Multimedia Artists and Animators

Career, Salary and Education Information

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a multimedia artist and animator with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Multimedia Artist Jobs

  • Multimedia Artist - Exponent - Phoenix, AZ

    Our more than 1000 staff members work in 26 offices across the United States and abroad. Exponent has approximately 800 consultants, including more

  • Multimedia Artist - Red Nucleus - Morrisville, PA

    You create killer user experiencesyoure not simply a graphic designer who can create user interfaces • You have the ability to visually tell a

  • Multimedia Artist and Animator - Advanced Computer Learning Company, LLC (ACLC) - Fayetteville, NC

    The mission of the A-VLE is to develop high quality, innovative T&E products for The Army Distributed Learning Program (TADLP). The A-VLE proposes

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Top 3 Multimedia Animator Jobs

  • Multimedia Designer - Arthrex - Naples, FL

    Create visual images and content to convey a specific message to the audience utilizing scripts provided by the Medical Education department

  • Visiting Multimedia Specialist, Animator (Fellowship) - Universities Space Research Association - Greenbelt, MD

    Fellow is expected to make substantive contributions by using software such as Adobe Creative Suite, After Effects, and Maya

  • Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI) Analyst - Digital Wave - Fort Meade, MD

    Capture and document technical requirements and objectives • Oversee all digital content types, including infographics, videos, animations

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What Multimedia Artists and Animators Do[About this section] [To Top]

Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, animation, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Duties of Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animations
  • Develop storyboards that map out key scenes in animations
  • Edit animations and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development time lines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor's movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then the pieces are put together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a wide variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or "animatics," which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance work.

Work Environment for Multimedia Artists and Animators[About this section] [To Top]

Multimedia artists and animators hold about 73,700 jobs. The largest employers of multimedia artists and animators are as follows:

Self-employed workers 59%
Motion picture and video industries 11
Computer systems design and related services 6
Software publishers 5
Advertising, public relations, and related services 4

Many artists and animators work in offices; others work from home.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Work Schedules

Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular work schedule; however, when deadlines are approaching, they may need to work nights and weekends.

How to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Multimedia Artists and Animators near you!

Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor's degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop both an impressive portfolio of work and the strong technical skills that many employers prefer.

Education for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Employers typically require a bachelor's degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor's degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science in addition to art courses.

Bachelor's degree programs in art include courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Degrees in animation often require classes in drawing, animation, and film. Many schools have specialized degrees in topics such as interactive media or game design.

Advancement for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators who show strong teamwork and time-management skills can advance to supervisory positions, where they are responsible for one aspect of a visual effects team. Some artists might advance to leadership or directorial positions, such as an art director or a producer or director.

Other Experience for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Skills in graphics and animation can be honed through self-study. Multimedia artists and animators can develop these skills to enhance their portfolios, which can make it easier to find job opportunities.

Important Qualities for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Artistic talent. Animators and artists should have artistic ability and a good understanding of color, texture, and light. However, they may be able to compensate for artistic shortcomings with better technical skills.

Communication skills. Multimedia artists and animators need to work as part of a complex team and respond well to criticism and feedback.

Computer skills. Many multimedia artists and animators use computer programs or write programming code to do most of their work.

Creativity. Artists and animators must be able to think creatively to develop original ideas and make them come to life.

Time-management skills. The hours required by most studio and game design companies can be long, particularly when there are tight deadlines. Artists and animators need to be able to manage their time effectively when a deadline approaches.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators is $65,300. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $38,520, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $115,960.

The median annual wages for multimedia artists and animators in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Software publishers $73,890
Computer systems design and related services 68,230
Motion picture and video industries 65,680
Advertising, public relations, and related services 63,920

Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular full-time work schedule; however, when deadlines are approaching, they may need to work nights and weekends.

Job Outlook for Multimedia Artists and Animators[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 10 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television. Job growth may be slowed, however, by companies hiring animators and artists who work overseas. Studios may save money on animation by using lower paid workers outside of the United States.

Consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and three-dimensional movies. This will create demand for newer computer hardware, which will enhance the complexity of animation and visual effects. Additional multimedia artists and animators will be required to meet this increased demand.

Further, an increased demand for computer graphics for mobile devices, such as smart phones, will lead to more job opportunities. Multimedia artists will be needed to create animation for games and applications for mobile devices.

Job Prospects for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Despite positive job growth, there will be competition for job openings because many recent graduates will be interested in entering the occupation. In addition to having a robust portfolio, those who specialize in a specific type of animation or in a specific skill, such as drawing or computer programming, should have the best opportunities.

Employment projections data for Multimedia Artists and Animators, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Multimedia artists and animators 73,700 81,300 10 7,700

*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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