contract, and all the way up to $90,000. Most storyboard artists earn an average of $49,000 a year**.
Visual Development Artist
Like many other careers in the animation field, a visual development artists’ salary depends on their individual experience, degree, and most importantly, the company they work for. Visual development artists focus in on setting the mood or atmosphere of an animation. They work on nailing the look and feel of a scene before handing it off to another animator. Some visual development artists can earn up to around $90,000; however, most average an annual salary of $98,141*.
*According to Glassdoor.com
**According to Indeed.com
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