Computer Animation Programs

animation on computer

Do you have a keen eye for detail and a knack for visual art? Have you ever dreamed of having one of your creations featured in an animated film?

If so, a computer animation career may be the right choice for you.

Training & Education

Trade Schools with Computer Animation Programs

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Certifications & Degrees

Some trade schools offer computer animation programs where individuals can learn new skills while expanding their portfolios and demo reels.  Graduates can improve their chances even more with a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, fine arts, drawing, or another related field.

Experience

For entry-level roles, most managers focus on animators with at least one year of experience, whether from freelancing or working with a company. Some employers provide online training to help their workers with job-specific software or techniques.

What is Computer Animation?

Computer animators create an assortment of visual effects using computers and other high-tech tools. Project types range from company logos to game and video graphics. As companies expand and develop digitally, the need for workers with these skills will continue to grow.

Those interested in becoming computer animators typically pursue a four-year degree. Some trade schools also offer courses for anyone who wants to learn these skills. Job hopefuls should focus on building a solid portfolio or demo reel they can share with potential employers.

Salary

Computer animators typically earn about $69k annually. Most new artists start at about $45k. As these employees gain more experience, their salary can grow to around $100K. Other benefits may include:

Career Overview

Job Duties

Computer animators take on many responsibilities throughout their careers. These workers often meet with clients to create storyboards filled with the details and guidelines of each project.

Communication is vital to make sure the customer is happy with the finished product.

Artists must also edit their animations based on feedback from customers, supervisors, directors, and coworkers. Editing requires a keen eye for detail, a steady hand, and a lot of patience.

Other duties include:

  • Researching trends in graphic design and visual arts
  • Collaborating with team members
  • Reviewing deadlines
  • Staying in contact with clients throughout the creative process
  • Learning new techniques and skills

What Types of Skills Should a Multimedia Artist Possess?

Artistic

Computer animators need to have artistic ability. These workers carefully craft logos, design graphics, and draw animations for their clients. Students interested in this field should practice drawing, expand their knowledge of color theory, and find ways to nurture their creativity.

Patience

Professional animators need to have patience to complete each project to the best of their ability. The design process can consist of many steps, from storyboarding and 3D modeling to modifying the product several times in order to meet the customer’s expectations.

The right candidate understands that they cannot rush these creations.

Time-Management

Computer animators usually work on multiple projects at once for several different clients. It’s very important to practice good time-management in order to finish by the deadline. A schedule can help with prioritizing assignments and keep workers from becoming overwhelmed.

Other Useful Skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Familiarity with Photoshop, Illustrator, and programming languages like Java
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Adherence to deadlines
  • Willingness to collaborate with others
  • Ability to follow instructions and guidelines
  • Responsiveness to criticism and feedback
  • An understanding of color theory, composition, and perspective

Work Environment

Computer animation can be a physically and mentally demanding job.

Hours

Artists often spend hours at a computer, drawing and editing projects until they are exactly what the client requested. Likewise, some assignments may take longer than anticipated and require evening or weekend hours.

Constructive Criticism

By putting their work on display, computer animators open themselves to the possibility of criticism from consumers and directors. Those interested in this field should be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback.

Office Work

Animators spend most of their day at a desk working on a computer or laptop, sometimes with multiple monitors. Whether in an office or at home, it’s important for their workspace to be comfortable yet practical.

Along with drawing and editing software, computer animators often use standard equipment like printers and scanners.

How Do Computer Animators Promote Their Work?

There are several online forums and platforms where computer animators can showcase their recent projects and portfolios.

Those who do commissioned work often set up websites or pages on Facebook and Instagram to highlight their skills and network with potential clients.

Where Can They Work?

Computer animators work in a variety of locations. While some are self-employed, others find jobs at places like:

  • Software companies
  • Advertising agencies
  • Motion picture/video industries
  • Public relation offices
  • Film studios
  • Television stations
  • Game design companies

Can You Work Remotely?

A majority of computer animators work from home as freelance artists. Some employers hire their staff directly and allow artists to work remotely. However, these individuals need to have access to specific design programs in order to properly complete projects.

Other Options Career Options

After obtaining a degree in computer animation, prospects can pursue several different positions including:

  • Art directors
  • Teachers
  • Computer programmers
  • Producers or directors
  • Web developers

Graphic Design

Graphic design is a similar career those interested in computer animation may enjoy. These employees create visual elements such as illustrations and logos for clients.

The ideal candidate has a keen attention to detail, a strong knowledge of color theory, and a creative mindset. The average salary of graphic designers is around $50k per year. Experienced workers can earn more than $85k.

Career Outlook

Multimedia platforms like film, video games, and television are always changing. Visual effects keep getting more lifelike thanks to advances in technology.

Companies also hire artists and animators to create graphics for applications and mobile games. Experienced computer animators will be in demand as the industry grows.

This field can be very competitive. Employers focus their hiring efforts on candidates with well-rounded portfolios. Graduates specializing in graphics or programming should have good luck finding a job in the industry.